V.V. Burger Showdown Semi-Finals Match 2: A Fall From Grace [By Chloe vs. Chickpea & Olive]
Match #2 of the V.V. Burger Showdown Semi-Finals: A Fall From Grace.
Ok, I’m back in the burger battle again! We’re at the 2nd of the Semi-Finals of the V.V. New York City Burger Showdown! I know I said this before… But it’s been awhile: what’s great about this burger battle is that consistency counts. With repeated visits and, in this case, months passing, a burger’s true strength is revealed. And unlike other “best-of” lists compiled in one moment in time likely by someone with a relatively tiny portion of my vegan expertness, I know what makes a good burger.
I also know what makes a bad veggie burger. I’ve eaten them for years. I’ve tasted evolution bite by bite. So sometimes, in honoring that progress, I got to be the heavy. I have to “keep it real” like that woman on the Chappelle Show who had someone messing with her phone. It’s a role I can take on easily because I care about quality above all. In everything. In food, yes, but even more so in vegan food. I don’t sing the praises of something simply because it’s vegan. This here is not a rationalization I present when I’m about to rip something apart. Its pretty much my MO in all departments of life.
By Chloe’s Classic Burger:Here it is: By Chloe’s basic burger downright bombed this battle: a huge upset for a burger that had promise. The burger that knocked Superiority Burger out in the first round wouldn’t scratch it had this second burger been served. The patty was cold, dry (high school cafeteria dry), and lifelessly limp. I didn’t detect any flavor. The bun was pleasing until its end which was crunchy and sharp. The beet ketchup, which I loved on my first visit, was way too vinegary and its taste was off putting. And I swear, I wasn’t searching for criticisms. I entered into the battle with enthusiasm… And it lasted through the long line to get my food. I had food-fantasized about By Chloe’s burger since my first visit. I did foresee that burger beating all others.
So what happened? A chef’s food became a brand. A cute font, a beautiful face, a marketing niche, press and airtime all over the place, multiple opportunistic new locations and endeavors carefully chronicled by social media. It’s all hot and trending and appears exciting. But… being immune to vapid, millennial spectacle, the food is all I care about. The quality. I cherish it like the lost art it is. Though it saddens me to say, I am fearful that this is the end for the Classic Burger… that probably wasn’t made by Chloe.
A definite highlight: the loaded disco fries that are not on the menu: chorizo, onion, swirling cheesy sauces. These received many headturns. And I inhaled them.
Chickpea & Olive’s Phatty Beet Bacon (no Cheddar) Ranch:
I regard myself as an introvert. Crowds are psychically draining, especially crowds in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Every time I have had Chickpea & Olive‘s eats, I’ve been at Smorgasburg–hot, surrounded by caricatures. Those negative associations can kill a bit of the ambiance, but they are not factors if you visit the Lunchtime Under the Archway in DUMBO. For one, you’re under an Archway and out of the sun. Two, there are plenty of tables and, because it’s weekday lunch, the table turnover is swift. I stopped by to finish this semi-final battle off, ordering their well-loved phatty beet patty… with some eggplant bacon and some of their Ranch sauce, leaving off the Daiya cheddar which may be on the outs soon as they are experimenting with housemaking a cheese. Yay!
The burger is an enjoyable one. It’s a flavorful patty than is wet and messy in a good way. It’s got chew, not like those patties that feel more like dry mashed potatoes. The bun–top notch–which is super important. And as a vegan, I always appreciate a contrasting opaque, creamy sauce. But since the patty has so much moisture, the sauce just offers more wetness. It’s a bit of a lost opportunity. I wish the Ranch had more of a tangy punch. The eggplant bacon blends too much with the patty’s texture. These constructive criticisms are minor. But at this point in the battle, stakes are high!
The winner of the 2nd Semi-Final battle: Chickpea & Olive!
A clear winner has emerged from this battle: Chickpea & Olive’s phatty beet burger. Brooklyn advances to the Finals!! This may very well be Brooklyn’s for the taking, considering Cafe Ghia might be up against Toad Style in the semi-finals! We’re almost at the end now!
This battle is dedicated to Pickle Shack who would have kicked both By Chloe’s and Chickpea & Olive’s toasted buns. Rest in peace.
For research design, click here.