CHELSEA, NYC — I've only just discovered the excellent burgers being served from the Hard Times Sundaes burger truck hailing from Brooklyn, NYC, and I became an immediate fan when I tried my first Hard Times Sundae burger from a booth at the San Gennaro Feast in Little Italy just a couple of weeks ago.
The owner/operator/chef, Andrew Zurica, is an obvious burger purist, alerted me that as good as I thought the burger I had—with caramelized onions, bacon, cheese, and pickles—was, that because of the high volume of the customers at the festival, the ground beef had been frozen and pre-sliced before they hit the flat-top grill.
Ideally, as is his usual technique, the ground beef is fresh and hand-formed into thicker patties before they hit the searing heat. He told me he and his truck would be at the Chelsea Eats food festival, and he'd be making his burgers the usual way.
I couldn't resist the invitation for an ever better burger (at a food festival on a perfectly-weathered NYC Saturday afternoon), and find his truck just steps away from the Eighth Avenue subway I exited.
As I'm a somewhat of a burger purist, I ordered my burger as I with my only stipulation when trying a new place's burger for the first time—without bacon, so as to not have proteins competing for my palate's attention.
And my palate greatly anticipated my double cheeseburger with pickles and onions due to the perfect presentation Andrew takes great pride in as well. So attractive was the burger that a random stranger who just happened to by at the same nearby outdoor table took great interest in it.
She had never had a Hard Times Sundaes burger, and I charitably offered to share my burger with her.
Visibly thicker patties than my last burger, the exteriors were able to take on a greater sear, char, and caramelization, while crumbling away to clear-juicy, warmed through pink medium rare meat. Likewise thick pickle slices added snappy texture and bright bite, and the melted, oozy American cheese coated the patties with a creamy sharpness.
My new burger partner, Shayna, became an instant fan (and a new Instagram friend), and is as well a photographer and food blogger. We enjoyed a brief fun dialogue before we set upon the rest of the festival separately. But introducing—and sharing NYC's newest favorite burger—to a newbie added to the really good time time on a really awesome Saturday in NYC.