Les Chaussettes Burger - Stick with us on this burger, the ingredients may seem a little strange, but they work together in perfect harmony atop this burger. The strangest of which is probably those pears, so let's start there. All we need is two peeled and sliced Bosc pears and a bottle of sweet red wine. Bring the wine to a simmer in a small saucepan and add in the sliced pears.
We can let the pears simmer for a little while we complete the rest of the meal. Next up, we can work on that hash that will become part of the burger. All that is needed is 1 small shallot and three slices of precooked bacon. Finely dice both the bacon and shallot.
Mix the bacon and shallot together then press the hash into a burger press. Top with a 1/3 lb of grass fed ground beef and press down to form a patty.
Carefully remove the patty from the press and season with Back of the Yards. Bring the patties out to the grill.
We're breaking one of our cardinal grilling rules with this burger. Normally we go super high heat when grilling burgers, but since we have one side of the burger full of bacon and shallots we don't want that to burn. We get the flame going to a medium/high heat which is still hot enough to get a great sear without incinerating the hash. The other key here is to generously oil the grates so the hash does not stick. Place the patties down with the bacon and shallot side up.
Let a nice a char form after about 3-4 minutes then flip the patty over.
Grill the other side for another 3 minutes or so then shuffle the patty to the cool side.
The cheese we're using is a chèvre that is laced with chili pepper threads adding a little heat to the creamy yet tart cheese. To the top of the patty we add a few crumbles of the cheese.
Close the lid and let the cheese melt slightly for a minute or two. Next carefully grill the sliced pretzel buns until just toasted. Place the patties on the buns.
The poached pears should be perfect by now. We're looking for fork tender on these, just enough so that it's not hard to chew through when you bite into the burger. Add a couple of pear slices to the top of the bun.
Close the burger up and dig in. The first thing you'll notice is just how perfectly the wine-soaked pears and cheese pair up with each other. The sweetness and tanginess is balanced nicely by the salty bacon. Add in a delicious charred grass-fed beef patty and soft pretzel bun and you are pretty close to burger nirvana.
Horny Goat Wisconzin IPA - Having been around for awhile now, the shock value of this Wisconsin's brewery's name and labels have all but worn off. When we sampled their Hopped up and Horny IPA, it was purchased mainly on the name, this time we bought their Wisconzin IPA just because we had to taste what an IPA brewed with Zinfandel grapes would be like. Well that, and also it seemed like a perfect beer given this evening's theme. The beer pours a shiny jewel-like reddish orange with a frothy pure white head. The aroma is a tantalizing mix of raw sugar and mango sweetness along with fresh and citrusy grapefruit. The flavor is not to be believed, it's like a cross between a really citrusy IPA and a good quality Sangria. You might not think that sounds very good, but we're here to tell you different. It's pure genius. The sweetness detected on the nose all but goes away in the taste department making way for a delicious winey booziness that comes through and ratchets the ABV percentage north of 7%. The awesome combination of hops makes the beer addictively drinkable. There couldn't have been a better beer to pair up this burger with, every single nuance of the beer seemed to work in tandem with all of the components of the burger.
The Socks "The Socks" - Every once in a while we come across album where not only can we not stop listening to it on a constant basis, but we use so many superlatives to describe it to people that we actually run out of them. This debut release from France's The Socks is one such album. The album is loud, garage-y, good time rock and roll in its finest form. The album doesn't start off with a guns a-blazing though, instead they lead off with the chanting march of "Lords of Illusion". The song builds up the anticipation for the rest of the album to come, serving as an intro song of sorts to the rocking "concert" that begins shortly. "Some Kind of Sorcery" is the album's first single and right up there with one of its best songs. The song slams hard behind the sinister, yet powerful vocals of Julien Meret. Things slows down a bit for the catchy chorus which shows off the band's great harmonization skills. Speaking of harmonies, the AIC-esque start of "Next to the Light" has a dark, grungy feel to it. The use of the organ just adds to the slightly eerie experience. Fans of "Radar Love" will appreciate that same locomotive drum beat and groove starting off "New Kings". The groove slows down into a sludgy pocket showcasing some great vocals. Rounding out this fantastic track is an electrifying solo. The slow and trudging "Holy Sons" builds and builds until it becomes a huge full-fledged anthemic rocker. "Electric War" may be the heaviest track on the album mixing classic Sabbath riffage with the classic metal sound of Early Man. Another nominee for the disc's top song is the retro sounding "Gypsy Lady" which at the same time sounds like The Doors and Elf, possibly due to the liberal use of the organ in a hard rock boogie tune. "We Live" sounds right at home against some of the best of AIC and Soundgarden, delivering that heavy fuzzed out "Seattle Sound" like pros. The disc's closing track is "The Last Dragon" which starts off with a fierce riff before settling into a slower bluesy groove. There is a certain doom aspect to it, which recalls Pentagram/Witchcraft. This entire disc is so ridiculously good, it's already a nominee for 2014's album of the year in our book. Not only are there no songs to skip over on this disc, but every song is incredible and needs to be played at maximum volume. We can't wait to see what's next for this band.