Burger at The Bite, Zurich, Switzerland

Sandwiched between two porn shops in Zurich you’ll find the world’s most expensive burger. But it’s a good one.

We found The Bite in a part of Zurich that I quite liked. It felt less polished, less chocolate box than the rest of the city. There were strip clubs and adult film shops, then more strip clubs and adult film shops.

The Bite is a cool little restaurant with a lovely outdoor courtyard – all plants and dangling light bulbs. I looked at the menu before we went in and thought it was a joke. £25 for a burger and chips? I mean, that’s crazy talk.

I went for the standard cheeseburger (there was no way I was paying £6 more just for a slick of satay sauce. I left that to Greasy Lake).

It was so lovely. A huuuge juicy patty, shit cheese (but good cheese), perfect bun, tomato (removed), lots of mayo, homemade pickles and a frilly bit of lettuce.


It comes with normal skinny chips or animal fries (you pay £100 extra for that, obviously). But they’re worth it: caramelised onion, bacon bits and optional thousand island dressing (bit odd, didn’t go for that). And then it’s smothered in Fanta-orange cheese, and squidgy and warm and stringy.

Around us, the cool Zurich crowd were scoffing huge plates of nachos with so. much. topping, and good-looking wings. I had the appetite for them, but not the money.

Let me clarify: The Bite isn’t some high-end restaurant. It’s just that Zurich is expensive. And post Brexit, it means burgers turn into £25 burgers (and there I was thinking this £18, Nils-Logren-vetted burger in Gothenburg had been pricey). If you’re going to spend £25 on a meal in this city, make it this damn fine burger.

See for info.




A weekend with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden – June 2016

I’d been told great things about Swedish Springsteen fans, but here’s the prob: apart from two or three friends I’ve made along the way (hello Magnus, hello Anna), I’d never actually met any. I’d heard the stories though – breaking the Ullevi stadium in 1985; bars spinning the tunes on loop in the run up to the concerts; then there’s Bruce himself, always banging on about loving the Swedish concerts.

Here’s what I now know about Swedish Springsteen fans: they’re tall. So tall. They’re cool. So damn cool. They’re fans. Big, big fans.

People who don’t ‘get’ Springsteen also won’t get the two concerts in one weekend thing, but this weekend proved how different the pace and vibes of those two sets can be. Like I need to convince you!

Yeah boy!

The first night – straight up classic Bruce, 38 crowd-pleasing songs, the second-longest set ever. Tunnel of Love, for the first time in eight years. EIGHT YEARS. (Over on this blog post Nils Lofgren told us a bit about how it came to be played.)

For these two concerts I was with (one of) my ‘Bruce husbands’ Steve (@GreasyLake on Twitter). For night one, we stood at the side stage where there was plenty of room for dancing and the crowd were enthusiastic but polite. And cool. Did I mention that before?

Because words can be a bit of a slog, I’ve decided to bash these concert ‘reviews’ out with pictures and emojis. It’s important to move with the times. And I love an emoji. Especially that peach.

With Steve – aka @GreasyLake on Twitter

Helloooo Ullevi


Greasy Lake, Magnus, me and Tony Ginger
Bruce at the back of the pit
WATCH THIS FOR JOY (even if you don’t love the song it’s gotta make you happy)







Tunnel of Love


Springsteen in Gothenburg, night two

For the second night we went towards the middle. We made punny signs. We waited. It rained. It stopped. It rained again. I need to buy a waterproof jacket.

Although I’m not really one for set list comparisons (after all, going to a Springsteen concert is about way more than the songs you hear – it’s the crowd around you, the days before and the versions of the song), I’m still gonna say that I preferred this set list. And that Racing in the Street… Oh man. Dem shivers.





Eyes closed 80% of the time I’d say












I’m going to leave you with this video, because for me, this is what going to a Springsteen concert is about. When this tour is over (oh man), this is the clip I’ll refer back to when I need a Bruce boost.

Hope you like it.

WATCH THIS FOR MORE JOY (even if you don’t love the song it’s gotta make you happy)


Sometimes I fall behind on my blog posts (it happens). Follow my burger- and Bruce-related trips over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Bumping into Nils Lofgren and eating the burger at The Barn, Gothenburg, Sweden

I ate four burgers on my Bruce Springsteen weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden. Oops.
But I’m just going to tell you about one of them – partly because it was the best, and also because Nils Lofgren was there having a burger too! (More on that in a sec.)

