Posts Tagged ‘American food’

Brother Burger has been on my to do list for a while now – unfortunately I don’t get out as much as I used to. Chris however is footloose and fancy free… without letting me know, he went off and sampled Brother Burger, and then was nice enough to send me a photo and suggest he do a write up… Thanks Chris. Below is his take on Brother Burger.
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After Archery on a weekend there’s nothing like heading to get a good Burger. Being in the area a friend of mine and myself decided to try Brother Burger on Brunswick Street Fitzroy. It was the long weekend so Melbourne was deserted. Fighting our way past the tumbleweeds and chirping crickets that populated the streets instead of people, we were relieved to see that it was open. Honestly it looked like the Zombie Apocalypse was in progress. But Brother Burger was buzzing. Ahh, this is where everyone is. Well…were all the hipsters were.
Brother Burger promises a good Wagyu burger experience, they make a big deal of the high quality hand grinded burger patty you are about to experience taken from cows that had been pampered in fields so grassy you could only see their little cow ears poking up. So naturally I got the double. My friend strangely got the lamb burger. Who gets the lamb burger?
To start we decided the Smokey Buffalo wings and beers were the order of the day and to accompany them some beers. They have a craft beer called the “Holden Haytime” beer by Half-moon. It was amazing.  A desert like beer that manages to taste not entirely unlike a Golden Gay time. Look it’s a beer. The fact that it tastes like a golden gay time at all is amazing.  When the wings arrived they were beautiful with a crispy outer shell of batter that had been soaked in Smokey sweet BBQ sauce.  So far so good. We also ordered some of the Onion rings because….well onion rings are awesome.
When the burgers arrived they looked the business. They smelt amazing. Mine was a beautiful stack of grilled meat with cheese, BBQ sauce, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onions for sweetness and sharp American mustard on a nice light milk bun. The burger was a good size and looked like it would hold together well.
There were just two issues with it. First, whilst the meat was not quite as promised, it wasn’t the best cut, it wasn’t even the second best cut. This was chuck, chuck with gristle in it. Wagyu? Um…no. I had to chew my way through more than a few pieces of sinew and cartilage. Which I don’t mind…..provided I’m not paying $17 for a burger and I was faithfully promised finest Wagyu by the menu.
Second was the Mustard. Way too sharp and way too much of it. I didn’t order the Mustard burger did I? No…that’s just how it comes? Ugh.
My friend was having similar issues with his burger. But his biggest problem was the meat. He did not like the meat. Now look, Lamb can be divisive; it’s our national meat but it has a strong smell and sometimes that puts people off. I’m not squeamish and I like lamb, but based on the smell did not try the small piece of patty I was given to sample. It might have been the herbs, it might have been the spices but it seemed like it was the meat itself and I was glad I didn’t order it but my friend had ordered it and it remained uneaten. And that’s the most damming thing I can say about Brother Burger. Even though we were both hungry when we walked in neither Burger was finished.
I give my burger 4 out of 10.
Well – there we have it – not the best burger experience. Another let down? I will have to investigate further myself and I promise to dutifully report back.
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After the unmitigated disaster that was last weekends burger hunt, I needed to rebound with something special. There’s still quite a few burgers on my to-do list, and one that has been up the top for quite some time is Laurie Dee’s. The reason I haven’t ticked it off yet is the fact that it’s almost an hour away from where I live. Today I decided it was time. So off on the burger hunt we went. By we I mean, Katie, Chris and of course Lucy.

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After the long trip in the car talking about burgers we arrived a fairly ravenous bunch – sprint walking to the restaurant. Thankfully it was pretty quiet and we were seated and ordering before too long. A quick look around Laurie Dee’s and you immediately think Franchise. This place is being positioned to franchise. From the décor to the menu to the layout – it all screams franchise. Not that this is always a bad thing – but it did put me off a little bit at first. The menu is slick and full of delicious photo’s, so after I wiped my drool off the menu, I proceeded to select a burger. I opted for the Double Laurie Dee’s with added bacon ($12.95), Katie went for the Double Bacon & Cheddar ($10.95), and Chris decided to go crazy and opted for the Sloppy Joe ($10.95). We also ordered some chilli cheese fries and I got a Banana Shake – Katie and Chris later ordered some of the “Frozen custard” for dessert.

