Sometimes, life just doesn’t go as planned. You could have the best laid plans with contingencies built in, and somehow things still seem to happen that are out of your control. Life goes on though, and this is where my burger story begins…on a Friday night with nothing to do because my previously made “best laid plans” fell through. Still wanting to get out, but not wander too far from the nest (due to the physical and mental drains of the work week), we met up with some friends for dinner at the Lakeside Bar & Grille. Tucked into a small shopping plaza on Route 9 with Trader Joe’s and a brand new wine and spirits store, is a relatively small restaurant with full bar, high top seating, and even an enclosed patio for when the weather gets nice…so from about mid-June through mid-September in New England.

Opened roughly 6 years ago, the Lakeside has been a quaint and comfortable establishment in the Quinsigamond Plaza offering fresh takes on seafood, pasta, crafted burgers and sandwiches and much more. Judging by the number of flat screens playing the Red Sox games, it would be a great spot to watch the games and have a few cold ones too. The menu is quite eclectic and had many standard bar offerings which appeal to whatever you might be in the mood for at the time. But this blog is about burgers, so straight to the ‘Burgers’ section it was. Given the size of the menu, I was surprised to see that the Lakeside offered 7 different burgers. Still wanting to be the adventurous type and branch out, I am always on the search for something slightly different. I ended up choosing the Guacamole Burger ($9.75). This burger was topped with roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, red onion and of course, guacamole. All burgers and sandwich come with a choice of their hand cut fries or onion rings…or a combo of both!

After a round or two of my beverage of choice to help ease into the weekend and decompress, our food arrived. The burger was much bigger than I expected at first blush. The guacamole adorned the top of the burger in a rather unappealing way. It looked as though it was blended in a food processor, with limited texture and added elements of flavor. Despite its look, the guacamole was actually quite good. I would have preferred a guac that was not so pureed, because that added textural element that you usually get from the avocados, onion, lime, and jalapenos would have been an excellent topping to a burger like this. The burger meat itself was seasoned nicely and cooked to a beautiful medium. The interior was warm and pink and extremely juicy. The fresh lettuce and tangy red onion added a wonderful bite and crunch to the burger that it desperately needed. The cheese was thoroughly melted and oozed out with each and every bite. I chose to go with the hand cut fries, which are more like french fry strings. They are cut very thin and are delicious. The seasoning was perfect and the saltiness was a great addition to a rich burger. If I had one critique about the fries, it was in fact that they were too thin. It gave off the feeling that they were the bottom of the bag fries, when they weren’’s just how they’re cut. You almost needed a fork to pick them up, rather than just being normal finger food.

While the stress of the week slowly left my weary body, I was left with a feeling of satisfaction. This meal made me forget about all of my best plans falling by the wayside. It’s amazing the power that food has to make you change your mood, your way of thinking and be a focal part of your life experiences with friends and loved ones. With being blessed with my second nephew since my last burger, I have been able to appreciate more of what life has to offer and understand that while friends may come and go, family is forever… and so is food. With that being said, I am always looking for some great recommendations for my next burger. If you have a favorite burger spot you think I should visit, tweet me @EDioufUC5 and let me know. You might see your recommendation featured next month. Where will my burger quest take me in May? Until next time…