Nils Lofgren Gothenburg
With Steve (@GreasyLake on Twitter) and Nils

Anyway, The Barn. This place has a location in the town centre, but also has a very nice outdoor garden spot by the water if you’re visiting in the summer. The burger I tried was the standard cheeseburger, and it was spot on. Chunky patty, lovely onion chutney, awesome crispy chips (I went for the sweet potato version and recommend you do the same). Oooh, and a a big truffle mayo dipping sauce is included. 
It’s spenny – I mean, Gothenburg is the place to burn through money. But I went to The Barn the day after the whole Brexit shit show, and with the bad conversion rate meant I was looking at an £18 burger (I’d say £15 is the absolute limit in my life, and I expect gold sprinkles for that price). 
Let’s call this the Brexit Burger.
burger at The Barn Gothenburg
Nevertheless, we went back the next day (it was late, and it’s open late – that’s handy). I rarely write about veggie burgers, so I thought I’d try the halloumi burger, which comes with avocado. It was nice, but lacking some lube. All a bit claggy (get the truffle mayo and that could help).
And then there’s the other great thing about The Barn – Nils Lofgren and his wife Amy were there. I didn’t actually see them eat a burger as they were finishing up, but they did stop for a chat with us. Nils was talking about the previous night’s inclusion of Tunnel of Love on the setlist (the band hadn’t played it for eight years), and how he’d been practising it back before one of the Brooklyn dates. Apparently Bruce had walked in and said “that’s a good one.”
“It’s not a good one,” Nils replied. “It’s a fucking GREAT one.” 
Damn right, Nils! 
Does Nils like burgers, too? He said he doesn’t eat them that much (they were there as a recommendation from their son), and that he much prefers pizza. MMMMM, PIZZA.
Nils would as you’d hope and expect – kind, quiet, gracious.
Here’s one of the other burgers I had in Gothenburg; after the Springsteen concert when I was mega hungry. It’s from sort of healthier Swedish version of McDo called Max. It did the job. The spicy honey/curry/mustard sauce was a bit of an odd one though.
Go to the Barn in Gothenburg. Even better, go to see Springsteen and the E Street Band in Gothenburg. More on that to come.

Five Guys, Take Two

A few years back I slagged off Five Guys because the burgers made me feel fat and shit. And while there’s a certain expectation that burgers will always make you feel a bit fat and a bit shit, there are different levels of feeling fat and shit. I felt very fat and very shit. The grease was next level.
Then the other night I went to see Alice Cooper in concert at the Stone Free festival at London’s 02. He was great. So great that when he played Poison I dropped my phone into my pint (it survived, somehow). Poison is that song I always pester the DJ for at the end of a night out. Never invite me to your wedding.
Anyway, he played the last song and he came out and we were really hungry and there was no queue at Five Guys. “Fuck it,” we thought. We’ll try one.
So £8 is steep for a fast food-style cheeseburger, but we figured out a way to make your money back. Toppings. All the toppings. There are 15 to choose from and we just said we’d take everything (actually it’s surely just easier for the people working there, too). That’s mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, etc etc. In those 15 toppings there are four sauces.
That’ll make your burger look like this:
Five Guys burger London 02
In hindsight, the tomatoes were a mistake (I blame the pints). But this burger tasted good! (Partly because of the pints). I didn’t feel fat and shit AT ALL!
There’s a lot of Shake Shack vs Five Guys chat. This was a vast improvement, but Shake Shack’s always the winner for me. Still, I liked it. I’d go again, and I never thought I’d say that.

Quite fancy one now actually.


A weekend with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Coventry and London Wembley, June 2016

Excuse me a second while I load this blog post with capital letters and gushing, joyful words. I’m just so EXCITED about the BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN weekend I spent in Coventry and London Wembley with some mega-great people. Here you can see a few of them:

