Grilled: Jessica Ward of Fries With That Shake


Burger-centric interviews with chefs, writers, and other food lovers.

Note: This week we're grilling Jessica Ward, 1/2 of of burger-centric, Philadelphia-based food blog Fries With that Shake and creator of Burger Club Philly. Her burger love is apparent—she's even wearing this awesome burger shirt in her photo. Go, Jessica!

20090814-jessicaward.jpgName: Jessica Rossi Ward
Location: Philadelphia
Occupation: Librarian

How often do you eat burgers? At least once a week when possible. It has been a bit more frequently because there are a lot of new burgers hitting the scene in Philly right now.

Where did you eat your most recent one? I just tried the burger at Butcher and Singer and it was incredible. They are currently selling this thing for $5.95 during lunch. I want to eat one every day.

Cheese: American, cheddar, other? I really love American. It really just melts better than anything and that is important to me.

Ketchup or mustard? I prefer ketchup and mayo if a special sauce, à la In-N-Out, isn't available.

Sesame-seed or plain? I can go either way with sesame-seeds. I love a potato bun or just a good squishy plain bun. I'm totally over brioche; I wish people would stop using them. The are too sweet.

Grilled, griddled, or broiled? I definitely prefer a griddled patty with the pretty char that comes with it. It also makes for a juicier burger which makes for my favorite kind of burger. I want that burger dripping with juices.

And how would you like that done? I like mine pink because that usually lends to a juicier burger, but if the burger comes out and it's juicy I'm happy.

Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? A small thin patty cooked on the griddle and well seasoned. Topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce and special sauce. All of this is between two toasted squishy buns.

The hamburger is a food item with which most Americans have strong childhood associations. Do you remember your earliest encounter with this delicious dish? My earliest memory of eating a burger is when I was about 8-years-old and my grandfather would take me out late and we'd get a Big Mac and shake. It totally sounds like a McDonald's commercial right? My grandmother also liked to take me to Carl's Jr. and we would get Western Bacon cheeseburgers, crisscut fries, and chocolate shakes. Clearly my grandparents had a thing for burgers.

What's your favorite fast-food burger? In-N-Out Double Double Animal style, hands down. I think about that burger at least once a week. I do feel sentimental for the Western Bacon Cheeseburger at Carl's Jr and still have to have one anytime I'm in California.

What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? I'm not a huge fan of pickles on my burger. I really want to be, but never got into them. I recently had a burger from SquareBurger and enjoyed the diced pickles they put on it so maybe they are growing on me.

What's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? I thought I was about to try an unusual burger recently at Pod, a swanky sushi place in Philly, but it wasn't so unusual. It was their teriyaki kobe burger and while it had well seasoned patty and was very juicy, there was no teriyaki flavor.

What's the most overrated burger you've tried? Most underrated? I was really unimpressed with the burger at goodburger. I had read a good number of positive reviews so I was expecting much better than what I got. I hated the kaiser roll they used for a bun. Their milkshake made me sad.

The burger at Johnny Brenda's doesn't get enough love in Philly. It comes on this sesame seeded bun that I really love.

For some crazy reason, you're going vegetarian. Where do you go for your final burger? In-N-Out.

Is there anyone that you want to see Grilled? Let us know at [email protected]!