Burger 21


Last Friday, the hubs and I had a double burger date with one my best friends. She is also pregnant too! So I’m looking forward to continuing to have these double dates with our babies! We both wanted burgers, and she lives in Ashburn  so she suggested Burger 21, since I’ve never been there.


The place was pretty cool. It had its own shake bar, and a sauce station. Lots of different sauces, Cajun Mayo, Toasted Marshmallow (what?!), Thai Ketchup, Ranch…etc. Plus plenty of types of burgers to choose from, cow, chicken, seafood, turkey, veggie and hot dogs!


There’s also a selection of ways you can get your fries. I went for half and half. Over all I really liked the taste of the burgers and options of toppings and sides!

Burger 21
43800 Central Station Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147

Sloppy Joes

I love that the honey is cooking more. That frees up time for me to do other things …like laundry and write about what he’s cooking. Hah! This week he brings…



I haven’t had these in forever. And it’s usually from a can. But it seems much healthier if you make it from scratch right?

Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Foodnetwork

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon A1 sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
8 potato burger buns

Brown the meat and the onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks.

Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the red wine vinegar, the molasses and the rest of the seasonings. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Scoop onto buns and enjoy!

Burger Fi

After barely eating meat for a week,  it was time to enjoy some cow. We drove down to see our friend Anna, where she suggested this kinda new place in her town BurgerFi. They’re burgers are a little on the small side according to the guys, but it was the perfect size for me. They have EVERYTHING that I could possibly imagine to put on a burger. But then again, my burgers are always the same. Bacon, cheese, sauteed mushrooms, pickles…and whatever their special sauce it.
I love it. And you can get fries in multiple ways! Definitely worth a try.


Homemade Ramen Burger

So this is the newest crazy food thing. It doesn't seem that crazy to me though. I love ramen, and I love burgers…and now that its introduced together, you know I had to jump on that train! Since its only at the Smorgasbord in NYC I have to make it myself.

It was quite the adventure. I actually had to make it two nights in a row because I wanted to perfect it. The first night, I got the Asian flavors right. Sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper, sriracha all the flavors that scream…ramen.

Now I can't make my own fresh ramen (yet! I dare to dream) so I had to get cheapie Japanese style ramen packets to start. It was pretty easy to make. I mixed cooked ramen noodles with an egg, then molded it in a wide flat ramekin, and pan fried it.

I seasoned ground beef with soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil. Formed a patty, seared it then cooked it in the oven while I made everything else. Like a fried egg.

I am very proud of how it turned out, and taste testers agree, but its definitely way too intense for me to eat regularly. But I would make it again if someone wanted me to!


Baja Burger Shack

When you think of Canada, beach doesn't come to mind. But what is crazy is, when you walk around the corner from my cousin's house…there's a beach. A real beach. Sand and everything. However, it's a river. But a beach nonetheless. There's a volley ball set up. Lifeguard shacks. Happy almost naked people. The best part of the beach, other than the awesome rock point?

Baja Burger Shack.

It really is a shack. There's a stand with outdoor seats around it. I'm guessing that it is only open when it's warm. Can you imagine sitting outside eating a burger in a Canadian winter? Hahaha. I pictured the same thing.

The place is cash only, ATM conveniently located right next to the register. We ordered the bacon cheeseburger, and a beach dawg. They have fun fruit squeezes, which are just fruit slushees. We each got one of those too. And french fries. Oh and guess what, they have poutine there too!

The burger was fresh, moist and medium well. There's some kind of sauce in there, you didn't even need to add ketchup or mustard. They're regular fries were awesome. Sprinkled with their all season (pretty much old bay for us DC/VA/mD'rs minus the spice) and a little ketchup it came together pretty nicely. I enjoyed sitting out there with my family, on the uneven table, then walking it off at the beach!


Burgers: The Works

I wish burgers were healthy, and good for you. I like eating them, a lot. As seen here, here, and here. So of course when I visit Ottowa, I had at least two kinds of burgers.

The Works is a chain, they call themselves a gourmet burger bistro. I can see that. There are A LOT, and I mean a lot of things to choose from, to build your ultimate burger. First you choose your patty, Gourmet Ground Beef, Whole Chicken Breast, Ground Turkey, Gourmet Veggie, Portobello Mushroom Cap, or Lean Domestic Elk. Then you choose what KIND of burger and toppings you want. There are 71 combinations. After that you choose your sides.

We started off with 3 towers of onion rings. They came with 4 different dipping sauces, some spicy, some creamy, some tomatoey and some all of the above. I don’t like onion rings in general because they usually slide out of the crispy crust, and I don’t like onions enough to eat it straight up like that. But these didn’t do that. They were the best onion rings, I’ve had in my life. That’s not saying much though, I haven’t had that many. But it was good!

I’m pretty boring when it comes to burgers, so how fitting that my choice in burger was called “Ho Hum #5”. It was mushrooms, cheddar and bacon. I also got a classic poutine as my side. I was pretty full already full from the onion rings, and my pyrex measuring cup full of ginger ale (yes they use measuring cups as their mugs). The burger was just a plain patty with no seasoning. It was dependent on the sauce and toppings you chose. Verdict? I’ve had better. 

The Thurman Cafe


I think by now you are familiar with my burger obsession. This is not great for my waist. But great for my belly. In addition to that list, I’ve added Smashburger. On a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio, I of course had to stop at The Thurman Cafe.

This place was featured on Man vs. Food. No I didn’t try the Thurmanator. The regular bacon burger was more than enough for me. This burger weighs in at 3/4 lb. Stacked with a plethora of bacon and mozzarella cheese. Served with a side of chips and a pickle spear. I was there for the holidays, so I downed it with Great Lakes Christmas Ale, ON TAP!