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Bruce and the E Street Band are back on tour, and so we, the fans, are back on the road, too. Springsteen’s music does great things for people like us, but it’s the tours we really crave. And need.
All Springsteen fans have suffered some shit times over the last few years  – some more than others  – and these concerts help us think positively again. They provide comfort. It’s a fact.
This particular therapy session was a long weekend in Coventry, with an epic Sunday night gig in my home town of London. I will never forget this weekend. EVER.
The week before the concerts I was distracted. Colleagues asked me to stop tapping my pen/hands/legs. I was concentrating, but not really concentrating. Looking at you, but not really looking at you. Just mostly looking past you thinking about last night’s setlist in some other European city. 
Then at 4.40pm on Thursday I was out that door to meet my awesome Bruce pal Chris at Euston. If you ever meet Chris you are guaranteed lolz; we met back in 2013 and I’ve been lucky to go to a few Springsteen concerts with him since. He has gone from a great guy to a great friend, like so many other people I’ve got to know by just both being Springsteen fans. I LOVE that. 
But I digress!
We took the train to Coventry and met up with our other Bruce pals – the group of us had decided that Coventry was the city we’d all try to congregate at. Springsteen’s tours take us to many cool places, but Coventry is not one of them. I’m sorry.

This train

That night – the Thursday – we caught up in the arena’s casino. We ate really terrible overdone burgers. We faceswapped.


The next day was show day. Lots of hanging around, faceswapping (it’s my new favourite thing to do), meeting new people (hey Kate!), panicking about needing loo mid concert.

@ChrisTreloar and @GreasyLake

And then we were in  – in the most lovely orderly way.

The last sips of water

Oh my! Faceswapping

Here’s Coup, a guy we met in the pit. You may not recognise him without his wig (more on him later). I donated some of my cardboard box to him because I’m generous like that, and I’d like to hear that song.

With Chris and Coup

I’m not going to dissect the setlists. What can I really say? Bruce was on form, the band were on point, Jake nailed his solo, Nils nailed his solo. Blah blah BLAH! For proper analysis head to Backstreets. I might offer my own personal opinions, for what they are worth (to clarify: it’s nothing).
But that opener. “For You” as a piano solo. I know he’s been mixing it up, but I didn’t expect THAT. And there I was thinking the album version was decent. The first five or so songs for this set were really strong for me, you could just see that despite his cold and funny hair (why’s it so coiffed?), that Bruce was gonna be on form. I liked the early” Hungry Heart” too (with added singing child).
Cred: Chris Treloar

Songs, songs, more songs.

Then the song. Or the song for me at least. There weren’t many signs in Coventry, at least none that seemed particularly appealing for Bruce. Hence him grabbing my scrappy “Save My Love” (For Burgers) and chucking it on the floor (I’m really glad he played the song, but it would have been jokes if he’d taken it specifically and never played it).
Then after “Two Hearts are Better Than One” Bruce picked my sign back up. Something like “it’s one of the more obscure sign requests we’ve had, there is literally no response from the crowd when I show this sign. What the fuck is that song?” He checked Roy knew what he was doing (he did) practiced some chords himself, hummed the first few bars.
And then he played it. And my heart swelled with joy. Is it that obscure a request? I’m not sure. It’s a song that makes me crazy happy, one I’ll stick on in the morning if I’m after a pick me up. Here’s a video of the Coventry version.

Cred: @GreasyLake

“WTF is this.” Cred: @ChrisTreloar

“Drive All Night” was beautifully delivered, as standard (although slightly tinged by the realisation that so many people in London would be waiting to hear it, and were unlikely to if it was just played in Coventry. I’m sorry Annie).

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

Cred: Coup @c_coups (aka Courteney Cox)

For me, the last quarter could really do with being shuffled up a bit – even just the order if the songs are going to remain the same. I know this formula works, and “Shout” is SO fun, but it seems a little stale to stay with “Born Run”, “Dancing in the Dark”, etc etc. Also, I know it’s an obvious song, but “Born To Run” would be an amazing opener, and change that end part of the show, too.
Here’s Greasy Lake‘s helpful summary of the Coventry night:

We took some snaps after the concert and headed back to the adjoining casino, where Elvis sang some Bruce songs and met even more great people (including a father and son duo who are travelling to looooads of Springsteen concerts together this summer. Amazing. You know how I feel about going to Springsteen dates with your parents, right?).
Sunday. Another day another Springsteen concert…
…this time in my home city of London. Some of you will have seen Bruce and the band play at the stadium back in 2013 when the weather was grim and the queue chaotic.
This was the exact opposite. Blazing sunshine, all smiles, no frowns.
Cred: Steve Allen

We heard the soundcheck (“My City of Ruins”, “Seeds”, others) and made it into the pit. This concert was extra exciting because we were joined by Beth and Charlie, aka my ‘Bruce parents’, who I met in Belfast a few years back (although they are from Philadelphia). Beth reminds me of me – excitable, slightly erratic, a tad chaotic. SO happy to be there.

