By the time I tuned in to this summer’s Tallahassee Burger Trail event, I was behind.
My first official stop on “the trail” was Vertigo Burgers and Fries on July 18. I had until July 31 to fit in as much burgerliciousness as possible. Was I up to the challenge?
Vertigo Burgers and Fries
I mounted the burger trail horse at Vertigo Burgers and Fries for lunch on Saturday, July 18.
This was my first visit EVER to Vertigo Burger. The Burger Trail special was the Red Hills Burger: A 50/50 mix of in-house ground beef chuck and Bradley’s sausage, Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill cheese, cornmeal fried okra, bacon-braised collard greens, creole rémoulade.
The Standout Feature(s): The sweet potato fries were delicious. I enjoyed my burger (especially the okra!). My friend loved her “Dizzy Duck,” especially the cherry sauce. I loved spending time with a friend I met through the blog, when I wrote this.
The Tin Cow
A friend wanted to talk about some personal challenges, so I figured he could spill his angst while I checked off another Burger Trail stop. That’s how I ended up at The Tin Cow on Friday, July 24.
The Burger Trail special was “The Classic”: A half pound of Angus on a kaiser bun with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.
The Standout Feature(s): Well, it’s not a “feature,” but anyone who knows our family knows how much time we spent at AJ Sports, which previously inhabited this space. It was so weird to walk into the Tin Cow and be in someone else’s business! Anyway, I thought this burger got the most points for presentation. So pretty with the ketchup and mustard; someone paid attention to presentation. I just wish a) my friend has less angst (sigh) and b) it had not been lunchtime on a weekday because the spiked shakes (or at least a brandy soaked cherry) sounded so good!
Up in Smoke
The July 31 “end of the trail” was looming closer and closer, so I redoubled my efforts to check off a few more stops. That is how my friend Sandy and I ended up at Up in Smoke on Tuesday, July 28.
The Burger Trail special was the Up in Smoke: a 1/2 pound burger topped with blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onions, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, topped with onion rings. Served with a side of blue cheese and bacon hand cut fries.
The Standout Feature(s): This burger was REALLY tasty. Something about the sauce just had that “zing.” My friend and I enjoyed chatting with the owner, also. Sandy and I have not had time to sit and chat one on one EVER so this was really a treat!
The Burger Trail special was the Black Avocado Surf and Turf: This 100% Angus ground beef is made up of black avocado, Cajun aioli, and topped with fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico on a flaky croissant bun!
The Standout Feature(s): I loved the fact that I could check off a Burger Trail stop AND help the American Cancer Society at the same time. The shrimp were definitely a unique addition to my burger. These homemade chips were SO DELICIOUS.
Canopy Road Cafe
Sunset was starting to fall on the Tallahassee Burger Trail as I determined to mooooooove toward fitting in a few more burgers. That is how I found myself at Canopy Road Cafe with my awesome friend Lynne.
The Burger Trail special was the Breakfast Burger: 8 oz. Black Angus beef covered in melted cheddar, grilled honey ham, pecan smoked bacon and an over easy egg.
The Standout Feature(s): I was leery of the “egg on a burger” idea but I have to admit it was really tasty! And time with a friend I rarely see IRL was a special treat.
In all honesty, I did have a MadSo burger during the Tallahassee Burger Trail summer promotion, but I did not take a picture, so I am not sure it counted! To be sure, I consumed one. more. burger. on Friday night, July 31, at one of my favorite places. I was way over fries by that point, though, hence the green beans!
The Burger Trail special was the MadSo Burger: Fried avocado, peppered maple bacon, aged cheddar, Jameson caramelized onion, house aioli, on a brioche bun.
The Standout Feature(s): I am not a HUGE avocado fan, so that was a bit of a “take it or leave it” for me. And by this point I could not look at another fry again. NO MORE FRIES! But I loved the ability to squeeze in one more burger trail stop at a place which has been so good to me and the causes I love, so I made the MadSo burger my finale.
As The Dust From The Trail Settles…
Six (huge) burgers (with fries, usually) in 13 days is definitely out of the norm for me. But I love a good hashtag (#tallyburgertrail) and I love a great way to connect with our fun social media community in Tallahassee.
Next year: an earlier start so I can spread the decadence out a little bit better (and make all the tops)
When it is up to me, I am pretty basic in my burger preferences. Usually by the end of eating one of these special burgers, I had deconstructed it and was consuming the components separately (like the okra at Vertigo – yum!).
I also had read somewhere that restaurants look down on people who order their beef medium well, but I am still sort of squeamish about burgers that are pinkish. I think some of the burgers I had would have been better medium than medium well. Maybe next year I’ll have the guts.
The Burger Trail forced me to organize myself in order to visit establishments I had not made time for previously (like Vertigo).
Most importantly, the Burger Trail forced me to sit down and enjoy time with people for whom I care a great deal. And THAT beefed up my morale considerably. The people in my life are so affirming, it could have been peanut butter and jelly for all I care — the point was spending time with them. It was a bonus that I got to enjoy these delicious creations and support some of Tallahassee’s finest restaurants at the same time!
NOTE: Even though the June 1 – July 31 “window” for winning prizes has ended, the Burger Trail intends to keep serving up the burgers! Check out their website, choose a restaurant, and saddle up for a burger adventure! Tell them The Big Green Pen sent you!
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.