I'll be running a periodic series in a quest for the best burger in Plainfield. I'm using a completely arbitrary system of my own devices. In the end, I'll crown the non-people's choice champion for Best Burger in Plainfield. Today's burger: HopScotch & Vine.
HopScotch & Vine is the people's champion. Literally. The new kid on the eating block won the readers vote for 2012 Plainfield Patch Readers' Choice Best Burger, beating out the controversial McBride's, and the "I'm not reviewing them because they are a burger chain and these are my rules" Red Robin.
In case you didn't read the opening post for Burger Wars, i'll be grading the burgers on the meat, the bun, and the toppings. Yea, i'm easy like that.
I'll also be doing my best to provide the eateries with the best bang for the buck, based on average prices on burgers in the area. So let's get to the grading.
The Place: HopScotch & Vine
The Burger: The Jalapeno Popper Burger
Meat: I'm a total sucker for people that openly disclose where they buy their meat. HS&V gets their meat from Tischler's Market. Score. The burger was cooked dead on to my specifications. The meat was good and tasted exactly how I want an awesome burger to taste.
The heat from the jalapeno was there but wasn't overwelming, adding great flavor to the burger. The cream cheese throughout the burger added a definite level of taste that made putting any more cheese on it completely unnecessary. It's obvious why people voted for this burger.
Meat Score: 9
Bun: The roll was a kaiserish roll that didn't make or break the burger, but was definitely a fresh bun because in spite of it being take out, the bun didn't take on any sogginess, the bane of the burger existence.
For public disclosure: I'm totally in the tank for pretzel rolls. I believe that peace will only be found when all world leaders are brought together by the most glorious of all buns. Pretzel rolls are the main (only) reason I venture out to the Plainfield Farmers Market on Saturday.
Bun Score: 7
16 so far. That's a very solid score. One category left...
Toppings: Lettuce and tomato. Lettuce and tomato? NOOOO!!! HS&V! You were so close. If this was a cheeseburger, then yeah, you nailed it. The tomato and lettuce were crisp and fine. Just not on this burger.
The flavors don't work together. The burger was spot on. But jalapeno and cream cheese doesn't go properly with standard cheeseburger toppings. Putting lettuce and tomato on a jalapeno popper meat patty is like buying a Lexus, then driving it around on four spare tires ... from a 1991 Toyota Corolla.
If I had the chance, i'd have gone with fried slices of jalapeno or a different type of pepper fried and put on top so you could really recreate the taste of a good jalapeno popper. It was missing that deep fried crunch. Even fried onion strings or something.
Toppings Score: 3(and i'm being generous)
The burger takes home a final score of 19, which puts HopScotch & and Vine in first place after one review.
Now, what you are all really interested in...
THE ED ARTER BANG FOR YOUR BUCK SCALE!
Named after the Patch commenter who came up with the idea, this will give you guys a better idea how how far your money will go for your burger.
The jalapeno popper burger comes out at a price of $8.95. It comes with parmesan steak fries and your choice of pasta salad or coleslaw.
The burger is a half-pound burger. The fries are very good, as is the coleslaw. You can't go wrong with the coleslaw!
In my book, two sides is better than one, and $8.95 is right around the average price of a burger in Plainfield. For the quality of the burger AND the quality of the sides, I'll give this a solid 7.5/10 on the Ed Arter Bang For Your Buck Scale....just remove the lettuce and tomato.