Beth and Charlie up front

Chris, Adam, me, and Jenny, Greasy Lake and Coup (Courteney Cox) behind

We made signs, faceswapped and took bets on the opening song. 
But we never expected Bruce to whistle his way through “Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” (About that whistling, Bruce…). It was random, and not brilliantly done, but there was something about that that was really quite charming, endearing… here’s Springsteen, the guy who gets it right so much, getting the opening song in a big city like London a little bit wrong. I like that.
The pit was rammed – barely jumping room for “Seeds”, “Wrecking Ball” and “No Surrender”. “Be True” and “I’ll Work For Your Love” were DIVINE.
Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: Steve Allen

Cred: @ChrisTreloar

Cred: @ChrisTreloar

Other favs of mine were “Tougher Than The Rest” (Bruce congratulated the talent of the London crowd with their sign making. Cardboard boxes won’t cut it no more) and “My City of Ruins”. Who am I kidding? They’re all favourites. But these were special.

Cred: Steve Allen

Now Chris is a strong guy so he lobbed me on his shoulders for DITD. And finally I could see! And more importantly I could see everyone else: thousands of red, sweaty happy faces of radical joy. It’s quite something.

Cred: @GreasyLake

The joy.

I wasn’t the only one
Then Coup. Coup who’d been carrying around a white plastic shopping bag all day – I’d just assumed it was full of biscuits (we’d eaten loads of his chocolate Foxes earlier). Back on the ground I turned around and there he was on his poor mate’s slender shoulders. A shit black wig was hanging lopsided off his head.
Bruce clocked him.
And the rest is easily the best Springsteen/fan dance I’ve ever seen. Coup nailed the dancing, nailed the vocals and almost broke Bruce’s guitar with that strumming. Coup the postman is a local (global) hero.

It was outshone – just – by that “Thunder Road” acoustic finisher, something I think we’ll never get bored of. That song does something to me that I will never be able to explain, but I know that if you’re reading this you get it.
There’s been a lot of chat recently about Bruce’s words just before leaving the stage – the normal “we’ll be seeing ya” has been swapped for “the E Street Band loves you” prompting some of us to get into a right flap about what this might mean for the band’s touring future (especially with “Bobby Jean” so late in the set, too).
But those essential words came. “We’ll be seeing ya.” And the crowd around me went MENTAL.
We took group pictures, periscoped and walked out of that stadium together in a happy daze.


Mari and Chris. Big love.

Another helpful summary from Greasy Lake:

These concerts were packed with raw, crazy emotion and happiness. They all are.

To quote Chris, “it’s not about where you are, it’s who you’re with. But it does help where you are.”

And that’s why we’re doing THIS. And why we’re doing it together.

I’m heading to a couple more dates this summer, in case I fall behind on blogging (I don’t have the best track record) you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Bruce Springsteen in Barcelona, May 2016: a weekend with my dad

It’s a muggy Saturday night in Barcelona. There are 64,000 Catalonians crammed into Camp Nou. On the stage is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, belting their way through the first song of the night: Badlands. And next to me? My dad. Grinning. BEAMING. Jumping like a kid high on sweets.

He wasn’t supposed to be here.

So how did it happen? Me, on a city break with my dad? Well, let me explain. This is the start of it’s the start of a major summer of travel; not just any old travel mind, but a pilgrimage around Europe to see Bruce.

The current plan (although it always changes, you know how it is with neurotic Springsteen fans) is to head to Gothenburg, Sweden (where I hear the crowds break the stadiums), Coventry (glam place that), and Roma, where I’ll be pairing a concert in the ancient Cirucs Maximus with plates of pasta (and pizza for dessert). I’m only one concert in, but already I sit at my desk thinking about the crowds that’ll fill the San Siro stadium in Milan, and the final gig of the European tour in Zurich… a July weekend swimming in Swiss rivers and watching Bruce.

These cities are all great reasons for travel, but the main point of my odyssey? Bruce, and the best live concerts pound for pound – or euro for euro – on earth.And what better way to start the journey than with the man who ignited my interest this music: my dad.

Dad has taught me lots of great things. How to ride a bike; how to fall off a bike; how to win at Monopoly (buy everything). Music. Bruce Springsteen.

But then there’s the one thing he hasn’t taught me: how to travel. Sure, we’ve been on holidays – my childhood dotted with camping trips to Flamingo Park in Yorkshire, lilo wars in Spain and that banana boat in Malta.