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One thing I will say, is that you probably want to go for the double – the burgers aren’t big – they’re designed to go two patties. Speaking of the patties – very interesting. Apparently they are hand minced daily, which is great, but the way the are cooked is where you get the biggest difference from your normal burger. Very thin and squashed flat, the edges get crispy and very caramelised, which gives you a nice meaty taste. Generally, the danger here would be a rubbery, dry overcooked patty, but at Laurie Dee’s they have avoided that – The patty is still juicy enough, and encased in melted, gooey, American style cheese – so you get that fatty, salty accompaniment to the beef – works well. The overall flavour reminded me of American fast food beef – not unlike five guys actually. The bacon is the next hit – it’s smokey, salty and crisp – delicious. The buns are fairly standard fast food style – very soft and spongy, although not cakey in this case. The sauces were great, although I’ve never been a massive fan of pickle relish – too sweet for me – I’d probably be happy to leave it out next time. Overall a very good fast food style American burger. In fact we all really enjoyed our burgers . The chilli fries were also great – once again very much like what I’ve gotten back in the states – A nice cheesy sauce with a mild chilli – worth getting if you go.

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Since I was full from the meal (Plus I had a thick shake – nice enough, but nothing you haven’t had before) I skipped ordering my own dessert. Katie and Chris both really enjoyed theirs and from the sneaky tastes I managed to get, I’d have to agree. Not sure if “frozen custard” is really any different to ice cream, but either way it’s good.

On the long drive home, much of the discussion centred around the rating. Everyone really enjoyed their food – The clear theme was value for money and delivering on the promise of a good fast food style American burger. My thoughts were – as good as it was – it was still fast food quality. Can I go above 7.5 in this case? Chris and Katie seemed to think yes.

I think I’m going to stick to my guns on this one. A very enjoyable, fun burger. If you’ve eaten burgers in the States, you’ll enjoy this. If you like the current gourmet burger trend, then you might rate this burger a little lower. In any case, I’m going rate this a good solid 7.5 with a note that my fellow burger hunters would rate it higher.

 

Laurie Dee's Hamburgers & Frozen Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I’ve wanted to try this place for a while now – they have some of the tastiest looking burgers on instagram. Not only that, but the feedback around the traps has been fairly positive so I’ve been waiting for an excuse to head out to the western suburbs. Recently, that excuse came in the form of a text message from Chris:

“Burger tonight?”

Obviously when you’ve been starved of good burgers for a while, the response was an instantaneous – yes. After some planning, Chris and his partner Hannah agreed to meet me in Essendon around 6:30. I got there a little late as the trip across town is a bit of pain and the traffic sucked. Chris clearly had a worse time of it than me, as he still wasn’t there by 7pm. In the mean time, I got to watch some very delicious looking burgers come off the pass and out the door. I ordered some mac and cheese slappers and a salted caramel milkshake just to pass the time.

The salted caramel milkshake was more thickshake than milkshake – just how I like them – delicious. The slappers were good, but I’ll be honest, I don’t really rate fried mac and cheese – the problem is that is will inevitably be too dry and mostly pasta with only a little sauce. I love mac and cheese, but I like it saucy, not dry – and you can’t have that if you fry it or it would just fall apart. This attempt was a good as it’s probably going to get, so if it’s your thing, then I’m sure these wont disappoint.

By the time Chris and Hannah arrived I was so hungry from watching burger after burger paraded before my eyes that I was sitting in a puddle of drool (Ok, not that bad – but gee I was hungry).

