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Katie and I received a night at the Shores Resort in Daytona Beach as a Christmas present from Kathy and Mac – Katie’s Parents. We’d stayed here for 3 nights after our wedding before flying off to Hawaii for our honeymoon (almost 8 years ago!) so it was really lovey to go back for a night. And let’s not forget – It was nice to have a night off from the baby for once! We both made sure to sleep in the next morning. Ah, uninterrupted sleep…

 

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We did have a nice view from the room..

Anyway – so the in-house restaurant at the Shores is called Azure – I vaguely recall eating here on our honeymoon and thinking it was ok but it was a long time ago so my memories are somewhat vague. We had toyed around with going somewhere else but then decided it was all too hard and we should just eat in. Since it was very much the off season for Daytona Beach we didn’t worry about a reservation and had the pick of the best tables when we came downstairs around 8pm. Of course Katie made us move a couple of times until we got the right spot…

The first thing that hits you when you open the menu here are the prices – just a warning, they are astronomically high. I guess you have to expect high prices at a resort, but to be honest these seemed very over priced. Being as it was a special occasion we threw caution to the wind and ordered without thought of the prices… Well at least we told ourselves not to worry.
Katie opted for a starter and a side for two as her meal – she chose the lobster mac and cheese which was a side for two ($13) and the small plate of crab cakes ($17).
The Crab cakes were apparently very good – although you only get two – so small plate means small… The lobster mac and cheese was apparently a little fishy – just not that great, although you do get a generous serving – it would be more than enough as a side for two.

I decided to got all out and choose the New York Strip which came with brussel sprouts with bacon lardons and a parsnip puree ($37). I ordered my steak medium rare – although it was probably more on the medium side when it arrived (I’m not that picky if the steak is rested enough it should still be ok). The steak itself was nice – well seasoned and rested – a juicy enough steak, although as with all strip steaks (What we call the porterhouse back home) it is on the tough side. The pay off is that you get a stronger beef flavour and a lovely strip of fat. However, for some reason the chef had removed the best part of the strip – the fat. Coupled with the fact that the steak itself wasn’t the best quality, lacking in intramuscular fat – or marbling – the result was a fairly tame cut, with none of the buttery, sensuous mouth feel that you can get with a New York strip steak. The Brussel sprouts were actually just the leaves separated and toasted through with bacon pieces not lardons, scatted over the top of the steak and the parsnip puree – which itself was quite nice – smooth, rich and buttery. I probably didn’t help maters with my wine selection – the wine that I had ordered, a Californian Zinn, wasn’t great, far too jammy and on the sweet side, no real tannin or length either – just all fruit up front. But either was – at the end of the day the steak just didn’t deliver for the price they were charging. At half the price it would have been fine – just not at $37 before tax and tip!

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So dinner was ok, but nothing to write home about – the problem is that you really don’t have much of a choice down this end of Daytona Beach. It’s probably the only real option to be honest. We did order breakfast to our room the next day and that was actually quite nice and not ridiculously over priced. Look, if you’re here on vacation and staying at the resort, it’s a nice enough restaurant – just be aware of the prices. If you are not staying, then I’d stay away and find somewhere else up the other end of the beach.

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On our trip back from Key west we stopped by to visit Katie’s Aunt Cindy and her partner Mike in Miami. I’d never been to Miami and so I was excited to get a glimpse of the city itself. Although we only stopped overnight, I think I’ll be back to explore the sights and sounds of the city that I’ve heard so much about. Cindy and Mike have an amazing place which over looks the city itself. Unfortunately I was pretty sick with an ear infection and cold which little Lucy had been kind enough to share with me. Instead of heading out to check out the sights, I was in bed pretty early. Next time Miami, next time!