But it’s not what he loves. He doesn’t obsess over the next place he wants to visit, he doesn’t spend hours online searching for cheap flights to Europe, and he definitely doesn’t do Springsteen abroad. Or standing.

So when I asked him to come on a last-minute trip to Barca to see Bruce he said no. Absolutely not. There was no time to arrange it. And what would the crowds be like? Too crazy, he said. I deleted the email, huffed a bit, sighed a bit, stropped a bit and decided to go on my own anyway.

And then a few hours later he emailed again. “I’ve made a plan,” he said. (He likes plans.) We’d get the first flight on the Saturday morning, back on the Monday before work. “We’ll see Bruce, drink beer and eat tapas.” It would be our first trip abroad together since I was 12 years old.

Bruce Springsteen Camp Nou Barelona May 2016

When dad tries to take a selfie

In the middle of Glory Days. The person behind me – I know that feeling

You’ve seen the setlist, read the reviews. Plenty of The River album dotted through a semi-random selection of tracks. Was it the best run of Springsteen songs in the world? Maybe not. But getting to see my dad hear them for the first time, in a Catalonian crowd that was soooo happy, friendly and welcoming? I felt so lucky to be there with him, seeing those 36 songs in that order in that city.

I’ve realised there are several stages to holidaying with your parents, and I’m now on the third. The first is childlike enthusiasm, because you are in fact a child. Days are filled with lilo wars, collapsing tents, crazy golf and “Are we there yet?”.

The second is the stroppy teenager phase. I did that one well – “Dad! You’re sooo embarrassing,” (cue eye rolling and trying to look cool in front of other teens going through the same on-holiday-with-parent angst).
Then there’s the stage I’m at now, when I get to call the holiday shots.

So for this weekend away with my dad, the trip was arranged entirely by me. For two days in Barcelona I was in charge. In a role reversal I’m not familiar with, I booked the flights, the accommodation and made all the logistical arrangements. I carried the passports, the boarding cards and made sure we actually caught the flight. (We did, just.)

I didn’t want to scare dad with impromptu plans (I’m pretty last-minute), but felt he needed to experience the way I now travel.

That starts with the accommodation. “Airbnb? We’re staying in someone’s home? Oh.”

Turns out he quite liked the traditional high-ceilinged apartment, the local feeling and riding the rickety lift up and down ten flights of stairs.

Then there’s the food. I took him into dank little coffee shops, tiny, grubby joints and bars he wouldn’t have even noticed, let alone considered, if he’d been travelling without me. In Cerveceria Catalana we went to town on tapas – salty, greasy padron peppers, slithers of ham, mini burgers (hey, it’s oblig) and, er, more mini burgers. Arrive early and put your name down, it’s worth the wait.

And finally, the sightseeing. I’m trying to ease him into this travel thing, so instead of walking for miles getting lost in dodgy parts of town, like I normally would, I thought I’d keep it simple with an open-top bus tour – something my dad loved so much that he made us go on both routes around the city. That’s five hours of my dad trying to take selfies of us (but mostly of the balding bloke sitting behind us).

Back in the bars, Dad tried to order a beer. In French. (Reminder: we are in Barcelona.) “Dad, you’re soooooo embarrassing,” I told him. Some things, apparently, never change.

But I think this trip has triggered something – not a crazy desire to fuck it and book flights at the last minute, but enough intrigue that dad would travel again. And I think, or at least I hope, I’ve established a tried and tested template for father and daughter bonding. Throw a high-decibel serenade in, and it’s pretty much the best city break I could hope for.

This year I’ve had loads of people tell me they are taking their sons/daughters to their first Springsteen concert, or that they are being taken by their now grown-up child. But then I have people telling me that their children won’t go with them to concerts.

This. is. Madness.

And I hear it far too much.

So parents, please let me have a word. I hope I can help.

Because they need to see you at that Bruce Springsteen gig.



James McAvoy, burgers and Bruce Springsteen

Why read my words about burgers when you can read James McAvoy’s words about burgers?

I interviewed McAvoy about his role as Professor X in the latest X-Men film (link to the feature below).

After some obligatory film chat I asked him about his favourite burger in London, natch. His response was… colourful:

“I love burgers. Shake Shack is my favourite burger. It’s awesome, it’s amazing. I could lose myself to Shake Shack. I could have an affair with a Shake Shack burger.”

