Dining at a Classic: JG Melon

Ah the question of the hamburger.  Does one order cheese or onions or bacon or even a fried egg?  Can I (or should I) put ketchup on it?  Why do people say Catsup versus Ketchup?  Certainly too many questions to answer before selecting the right meal, that’s for sure.  Well, I have certainly tasted my fare share of burgers over the years and each one has a special place in my heart, each for a different reason.

In ‘N Out ~ Classic California and always fresh.  Perfect order: cheeseburger protein style with extra tomato (possibly fried onions), fries well-done, and a chocolate shake.  Of course you must rock the In ‘N Out shirt as well.

Bare Burger ~ A recent find and obsession with their organic and all-natural menu items.  I have yet to sample the shakes but I hear they are just delicious.  Perfect order: (again changes every time…) but for now Grindhouse (elk, manchego, bacon, relish, green leaf, paprika mayo, brioche bun) Also, onion rings/sweet fries are a must.

Shake Shack (East Coast) ~ Perfect order: SmokeShack (cheeseburger w/ applewood bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShakeSauce) paired with a custard (chocolate or flavor of the day)

(P.S.  every Tuesday of the month/spring/summer they have a run club in Central Park/Philly where you get a free beverage post run!)

P.J. Clarkes ~ Here, it’s all about the egg.   Perfect order: B.L.T.E. Burger – Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Lemonaise, Fried Egg.  Go big or go home my friends. Although, their “Cadillac” is almost a picture perfect twin of my order below (Smoked Country Bacon, American Cheese)

The Counter ~ Mostly love this place because of all the darn options.  Salad, burger, pretzel bun, pineapple, bacon, Gouda cheese, brie, and the list goes on and on and on.  No favorite order here because it changes so often.

More delicious burger joints: Umami, Tommy’s, Father’s Office (ketchup is a no-no here), The Habit, Bob’s Big Boy, or just check out LA’s Top 10

 Anyways, let’s get back to New York City shall we?


J.G. Melon is an Upper East Side staple.  I would know because my friends that are New Yorkites and have lived in the city their entire lives told me so.  What can I say, I believe what I’m told. 🙂


The dining establishment has been around since 1972 but the building since the 1920’s when it was created as a tavern during Prohibition.  Located on east 74th street, it has become known by the locals a the perfect spot for a burger.  When you walk in, there is an adorable older host who knows most of the guests by name.  Don’t expect to be seated if your entire party hasn’t arrived.  Instead, hang out by the bar and make some new friends.


The one and only menu.  No really, one-sided with some pretty familiar items.  One thing to note is that it’s cash only!


My friend Alyssa went with her favorite – a grilled chicken salad, while I asked the waitress for the absolute best – a bacon cheeseburger, cooked medium rare.  We also ordered a side of the “Cottage Fried Potatoes”, which Alyssa claims are the best but honestly weren’t too out of the ordinary (not much of a fries person though I did eat a majority of the bowl…go figure).  At the beginning of the night, I had my eye on a piece of dessert but by the time we had finished chatting and cleaned our plates, I was full beyond belief.

Yes, a lovely night in the upper east side and you don’t have to worry about me going vegetarian any time soon.

J.G. Melon
1291 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10021

We all need to make time for a burger once in a while.” – Erica Durance

The Best Burger In Town

For most people, the fourth of July (and summer for that matter) is synonymous with BBQs and cookouts.  I know most are into the veggie/vegan trends and I even dabble it in all just to understand what people are thinking and feeling.  But when it comes down to the facts, I just love cheeseburgers.

Now I still have a ways to go in this city, but this certainly is going to be a close race for my NY favorite.  In today’s world of green juices, kale obsessions, and soy products, we sometimes need to indulge in the real stuff.  Maybe it’s unhealthy, maybe it’s not.  To me, it’s a little like living on the edge and satisfies a craving.

I was lucky enough to have my dad in town on business and even though he was only free for one night, it gave us plenty of time to chat (me doing most of the talking and not letting him get a word in…typical Kaitlin), catch up, and of course go out to dinner.


After finishing up my softball game in Central Park, we  made our way over to the west side and started walking up and down Broadway.  I think I’ve adopted a more willy-nilly attitude to food and am fine wandering around to ultimately pick a place to eat.  My dad on the other hand is a man of precision and really likes to have some known quantities.  Not that he doesn’t explore but he definitely likes to have some of his favorites on the menu.  😉

Poor guy was in meetings back to back all day, stuck in a hotel conference room, and running on little sleep.  No fear, Kaitlin’s here to make a foodie decision.


We had taken a pit-stop around Lincoln Center to take in the surroundings and check some options on Yelp.  There happened to be a P.J. Clarke’s in the area and I had only heard rave reviews about it, so our decision was made.


Fearing we would have to fight the masses of Lincoln Center and corporate crowds for a table, I was surprised when we were waltzed in and seated right away.  The atmosphere is very much home-style/bar comfort with the wood features and tables and gingham tablecloths.  Yet, there is definitely an edge of upscale dining, which also comes through on the menu.


TFred went for a Brooklyn Lager, either because it had a great rich taste or he was trying to be thematic with New York.  I debated a beer or a Prosecco drink only to go for my favorite – club soda.  Judging on the fact that spring was almost at a close and the humidity was practically in full force (ok not true…it’s just an adjustment for this CA gal), I was parched and could only fathom water.  Plus, as we discussed on Thursday, I have an addiction (or obsession) to bubbly water.

I had almost debated the Kale Salad + Salmon when I caught myself.  I eat salmon and kale every other night of the week, why order it at a restaurant known for its burgers?   My theory is it’s best to order something the establishment is known for or you cannot make at home.  After all, going out to eat should be a treat. (Note: the word “treat” doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy – it’s just a treat you don’t have to cook!)

IMG_4971“The Cadillac” – Smoked Country Bacon, American Cheese

IMG_4970B.L.T.E. Burger – Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Lemonaise, Fried Egg

I asked the waiter what the most recommended or requested burger on the menu was.  His response?  “The Cadillac”, hence why it was in quotes.  Since TFred decided to make that his selection, I went with the BLTE- a heavenly portion of beef burger cooked medium rare (my choice) and topped with bacon and a fried egg. There’s something about the St. Joseph roll too that made the burger perfect – soft and doughy texture that absorbed the juice from the burger and yolk from the egg.

Oh boy people, this was well worth what people call a “cheat meal”.  If you ever have the opportunity to order a burger with a fried egg, I highly recommend it.  The two or three times that I have done this at The Counter, I have not been disappointed.


We continued to chat and catch up and then it was time to make a game time decision – what to do for dessert.  Stay at the restaurant where the NY Cheesecake made for an excellent option, or wander up north to Magnolia Bakery?


Since we needed some time to digest our meals, we selected the later and soon headed up to the 69th street location.  There we were not only greeted by a wave of cool air but an endless array of baked goods – from cupcakes to blondie bars, from brownies to their famous banana pudding.


I happened to spot a section with ice cream sandwiches made with blondies and brownies.  We ended up splitting a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream sandwich, a perfect pairing for a perfect father-daughter date.

P.J. Clarke’s
44 W 63rd St
New York, NY
(212) 957-9700

Other Locations
Third Ave, NY ~ Lincoln Square, NY ~ On the Hudson, NY
Washington, D.C. ~ Woodbury, NY (Fall 2014)
Mario Ferraz, SP ~ Oscar Freire, SP

Weekend Wonders

Do you ever wonder how life works out in strange and magical ways?  Well, this weekend was certainly one of those times where I realized how blessed I am to have such a close family, wonderful friends, and extremely marvelous opportunities. Continue reading