The verdict:
It was full of flavor, and the patty is huge so it was definitely juicy, but maybe a little too juicy. My bottom bun was completely soggy and I continued eating my burger with only the top bun. Me personally, I like a good bun to meat ratio, so that killed me. I think the Travel Channel gave it the hype it needed, but I don’t think I’d wait in line for it again.


I love burgers. But you probably already know that from my other posts. Guess what? There’s a new place to satiate my hunger for juicy burgers and fries… Smashburger. Lucky me, I got to go try them out before they opened. And yes, they won me over. I got to meet the founder Tom Ryan, and he even took me into the back to teach me the secrets of how they get their burgers so juicy..oh yeah and I got to smash one myself!

But first, lets talk about food. Let’s talk about 100% angus beef, fresh not frozen, that gets bowl cut (meaning chopped into tiny pieces instead of run through a grinder) and then smashed and seasoned on the grill. Oh and butter? Butter is always better. Their patties get hand rolled into perfect 5 oz meatballs (for the regular sized burger) and then smashed into their signature smash patty shape. If you aren’t a fan of burgers, there’s chicken. Their chicken is smashed and then grilled, or battered and fried like chicken fried steak. Take your pick. I had the BBQ, BACON, Cheddar burger with added garlic mushrooms, with a side of Beefy chili, fried pickles, smashfries, and sweet potato smash fries, and downed it all with their signature mixed teas.

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They have 3 teas, which will probably be different at other Smashburger places (I heard there was a sweet tea and a mango tea somewhere out there) the ones are this location are called, citrus smash, passion punch, and classic crush. You can mix and match to your taste. I personally like the citrus smash. Light and refreshing! Tom found these guys (Teako Teas) at a farmer’s market and loved their display and their handcrafted flavors that Smashburgers became their first national client.

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Everything was amazing. I didn’t even need to break out the ketchup bottle. Yes I did use the Smash sauce (I’ll share the secret, mustard, mayo, relish and lemon juice). The fried pickles were crispy from the batter and puckering awesome. Both types of smashfries were seasoned with olive oil, rosemary and garlic came out crisp on the outside and perfect in the middle. Not a fan of meat? There is something for everyone…

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This right here is their Spicy Baja Black bean burger. Aka the veggie burger. You can have that or create your own with their multitude of sauces, buns, cheese and toppings. These are also made fresh in house.

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(Tom Ryan, Founder & Chief Concept officer)

Now I know what you are thinking, “Ugh, another CHAIN burger place?”. Okay stop right there, yes there are over a 100 locations and its the fastest growing “better burger” places out there, but founder Tom Ryan strives to make it unique. With each region the Smashburger is located at, he creates some regional menu items. He’s even traveling, and conducting beer pairings with local breweries for each region. Pretty awesome right?

Tom had a vision. He wanted to bring the burger place back. When he was telling me his vision for what Smashburger is, it made me think of the fabulous ’50s, a time of sock hops and poodle skirts. Back when taking your date for a milkshake and a burger was cool. Here you can suck down some haagen daz shakes or a soda float, have a beer with your buddies and just hang out. The food is great, the vibe is fun, and could be the perfect start to your girl’s/guy’s night out.

Key things I learned:

  • The burger stays juicy because its chopped into tiny pieces not run through a grinder
  • The smashing on the grill seals in the juiciness and fat
  • Buttered buns keeps it from soaking in the burger’s juice and getting soggy
  • I am a terrible at flipping burgers in a fast food situation

Hope you guys get a chance to enjoy it! I almost went back the next day (if it wasn’t rush hour, it would have happened…even after the gym).


Burgers, Burgers, Burgers

(From Cheeburger Cheeburger)

Bacon cheeseburgers. Because really, it’s not really a burger with out cheese and bacon…amirite? Yes I am reading a book about healthy detoxing, and why our bodies aren’t meant to break down large quantities of meat or consume the milk of a cow as an adult. I get it. But. I. Can’t. Stop. Eating. What is it about a juicy hunk of meat covered in cheese and bacon and pickles and mushrooms that make me throw all my new disturbing knowledge to the wind?

The world may never know.

In the past 4 months I’ve been to about 5 different burger places (maybe more, some multiple times).
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(From BGR Joint)Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(From 5Guys)Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(From In & OUT)Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug(From Umami)

You know what I just realized? I don’t make burgers at home. Yeah, they are on the grill when we have cookouts, but I don’t really eat them at home. I’ve never tried to gather up the fixin’s and made my own burger. HM. I think I prefer to go to burger joints. Have you ever seen the episode of HIMYM when Marshal was looking for the burger place, and would not let Robin eat a burger unless it was THE BURGER? Yes I am still searching for that burger. But these do the job, for now.


  • Cheeburger Cheeburger: Love the angus beef, not too fond of the bun, like the zesty seasoning, and the sweet potato fries. Like drinking out of a jar, and all you can imagine toppings included, (bacon and sauteed mushrooms extra)
  • Five Guys: Gets the job done when I really want a burger. Bun gets soggy, cajun fries are awesome, but nothing to write home about.
  • BGR Joint: Love the bun. Love the sauce. Thick bacon, all around good choice. Super messy, the way I like it.
  • In & Out Burger: super messy. NO BACON?!?! ‘nuf said.
  • Umami: Not your traditional burger joint but amazing tastes all around…too bad its on the west coast only 🙁

Know of anymore DC/Northern VA burger places I need to sink my teeth into? Please let me know.