I told him about Lucky Chip, and how they name their burgers after Hollywood actors (the Kevin Bacon, etc). He liked that. “Faaaaantastic,” he said (imagine a slow, yet enthusiastic, Scottish slur).

Then I suggested he tries Bleecker St burger, one of my favs in London. He’s seen them on the South Bank, but not committed yet. “You MUST,” I told him. He said he will. I think he will, he really loves burgers. Especially greasy ones. He wants to sleep with some of them.

As for Bruce? Well, his knowledge isn’t too shabby.

“Where’s he from, he’s from New Jersey isn’t he? Wow, have you been to New Jersey and had a burger?”

“Yes yes yes,” I say.

“OKKKK niiiiice,” he says.

“I like him,” he adds. “I’ve never been a humongous fan, but I’ve seen him live at the Emirates and that was pretty cool. It was awesome actually.”

“But I think burgers… and Bruce Springsteen… is a holy combination.”

Who am I to argue with James McAvoy?

Read the full interview with James McAvoy in Square Mile magazine.

James McAvoy interview and burger chat
Bit awk


The River Tour – Bruce Springsteen in Albany, NY – 10 February 2016

I wrote the majority of this blog post on the Amtrak train from Albany back to New York.  There are better places to write about Bruce Springsteen, but then there’s no easy place. You see the problem with Bruce is that he’s impossibly hard work. High maintenance. Yep, I love him – his music, his energy, his lyrics. But how can I ever really convey that feeling in a blog post? Are there any words good enough? How can I do him, the band, and their shows justice? I always feel like I can’t.
Luckily I’m writing for an audience that also *gets it*. Sure, there’ll be a few people passing through this space for burger recommendations – and for that there are many. And finding words about burgers is simple enough. But Bruce? Oh man. So hard. And for that reason, and coinciding with a pause in touring, I’ve had a looooong siesta from blogging about Bruce. In one sense it’s been quite nice to not feel that weird pressure, but at the same time it’s been a big old hole in my life. Like Bruce, I love dem  tours.
So when the River tour was announced there was no question that I had to go. I HAD to! Off I went to New York on Friday 5 Feb, spent a couple of nights trotting around the city, eating burgers, drinking beer, kayaking on the Hudson river (try it!). And then to Albany.

A photo posted by Hannah Summers (@burgersandbruce) on

“Why Albany?” people said. They said it might be boring. They said it had no redeeming qualities (their words). It’s certainly no hotbed of cool dive bars and burger joints, but it is the fifth-oldest city in the US and the town that invented perforated toilet paper. Beat that, Philly.
So this was my first time doing the lottery system in the US, which if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a system where you go to the venue on the day and get a wristband with a number on it, then they pull a random number out a hat/bowl/bucket and the first 300 or so after that number (depending on the size of the pit) are let into the front section. Now, if this all goes your way (and we tried to do a lot of maths, I think there’s a one in fiveish chance it will?!) then you’re laughing all the way back to the Holiday Inn Express. If it doesn’t – well, it’s still brilliant isn’t it. But hopes are often set on the pit. 
Anyway, there I was in Albany with my pal Steve (@GreasyLake on Twitter), his wife Lucie and my friend I’d met in Kilkenny, Anne-Marie. The angst! Knowing that your ‘Bruce fate’ is in the hands of some random number being picked is mega unsettling. BUT if you’re quite along the ‘what will be will be/everything happens for a reason’ mindset – which I try to be because it’s the most positive way of coping with the largely important but still shitty stuff –  then the day is a little easier to stomach. All outcomes are great, that’s what you gotta remember. 
So we queued up to get our wristbands, and I saw that they were purple. Purple! My favourite colour; I’m Bruce-level obsessed. And – call me a hippie – but that’s when I knew we were in. I just knew. We came back at 5pm (snowy, chilly, pizza-filled) and they picked out number 148. I was number 240, so we were within the first 100 people into the pit. Lucky, lucky purple. Lucky people, too.

