Is Umami Burger's 'Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger' as Vile as It Sounds?

Categories: Absurdity

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Last week, Umami Burger (432 Sixth Avenue) unveiled one of the most vile-sounding seasonal specials we've encountered in this business. That would be the "Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger": a beef patty topped with pumpkin pie-spiced mascarpone cheese, tempura-battered kabocha squash, a coffee-molasses drizzle -- and a little garlic aioli. "Umami Burger decided to have a little fun with their fall-themed creations this year, and the end result is a burger-fied version of everyone's favorite flavor obsession -- the Pumpkin Spice Latte," a spokeswoman told us in an email.

As if it weren't bad enough to have missed the memo that everyone's hating on the pumpkin spice this year, Umami Burger has managed to come up with what may well be the lamest marketing tagline of 2014: "Nothing #basic about it."

That said, we're equal-opportunity eaters -- willing to sample all manner of insect or innard, still harboring fond memories of the mystery casseroles of our youth (you know: whatever leftovers were in the fridge + Campbell's cream of mushroom soup + breadcrumbs), open to junk- or fast-food novelty of any stripe. Heck, we don't even share the pumpkin-spice vitriol that's going around. (Not that we're jonesing for a Starbucks venti, but we're not saying no when someone offers a pumpkin beer or cocktail or pastry or, hell, latte.)

We were pretty sure we'd draw the line at a burger. How could this possibly be a good idea?

But we tried it.

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Anyone Else Baffled by the Jeremiah Tower and Tavern on the Green Partnership?

Categories: Absurdity

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Rob Christensen
Earlier this week, Tavern on the Green owners Jim Caiola and David Salama announced that they'd finally replaced Katy Sparks, the opening chef who was driven out of the kitchen by scathing reviews. Their pick for her successor, though, is somewhat baffling: Jeremiah Tower is donning the chef's whites behind the burners, and he's overhauling the menu with, as he told the New York Times, "fries and pasta" (and, presumably, other easily mass-produced dishes).

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Six Things From Chef That Would Never Happen in Real Life

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All photos courtesy Chefthefilm.com
Child labor is totally cool...as long as it's only in the movies
Chef is a movie about restaurants and food trucks written and directed by Jon Favreau, who also plays the protagonist chef Carl Casper. He worked to accurately portray chefs' lives via little details: His character has multiple forearm tattoos, wears a bandana, and lives in a messy apartment with a ridiculously nice kitchen. You can thank Roy Choi for the minutiae; he was a co-producer and consultant on the movie. But there are still plenty of things that happen in Chef that would never happen in real life, aside from the fact that it's extremely unlikely Favreau would be able to attract Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson as love interests just by making some kick ass carne asada. Here are the top six things the movie got wrong.

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Why Single-Item Restaurants Are Taking Over -- And Why That Should Stop

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Courtesy The Nugget Spot via Facebook
The Nugget Spot is one of a few fast specialized eateries that popped up in 2013
Once upon a time, chefs dreamed of opening award winning restaurants. They'd endure years of meticulous training, failures too embarrassing to recount, hours spent holed up inside a windowless room, and years slaving away under culinary stalwarts. The reward was the same for each of them: an opportunity to make a mark in the world of fine dining.

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A New Yorker's Response to TripAdvisor's Best Pizza Survey: Seriously?

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Di Fara Pizza
The line outside Di Fara's, one the many iconic pizzerias that call New York City home
On August 7, TripAdvisor proclaimed New York City the fourth best city in the United States for pizza. That means that based on a survey of its members, the greatest city in the world lost supremacy of one of its iconic images to a beach town, a strip in the desert, and, worst of all, Boston.

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Dassara Ramen Celebrates One Year With ... a Ramen Burger

Categories: Absurdity

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Dassara via Facebook
Dassara, the Carroll Garden ramen shop best known for its strange twists on the traditional Japanese soup (matzo balls, anyone?), celebrates one year in business today. And what is it doing by way of throwing itself a party? Offering up a ramen burger.

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How to Hack the Heat and Feed Yourself Without Starving or Going Broke

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Egan
Remember when we were all bitching about the cold spring? Yeah, me neither.

In this hot-ass weather, there are a few things you must know about feeding yourself. First, never cook. Second, you don't need to survive on expensive takeout to avoid starving to death, nor do you have to brave restaurants that might not be air-conditioned, accidentally committing yourself to a full meal with only the wheezy ceiling fan left to contend with ventilation needs.

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Drive Through Dinner: Hugh Acheson Plates on Hubcaps

Categories: Absurdity

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@HughAcheson

Many chefs would agree that the rim of a plate should remain free from any foodstuffs. Hugh Acheson, however, wouldn't be one of them.

The former Top Chef Masters contestant and current TC judge served a meal on top of what appeared to be a standard-issed hubcap last night at high Atlanta restaurant, Empire State South.


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Wrangler Sells 'Smooth Legs' Jeans Containing Olive Extract and Caffeine

Categories: Absurdity

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Wrangler
Buzzworthy
Don't you hate it when you put on your favorite pair of skinny jeans and you still feel like you need an energy boost?

Don't worry if you're not seeing the connection, the folks at Wrangler have made it for you. The denim brand, best known for being the only thing that comes between a man and his horse, has introduced a new women's product line called Denim Spa. The jeggings-like pants contain olive extract, caffeine, and aloe vera.

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Eat a $2,000 Plate of Pasta in Midtown

Categories: Absurdity

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Flickr/ZagatBuzz
Looks normal, but there's one item on the menu that might cost more than your rent.
Turning 25 is kind of a big deal. You're in a quarter life crisis. You're watching lots of Girls and wondering why Lena Dunham got a multi-million dollar book deal when you're, like, totally as talented as she is. But Bice in midtown is celebrating its quarter century by serving a special bowl of pasta for $2,013. (Get it? Like it's 2013 so that's how much your pasta should cost.)

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