Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tips for a Better Boom Boom Burger

Back in May, I penned a piece on the demise of Boom Boom Burgers, the innovative yet ill-fated burger joint that lasted six months in Shockoe Bottom, and how the owner's reasons for the failure didn't hold up to scrutiny.

During a recent visit to Atlanta, I was delighted to stumble across Yeah! Burger and was immediately struck by the ways YB was superior to Boom Boom despite having a similar intent (local, organic, high-quality burgers).

1. Location, location and yes, location. YB is located on a highly visible, heavily trafficked (pedestrian and vehicle) corner in Virginia Highlands. The seating is plentiful and includes an enclosable patio (see and be seen). It is not hidden on a side street.

2. Menu. Simple and complete. Pick your patty (all natural, grass fed, organic, including a vegetarian option), choose your bun (including a gluten-free option), add toppings and fill it out with sides (including multiple varieties of fries, onion rings and other great stuff). Plus, YB has a kick-ass selection of beer, wine and spirits. Finish with ice cream. Check it out here.

3.Value. The portions are generous and despite the fact YB isn't cheap (a meal is going to cost $10-$12 minimum), the great food plus great atmosphere makes it seem worth the money. And YB accepts all normal forms of payment including (gasp) cash.

So, Boom Boom take note. There is a better way.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Diamonds in the Rough

Patrick Dougherty's work "Diamonds in the Rough" at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is called a sculpture, but it's really a fine piece of architecture. As soon as my children saw it, they ran to it and entered its maze, which seems to go on and on even though the piece occupies a relatively small site.
Timeless and slightly witchy, the twisted sweetgum and maple structure invites one to wander quietly through its chambers, randomly encountering others who are similarly drawn. There is a faint, dry, woody smell which recalled for me the notion of ancient libraries, repositories of arcane knowledge. Everyone I saw there felt compelled to touch the stems, taut and growing more rigid as they dry in the sun.
The piece is not permanent, the artist will take it down before it crumbles. Some of the volunteers seem to have an interesting idea - a bonfire (with the fire department close at hand, of course.) So see it soon. And often - it should be interesting to see how it changes over its life of a year or so. The patches of maroon-brown leaves in the walls, like crumbling parchment may gone soon, that's my guess.
There are more details, photos, and a timelapse video of the construction at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's website.