george motz’s hamburger america; a state by state guide to 100 great burger joints. we’ve had burgers at new haven’s louis’ lunch, reputably home of the original hamburger. (the proprietors don’t allow any ketchup or condiments in the restaurant and have been known to kick people out who attempt to smuggle in ketchup packets. truth be told, even after living in new haven for 3 years, jenner never at here.) we’ve had the burgers at harman’s lunch, maine’s sole entry in hamburger america. we’ve had from connecticut’s own ted's steamed cheeseburgers to the california's in-n-out. What we are trying to say is that we like hamburgers, perhaps not as much as some people, but a lot. so we are enthused about this new portland, maine food bloggers collaborative project, portland’s best burgers. first up, the diner/sandwich shop burger.
so are we wimps because we went to hot suppa? jenner doesn’t think so. she even called both of the two diner/sandwich shops named after a man and a woman (steve and renee's diner and kathy and dave's cafe) , but both were only open for lunch. it was wednesday night and we wanted some burgers. After looking over the portland food map’s diner/sandwich shop section we settled on hot suppa, as much to check out their burger as to indulge in their amazing cubano sandwich.
our last trip to hot suppa, right after they first started serving dinner, was kind of a bomb. except that jenner ordered the cubano and fell in love. before we even walked in the door on this recent cold wednesday evening jenner knew what we were ordering. the restaurant was warm and bright and we got a nice cozy booth by the window for people watching. service was fast and attentive and our server knew a lot about their tea selection. seth feels, and experts (meaning otis) agree, that hot suppa has the best bloody mary in portland, and so he started his meal with one. jenner ordered a white pear tea due to her ongoing upper respiratory infection, then proceeded to order us poutine, the double double, and the cubano.
the poutine came first, and while we ate the entire plate, jenner didn't feel like they lived up to her expectation. now jenner does not claim to be a poutine expert (though, she wants to go to montreal but seth has a strange xenophobia directed toward french canadians), so the let down may simply have been that her expectations were unrealistic. but she wanted thicker gravy and the cheese curds sounded amazing but were not melty enough.
the double double and the cubano came out together with their chosen sides of sauteed collard greens and some kind of tomato soup. normally jenner doesn't believe in double patties on burgers because it usually leads to bad burger to bun/topping ratio. but on reviewing the menu she realized that each patty is 4 ounces and one patty would be a small burger. as it worked out two 4 ounce patties was in perfect ratio to the bun/toppings. the patties are hand made and thin with the edges thinner than the center. not only does this create delicious crispy edges when the burger is cooked on a flat top, its really pretty to look at and congers up nostalgic feelings of a bygone era of burgers. when we ordered the burger, the waitress said "it comes w/ cheese, pickles, and sauteed onions, is that okay?" hell yeah that's okay! but when the burger got there we realized that cheese, pickles, and sauteed onions are all that come on the burger. a quick wave to the waitress got us a side of tomato and lettuce. iceberg lettuce. normally jenner loathes iceberg lettuce, but when you are talking about this type of old fashioned, basic burger, no other lettuce will do.
simply put, the burger tasted great. this is not a fancy or gourmet burger, in fact its made with american cheese. but if you are looking for a really tasty burger, you are not gonna go wrong with this burger. all you got to do is find someone to split the burger and the cubano with you and you got yourself a fantastic date.
so yeah, this cubano is all that. we know this piece is all about the burger but we really need to tell you about this cubano. we are big fans of cubanos. in boston we lived just down the street from la esquina de sabor, el oriental de cuba. to translate for my non-spanish speaking reader, el oriental de cuba is a restaurant that touts itself as the corner of flavor. they are in fact on a corner, and before they got moltov cocktails thrown through their windows and had to redo the whole restaurant they had a neon sign that read esquina de sabor.
el oriental's cubano is a classic cubano while hot suppa's is a slightly more modern version. it starts off with this really amazing french bread. the first time jenner had this sandwich she asked about the bread and it is actually made specifically for this cubano. then the sandwich is layer with roast pork, ham, gruyere, mustard, and cornichons. that's right, roast pork AND ham. seth remembered that last time jenner ordered it he wanted a little extra mustard so we had the waitress bring some extra on the side. this is an awesome sandwich. jenner really really loves sandwiches and she thinks this sandwich is really really awesome.
the sides were good. we both love and hate that the collard greens are sauteed and not real true stewed collard greens. they are meaty and hearty and smokey and when you eat them you feel like you are eating something good for you. jenner didn't have any of the soup but seth really liked it.
so we are definately going back. next time we will skip the poutine and get fries as a side to either the burger or the cubano and maybe we will try to fool ourselves that we are eating healthy by getting the collard greens again. oh and we will get the chocolate bread pudding again because jenner loves bread pudding and this is a great version (we will take it to go because seth likes some time between dinner and dessert).