We raced up to the counter to order our burgers – I’d had some time to decided what I wanted so I ordered the Dude burger with added bacon – apparently they have cold smoked bacon here – it looks delicious. I’m sure it would make the burgers just that much better, but I’ll never know as they had run out. I could see and smell the last remaining rashes of bacon sizzling on the grill – oh woe was me. My death stare towards Chris was ignored/avoided. Although, to be fair, I shouldn’t blame him for their lack of bacon supplies… In the end I ordered the Dude burger – 160gm Wagyu beef patty cooked medium, American cheddar, caramelised onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and aioli – $13. Chris opted to double down, with the extra patty and Hannah went for the delicious looking southern fried chicken burger.

We didn’t have to wait too long for our burgers. I was straight into mine – honestly, anything would have tasted amazing at this stage. After the first couple of bites I paused, and Hannah commented that I had a thoughtful expression. Chris too had paused. There was a problem. Neither of us wanted to admit it. I tried some of the patty on it’s own, I took a couple more bites. The look of the burger wasn’t the problem – it looked amazing. The elements themselves were high quality and well cooked – The bun was the sweeter style brioche which can be cakey, however they had warmed these through and the effect was a perfectly soft and spongy bun – a bit on the sweet side for me though. The pickles were great, a sharp/sweet style. The salad did its job and added texture and freshness. The cheese was melted well, although it was very mild. The caramelised onions added richness. The sauces were in the background and didn’t really add to the flavour, rather they added juiciness. And finally we come to the Wagyu patty. Perfectly cooked, juicy, tender.

So what’s the problem you ask? This sounds like an amazing burger. The only problem was that it wasn’t. It was like someone had made me a cordial and not put enough syrup in the glass. It was “watery”.

There was very little flavour. The whole burger was bland – the dominant flavour was sweet. I got almost no beef flavour, no salt, very little savoury – “umami”. Chris had two patties and he had the same problem. It was like they had selected a very lightly flavoured beef and then forgot to season the patties. The whole thing was just intensely disappointing. We discussed that the sweet flavour profile would have really worked with some BBQ sauce, or the addition of smokey bacon to counter the sweet notes… But in the end we were grasping at straws.

At the end of the day, there was very little beef flavour in the beef patties – this is not a good thing in a beef burger. I wanted to believe that we just got a weird batch. I wanted love these burgers. I can’t give this burger anything more than 6.5 based on my experience. I’ll go back and try the burger with bacon and see how it goes – a burger this good looking shouldn’t be this bad. On the plus side – Hannah thought the chicken burger was delicious…

Dude Food Man Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I was desperate for a burger on Saturday night after a day spent working on reports, so I asked Chris to find a place nearby that we hadn’t been to. He came back with YOMG. That’s right, he suggested a frozen yogurt bar… Chris was almost banned from choosing burger places with this insipid effort. Well at least that’s what I thought at the time. Strangely I accepted his recommendation and we set off on our burger hunt to a FROZEN YOGURT bar… Ah Chris… Firstly, what sort of yogurt bar sells Burgers and Fries? YOMG is a frozen yogurt franchise – I’d been to the one in Mornington in the middle of summer, nice enough place…. It’s one of the plethora of trendy serve yourself frozen yogurt bars that seems to be popping up around the traps. They’re so trendy that there are two within walking distance on Glenhuntly road that opened at the same time near my old place. Great business planning there…

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Anyway, so the YOMG in Glen Waverly also sells burgers – yep Burgers and Fries. I wonder how they convinced the franchise that they were going to sell burgers and fries as well – I mean, I don’t see  that as a natural partnership. But perhaps I should – because regardless of how weird the idea was to me – when we arrived, it was standing room only – the place was packed. And this is in the middle of winter, and I can’t see business at a frozen yogurt bar really taking off when it’s 7c outside…

