This week in New York, it’s burger mania–a chance to find which one of 40 juicy patty variations suits your fancy (ketchup or béarnaise?). In Miami’s nutso sister, Key West, it’s the start of lobster season, and boy are they laying out the bibs with a four-day knuckle-and-tail jamboree. And in Los Angeles, you have seminal indie band Belle and Sebastian and two classic rock dinos giving their all (Steve Miller and Peter Frampton, respectively and respectably). Do you feel like we do?
NEW YORK CITY
At this time in New York City, there have never been more serious burgers being offered, from gourmet restaurants to holes in the wall, newcomers and old classics. That is why it’s worth it for you to try 40 different patties this Thursday, in two roving seatings, in the Time Out-sponsored “Battle of the Burger.” The contestants are exactly those we would pick (but for the shocking omission of that bar-order-only number that Raoul’s has been winning accolades for nationwide). Heck, you’d spend nearly $50 just buying those at revered spots like Minetta Tavern and the recently revived Chumley’s. You’ve got the modestly priced classics like those at Corner Bistro, J.G. Melon, Joe Jr., Shake Shack, and P.J. Clarke’s. Then there are those from iconic steakhouses such as Old Homestead and Peter Luger. Williamsburg has some stellar inclusions, among them the traincar stalwart Diner, The Commodore, and Salty Dog. Newcomers include the West Village’s Bar Sardine, The Clocktower, Black Tap, L.A. transplant Umami Burger, and Brindle Room. And there are award-winning restaurants that have become famous for their burger takes, such as The Spotted Pig, the still-great Union Square Café, and the hotel-installed NoMad Bar. Reserve your tickets for either the 5:30 or 8:30 p.m. “seatings.” Budweiser is the co-sponsor. Perfectly apt, and fine, by us.
L.A. is rocking this week. This Sunday provides a rare chance to go see Belle and Sebastian–at the Hollywood Bowl, no less. This Glasgow-formed alt band is one of the catchiest that ever existed, building quietly with a single instrument and then blowing out into rock star proportion rhythms. (Imagine “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” a cherished pop song of note, complete with a Tijuana Brass-like horn section.) Added bonus: Spoon is opening. Expect both to lean toward big synth. Alternatively, this Thursday you have the Steve Miller Band, featuring Peter Frampton (alive, yes!), at the Greek Theatre. Big stuff, people. Get out there, girls and boys, and learn from your elders.
This Thursday, rent a ragtop and head to Key West for the 21st annual Key West Lobsterfest. If you can’t go Thursday, when you should be at the Sunset Tiki Bar lobster boil, don’t worry: the event goes on for four days through the weekend. It’s a celebration of the opening of sweet lobster season in the local waters, and thousands come out to try every form of recipe you can make with those clawless delectables. Wear a white sports coat for your pink crustaceans, as Jimmy Buffett once said. We know–but once he was an easy-breezy, cool dude, just like his adopted renegade town. You can do most of what you like to in Miami, but in Key West, well, they do just about anything there still. They’ll be plenty of Miamians, as is the norm, so you won’t be alone with the conches. Daily there’ll be drink stands and specials at the bars, as well as live music and a Sunday “lobster crawl” down Duval Street.
Photo by Dan Gold