The view from Cindy and Mikes apartment

The view from Cindy and Mikes apartment

Anyway, the next day, Cindy wanted to take us out for Lunch to catch up with Katie’s Uncle Tim and her cousin Haley (Who’s about to do an exchange to Australia for Uni). Cindy had chosen a place in Ft.Lauderdale which was on the road back to Deland, so this gave us some time to allow Lucy to meet some more of her extended family and get on the road back home. Katie’s Mum’s side of the family all grew up in Ft.Lauderdale and so it was interesting to get a chance to visit, even if it was only fleetingly.

Tarpon Bend is a restaurant located in the downtown area of Ft.Lauderdale, right next to a burger bar – Cindy had suggested that I get a burger from the place next door – but I wasn’t really in the mood for moving around. Once I had sat down I wasn’t moving. On the plus side the menu at Tarpon Bend looked pretty darn good and they had what appeared to be a nice burger. Of course I ordered the burger – with the lot, and Katie opted for the Fish of the day BLT. The place was pretty busy and they seemed a bit understaffed so Lunch took awhile – not that I minded that much.

Eventually the Burger arrived and I have to say it was definitely worth waiting for. The Tarpon Burger comes with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, sweet onion rings, tomato, lettuce, pickle, mayo, mustard and ketchup, and a huge mound of French fries – $12. On a first impression this burger looked the business. Even in my cold induced haze I could tell this was a well put together burger. First bite in and  knew I was onto a winner here. The meat was front and center – a nice thick and juicy patty – I had ordered it medium rare and then told the waiter, “pink” – just to ensure that it came the way I wanted it to. It seems like if you order a burger medium, your probably a 50/50 chance to see any pink in your patty over here – Listen to me, at least they give you the option in the US. Back home it’s the chefs way or the highway 9 times out of 10.

Anyway, as I was saying – the patty was juicy and delicious – well seasoned and tender, a nice amount of pink. Even without much of a sense of smell, and thus a limited sense of taste, I could tell it was good. The bacon was delicious, the cheese nice and melted and the sauces were generously applied. The whole burger managed to overcome my sickness and cheer me up for a couple of minutes at least.

How good this burger was, I have no idea – I couldn’t smell as I was pretty blocked up and so it’s hard to judge with such a taste impairment. What I do know, is that what I could taste, I really enjoyed. I’d love to have had a chance to try this burger out while I wasn’t sick… Ah well.

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Yet another venue suggested to us before we drove down to Key West – The Square Grouper, apparently they do one of the best Grouper Sandwiches in the keys. Having been underwhelmed by the last couple of Grouper Sandwiches that I’ve had the misfortune to ingest, I was looking forward to something… well, vaguely tasting like Grouper and not just fried fish generally. Thankfully I had come to an establishment that takes their fish, but not themselves, seriously.

Square grouper I have been reliably informed, is slang for a big square hessian bag full of the weed some people enjoy recreationally. Apparently if the, shall we say, “importer” is tipped off that the transport ship is about to be searched by the authorities, they instruct the crew of the to throw the cargo overboard. When it washes up on shore, people say they’ve caught a square grouper.

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Anyway, enough about the name of the place – let’s talk food. Katie and I had just driven 22 miles north of Key west and by the time we got there we were rather hungry. We actually arrived late in afternoon – which was probably a good thing as the crowds were starting to disperse and we didn’t have to wait long for a table. I had planned to get the grouper sandwich – but there was so much on the menu that looked good. I stuck to my guns on the sandwich front, though we decided to get the coconut shrimp to begin. My sweet lord, these crispy morsels were so fresh and delicious – 6 big prawns as I would call them, in a fairly light coconut batter, paired with a sweet mango dipping sauce. A great way to take the edge off the hunger pains.

Once finished with the appetisers (which didn’t take long) we were on to our sandwiches – Katied had opted for the fish of the day BLT – served blackened, with apple wood smoked bacon and I opted for the grouper sandwich. I have to admit I had plate envy just looking across the table, The BLT looked the business – that was until  tasted my sandwich.

