Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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One of my all time favourite burgers is the amazing Full Blood Wagyu Hamburger from Rockpool Bar and Grill – Crown Complex Southbank in Melbourne. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Friends (You know who you are) – we need to go again soon. Neil Perry, the chef behind the famous Rockpool brand is more than just a fine dining expert – although it must be said he’s amazing at that… He is also a bit of burger genius. So when I heard that he was opening a burger bar, well, you might say I got a little excited. It’s been tough to get out of the house in recent times, and I know that Burger Project has been open for a while in Melbourne. My Instagram feed has been making me jealous for the last 10 months… However, with things settling down, I finally decided that I needed to set off on another food adventure.

Joining me on this adventure were Katie, Taz and little Lucy. Lucy got excited as soon as I mentioned there might be chippies – and then she cried because there were no chippies immediately available. Note to self: 19month old toddlers clearly don’t like to wait.

Getting to Chadstone was a journey in itself.The weather was terrible, so traffic was appalling and the parking around Chadstone felt like the Christmas rush. I don’t know if it’s because of all the new shops opening up, but it was just crazy busy inside. After 30mins of stalking people to get a car park we eventually managed to snag one and were able to make our way through the hordes of shoppers to our dining destination. Arriving at Burger Project at 3:00 we were greeted with sign stating that the place was closed from 3:00 to 4:00pm. I noticed the manager and had only just finished putting said sign up and I managed to negotiate our way into the restaurant. Katie was at this stage getting pretty snappy and Lucy needed to sit down and have some food, so thankfully we managed to avoid a full scale meltdown.

Confronted with the menu, the first thing I noticed was the prices – Very reasonable and much cheaper than expected. $8.90 for the classic burger and only $13.90 for the most expensive burgers. Considering that this is a Neil Perry joint, I was happily surprised – although I was worried it might mean a lower quality burger.

I decided to go for a standard Cheese and Bacon burger – $10.90 – comes with Cheese, bacon, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a secret sauce. Taz went for the same and Katie opted for the double. I also ordered a salted caramel thickshake $7.50 (Amazing) and we shared two large chips $5.50 each (Average).

You order and then collect when it’s ready – so we are talking more of an upscale fast food joint than a real restaurant. The décor feels more fast food style as well.

The burgers took a little while, but we didn’t mind as we were still getting over the journey in. Soon enough the buzzer was jumping off the table and I was jumping out of my seat. Burgers collected, I began the business of tucking in…

First impressions – it’s smaller than I though it would be. Not a huge burger – and it looks fast food. A McDonalds style bun – soft, spongy, the burger is juicy and dripping as soon as I pick it up. First bite and you get the soft sweet bun, but then a really savoury beef hit. The patty is really well seasoned – a good American style beef hit that you just don’t get that often here in Australia. Our beef often tends to the sweeter side, but this was salty and savoury and actually really good. It was a fatty mix and probably a chuck blend – it had that sort of fast food style. But I have to say I was impressed. The cheese was well melted, a standard American style – a good match for this burger. The bacon was an Australian style – not smoked, or smoked very lightly. It was crispy though and was a nice savoury crispy addition. The beef/cheese/bacon combo complimented the sweet soft bun – you then got the sharp sweet/sour tang of the pickle cutting through the fattiness and the fresh crisp lettuce, onion and tomato balancing the burger nicely. The sauce was ok – but I didn’t get a lot of it and to be honest it didn’t seem to add a lot. The burger was juicy enough with the patty and the cheese.

Overall, the taste was really good fast food style burger. The kind you get in good fast food places in the states. This is no gourmet burger, and it sits on the fatty salty side of things, so if that’s not your thing,  you probably wont love this burger. That being said, the ingredients are good quality – not blow your socks off quality, but at least you know you are eating real food and not something created in a factory.

Price wise it’s $17.90 for a burger soft drink and small chips – so it’s well positioned and cheaper than some other high end fast food style burger places.

I’d give it an 8 – and although I wouldn’t go during peak times again, if I was just wondering around Chadstone there’s no doubt I’d make some sort of excuse to wind up here again for a sneaky burger.

Burger Project Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I’ve been hearing good things about this place for a while now – it’s been up the top of my to do list, but since I’ve been on a bit of a burger break, it’s taken a while to make it down to Mick Adams.

Lucy and I were out and about, enjoying the mid spring sunshine when I decided it was time to make the trip. Lucy didn’t mind, I mentioned there might be “chippies”, and she was all for the adventure.

