Friday, October 26, 2012
Event - JT Schmid's "Badder Asser" Burger
A highly indulgent evening was had last night as 30+ people gathered at The District in Tustin for a media preview of JT Schmid's Bigger, Badder Asser Burger. We knew that we were in for a crazy meal when we were invited - the flyer itself boasted a 12-inch bun sandwiching a 4 lb. patty, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, Cheddar cheese, pickles, and roasted corn mayo. BUT GUESS WHAT? The flyer was wrong because the patty was actually six whopping pounds. Yeah, six. That landed us a burger between 9 and 10 pounds of stomach-packing goodness. Wow.
So the description is actually just the base style for the Badder Asser Burger. You can get it served to you in the multitude of ways they have their regular-sized burgers. Out first for the evening were the Cowboy Style and the Turkey. Later on, they had brought out the Jalapeno Turkey and the regular. My favorite was the Cowboy Style for its well-fried jumbo onion rings, twelve slices of bacon, Bleu cheese, and overall awesomeness. The Turkey was definitely for those a little bit more health-conscious as the leaner meat was accompanied by so many fresh veggies! A great surprise was how they managed to get such a huge slab of meat to taste like a burger and not a meatloaf - I think I saw that the patty was sliced in some areas to cook thoroughly. I could be wrong though, just an observation!
Appetizers lined a table in the back even though the burgers were plenty of food in themselves. They had their Hawaiian coconut shrimp (jumbo! shrimp covered in freshly shaved coconut and deep-fried in vegetable oil alongside orange marmalade) which were notably large and juicy. The assortment of flatbread was impressive - the five varieties were the margherita (pizza sauce, shredded Mozzarella, roma tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella, and basil), wild mushroom (mushroom cream sauce, shredded Mozzarella, Shiitake mushroom, Portobello mushroom, white button mushroom, and basil), prosciutto ham (pesto, prosciutto ham, shredded Mozzarella, goat cheese, grilled onion, basil), roasted pear and Bleu cheese (balsamic glaze, shredded Mozzarella, sliced red pear, Bleu cheese crumble, grilled onion, sage, and pecans), and sausage (pizza sauce, Italian sausage, shredded Mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan cheese). My personal favorite was the roasted pear one for the sweetness mixed with crunchy from the pecans while Duc's was the sausage for its salty, savoriness.
BUT WAIT! There's more. The jalapeno mac & cheese was one of my favorites for the night for its "diced grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, bacon, and raditori pasta in a creamy ale sauce made from housemade beer and Jack, Cheddar, and Pepper Jack cheeses." I loved the non-traditional pasta combined with the spicy flavors of the jalapeno. The tomatoes brought some burst of relief from any heat so they all worked well together. Also out was their meatball sandwich (five Angus beef meatballs, garlic, tomatoes, housemade marinara sauce, and grated Parmesan on a brioche bun), a packed Italian meal. Their sides consisted of Brewery Fries (beer battered, steak fry style), Chips & Dips (potato chips to order), and Lots of Taters. We actually liked all of the sides but especially enjoyed the tater tots for their perfect crunchiness. There was also a full tray of their Italian meatballs, the same thick morsels as the ones in the sandwich.
Let's not forget about the other main feature for the evening though! Though wine was available, they were releasing their new stout - the JT Imperial Stout! As Duc said, "Well played, good sir." It was pleasant to see even the non-stout drinkers around us give an appreciative nod to the well-crafted brew. A very black and robust stout, this 8% ABV brew is aged in French Oak (our cheers to the brewmaster Gil Chacon for this attention to detail!) and features a very rich profile. Though it was still a fairly dark stout, the bitterness didn't seem to deter others from draining their cups - let's credit that to a sweet malt. As stout fans, we had several. I agree with Duc; well done.
Without much delay, the desserts were dished out on the same appetizer table which had been cleared without our awareness. That's what we get for being preoccupied with staring at our full spread of food. Considering that they had a wide array of desserts to choose from to serve, I think they definitely had the two of us in mind because the three choices hit upon just about our favorite things. The Pineapple Sorbet was served in an actual half shell of the pineapple itself; smooth and sweet, the sorbetto cleansed our palate without shocking us awake with citrus. I had maybe two bites before Duc devoured the whole thing. Then there was their extremely popular Dream Bomba, peanut butter gelato concealing a heart of caramel and coated in milk chocolate with a peanut butter drizzle. Does that sound decadent enough? I can't even describe exactly how amazing this mound of rich, peanut butter overloading goodness was but Duc's rapid consumption of one and a half of these before my half portion is tribute enough to its power. I took immediately to the Black Forrest cake (chocolate sponge cake surrounding a layer of chocolate and Chantilly cream with Amarena cherries studded inside and separated by a white sponge cake, all topped with cocoa powder and a chocolate ribbon) because of its lightness and inclusion of cherry. The cocoa powder helped too in the impression of airiness.
A delicious and pants-tightening evening, the night was spent amidst much food and good company. My thanks go out to Pam from the OC Restaurant Association for making this happen, Jason Schmid for speaking with us and being the man behind the food, and the staff for being so swift and courteous. I heard rumors that a burger challenge event would be happening for the Badder Asser Burger so stay tuned for the news! (Random fun fact: they actually started off with an eight-pound burger but it just seemed too thick to keep on.) For more pictures, please "like" and check out the Facebook fan page.
Photography by Duc Duong.