brgr Upper East Side Opening Party, 61st and 3rd Ave brgr, New York
September 22, 2010
What a cast of characters. I feel like I'm writing an IMDB bio for a new sitcom on Pix11 featuring a teacher/mommyblogger who performed in an amusement park troupe, a magician recyling "hilarious" lines in an assembly line fashion, a real-life member of The Babysitter's Club, and, bringing up the rear: three tattooed metalheads with a soft spot for meat. I managed to meet all of the aforementioned characters within a two-hour time span at the opening of brgr (no additives, not even vowels!) on the Upper East Side.
I'm done sweating, weather. It's September, almost October, and I want to show up at my evening events without the wet, wispy-haired halo of salty skin juice, OK? That's just how I arrived at brgr... half an hour early. This shouldn't surprise any of you, though. The call of the burger is strong within me, it's almost as if I couldn't control it. The earliness gave me the opportunity to get to know brgr's CEO Steve Leicht, a NY/Westchester product. He filled my and ADA Music's David Factor's ears with the history of how people feed cows -- and it's pretty interesting.
In fact, it's parallel to how humans feed themselves. Historically, grain has been cheaper as feed, but it's not very sustainable, and not as good for the bovines. Grass is better for the cows, makes a better burger, and isn't as harsh on the land. Sort of like how certain fast food chains' lunches are cheaper than that salad place on the corner that chops up your salad jumblies all fancy-like. You get it.
Also, according to Steve, grass-fed cows become part of "hangoverless burgers" -- the opposite of that brick-in-the belly/angry-alien feeling "the other burgers" can give you. Could have been the power of suggestion, but after I inhaled three wedges of The Blue Sky Burger, The Rainforest Burger, and The Morning... Spectacular Something Burger, I actually didn't feel like I wanted to honk. To fill that void, I ordered "The Trio" which is a basket of sweet potato fries, russet fries, and a hairy pile of onion hay. That did the trick.
I met Mandy Fisher, Momtrends Contributing Editor, over a flight of milkshake shots. Mandy and I have an Ohio and role playing connection. She was an actor in amusement park Cedar Point's "shows" and she played Annie Oakley -- which was five-year-old cross-eyed Kelly's go-to rollerskating outfit.
I spotted a tatted-up hairy dude towards the front of the joint and deduced he was one of the guys behind Burger Conquest, an around-the-world blog dedicated to the juicy brown disc. He was Steve "Buckshot" Seabury, and wouldn't you know it, he has a cookbook coming out in November from Simon&Schuster titled...
...wait for it...
I love it. The tagline is "Cookout With Your Book Out" and boasts recipes from metal legends like "Zakk Wylde, Lemmy, Guns & Roses, Lamb of God, Moth Eater, Shadows Fall, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, Pantera..." and more. He was joined by his other Burger Conquistadors Rev. Dave Ciancio, and Bram Teitelman.
Toward the front of brgr I found a real-life member of the babysitter's club, Kate Peterson. She was munching on a full-size burger and a pile of fries with a large goblet of red wine overseeing the situation. See, that is how I like to eat a burger. Sure, beer is always a great pairing, but man, a glass of dark and moody red wine with a slab of juicy meat makes me feel like a bourgie barbarian. Kate and her friend Genna Mazor run a babysitting business together.
The mayor stopped by as well. The foursquare mayor that is: Eric Acosta.
I also ran into Kate Doherty, Senior Associate Home Editor at Family Circle, who I first met at an HGTV Wine and Design event. Kate was the ultimate best daughter, squiring her very proud pops to the event. Near the father-daughter team I spotted a high-energy sort of loud-mouthed guy bearing the telltale signs of actor/media personality/performer of some type. I approached with trepidation and as he moved to give me his card he rubbed his hands over the card, spread his hands apart, and there, levitating between his palms was his card! Now THAT is how you trade business cards.
It all made sense when I read "Josh Beckerman, Entertainer, close-up magic, comedy." He then introduced himself to me, "Johnny Depp... I mean Josh Beckerman" snicker-snicker. "Ha. Haaa." I said. As I turned away, he said the exact same thing in the exact same tone to the You&Me Cookie ladies.
Also in attendance and sharing grassy and milky knowledge with the burger munchers were John Wood, founder and head farmer of grass-fed beef purveyor U.S. Wellness Meats, and the head of Ronnybrook Farms Dairy himself! I'm pretty sure that in one my many trips to Union Square's Greenmarket, I have walked away with Ronnybrook cheese.
Full of burgers, onion hay, and wine, my dude and I hopped into a cab just as the first fat drops of rain plopped onto the hot NYC sidewalks. The lightning chased us home as I smiled, feeling the burger glow, and the warmth of meeting such a fun cast of characters.
On to the next one!
And as always, send those invittions to firstname.lastname@example.org!