I’m not anti-American in any way — except American Cheese.
Why is it that weak American Cheese has become the norm for cheeseburgers?
It’s not good. It’s way too weak to stand up to a juicy piece of beef, much less any condiment you choose to add. It adds very little — sometimes nothing — to the flavor of a burger.
Why do we use it?
Sure, I know why the fast food dumps use it — it’s cheap and non-threatening.
But at home we can do better. And we can use good American-made Cheeses to do it. Just not American cheese.
Why not try a quality cheese that is jam packed with flavor the next time you grill cheeseburgers? How about an sharp aged Wisconsin Cheddar? Or a nice smokey bleu? Or a creamy Swiss.
Until you can fire up the grill the next time, here are 3 Chicago restaurants you can use for inspiration. Or just a delicious night out.
The Top Sirloin Burger at Prairie Grass Cafe
The top quality ground beef is grilled simply (no need to mess with perfection) and then topped with a mild Amish blue cheese (with a quick trip under the broiler to meld the two together) and served with grilled tomatoes and onions.
Perfection on a plate and the perfect antidote to regular cheeseburgers.
Visit Prairie Grass Cafe at 601 Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook and expect to part with $15 for the Top Sirloin Burger. Cheap.
The Hamburger at Hotchocolate
Don’t be mislead by this being called “hamburger” on the menu.
The just-right-sized seven ounce patty (ground fresh in-house daily) is topped with Carr Valley aged Cheddar cheese that is sharp and beautifully tangy. A couple of slices of salty bacon round out this perfect package.
Stop into Hotchocolate for the Hamburger at 1747 N. Damen Ave. and you’ll spend a totally-worth-it $13.
The Signature Cheeseburger at The Capital Grille
Okay, I know this is a “chain,” which I usually avoid like the plague. But I can forgive any sin when the burgers are this good.
The daily-ground sirloin is mixed with applewood-smoked bacon and caramelized onion before being cooked on the charbroiler.
Then the smokey delicious patty is topped with a generous slice of Havarti and served on a toasted onion brioche.
If only all the hamburger “chains” were this good.
The Capitol Grille in Chicago is located at 633 N. St. Clair St. and the Signature Cheeseburger will set you back $15.
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