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We couldn’t get a seat and it was almost impossible to get a park nearby – the problem was that I had Lucy in the baby carrier. So the plan was Katie and Chris would order and I would drive around so that Lucy wouldn’t lose it, and they’d call me when the burgers were ready and we’d park some where and eat. Consequently I’m not totally sure of the menu or the prices. I can say that I ordered the Double, which come with double beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelised onion, special sauce and ketchup – around $13. Chris got the same, Katie got a chicken burger and then we ordered some fries – Katie got some sort of pulled pork, Asian flavoured amazingness, and Chris ordered the American fries, which bacon, cheese sauce, ketchup and mustard (also amazing). Katie also got an amazing Peanut butter and salted caramel Milkshake and yet for some reason she only ordered me a can of coke zero… I think it would have been fair if we had divorced there and then – who does that to their husband?? Thankfully she let me have some of her delicious milkshake – although she wouldn’t give me any of her chicken burger. Our relationship is clearly on shaky ground.

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We found a secluded side street to park on and then got stuck into our burgers and fries. Firstly – sorry about the photo’s, it was dark and I got some grease on the phone so the photo’s came out a little blurry. But that’s probably the only downside. The burgers here are amazing. Chris’s crazy suggestion for some reason paid off. From the first bite the burger really stands out – a nice soft bun, lightly toasted, good amount of seeds, a lovely glazed crust, spongy and fresh, savoury more than sweet. The patties were really good. Not the best quality meat – more a chuck style flavour – but seasoned well, a loose grind, so you get a very tender and juicy burger patty, and they were cooked to perfection. The cheese was melted and encased the double patties well. The caramelised onion added nice sweetness and richness to the burger and the salad balanced the burger well. The sauce was in the background, allowing the meat patties to shine through.

We were all pretty impressed and confused as to why these burgers are being sold in Yogurt bar. If a Yogurt bar can do a burger this good -then there is no excuse for any burger bar again to dish out anything less than this – ever. I’m still blown away by just how good this burger was – I wanted another one straight away – not that I needed another one. The fries were amazing too. Everything was great (Except my can of coke – which really was a disappointing accompaniment to such quality food). Chris felt that this burger was good enough for an 8.5. I’m inclined to almost agree. If the burger had pickles I think I’d be dishing out the 8.5 without thinking twice. As it is… Ah, stuff it –  8.5, it was that good. I guess Chris is allowed to choose the place again (He got lucky).

Click to add a blog post for YOMG on Zomato

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I had to make an afternoon trip to the Airport to pick-up my brother-in-law Rusty, who is staying with us for a couple of weeks. It just so happens that that New York Minute is sort of on the way to the airport… Well sort of. Anyway, I’d heard some positive reviews about this place and I was intrigued to try their New York burger. I made the short detour off the Freeway and into Moonee Ponds. At 4:00pm in the afternoon it was a pretty easy drive and also pretty easy to snag a car park near by. New Your Minute is more of a take away place than sit down restaurant – apparently they are also franchising, with 4 locations to be open soon. I have to admit, I’m always sceptical of franchises – they seem to loose something in the quest to expand… Anyway, I put that aside and went in to order. I asked the young man behind the counter what their best burger was and he told me the New York burger – Which to be honest looks like a bit more than just an homage to that certain burger from the golden arches. Although at $12 – more than double the price. I ordered the New York, with a side of chips and a can of drink. After a little wait I got my take away box and I hurried back out to my car. I had to eat in the car as all the seats were taken and I was in a rush to get to the airport anyway – which is why my photo’s aren’t very good. Anyway, I was pretty keen to open up my white takeaway container and enjoy the contents. First impression and this was not a “pretty” burger. It was a big, ugly, man burger. Sauce and melted cheese going everywhere. It’s the kind of burger that means business. Eating this, you know you’re not getting out of it without some on you by the end – it’s a messy affair that’s for sure. All I can say is – thank God they Teflon coat ties these days. Wipes right off and I don’t have to get it dry cleaned. Can’t say the same for my shirt though. It’s got a bit oily splodge on it… Oh well. So the burger as you might gather is saucy – very saucy. And I like that in my burgers. The other thing you notice is the double levels, two patties, separated by quite a large slice of bun. I thought at first there would be too much bun to meat, but it worked out quite well actually. The bread was soft and spongy, a standard white bread, more savoury than sweet. The beef itself however, is a bit of a let down, it’s overworked and a bit sausagey – although you don’t really notice it due to all that sauce. The spinach is not a good idea, unlike crunchy lettuce which adds both freshness and texture, the spinach leaves are just soggy and do nothing for the burger at all. All of this is really beside the point. You can’t taste much else apart from the sauce as it seems to over power everything- it’s a great sauce – don’t get me wrong, not totally unlike the afore mentioned sauce you find on a certain burger from the golden aches – just much better… In this case the sauce has evidence of onion, pickle, certainly mayo based, probably some sweet mustard and possible some ketcup. Either way it is a good sauce – but there’s a lot of it and the other ingredients are pretty flat, making this a bit of a sauce burger. Oh the conundrum – I quite often deride the lack of sauciness in burgers, and now here I am complaining about too much sauce?? It’s is what it is. The acid test really is that I wouldn’t go out of my way to come back. As much as I enjoyed it (It’s not a bad burger – it just lacked balance), I probably wont be back unless I’m in the area, as such it’s 6.5 for this one – good, not great.

