Merry Christmas! Get Yourself This Burger

Minetta TavernMerry Christmas everyone! Are you snuggled up in pajamas on your couch? I hope so! I just got back from an incredible trip to Laos & Cambodia but I got sick at the very end of the trip. Picture massive Exorcist-style sickness (or actually, don't picture it) at a beautiful restaurant in Siem Riep in front of multiple diners and friends. Then I got awful chills and a 103 degree fever on my flight from Hong Kong to JFK and the worst jet lag to ever hit a human being when I got back. Basically, it was a terrible ending to a wonderful, adventurous, life-altering trip. It took me days to come out of that fog and I've been a giant sloth since I returned.

Which brings us to Christmas day - can we talk about how awesomely terrible Hallmark Christmas movies are? I've basically had them on rotation. Candace Cameron Bure (Full House!) plays the same character who hates Christmas as an uptight career woman but then is shown the magic of the holiday through a handsome man and a failing business, usually a resort. Neil Patrick Harris played an especially terrible role as a dejected doctor in "The Christmas Blessing."

Our roast turkey, two kinds of stuffing, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts & pancetta, homemade gravy & cranberry sauce are filling our place with the most mouthwatering smells. But there is other food on my brain. You have to go to Minetta Tavern. I had been to this still super hot spot in Greenwich Village before, but for some reason I didn't order the Black Label Burger. I was an idiot. You have to get this burger. It's been written about thousands of times and for good reason. It's $29 but when a burger is this good, you'd gladly pay triple that. Plus, perfect French fries on the side. If you can't get a dinner reservation, try brunch, which is what I do.

Black Label BurgerAfter I was so sick, I ate the entire plate of food and didn't care because I was so happy I was hungry again. And the inside is just so super cozy and perfect for New York City's wintry mix days.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

Andy recently started a Twitter conversation that got a ton of people Tweeting back at him: What's the best burger in NYC?  They ranged from classics like Corner Bistro & J.G. Melon to newer ones like Stand4.  We decided to check out one of the suggestions, the Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien hotel.  I rarely eat red meat or burgers but I was game to try this place.  We also ended up walking 8 miles that day so I didn't feel gross.

The coolest thing about the Burger Joint is its hard-to-find location in an upscale Midtown hotel.  I love what Le Parker Meridien does to keep people interested and coming back, like their gingerbread displays of New York landmarks at Christmas. They're a great example of a hotel creating cool angles for press and guests alike.  The Burger Joint is no secret but it still feels like it is when you're there.

You walk into the fancy lobby and then see a little sign down a long hallway, a burger and an arrow.  So that's where it is.  They only serve burgers, drinks and brownies and you better know what you want before you get to the register.  It's tiny, with vinyl booths and a ton of photos and posters on the wall.  Even though the lines are long, there's quick turnover so you can always get a seat.  It was a great burger and even better, a great New York experience.