#hamburgers
JJ’s the Place To Be, Come Fall?

Bwog heard rumors that Dining was revamping JJ’s Place for fall 2012, so we contacted Victoria Dunn, Executive Director of Columbia Dining. Details, below.

Menu Changes

According to Vicki, “the idea with the menu revamp is to keep the JJ’s favorites, but introduce a new line of healthier options, including a brand-new salad bar with composed salads and a Jamba Juice Express. The menu will also include new items like Rancheros, Thaic hicken panini’s, and different flavored wings.” For the carnivorous among you, “The Dining Advisory team told us that they really wanted a larger, thicker burger.  We chose a porterhouse/sirloin blend with lots of seasoning. We also have a ton of toppings, so you can create your own burger  We taste-tested them with Dining Advisory team last week and they loved them.”

Venue Changes

The old German ratskeller aesthetic will remain—says Vicki, “We will be keeping the heart of JJ’s, but adding some light and comfort seating to the space. Renovations will be complete for the fall, “depending on construction.”

Why the redesign? “We needed to make some egress and access updates to the facility, so we took the opportunity to improve the program at the same time.”

Hours

Apparently, “JJ’s will no longer just be a nighttime destination—we will be extending hours during the daytime, and adding Sunday and Monday hours next year.”

The Takeaway

“The reaction we received from students about the new design and menu has been really positive, so we’re looking forward having the space filled with students enjoying good food.”

Cooking with Bwog: Breaking it Down Edition

Easier with one of these

Naturally, everyone thinks of the tropical drinks of the Caribbean and Hawaii, but for those of us without the benefit of home cooking meals or schwanky resort fare, Spring Break also means JUNK FOOD and lots of it! This week’s Cooking with Bwog is Matt Powell’s gourmet guide to Spring Break survival, in three indulgent courses.

Appetizer: Chile-Lime Popcorn

Who says that spiced-up popcorn can’t be an appropriate appetizer? This trendy app is “popping” up at many of the city’s swankiest bars. This one has a south of the border twist to it.

4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • ¼ tsp. ancho chile powder
  • A couple tbsp. neutral oil (peanut oil, corn oil, but not olive oil)
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Cotija Cheese, crumbled
  • Cilantro, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Make the chile-lime salt: Combine the salt, lime juice, zest, and chile powder in a food processor, a good blender, or in a mortar and pestle. Pulse the mixture until the flavors meld. Adjust flavorings as desired, adding more lime or chile powder.
  2. Make the popcorn: In a large pot, add enough oil to cover the bottom. Add 2-3 kernels to the pot and cover with the lid. Once the three kernels pop, the oil is hot enough. Add more kernels, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Shake the pot (semi-violently). You may need to use oven mitts to keep your hands from burning. The popcorn should be done popping in 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour into a large bowl.
  3. Toss the popcorn with chile-lime salt to taste. Add in Cotija cheese and cilantro to taste.

Check out the rest of the meal after the (wait for it) break.

Burger News Round-Up

Burger things are happening in your neighborhood!

Mel’s Burger Bar now officially takes Flex, and the Space Formerly Known As Song’s Stationery (112th and BWay) is now affixed with a “Five Guys: Coming Soon” sign!

It’s all happening!

Mel’s Burger Bar: Try It, You’ll Like It

Photo courtesy Mel's Burger Bar

Morningside has food niches vacated and sort-of filled every few years. AmCaf, beloved steak sandwich locale in the early aughts, became a fancy tapas bar that no one you know eats at. The fabled West End became mediocre Havana Central, a shadow of its former Kerouac-hosting, drunk-makeout-and-beer-pong-haven self. You could get full and drunk for less than $20, and sometimes much less, and that’s all we really ask for (until Mom and Dad visit– then it’s beet bowls for everyone!)

Bwog ate dinner at Mel’s Burger Bar last night, and we’re delighted to report that you can indeed get full from good food and drunk on good beer for not very much money.

Mel’s looks great. The floors are black-and-white marbled, there’s lots of wood paneling, hanging lamps, red booths, exposed brick, huge chalkboards with beer, food and dessert menus, and six flat-screen TVs showing the Yankee game. The hostess and server were friendly, and the bathrooms spacious and unisex– ooh la! There are 140 seats, with 18 chairs on an outdoor patio.

Bwog and our dining companion sampled two of Mel’s punches ($8-9): the Hook, which was a not-too-sweet alcoholic orange juice, and the Haymaker, which was Grey Goose, Bacardi, and some other stuff that got us properly tipsy. There’s also a promising-looking “unusual lemonade” with homemade lemonade, Jim Beam, and mint for $8, and a slew of other mixed drinks that aren’t as embarassing to order as a vodka cranberry.

There are 18 beers on tap ($4-8), 5 cans from PBR ($4) to 21st Amendment Back in Black ($8), and 10 bottles ($5-10). The Southampton White Beer is delicious. The fancy drinks are expensive-ish but strong, the regular beers are roughly 1020-priced. A good way to get a lot of beer: order a 32 oz. or 64 oz. (!) growler to go, from $7-30. There are also stacks of burgers and wings to go.

After the jump, we eat!

It Glitters!

Mel’s Burger Bar is coming along quite nicely.

And more Morningside dining news: Kuti’s, a new takeout store on 116th between Morningside and Manhattan Avenues, just got a good review from the Times. Bwog sampled the shrimp piri-piri and it is delicious, and just $7 for a plate of shrimp and two sides. Most dishes are between $5-7.

Mel’s Burger Bar…It’s A Thing!

Twitter!

Bwog got the inside scoop on Mel’s today from a former CC student working for the Mel’s Team. It will be open in late July (that’s soon!), they’ll hopefully be accepting Flex, and the food and beer selection will be “extremely high quality” (Dogfish Head and Kobe beef, riiiite?) and reasonably priced. Knees bent for this to go VIRAL: Mel’s has a Twitter and Facebook, and there will be special promotions for “early adopters” i.e people who follow and like (respectively) Mel’s on the Internet.

Mel’s still doesn’t have a website, but we learned that its owner is Nick Tsoulos, who also owns Goodburger, Patsy’s and Angelo’s. These are fine eateries, and we look forward to welcoming Mel’s to the hood. Last time we visited Tomo it was kind of a bummer, anyway.

Mel’s Burger Bar Is The New Tomo

But what is Mel’s Burger Bar? It’s not even on teh Googles! Bwog hopes they have burgers like this. We’ll keep you posted on when Mel will officially open when we get word. Thanks to Mariela Quintana for the bovine-tip.