New York Minute on Urbanspoon

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Ummm, yeah, so this really is a blog post about McDonalds. Look, let me explain. Chris and I have been champing at the bit to find out what this “Create your Taste” thing is all about ever since we heard about the idea. Recently, Mulgrave McDonalds has been offering table service and “gourmet” burgers… So good they claim it’s worth getting out of your car for it! Hold on now I hear you say – table service and gourmet burgers – good enough to get out of your car – ARE YOU CRAZY… Yep you heard right.

The new “Create your Taste” is a big change. I first read about the new changes with some scepticism late last year. Ah, McDonalds, jumping on the gourmet bandwagon I thought, yeah, like that will work. But then, their foray into café foods and beverages (McCafé)  seems to have worked – at least from the perspective of an outsider. For McDonalds to survive they have to move with the times, and I guess people actually want to eat food that tastes and looks like – well, close enough anyway – to food. Who would have thought? Actually, I think a sizable portion of the market is indicating a preference for quality – and they are prepared to pay for it. This is where the “Create your Taste” option fits in. Anyway, regardless of why it’s happening, this menu is being slowly rolled out and is now available in about 16 McDonalds’ around Australia. Today Chris, Katie and I, visited Mulgrave McDonalds to find what all the fuss was about.

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When you first arrive at McDonalds, you’re probably used to waiting in line to order from the counter. However, with the “Create your Taste”, there are touch screens installed and you actually use these and have the option to pay at the machine. There is help available from one of the McCafé team members should you need it – which I did, and she was very helpful. You get a whole host of options, from buns, to cheeses to toppings etc… The McDonalds website explains:

“Create Your Taste is all about you making your very own gourmet burger. Choose from a range of 30 delicious ingredients like guacamole, chipotle sauce, crispy bacon, Colby Jack cheese, shaved parmesan and tortilla strips to create a mouth-watering masterpiece.”

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I chose the Brioche bun, with double Angus beef patties, Colby Jack and Swiss cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, Dijonaise and ketchup. The price for all of this including fries and a large coke was $17.60. That’s pretty pricey for McDonalds, but pretty reasonable if we were at a café or restaurant. As for the ordering system – It took me two goes as I accidently wiped my first attempted order. The system could use a little tweaking, like allowing you to order the same cheese more than once, but apart from a couple of little things like that, it was pretty straight forward. You then had to grab what looked like one of those buzzers you get at the pub and then find your seat. The buzzer aren’t there so that you know when to go up and get your food – no, no, you get table service here. They are in fact there so that the staff can locate where you are sitting and bring your food to you. This is not like the McDonalds you’ve had before. The burgers come out on wooden paddles and the chips come out in a little wire basket. You could almost imagine that you were in a normal restaurant for a moment – except for the fact that you are still sitting inside a McDonalds. At least the Mulgrave McDonalds is reasonable nice inside and out. The food actually took a while, but eventually it was served to us by a friendly staff member. I’d imagine she had received quite a bit of training, she even smiled and was friendly (Actually unlike many cafés around town).