The grouper sandwich was served with lightly fried onion rings and key lime tartar sauce. The fish itself was so fresh I would have believed that had just caught and filleted it moments before arriving on my plate. This was a grouper sandwich with the emphasis on the grouper. Lightly pan fried – the fish was cooked perfectly, it was the dominate force in the sandwich – nicely accompanied by the light house made key lime tartar sauce and the sweet and crunchy onion rings. This wasn’t the type of grouper sandwich I’ve come to expect in Florida – no lettuce or tomato – but I didn’t care – this was a fantastic sandwich. Katie though her sandwich was just as good. I’d highly recommend stoping off here if you are in the keys – I’m certainly glad we went for a drive to this place!

The Square Grouper Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I’m not sure how it came up – but for some reason I was talking to Kathy about the amazing country fried steak I had last time I was in Texas, and how much I would love to find a place somewhere on this trip that offered a good country fried steak. For the uninitiated, the country fried steak – or chicken fried steak as it is also referred to – is a little bit like schnitzel. It’s also a lot different to schnitzel… Ok so I’m not doing a great job of explaining this. Lets see – you take a piece of pretty cheap steak – beat the hell out of it – bread it in a coating that you might use for fried chicken – fry said breaded steak. Serve with white gravy. Enjoy. It’s that simple. And yet, like so many amazing foods of the south, Australia for some reason, has not been introduced to the pleasures of the country fried steak. Now don’t get me wrong – we have lots of fried food – my Nana pretty much crumped and fried everything – and she had a thing called crumbed steak – it’s not same. It’s good – yes. Same – no.

Anyway, as they would say over here, I was jonesing for a nice piece’o’country fired steak. Typing this now I want one – that’s how good they are people!! Katie and I had decided to go out for Lunch while Mac was off getting the boat ready for a fishing trip and we thought we’d wander down the road to a nice little place called Capt’n Con’s. We’ve had breakfast there a few times and it’s always been nice enough – honest, no frills kind of food. This time we thought we’d try lunch – I thought I might grab a burger or a grouper sandwich. The place was pretty busy with all the snow birds in town (That’s tourist from up north), and so we grabbed a table inside. I noticed the lunch specials included country steak – my heart skipped a beat (Possible a clogged artery based on my diet here – who knows…), could this be the country fried steak I’d been looking for? I ordered the steak and Katie ordered some wings. And the lovely waitress – honestly the nicest lady we’ve been served by this trip – sped off to the kitchen with our orders. It was hard to wait I was so excited. Finally our lunches arrived and from a visual point of view I was not disappointed. Katie’s wings were also impressive – I though maybe they had used turkey wings as these things were huge.

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On this occasion though I didn’t have any sense of plate envy. I devoured my country steak like a man who hadn’t eaten for a week. It was just what wanted at that point in time. I don’t know what they put in white gravy, and to be honest I probably don’t want know – but what I do know is that it’s a tasty and delicious companion to the country fried steak.

You may well ask – was this the best country fried steak? The answer is no – it was good enough though. It just happened to be the right dish at the right time!

Capt'n Con's Fish House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cuban sandwiches are pretty much an exotic treat for a man from Australia- Cuban cuisine (even the Americanised version) is not something readily available in the suburbs of Melbourne. So every time I have an opportunity to sample some I get pretty excited.

Down here in Key West you’d be forgiven for thinking that you had wondered into a tourist trap – if you stick to the resorts, landmarks and Duval street then you would be right.

Ana’s Cuban café is located in walking distance from the southernmost point Buoy. The café is actually located inside the southernmost deli and groceries – there’s a place to order out the front or you can order inside the deli. Either way you order and eat out on the veranda surrounding the shop. It doesn’t look particularly appealing, particularly considering that it’s surrounded by resorts and hotels and not far from the start of Duval street – you would be forgiven for assuming that this is just another overpriced café catering to the tourist crowds. However, in this case you would be wrong. Ana’s actually does a really good, reasonably priced Cuban mix sandwich. What’s that you say – especially if like me you are from the land down under you probably have no idea what a Cuban mix sandwich is. It starts with Cuban bread – or Pan Cubano – which is a long baguette style loaf with a crunchy curst and a really light dough. The next layer is mayonnaise on one side and mustard on the other, you have ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and roast pork (often slow roasted in a mojo sauce). Sounds very simple – but like a lot of simple dishes, if executed well, it can be really good. In this case they do it well. Every time I go there I get a Cuban mix. $7.50 is not a lot considering the amount of meat you get. It’s one of my favourite sandwiches.