Mick Adams is located just out front of the Oakleigh shopping center, at the end of the Eaton Mall. We were there in the late afternoon so it wasn’t actually too busy -I was able to find a table with enough space to leave Lucy in the pram and not feel like I was annoying anyone. Settled in, I had some decisions to make. After careful consideration of the menu and discussions with Lucy, I decided to go for the The Big T, add bacon (obviously), and a bowl of beer battered chips. Not cheap – the total with a can of soft drink came in at over $30. At this price point I was expecting a premium burger experience. The Big T with Bacon is a $19 burger – and when it arrived I could understand why. This thing was pretty big. Good thing I hadn’t eaten yet. As you can probably tell from the photo, this baby is pretty easy on the eyes – a well put together burger.

First bite in – you get a nice soft bun, a little sweet, but not too much. Just picking the thing up suggest that this is going to be a hard burger to keep together – quite heavy in the hand and already dripping. Probably the first thing you notice is the meat – it’s a really beef driven burger – the meat shines through, well seasoned, beefy, juicy, a good meat to fat ratio, and cooked medium – just a hint of pink – which is always a good thing. The bacon was a little strange, it was sliced really thinly and reminded me of times that I’ve cooked thin sliced ham – It can get a little tough. Too much of the short cut and not enough of the fatty bit. It didn’t add what I wanted in this case, so I was a bit disappointed.

The burger is a fairly simple affair, cheese, tomato, fresh crunchy iceberg lettuce and pickles – sauces are aioli and ketchup. I really noticed the absence of the onion. For me it normally creates that sharp back note that balances the fatty beef , It was missed in this burger. The elements themselves were all good quality, and well put together, however, I wanted something more – more sauce, mustard, onion, better bacon??? I’m not sure, but something was missing…

Perhaps they wanted to create a burger that let the meat standout – and they certainly did that. It really was the key element. But after a while, it became a little too one note for me. I wanted some sort of contrast/compliment to the beef. Don’t get me wrong, the meat was a really good quality – but it was no aged Wagyu sirloin. I wonder if this is just because it was a double meat patty burger. I’ve experienced this before, and I find that sometimes the double can really throw out the balance of the burger. If it’s not done right the double patty can just be – too meaty. Did I just say that? I know right – too meaty. Can that even be a problem? But a good burger has to be about balance. I think next time I’d try the single patty version – which I think would probably work better.

Overall, a well put together burger, quality ingredients, just lacking in something – I’d give it a solid 7.5.

Mick Adams Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Decided to head off on a road trip to the Sunshine coast with a detour to Sydney to catch up with some friends and family. My brilliant cousin Alyssa decided that if I was making the effort to drive up then the least she could do was point me in the direction of a reasonable burger joint. She suggested a few places, but since it was a Sunday lunch, we were limited in choice. Thankfully The Horse in Surry Hills was open.

The Horse has some sort of deal with Chicken and son’s – I’m not sure how it all works – but the result is the Whitehorse hotel in Surry hills has an amazing selection of burgers on the menu. Alyssa had heard that the burger to go for was the big bird – add bacon. She’s the kind of girl who does her research – so my burger selection was made the moment we sat down. The rest of the table ordered more sensibly sized burgers – except for my mate Shane. When the time came for him to order, he sheepishly shook his head and mumbled that he was fine – he’d had a salad before he came. He had a salad… It was one of those moments where there’s a dip in the background noise just at the exact point in time that the words are uttered. The whole table wasn’t sure what to say. It’s was pretty awkward – I was immediately concerned about his mental heath of course. I think my daughter started to cry. We tried to move on, but there was a lingering weird vibe to be honest.

Anyway, I should probably talk about the burger – I normally don’t go for the chicken, but in this case it was the chicken that they were known for, so I had my excuse.

The burger wasn’t cheap – well north of $20, but realistically it was at least 2 if not three reasonably sized burgers in one. It was pretty difficult to actually take the first bite – but being the professional that I am, I gave it a red hot crack and almost dislocated my jaw – first up you notice the Two buttermilk, double fried chicken fillets, crunchy and yet still amazingly tender and juicy, with just a hint of some spice. This burger is all about the chicken. The bun was quite soft and you get a middle slice of bread – so there’s a lot of bread when you consider the breading on the chicken. The burger comes with double American cheese – nicely melted and doing it’s job of holding the burger together. I added bacon – a good move to be honest, adding a nice smokey, salty note. There was a fairly generous layer of pickles – normally a good thing – although in this case they were a little sweet for my tastes. I think it needed a sharper element to cut through all that bread. The chopped red onion added a little bite and the lettuce was fresh and cold and crunchy and was a nice contrast. The sauce seemed like a slightly spiced aioli – but there was nowhere near enough. The burger was a bit dry to be honest, with all that bread it needed some sauce. In some of the other burgers there was a coleslaw – and I think that might have worked here. The chicken was amazing don’t get me wrong, but put together as it was, it was more of a gimmick than a well thought out burger. The two levels and extra bread really didn’t add anything but looks. I’d love to try the single level burger or even the beef burger – but as far as the big bird goes, I’d have to say it was a little bit of a disappointment. I’d say 7 out of 10.