First look at the burger and it looked really appealing and well put together – unlike anything I’ve ever purchased from McDonalds before. The patties were the same patties you get for the Grand Angus, the quarter pound Angus patties. The difference was that these had clearly been grilled not “microwaved” or what ever it is that they do it heat them as usual. And the difference was clearly noticeable. The cheese had been allowed to melt nicely and encase the patty in a very appealing way. These burgers actually, truthfully, looked good – you wanted to eat them when they were set before you. I know – none of this makes sense. Clearly, something has happened to the space time continuum and I have somehow been transported into an alternative reality… That’s the only way I can explain it. Let’s just assume that these all makes sense and not think about it too much or the universe may just collapse in on itself…

Tastewise they weren’t too bad either. The bun was quite thin so there was a good bread to meat ratio. The salad elements were fresh and crisp, and the bacon was actually quite good. The meat wasn’t great, but I’ve had far worse. It’s still your normal McDonalds Angus patty, and it’s overcooked. However with the melted cheese and the fact that it’s got a fairly high fat content means that it’s still juicy enough. The Biggest let down is the lack of real flavour. Everything is far too timid and mild. Katie and Chris both included the Chipotle mayo and neither could really taste much.

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The cheeses are all very mild and the sauces need more zing. They have played it too safe, and as a result, the burgers are nice, but lack punch. The upside is that you don’t get the bloated, “oh god I just ate McDonalds” feeling that accompanies the normal burger binge at the golden arches! Both Katie and Chris were happy with their burgers and there was a lot of chat about what to rate the burger. We all felt a little weird enjoying the burgers here to be honest. But the reality is that they were actually pretty decent burgers. I’d give them a 6.5 – yes I know, I just rated a McDonalds burger… I don’t know what is going on with the universe!

McDonald's on Urbanspoon

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It’s been exactly a year since I began my burger hunt- oh so many delicious memories… I’ve had some amazing burgers, and my preferences and my ideas about burgers have changed along the journey. Some might say it’s been a journey of self discovery and growth… Well, there’s been some midriff growth, but I don’t know about the rest. Anyway, Damo and I decided to revisit the first stop on this momentous life changing journey – Rockwell and Sons – to see how they stacked up a year later. I remember this first burger and some of the really bad photos’ I took – I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t). You can read my pretty average first attempt at burger blogging here: http://wp.me/p4owfB-A

Not having the depth of experience that I do now, I judged the burger on a different set of criteria, so I was interested to see how I would rate their burger a second time around.

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For those of you how don’t know – (People living in a cave, vegetarians etc…) Rockwell and Sons have been attracting a lot of attention for a while now, largely thanks to their delicious takes on American classics – their burgers in particular. As you can see they have one of the most photogenic burgers going around “The Double Patty Smash Burger”. It just screams, eat me, and have another. Which we kind of did on this occasion…

We decided to get in early to beat the hipster hordes that crowd Smith Street on a Saturday night, so we arrived at about 5:30pm – got a park right out front as well #winningatlife… What we didn’t realise is that they were closed until 6:00pm (Apparently for the all Valley Karate tournament – ah hipsters and your obscure 80’s pop culture references). Since it was so damn hot, we decided to kill some time by sampling a craft beverage or two down the road at the local pub. Finally the clock struck six, and we raced back to stake a claim to table outside. The lovely server offered us some cool water and enquired about our desires – we didn’t need the menu, we knew what we were here for. Two Double Patty Smash Burgers were quickly ordered.