With Steve @GreasyLake on Twitter

I don’t think I need to give you the song-by-song account – we all know what this tour is about: The River. In the run up I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I love Bruce for his spontaneity, for the highs and lows that his carefully curated setlists – dotted with random curve balls – provide. And when people ask why I go to his concerts so much, I can tell them that I never know what I’m going to hear. Well this year I do. But I’m OK with it. And I think, although some fans have reservations, we’re all ultimately united in the fact that the band is still touring. I’ll take everything I can.  
Meet me in the City is a blinding opener, and I love it we’re getting to hear it like that. We’re all familiar with that feeling you get when Bruce walks out and you just KNOW what you’re about to experience; how you’ll strut out that concert with clarity, believing you can achieve anything, and with a greater understand of your, er, ‘life direction’. It did that. I did that! Then The River – Sherry Darling (a song that I’ll admit I really haven’t liked on the album, but live it’s so fun and energy-packed) and the intro to Point Blank – I mean COME ON!

Hungry Heart came with crowdsurfing, obvs.

Fade Away, Stolen Car, Crush on You I LOVED (I’d read that that’s when people went off to get hotdogs, but I didn’t see any of that). And of course, Drive All Night. Pow!

I did feel a big song was needed and it was Badlands (Loose Ends was dropped). Now I’ve heard Badlands tonnes of times, but I can honestly say I really do love it more each time. It’s the song I stick on when I need a mega pick me up – the song that taught me to keep on dreaming. Yeah yeah, mock me! But seeing that song performed live, and the things it does to my health and head? I don’t think there’s anything better for me.
I think the crowd felt the same way, and assuming quite a few in the arena crowd wouldn’t have been familiar with The River in its entirety, it just worked. Combined with Wrecking Ball, Backstreets, Be True (big love), Because the Night, The Rising etc, it kept the 18,000-strong stadium mega happy and engaged. Detroit Medley (the sign request) was THE NUTS, and considering signs have been largely ignored to date, I really didn’t see them pulling that out the bag (nor did Stevie by the look on his face). I’d love to see more outtakes in this point, but maybe it’s just not time yet. I really hope they’ll come.
Then of course Born to Run… the song that started this whole thing for me via my dad, and Rosalita. Shout, which still remains one of my fav ways to end the concert, I don’t think I’ll tire of it.

Now Bruce of course was on point – the band, particularly Stevie, were loving it. But Jake. Jake was the one that was a massive WOW. He completely nailed every solo, and this tour, and album, is giving him a chance for his talent to really shine through.

Albany was a night I’ll never forget. It was a weekend I’ll never forget. I say this all the time, but Springsteen for me isn’t just about the music, it’s about the friends I’ve made along the way. I spent this weekend getting to know some truly awesome people even better, and met new ones, too – people from Twitter, couples who were travelling all over the US for shows, a couple of guys from England who add songs to their spreadsheet after each concert.

We all geek-out over Bruce in one way or another, and he rewards us for it.

The River tour 2016 – I’m coming for ya.

A photo posted by Hannah Summers (@burgersandbruce) on

Thank you Lucie and Steve, aka Greasy Lake, for the good times, and for sharing a couple of your pics for this post! 


The burger at the Outpost pub, Lake Louise, Canada

Lake Louise, Canada, is one of those one-horse town kinda places. Except calling it a town is quite generous – the ‘town’ consists of a car park with a post office (closed), supermarket (tiny) and a pub (more on the pub later). That’s not a town, it’s not even a village. It’s just a car park. And there are no horses.
Anyway, people don’t go to Lake Louise for the car park, they go for the lake (pictured below, it’s real nice).
I was in Lake Louise and I needed somewhere to eat. I’m new to this hiking thing, and it makes me hungry! Finding somewhere to eat in a one-horse town is pretty hard, and I ended up in the only pub Lake Louise has: the Outpost.
In the pub there was a dude working behind the bar, and he was great – really kind and enthusiastic. I asked what he recommended and he said the burger at the pub was one of the best he’d ever eaten.
Now call me a burger snob, but I just didn’t believe him. Not because I thought he was a liar, but because I thought that he obviously a) didn’t eat many burgers, which would probably make this one amazing b) was trying to do a hard sell (why? I dunno) c) had a tendency to exaggerate. “Yeah yeah,” I thought, looking around me at the pub. “The burger is blatantly dry and butters.”

As I waited for my burger to arrive, I ate some seriously sexy chips, with cheese curds and gravy. This got my excited, because these chips were fit.

And then the burger. I mean – *wow*. I know it doesn’t look like much (it was darkish in there), but it was exactly what I wanted my burger to be at that point in time. A hug in a bun. Just siiiiiimmple, saucy, warming, cheesed-up. No cutting corners with gritty frozen patties or old, wilting lettuce. Someone in that kitchen really loved making it. You know when you can tell that a burger has been loved?

