Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Peppa Day

Saturday was the kid's birthday. With no real advance planning of my own (obviously), she had a totally kick ass day. And so did we. Parenting high fives all around.

A mom at her school knows that she likes Peppa Pig and tipped me off that Peppa Pig had an event coming up at the Scholastic store. Despite my going online to check it out, I managed to miss the bit that says RSVP. Being as I'm prone to that kind of irresponsibility, a few days before the thing I panicked and went back on to double check... needless to say, it was sold out at that point. Someone drops this awesome birthday surprise in my lap and somehow I manage to screw it up... mummy fail. Except I don't always accept defeat at the hands of my own stupidity, so we decided to go check it out anyway. I mean, if you can't get a kid in a Peppa Pig t-shirt, wearing a "birthday girl" headband into a Peppa Pig "Birthday Party" screening, you obviously don't love your kid enough.

We showed up early to find out they had added another screening time - yay! that started 30 minutes before we got there - boo! The good news was that they fit people from the later one into the early one and, bada bing, she's in and we're parents of the year.  The screening, mind you, was a bunch of kids and parents in an auditorium watching episodes that, if you're like us, you've seen about 700 times, but the kid was happy, so we were quite pleased with ourselves. Following the screening was an in-store appearance and hug-a-thon with the real deal Peppa Pig herself and well, let's just say we made her year that morning.
Best birthday surprise ever... shoot, have we set the bar too high? Is next year going to be a huge disappointment now? damn!
After a jam-packed morning like that, we needed lunch stat. We had passed Minetta Tavern on the way down to Peppa and decided to head there for lunch. That is where I had.... drum roll please... the best thing I ate this week. The Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern.

My husband has been to Minetta Tavern several times. Me, not so much. Without a reservation, the super-nice maitre d' was able to get us a table in a busting dining room (read: kid-friendly), with paper table cloth and crayons for the kid... her best birthday ever continues, and mommy gets to try their burger finally. Win-win.

So, let's talk about this burger. I've heard many tales over the past few years. I've listened to the ongoing debate whether a burger needs cheese to be its best, and I was curious. I am curious no more. I am full, satisfied, but still no closer to answering the cheese question.

It really is a lovely burger. It's rich, full of flavor, cooked well (um, not literally well as in well done, I meant it was cooked really good, but I talk better English than that). Don't ask me to rank it yet... I need to sit on that type of thing for a while and have at least two samplings. My early estimate would put it somewhere in my top ten-twelve. I know top twelve isn't really a thing, but I told you already, it's too early for me to decide. Jeez. Back off.

So, back to the burger... well flavored dry aged prime beef mix topped with onions that are sautéed, caramelized and then griddled in the beef juices just before they get put on top, all on a pillowy brioche style bun which is soft enough to let the burger and onions take center stage, hard enough to not fall apart from all those juices, and sweet enough to complement their rich flavors. Simple, rich, delicious. But I can't say that it wouldn't be better with cheese until I've actually tried it with cheese. I am leaning towards it being better with cheese, because as my brother-in-law James has astutely pointed out many times, "add cheese, make it better." I know that to be true, but I will reserve judgment until my next tasting.

That is the best thing I ate this week. At $28, it's not a cheap burger, but the kid doesn't turn three everyday, so it was a special occasion... that and we were so full we couldn't eat again until late night tacos from La Esquina, so it's kind of a bargain when it counts as breakfast, lunch and supper.

In honor of our morning surprise, we also had a side of their bacon, which is served steakhouse style, thick-cut and charred but not to the point of being crispy throughout, just on the outside. While I noted the irony, what I really noted was how damn good thick cut bacon is. Sorry Peppa.

Oh yeah, and obviously there was cake... a really good chocolate caramel tart with sea salt on top... yum!

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