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Blue Heaven was recommended to us by a friend who had spent a lot of time in Key West, so we figured we’d better give it shot when we came down this time around. Jessica and Chris had gone off with their girls to visit the beach, but Katie was feeling the effects of a night out on Duval street and all she wanted was brunch so we decided it was a good time to give it a go.

When we arrived the place was very busy, there was a fairly decent line and the wait was at least 30mins inside and an hour to sit outside. We figured we’d wait and so we pulled up to the bar and had a refreshing beverage. There was a pretty decent live band playing and plenty of seating in and around the bar so it really wasn’t too bad waiting. Katie had a Bloody Mary that she said was quite refreshing considering (or perhaps because of) her condition. After about half an hour of waiting we got called and were seated outside just next to the stage where the bad was playing – this actually worked out well as it distracted Lucy who was bopping away in her highchair and clapping her chubby little baby hands after each song.

The food here is quite upmarket – although not cheap. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with ham and a side of bacon and Katie went for the Shrimp and Grits New Orleans style. The Eggs came with a Key lime hollandaise which was one of the most delicious hollandaise I’ve tasted. The eggs were perfectly poached, runny and delicious – I felt like the dish wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a trendy Melbourne café back home. Everything on my plate was executed perfectly. Katie loved her shrimp and grits – it’s not something that I would ever order so I can’t really comment, but Katie is a bit of an expert and she was impressed. We ordered a slice of key lime pie to finish with because we had heard they were good here.

The downside to such a lovely meal was the price – the check came in at a smidge under $60 and with tip it cost $70 – not including the $10 already spent at the bar. If I was back home in Melbourne it would be par for the course. Here in the USA, it felt a little bit expensive and when you take into account the exchange rate – very expensive. I’d probably come back because the food was excellent – but I think I’d skip the $9.50 slice of pie at the end (but then I’m not a sweet tooth so I’m sure Katie would disagree…)

 

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I couldn’t talk to someone in Deland about burgers without them asking, “have you been to the airport bar?”. After hearing the same thing over and over again, I thought it might be worth dropping by for a look.

We’d been out shopping all day for Christmas presents and had planned to catch up with Melissa, she had suggested doing lunch at the Airport bar – I’m seeing a pattern here – Melissa might like burgers almost as much as I do… We dropped by Melissa’s house to meet bailey the adorable dog who slobbered all over Lucy – they’re best friends now – and then we set off on yet another food adventure.

After driving around in circles for a while – thanks Google – we eventually found the bar. By this stage we were all ravenously hungry and ready to order everything off the menu. The girls got a few appetisers – but I just wanted this burger I had heard so much about. The port burger “all the way” is the burger to get here I’d been told. It’s a 1/2lb beef patty, with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard and spicy mayo. I added cheese and bacon. The burgers come in a Kaiser style bun, slightly crunchy bun, that’s more savoury than sweet – a nice change from a lot of the super sweet buns you get here. The other difference here was that the burgers came pre-sauced and assembled, always a good sign. You also got a big pickle spear on the side – yes pickle!! How I love pickled goodness.

Moving on, one thing that I found interesting/annoying was that the burgers came served on plastic plates with plastic cutlery. Why? What’s wrong with a normal plate and some real knives and forks??? Am I not to be trusted with the “good” crockery? It’s not like they can say – hey, it’s a bar, people get drunk and break stuff… Why give us drinks in glass then? I guess they were the “nice” plastic plates, and the plastic knife was pretty good. But seriously, don’t they care about the environment?

Cutlery issues aside, this is a bar in a small American town down south after all- they’ll probably accuse me of being a pretentious snob (an accusation probably not without some truth to it) – Anyway, burgers not cutlery is what we were here for.

