Blended burger and beer at Cornerstone Burger Co. in Northfield
Driving 96 miles round trip for a burger to celebrate its sustainability is probably counterproductive, or at least not a very practical idea. But that's what I did Saturday night when I drove to Northfield to eat a "blended burger" at Cornerstone Burger Co.
The blended burger mixes ground beef with mushrooms to reduce the amount of meat consumed and add whatever benefits are conferred by a little mushroom filler. The burger ($13) is on the menu through July at Cornerstone, which is participating in a nationwide contest organized by the James Beard Foundation
. The idea behind the Blended Burger Project
, in its third year, is to help the planet (and yourself) by limiting beef consumption, and to win the competition by making the top-rated blended burger. (The public votes.)
The patty has to be at least 25 percent chopped mushrooms, according to guidelines. Beyond that, creativity rules.
I was tempted by the version devised by Cornerstone — dressed with bourbon fig and blue cheese — and figured I'd consume three gallons of gasoline to eat one. Anything with bourbon and blue cheese is worth expending a little extra energy on; figs and mushrooms are hardly a deterrent.
So, it was a rough blow when our server told us the blended burger had been pulled from the menu Saturday night. It seemed Cornerstone was running low on bourbon-fig compote.
Bummer, I murmured, taking an extra-big swallow of my very good beer, a saison called Silent Disco that was brewed next door at Good Measure.
"She drove all the way from Burlington for the burger," my friend told the server.
Those proved to be magic words. Our server offered to ask the kitchen if it had enough fig sauce for one blended burger. The answer came back: Yes!
We were psyched and appreciative, and decided to split two burgers: the all-meat French-onion variety with Swiss cheese, caramelized onion and garlic-thyme aioli; and the blended burger that was touted as having bourbon fig and blue cheese.
We found no discernible blue cheese in or on the burger, but it was topped with plenty of fig compote — probably enough for two orders. A bonus for pleasure, if not planet: a couple of strips of bacon tucked on the underside of our blended burger. The bacon was mushroom-less, a blend of nothing but smoky pork and fat.
I suppose it's a trick to cook mushrooms medium rare, as we ordered our burger, but the patty had no pink. By contrast, our French-onion burger was pinker and juicier.
When I had parked the car in sleepy Northfield, right in front of Cornerstone, I was hit full-on by the meaty aroma of sizzling burgers. I'd trade a few mushrooms for that primal smell any day.