The Horse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s been a while…

Posted: October 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
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It got pretty bad there for a while…

Ok, so it’s been a very, very long time since I last sat down to write something for my blog. Turns out that having to look after a toddler is rather time consuming. Who would have thought… That and being broke kind of put the breaks on my little food adventures. Strangely I quite missed my blog. It’s not that I didn’t occasionally find the time to go out – there were moments – sure, but without the blog, eating just wasn’t the same – it was a muted, joyless experience. Like watching the big game on TV with the sound turned off. My dining companion might ask what I thought of the burger or whatever – I’d sigh, shrug my shoulders and mumble, “meh, it’s not bad”… Without the blog, I felt no obligation to experience the meal, no need to really savor every aspect, mentally catalog the finer details. Mine was a soulless, muted existence. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t THAT bad. It was pretty bad though…

Anyway, I’ve decided that now is as good a time as any to return to my blog and my inane food musings…

 

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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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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

Burgers, Babies and Blogging

Posted: April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

I can’t remember the last time I had a moment to actually log in and look at my wordpress account, let alone type anything even closely resembling a coherent sentence (It’s debatable that I’ve ever been all that coherent anyway)…

I vaguely recall a time before now when a lot of my energy was consumed with planning my next food or burger adventure and then blogging about the resultant experience. I could wax lyrical about the ratio of bun to patty. I could engage in entire conversations about the benefits of chuck vs. sirloin… Oh life was so much simpler then. These last few weeks my conversations have revolved around poo, spew, wee, nappies, sleep, breasts (Not as much fun as you might think…), swaddling, crying, burping, washing… My point is that food and burgers seem to have dropped off my top 10 of things to talk about. I guess I’ve been rather preoccupied over the last month or so. You might be wondering why this has all happened, well essentially it’s because of this:

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Now whilst Lucy might look all cute and cuddly, appearances, as I’ve learnt from burger hunting, can be deceiving. Behind that big blue eyed baby face is a tiny human poo machine – surely more comes out than goes in! My wife calls the big ones poonamis… And then you have this:

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How is it possible to go through so many outfits in one day? And how is it possible that she already has more clothes than I do?

Anyway, all of these things make it rather difficult to head out of the house let alone head out for a meal. Thankfully in recent times things have settled down a little and I’ve had the chance to sleep for a few minutes here and there. It’s also meant that I’ve had the chance to head out for a bite to eat. Hopefully I can stay awake long enough to type up a couple of blog posts over the next few weeks. For now I think I might just go to bed – I mean it is almost 8:30pm!!

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I was in the city for some lectures on the American revolution, and I decided to take a break and get something Americany (that might not be a word…) for lunch.  Fellow burger aficionado, Chris, just also happened to be having a lunch break – lucky coincidence I guess… Not far from where he works is a place called Son of a Burger, it seemed like a reasonable place to get some burger goodness, so off I tramped through the city to meet Chris and to grab a bite to eat. Son of a Burger is actually in a food court – this didn’t inspire me with a hell of a lot of confidence, and when pressed, Chris mentioned that he had actually been here before. His, well… I’ll let you make up your own mind, also didn’t leave me thinking I was about to have the best burger of my life. The Burgers here are slider sized, so always order two, there’s no point just getting one – get two. I ordered the mishmash, so you choose two sliders – I got the Texan BBQ brisket and the Chicken, and it comes with a side of really good French Fries. Sitting down to eat at a small table in a food court really doesn’t add to the dining experience – But who care we were there for food not ambiance… lets talk about the burger – sliders, tiny things, whatever they are…

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After quite a wait – Chris mentioned they take a while – two rather small buns come out. They’re almost hors d’oeuvre size if you were to cut it in half. Chris’s comment – you’d be pretty pleased to get one of those at a wedding, basically sumed them up for me – Next time I think I’d get 3… Apart from size, the shape is different, the bun is oval, rather than round. First bite and the bun is soft, slightly sweet and really fresh, the BBQ brisket was nice, but needed a bit more punch, there wasn’t enough BBQ for me. The one slice of brisket would have been better pulled and then sauce I think. The sweetness of the bun worked really well with the BBQ flavours though – just a shame there wasn’t more of them. The second bun was the Chicken, packed with fresh flavours – it seemed Thai inspired – I’d order this one again. I’m not sure where I sit with this place, it’s not a burger really – they don’t even do a traditional kind of beef so it’s hard to judge against other “burgers”. I would have say that I enjoyed it though, as an interesting take on finger foods. I’d give it a 7.