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So the burgers came out and mine came with chips like I had ordered – only I meant fries, because chips in the USA mean the cold packet crisps variety (stupid translation issues from Australian to American). Funnily enough I really liked my chips, so an accidental win! The burgers are a good size, half a pound of juicy beef – twice ground, cooked medium(ish) ** side note – I think I need to order pink instead of medium, because every time I’ve ordered a burger medium here it’s been closer to medium well, maybe a hint of pink.  Regardless, it was a juicy patty that was encased in melted American cheese. The first bite, you get a big mouthful of beef patty. It’s a good honest burger patty – Well seasoned, good fat to meat ratio, strong beefy flavour, nice and tender – it reminds me of a good home made burger. The bun even backs up that feel – it’s not a standard bun as mentioned, rather it’s like something you might pick up from a bakery instead of a supermarket – slightly crusty, a bit too much bread for a burger bun, but a nice change from the mass market feel soft buns you get in a lot of places. The lettuce, tomato and onion did their job nicely, as did the sauces – which were generously applied to both sides. The crispy bacon was well worth adding, but then I would say that, because – bacon. I added in some chunks of pickle that I cut up with my plastic knife – which did a really good job for a plastic knife so I should stop complaining.

Overall, this is a nice burger, nothing really to complain about – I felt like I had gone to someone’s house for an awesome BBQ and they were dishing up some good homemade burgers. However, there’s also nothing that really propels this burger to that next level. Nothing that stands out and says – this is the burger that you want to go out of your way to get. I’d give it an 8 – good, very good even, but not quite great.

Airport Restaurant & Gin Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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After chatting with Melissa about the best burgers in Florida, a decision was made to take the next step and seek one out Monday for lunch. Some serious research was undertaken and a shortlist of candidates was drawn up. We had it down to three options with a decision to be made just before we left. All three options were a fair drive south of Deland nearer to Orlando, but good things are worth travelling for.

With the arrival of Melissa on Monday morning and the assembling of the burger hunt team we decided to nail down our choice. Further googling ensued. It was at this point that we discovered that our options weren’t as numerous as we first thought. Two of our shortlisted burgerhunt candidates were closed Monday Lunch. We finally settled on a place a little further away than our original search had included, but since Kathy was looking after the littlest member of the team, Katie and I were free to adventure for the afternoon without worrying about nap times and nappy changes.

The eventual destination chosen was a gastro pub called Teak Neighborhood Grill, about 46miles south of Deland, and just south of Orlando. The reviews on this place a pretty impressive and the burger list is interesting to say the least. After about an hour in the car we were all pretty hungry, I think Melissa could have devoured a small cow given the opportunity.

The place itself is undergoing some sorts of renovations so they had a limited beer list, although the fact that it was happy hour more than made up for that. I forget sometimes just how cheap it is to eat out in Florida. Happy hour included amongst others – $3 20oz Bud lights, $5 cocktails, and $5 appetisers. Suffice it to say that we took them up on the offer, and with some food and refreshments on the way we had time to ponder our burger options.

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The burger list is extensive and very creative and obviously not your average burger. After much thought, we finally decieded on the burgers.

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Katie opted for the Waffle Burger, yep it’s a burger between two waffles, it comes with a half pound, angus beef patty (That’s a little bit over 200g for those of you playing back home),  American cheese, fried egg and apple smoked bacon. Katie got the sweet potato tots as her side $12. This would not be my first choice for a burger – in fact, it wouldn’t even register on my burger radar. And for good reason, it just wasn’t that great. The waffle was quite sweet and Katie didn’t help matters by drizzling maple syrup over the top. Apart, I think all the elements were nice, together – not my thing. Katie didn’t really love it either. So we’ll call this one a poor choice.

