The news flashing across our TV screens is unsettling at best, harrowing more likely. So the words “comfort food” have never been infused with such urgency and poignancy.
But if comfort isn’t quite enough for these troubled times, perhaps what we really need is “happy food.” And over in the West Village, the tiki-chic bar The Happiest Hour makes no secret of its mission – it’s right there in the name. But downstairs is where you’ll mostly find us, at its dark, sexy and provocatively monikered sibling Slowly Shirley. Their retro-cool cocktail list is arranged by “Aperitif,” “Evening,” “Shaken” and “Stirred” – and flaunts brilliantly nostalgic titles like North by Northwest, Three on a Match, and Five Finger Death Punch.
But in honor of National Burger Day 2017 (May 28), we’d like to call attention to the impossibly mouthwatering awesomeness of its Happiest Single Burger (Eater branded it “the love child of Shake Shack and In-N-Out”). Recognizing that comforting – nay happiness-inducing – food is, indeed, based on the reassurance of familiarity. it contains zero fuss, no capitulations to trends, and, best of all, no ill-advised fruit toppings.
Pair one with a robust American Trilogy cocktail (rye, Bonded Applejack, orange bitters, demerara) and the worries of the big, scary world will quickly seem a long, long way away.
Here BlackBook and Slowly Shirley share the happiness of the Happiest.
Slowly Shirley interior
THE HAPPIEST BURGER (YIELD = 1 BURGER)
The Happiest Burger (yield = one burger)
•Two 3-oz. beef patties (chuck and cheek blend)
•2 slices American cheese
•2 oz. shaved iceberg lettuce
•1 slice of ripe beefsteak tomato
•1oz diced white onion
•4 slices of half sour pickles
•1 Martin’s Potato Roll
•1oz confit onions*
•2 oz. Special Sauce**
•1oz grapeseed oil
•1oz soft unsalted butter
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Cut the burger bun in half and butter both sides; toast in the hot pan and remove when golden brown.
Season patties generously with salt , add oil to pan followed by patties, press each patty down to ensure a nice caramelized crust develops. Cook for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side.
Before removing patties from the pan, place confit onions, diced onions on top followed by cheese and melt until cheese corners wilt down.
Build your burger by spreading special sauce on both sides of your toasted bun. On the bottom half of the bun place pickles, tomato and lettuce. Place patties on top, followed by top half of the bun.
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- 1tbsp sea salt
Place all ingredients in a large pot and put over a low flame, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure it doesn’t catch. Once onions are tender remove from the heat. Approx 90 minutes.
1 cup kewpie mayonnaise
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp relish
1 tsp chopped capers
1 tsp choppedcornichons
pinch of salt