Son of a Burger on Urbanspoon

I’ve been hearing about the Continental Deli and Restaurant, DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar located in Mornington for a while now. It certainly seems to polarise people, with what I can only call their interesting approach to hospitality – I’ve read some less than impressive (read scathing) reviews. So when Katie suggested pizza at DOC’s for Dinner a few weeks back when Melissa and Shane where in town, well, I was a little apprehensive. However, one thing I have noticed about DOC is that it is normally quite full, normally with a waiting list of groups to be seated. When we arrived it was very busy – the middle of the tourist season in Mornington is never a good time to try to get seat anywhere, but it seemed especially busy at DOC. We sat at the window waiting for a table in the very overcrowded seating area, and after a bit of a wait we were hurriedly shown to our table.

Looking at the menu, the Pizza’s aren’t cheap – and I already knew that was going to be the case – sure if you compare these pizza’s with a take away place, then yes, they are expensive. But the point a lot of people obviously miss, is that these are not your standard run of the mill pizza’s. We ordered three pizza’s and Melissa ordered the Lasagne. Made in the Italian style, the pizza’s are thin and not too crispy and have a light topping of a tomato based sauce and a scattering of creamy melting disks of fresh Mozzarella. Toppings are generally pretty sparse as well, so you get to enjoy the individual flavours and notice the quality of the ingredients. To be honest, these would have to be some of the best pizza’s I’ve ever tried – the base was so good that we ate the crusts dipped in the olive oil that was provided on the table as though it was a delicious warm flat bread – And Katie never eats her crusts!

There’s no doubting the quality of the food or the ingredients -the service on the other hand is somewhat eccentric. It seems as though their hiring policy is that the waiter must be from Italy first, and training or experience in hospitality in not necessarily required. The wait staff aren’t all that attentive, some of them actually seem put out to be serving you and would rather be having fun with the other staff members… However, the vibe at the restaurant is fun and frivolous. The wait staff seem to be having a great time with each other and are often yelling across the bar, or joking with one another – If you don’t take the waiters too seriously and go to simply enjoy good quality authentic food, I’m sure it will be a worthwhile experience.

Note: Once again my phone was playing up – so no photos for this one…

D.O.C Mornington on Urbanspoon

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Chris and I were driving down Chapel Street, trying to pick a burger place for a quick bite to eat when we drove past Boston Sub. Chris noticed that the sign out front said “Boston Sub – Sandwich Americana”. Well that can’t be bad we thought – let’s have look. Knowing nothing about the place, we walked in and perused the menu. There seemed to be some sort of naming convention for the subs – with names like “The Jordan”, The Ali”, “The Lincoln”, although we couldn’t figure out the connections – The Lincoln was lamb, mint sauce and coleslaw… The Poutine’s were similarly named, although we figured out the Jabba the Hut, which was a loaded poutine, at least sense. Anyway, we were sufficiently intrigued to hang around and order. Chris ordered the Jordan, and I got the Ali, we got a Jabba the Hut to share and then I got a salted Banana Milkshake and Chris a Wheatbeer. Strangely they had a very large and eclectic selection of beers for a small take away sub shop… They also had a really large fridge door – but more about that later.

I’m not sure what we were expecting for $7.50, but when the subs came out I was a little disappointed. They were rather small and plain looking and Chris’s was really just a hot dog – it looked like a good hot dog, but I think we were expecting some sort of massive American style sub. Well, appearances can be deceiving. The “Ali” was advertised as Beef with BBQ sauce and cabbage. It was exactly that, but at the same time, it was much more. The sub was a very soft, sweet 6 inch roll, spongy and fresh. It complemented the delicious pulled beef, the cabbage and mayo added texture and fat. It was actually really good – just not what I had envisaged when I walked in. The Jabba the Hut on the other hand was exactly what I was expecting. A huge mound of chips, pulled beef and lamb, pork crackle, bacon, cheese curds and gravy. God I love Poutine – that crazy Canadien contribution to the fast food landscape. My Salted Banana Milkshake was also pretty damn tasty.

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So Chris and I were sitting there ruminating about how the food had both exceeded and fallen short of our expectation when a group of young, hipster types walked in and asked to go to the bar. I’m sure there was some sort of secret nod, wink or hand shake, and then the large fridge door was opened and the secret passage was reveled. So the sub shop was just a front for a blind tiger – a speakeasy straight from the roaring 20’s! After a few more well dressed trendy looking young things had been shown through, Chris plucked up the courage to ask if he too to go through. I was half expecting the guy to say, “Um, I’m sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about? You want go in the fridge? There’s no bar here…” Through the fridge door lies a very nicely appointed cocktail bar, it’s a Alice in Wonderland like transition. Very weird, and of course nauseatingly Melbourne. Apparently it’s really popular on the weekend, it just so happened that we were there during a quite period, so we were able to sneak in for a look. It seemed like a pretty cool place to relax with a group of friends. Anyway, back to the food – at $7.50 for a sub and $15 for the massive poutine, it’s good value, and the food is really good. I’d definitely come back, and the surprise factor of the bar out the back is pretty cool too.

Boston Sub on Urbanspoon