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Melissa was also thinking meat and sweet as she ordered the Cronie Burger, this crazy concoction of a burger was basically a cronut (think croissant crossed with a doughnut), coated in cinnamon sugar and sliced in half. This is your bun. Then you get the half-pound angus patty, maple-pepper bacon, smoked Gouda cheese and fried egg – $12.  Can’t say it’s a burger I would have ordered, but it certainly was interesting. I tired the burger – again, not a massive fan of the combination – although I must say the cronut on it’s own was delicious and the fillings were great on their own – together – weird…

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Finally I ordered the Drunken Monk, it seemed to be their most popular burger and so I figured it would be a good representation of what they were about. I didn’t like the idea of chips in the burger, but I thought I’d just go with the flow and hope for the best. The Drunken Monk comes with the standard half pound patty, crispy bacon, provolone cheese, onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, herb mayo, potato chips (Crisps) topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun, I got mine with onion rings – $12.  Ok, so when this thing comes out it’s a big towering burger, it looks impressive. I squashed it down and was barely able to get a good bite in at first. However, I should point out that that first bite was pretty darn good. I was surprised at how the chips actually worked in the burger, they added a nice textural counter point, kind of like crispy bacon but even better. The bun was dense and savoury, I’m a fan of the pretzel bun. The beef patty was really really good, thick and juicy, I’d ordered mine medium and it was nicely pink. The beef was well seasoned, an excellent quality and not too tightly formed so you really got a big beefy flavour. The cheeses were great, oozing and coating the beef, combined with the herbed mayo, this was a messy burger. I loved the roasted cherry tomatoes – little explosions of flavour that just added to each bite. Overall this was an excellent burger. It was a shame that the girls ordered so badly, because this is one of the truly better burgers that I’ve had. I’m calling this a 9 – and that’s a big call. But I would caution that not all burgers here are created equally.

Teak Neighborhood Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Katie had a hair appointment in New Smyrna and Kathy suggested I come along since there was a really good burger at a place called Breakers. I’d been there before and had an OK grouper sandwich, so I wasn’t jumping out of my skin to go there for a burger. However, it was a good chance to get up and about and I thought it might be nice for Lucy to see the Atlantic ocean.

New Smyrna is very much a holiday spot, lots of little tourist gift shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, it a nice town by the beach, much nicer than Daytona Beach and about a 35 minute drive from Deland. We wondered around while Katie got her hair cut, bought a couple of stocking stuffers for under the Christmas tree and finally caught up with Katie.

Breakers seems more bar than restaurant to my Australian eye, there’s a long double sided bar running through the middle of the place and then great views of the ocean from pretty much anywhere you sit. There’s a fair few of TV’s scattered throughout the bar which spoil the view in my opinion, but I guess familiarity breeds contempt as the saying goes.

We got a table off to the back so we could seat Lucy in a High chair and then perused through the menu – well, the burger section of the menu… A friendly waitress was helping us out in no time – what’s with all these competent waiters and waitresses? Surely we could ship a couple over to Australia? Oh wait, if they come by boat…. Anyway

Up the top of the Breaker Burger section you will spy a long list of awards that the burgers here have won – it’s an impressive list, but it does put the pressure on right from the start. I was expecting big things!

Katie and I both opted for the Bacon Burger, which is the cheeseburger topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion, for $10.50 and Kathy went for the cheese burger, no lettuce or tomato. We all ordered our burgers medium – in America it’s all about choice, including how you want the meat cooked. The waitress also asked if we wanted mayo on the side. Kathy also wanted some changes and the waitresses didn’t miss a beat – if you want to change something here they just get it done. Not like back home where the waitress would give you a confused look and then pretend like you never asked – Ah, I love America…

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All burgers arrived “open”, which I hate, as I’ve mentioned before, it can mean really dry patties, however, here they were encased in nicely melted cheese. The benefit of the open burger is that I can sauce as I like – I went for equal parts ketchup, mayo and mustard – the holy trinity of burger sauces. To be honest I would have loved a good house made burger sauce, but that’s just not really how they do things in this part of the world.