This burger in Lake Louise *is* one of the best that the bar dude has eaten, because it’s one of the best that I’ve eaten, too.

As for the lake and the hiking? They aren’t so bad either.

A photo posted by Hannah Summers (@burgersandbruce) on


Four of the best burgers in Puerto Rico – yum time

I have burgered! I have blogged! 

For the last two weeks I’ve been sunning it in Puerto Rico. Why? Because I’m not sure about Christmas. Now that Santa’s not bringing me toys Xmas just makes me feel claustrophobic. It makes me feel lethargic. It makes me feel like I don’t know what day it is, even more so than when I normally don’t know what day it is. 
Christmas, for me, is better when the sun is blazing; when you don’t have Cadbury Celebrations chocolates for breakfast, because you’re having a beer. Or two. It’s Christmas!
14 days, four burgers, hundreds of deep-fried snacks. The Puerto Ricans love calorie-laden snackettes  cheese balls, corn sticks, fish nuggets and other unidentifiable crispy, oily, golden goodies served with a pinky mayo and a can of Medalla light beer. That’s just for starters.

Burger one: Villa Cofresi, Rincon
Rincon is a surf town where everyone says “what’s up, dude?”; where 60-year-old surfers have a better bod than you’ll ever have (I mean me); where you’ll hear a lot of Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi. At Villa Cofresi (sounds really grand but it’s just nice and normal) the tourists and locals mingle over coquitos – coconuts filled with rum, coconut water and cinnamon. And they eat burgers. These burgers:
burger Rincon Puerto Rico
Beautifully simple. Grilled patties topped with ‘shit cheese’, slithers of pickle and white lettuce that’s trying to be green. You add your own smears of ketchup. At five dollars with chips, this was one of the cheapest, and the best cheeseburgers in PR. I think about it and it makes me smile. Because who needs fuss? Not me, not Bruce. (You read this blog, right?) 
Here are some more, in no particular order.
Burger two: Annie’s Place, El Combate
El Combate is a town that has been fiercely fought over because of the salt plains that back onto the beach  neon-pink pools of water with white mounds of salt at the side. Back in the day, everyone wanted a piece of that sexy salt.
The beach looks like this. It’s stupidly good.
El Combate beach Puerto Rico
Annie’s Place is the village’s best ‘restaurant’  jammed with tables and chairs (sticky, plastic, groaning), it’s a place where they play the music’s so loud that you have to shout at your dining companion: “WHY DO THEY ONLY HAVE LIGHT BEER IN PUERTO RICO?/DO YOU WANT A COORS LIGHT OR MEDALLA LIGHT?/CAN I EAT THAT LAST CHEESE BALL?”, etc.
Here’s the burger:
Annie's Place burger El Combate Puerto Rico
It comes with two patties  thick, lightly seasoned, largely fuss-free patties topped with American cheese, a ring of raw onion and chips that  in a good way  taste like Burger King chips. Hundreds of them. It was huuuuuuge; so huge we had to split it in half  mental. I never share food.

Burger three: Bili, Vieques Island
Vieques is a little island off the coast of Puerto Rico, where wild horses roam free, standing in the middle of the road munching on a bit of leaf or something. This was the swankiest burger of my trip, but even then, it’s not swanky. It’s a beaut though  a 3cm-tall patty, dolloped with a sweet plantain chutney (yeah, chutney!), lettuce and blue cheese sauce. It’s then protected by a barrier of sweet potato fries.
burger Esperanza Vieques island Puerto Rico

Burger four: Hortas BBA, Vieques Island
I had this burger at a BBQ place serving some of the best local food we had on the trip (we tried local stuff too, I don’t only eat burgers). I LOVED this burger. It was biiiig, and I liked the Caribbean vibes with the sweet, fried plantain, which, combined with the salty beef, crispy bacon, cheese slices (two types) and tangy pickles, was a proper game changer for me. Should I eat banana in a burger back home? Hmmm. It came with tostades  crunchy, fried discs of plantain (the less ripe variety, so it tastes more savoury). I dipped it in the runny guava-BBQ sauce. Oh my!
Christmas + burgers + Puerto Rico = big fat yes.

I always try to write about the food I eat, but sometimes that’s just not poss. That would be A LOT of words. You can follow my food- and Bruce-based escapades over on Instagram and Twitter