They include a Persian Love Cake, chilled zucchini soup, crab-squash blossom arancini and waffle cone filled with pulled pork.
This week! The inner workings of the Munch cabal . . .
Here at Munch & Associates LLC, in our zeal to best serve you, the reading public, we employ an extremely scientific, exhaustive and methodical manner to select the fine gastronomic purveyors that your friend and humble narrator visits. Inspired by the University of Pittsburgh football coach search, you know it's thorough and well-planned. It goes something like this:
Friend of Munch: Hey Munch, you been dahn'at place in (insert Pittsburgh-area hamlet here) dat hazz'em (insert greasy food item, probably topped with bacon, here)?
Munch: No. They got beer?
Munch: ON it!
Done and done. But every so often, we get a tip straight from the top. From the far east, if you will. From China. Millman, that is.
If you read her reviews, you know the lady only eats good stuff. Munch leapt at her suggestion to check out a gourmet burger shop in Harmony called Burgh'ers, the brainchild of Fiore Moletz, a Shaler chap who learned the craft of artisan food prep from places such as Lidia's in the Strip and Il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon.
Mr. Moletz doesn't make the big honkin'-topped-with-everything-short-of-a-deep-fried-Buick-I'm-gonna-need-a-nap-and-a-Tagamet-right-after-this burgers we've come to expect in the age of American obesity.
But that's not to say that they aren't creative and aren't filling. They are.
Named mostly for spots in and around Pittsburgh, these are quality, well-prepared burgers with super-fresh ingredients, from the patties down to the accoutrements. Burgh'ers sources much of its food from local and/or organic farms. To wit: the grass-fed beef for the burgers comes from Armstrong Farms in Butler County; the produce comes from several small farms around the region.
Among the selections: The Polish Hill is naturally topped with a fried pierogi and fried onions, cheddar cheese and mayo; the Forest Hills has blue cheese, fried wild mushrooms and spring mix and is finished with a local honey from Maple Valley Farms in the North Hills; the Bloomfield consists of fried onions, marinated rapini, sweet fennel seed, swiss cheese and mayo (all $8.99).
Munch really enjoyed the Mexican War burger named for the North Side streets ($8.99). Made with roasted green chiles, tomato, avocado, cilantro, cheddar, and the house sauce, it was a delicious burger full of great flavors and packing some heat.
The quality of the meat used at Burgh'ers is instantly noticeable. Munch's trusty sidekick, the Blonde Barkeep Bud of Munch, concurred on this point with her Morningside ($8.99), topped with a sunnyside-up egg, bacon, American cheese and mayo, which she absolutely loved.
Many places put fried eggs on their sandwiches, but this was a perfectly cooked dippy egg, and its yolky flavor and runny consistency added a whole new dimension to the burger. It was like eating a Sunday breakfast on a hamburger.
We could've easily filled up on our starters: a delicious bowl of baked mac & cheese ($5), served slightly al dente, peppered with a creamy, sharp melted cheese; and a plate of rosemary fries ($4), fresh cut and tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, with fresh rosemary and garlic that were so good we'd have mainlined them if possible.
For dessert: a couple of thick chocolate shakes ($3). Perfect.
A few gourmet hot dogs ($3.99 to $5.99) and several nice-sounding sandwiches -- a turkey pita with bacon, swiss, avocado and cilantro, for instance -- are also available ($5.99-$8.99) along with salads with housemade dressings ($6).