Once assembled, the burger looked the part, a nice soft white bread bun, a little on the sweet side as all bread is here – which suited the burger well.  The first bite in you got a really nice juicy burger – the beef was grilled and it had that lovely flame grilled kind of flavour. While most of my patty was a little on the well done side, it was thick enough and still juicy enough not to matter all that much. Kathy’s burger was much pinker than mine and I think we could have swapped  patties and been very happy. The beef is well seasoned, chuck style beef, so you get that really strong, beef flavour – a great burger patty flavour. The bacon was crispy and delicious – good God I love American bacon. Why don’t we have this at home?? The lettuce was crispy and the vidalia onion was exactly what was needed to balance the juicy meat. The thick slice of the tomato was fresh and juicy.  I was disappointed that once again – no pickle. What the?? But otherwise there was nothing to really complain about.

All up this was a quality burger from start to finish – simple in its presentation and planning, but very well executed. A great example of the standard American burger.

I’d give this burger an 8.5 – definitely a place I’d come back to for a burger… And lets be honest, I probably will.

USA burger hunt success.

Breakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ruby’s Diner was the first non plane food that I’d eaten for more a while. This would automatically make it amazing under normal circumstances, however in this case it was offset by the extreme exhaustion and general crankiness that I was experiencing after a good 25hours plus of cramped economy class travel.  Houston was the second layover of the journey to Deland, and as far as airports go I’m sure it’s quite nice – at this point in time I couldn’t have cared less. I was sweaty and tired and in a zombie like trance with a baby attached to my chest ergo baby style. I had that thin film of disgustingness you get after sleeping in your clothes (Albeit for no more than an interrupted 2hrs at most) – every part of you is screaming out for a shower and a clean bed to collapse into.

Anyway, I digress – After wondering aimlessly through the airport and testing out the travelators we finally found a likely establishment in Ruby’s Diner. Ruby’s Diner is smallish chain with most of the locations in California (as I found out later), the Houston airport location is reasonably large and busy which seemed like a good sign at the time to our tired eyes. Sitting down and looking at the menu I almost fell off the chair (I was pretty tired) – the prices here are pretty expensive, even by airport standards. $13.49 for a burger might sound ok to an Australian at first, but add in tip and tax, plus the exchange rate, oh and a refreshment or two, and dinner was going to cost well north of $50 AUD. Oh well, in some ways you have to expect that at an airport. After my initial shock I moved on, I wasn’t going anywhere else so this place would just have to do. We didn’t have to wait long to be served – and not only that but the waitress as courteous, friendly and helpful. Clearly not in Australia anymore! We each ordered burgers and some drinks – Katie got the Hickory Burger and I got a bacon cheeseburger. Both were around the $14 mark. Lucy decided against a burger, wisely opting instead for the pureed organic spring vegetable medley that mummy had in the baby bag matched with some of refreshment from mum afterwards. A wise choice considering she only has two teeth.

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As you would expect at an airport, the meals came out pretty quickly and we were soon devouring our burgers as through we had been eating nothing but airline food for the last day and bit… Anyway, contrary to how many diner style burgers are served, these came out pre-assembled – as opposed to being served open so you can sauce the burger yourself. I find that this can result in a dry burger if they are left out too long on the pass. In this case, both burger were nice and juicy although it was more difficult to pry them apart to apply the sauce. I added sweet yellow mustard and ketchup to the mayo that was already on the bun. My burger also came with sliced sweet onion, lettuce, tomato, crispy bacon and American cheese. I was disappointed that there was no pickle.

To be honest, both burgers were nothing to write home about (And yet here I am…) – fairy average American diner fare. Nice enough, but nothing special. But an average burger here is much better than an average burger back home lets get that straight.

It’s hard to provide a decent review thanks to the fact that I was sooo jetlagged that it’s taken the better part of a week to write this up. However if I were to sum it all up I’d say that the one thing that I do remember thinking at the time was, meh – but at least it has American bacon and American cheese. Oh, and, bloody hell – what is that total on the bill Katie?? Next time we are walking to Wendy’s!