Monday, September 15, 2008

Why didn't I think of that?: Portuguese Sweetbread Rolls & the Perfect Burger

I live in a small city called Fall River on the Southcoast of Massachusetts. I mention this because we have a unique local cuisine based on the cultures that settled the area over the years. We have dashes of French, Irish, Native American and also, especially for the purposes of this entry: Portuguese.

Recently I've been reading online reviews of various burger joints in New York City. One came up several times with glowing reviews because of their unique and delicious burgers. It's a place called Zaitzeff in the financial district. What made the Zaitzeff burgers so good? One writer had a succinct answer: The bun. He described the bun as "flat, like an English muffin with a pale yellow color" he went on to describe it a "sweet and delicious which enhanced the burger's flavor." I didn't need to be hit on the head with a log to know what he was talking about, but then he continued "which the restaurant orders from a Portuguese bakery in Fall River, MA.

Bolos Levedos (bhoulzsh levezsh) or "Portuguese Pancakes" as we grew up calling them in Fall River. I've had them all my life in numerous ways, but you know what? Never ever did I think or recall anyone else who had the presence of mind to toast them on a grill and serve up a burger on them! Since reading the reviews of Zaitzeff's burgers that has changed.

It's the hamburger roll of the house now. In fact we go Zaitzeff's one better by not only using the sweet bolos levedos, but also their larger brothers the sweetbread rolls. We don't limit the meats to just burgers either. Panko battered mahi-mahi sings an opera on these types of rolls as does homemade chicken salad. Thank you Zaitzeff!

It's strange how you can become overly familiar with the common things in your life, never giving them a second thought or seeing them outside their normal uses. Along comes someone who doesn't see them everyday and the next thing you know that thing changes.

Thanks Zaitzeff! I haven't had your burgers, but damn, you're onto something with your rolls!

Why didn't I think of that?

Anyone that doesn't live near Zaitzeff or Fall River can find recipes online to make your own bolos levedos or you can Google "Portuguese Bakery Fall River MA" and possibly get them sent out.

Until then, you're kind of missing something great.

Photo courtesy of Paobolosecia


  1. Mmmmmmmmmmm....bhoulzsh levezsh!!!

    One day I'll learn how to say that.

  2. Hi, I'm glad you liked the recipe that I published. These cakes are very good. I even did a version with carrot, although not traditional, I liked a lot.
    If you had asked I would have sent you the recipe translated :)