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We also got some delightful tater tots on the side which came with cheese sauce and bacon gravy. They had me at Bacon gravy…

We didn’t have to wait long for the burgers to arrive. Two perfectly created buns, housing two perfectly cooked, slightly pink patties, covered with oozing cheese, amazing burger sauce and crispy bacon. This is burger heaven. The buns here are a brioche style, but they seem like they’ve been slightly steamed or warmed through enough so that all that cakeyness that you sometimes get is completely gone. The Bun is sweet, but not too sweet, and soft and spongy. The first bite is a delight to the senses, juicy, beefy beef, cooked to a medium, hits you first. The crunchy, salty bacon is a great addition and is a nice counter point to all the oozy, soft textures. Speaking of which, the burger is encased in oozy, melted Kraft cheese slices, which actually work really well here. That salty cheesy flavour, mixes with the magic of the burger sauce and adds to the juicy beef.  That burger sauce – oh gosh – simply put, it’s amazing. I can’t completely work out what’s in it, but you definitely get a hint of dill coming though which just really works. The pink hue would suggest some ketchup added to the mayo base – the rest – must be magic. The pickles at the end add a nice sharpness and round out the burger.

Finishing off this burger, I sat back satisfied and though to myself – gee I’d love another one of those right now. It’s not your biggest burger, even with the two patties, and you don’t get any sides with that. So at $16 with the bacon, it’s not exactly cheap. The tater tots were great, but I’d say you’d want one each, not one to share if you were reasonably hungry. Since we still had room, Damo and I decided to order the chicken burger as dessert and split it.

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The chicken burger here is also amazing, crispy, tender pieces of marinated chicken, paired with iceberg lettuce and a tangy, vinegar hot sauce. Amazing. A great dessert if you ask me.

Rating the Double patty smash this time around I’d have to say that it has benefitted from the addition of bacon. This is a great, burger. A bacon cheesy just the way it should be. I give it a 9.

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

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I got kicked out of the house on the weekend – Katie was having her baby shower so I had to go hang out with the boys. Obviously this meant a hamburger and a cool refreshing beverage needed to be found. Some sport to watch would also round out the afternoon nicely.

I ended up at my brothers house in Hawthorn with my mate Paul coming by to support the cause. After some refreshments we decided that it was time for food and so off we headed to Humburger for some hamburger. Humburger is located in a fairly narrow shopfront on Glenferrie rd. (Not so easy to get a park…), They have some seats out the front, although inside there’s plenty of room and you can sit out the back in the courtyard if you like. The menu offerings are pretty straight forward, you get 5 choices of burger and then a host of options to add if you so desire. I went with the “New York” option at $14.5 – it comes standard with double patty, bacon, cheese, caramelised onion, pickles, mayo and tomato sauce, all on the ubiquitous brioche style bun that no self respecting on trend burger joint could go without… I got a side order of fries with herb hollandaise (Which tasted to me like béarnaise… quite nice actually) and a salted caramel milkshake – because a non-salted caramel milkshake would just be too… not salty??? Anyway, once the boys had ordered their burgers and fries we sat outside awaiting the arrival of our tasty treats. The New York is a good looking cheeseburger – oozy melted American style cheese, a good amount of sauce, two good sized patties on a seeded and lightly toasted bun. On looks alone it gets top marks. First bite in and everything seems as it should, the beef is well seasoned and juicy – although I’d like mine a little pinker. In saying that it seems more of a fast food, chuck style mix of beef so it’s still juicy regardless. The melted cheese encasement does a good job of keeping everything juicy and it’s the right type of cheese – American style cheddar. The bacon was good, salty and slightly smokey, a good paring with the sweet/savoury caramelised onions and of course the pickles did their job well cutting through the fat. My one, admittedly small issue with this burger was the bun. There was just too much of it. The bread to meat ratio was a little off, and since it’s a light brioche style bun, it’s also quite sweet and with this much bread, a little cakey for me. My brother only had one patty and he felt it was far too much bread. Don’t get me wrong –  with the double patty it’s not a big deal, but I just feel like this particular burger could use a little less bread. Overall, I quite enjoyed my burger and I’d score the Humburger New York a  7.5.

Humburger 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

So I’ve had a few burgers this year and visited a number of fantastic and not so fantastic purveyors of burgery goodness. In fact, I’ve blogged about and rated about 64 Different burgers throughout 2014! Hmm, no wonder I put on a few pounds.

Well lets have a little bit of a retrospective shall we. I’ve put together a little highlights package so to speak, of the year, with some of my favourite burgers, and some of the absolute disasters.

Lets start with the best of 2014:

Stout – 1544 N Cahuenga Blvd Hollywood, LA, USA

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One of my all time favourite burgers. A hot day in LA spent exploring the sites – this was an amazing burger. A patty that is hand ground each day from a selection of grass feed Angus beef, Brisket and Chuck cuts with Blue Cheese, Emi Gruyere, Rosemary Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Horseradish Cream, Roasted Tomatoes. At the time I gave it a 9.5, I’m not sure if I should have given it a 10

Rockpool Bar and Grill – Crown Complex Southbank

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Chris and I went back for lunch here recently and had the burger again. It had lost none of it lustre. It was still an amazing burger from start to finish. Everything about it was quality. I particularly love their house made Pickles.

Tuckshop Takeaway, 273 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North VIC

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I’ve since gone back to Tuck shop and again this is a burger that continues to perform. One of the best going around without a doubt. Their sodas and milk shakes are unbelievable as well. At the time I gave it a 9, but honestly it’s a good as the others in it’s own way.

Spotted Mallard, 314 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC

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This burger calls out to me. It’s the burger I always want to go back for but haven’t gotten around to just yet. I didn’t have a ranking system in place at the time, but I’d say it would have been at least an 8.5 possibly a 9. I just loved their sauce and the bun.

Beat Box Kitchen – Food Van

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This was one of the first burgers on the hunt. I still recall this burger, everything was fresh and delicious. A quality burger through and though. I loved the stereo sauce, and the name – the Double Ralph! Again, no ratings system at the time, but it’s up there close to a 9.

Nevermind, Awesome Bar and Eatery – 927 E. Cape Coral Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL – USA 

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When I think bacon cheeseburger – this is what I think of. Amazing burger that I had in the states off the back of a tip from a waiter.

Three Crowns Hotel – 365 Victoria St West Melbourne – VIC

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Another place I’ve been to a couple of times now. It’s help up to repeat visits and I think it’s gotten even better. A quality American style burger!

Trunk Bar and Restaurant – 275 Exhibition St, Melbourne

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This burger was a little silly – I ordered a double but had to take the extra patty out just to eat it. Once again, quality ingredients from start to finish make for a quality burger. It’s not rocket science! I gave this an 8.5 at the time.

Chew Burger – 147 Plenty Rd Preston – VIC

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A really solid burger up in the northern part of town. Another Damo suggestion. Great value as well – I gave it an 8.5 at the time and I’d be back.

Racks Ribs Co. – 680A Glen Huntly Road Caulfield South – VIC

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I’ve been back to this place a couple of times and ordered the Sow and Cow – which is the normal amazing burger plus rib meat. Quality burger. I think I gave it an 8.5 at the time, but the addition of the rib meat really worked.

Merricks General Wine Store – 3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd Merricks VIC

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A recent burger, but a damn good one. Every ingredient was top quality – that’s all you need for burger goodness.

 

The not so great burgers:

Burger King – Shinjuku Japan

Check out my post on the Burger section for a clip and more information about the Burger experience!
This was gross – just gross. The squid ink and bamboo charcoal bun, the weird black sauce and the black shiny cheese. No thank you.

The Elsternwick Hotel – 259 Brighton Rd, Elwood “The Wick”

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The food here is much much better than it used to be. At the time, this was one of the worst burgers going around. These day’s it’s fairly edible (But probably still a 4.5 – 5)

Heads & Tails – 112 Ormond Rd Elwood Elwood – VIC

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A terrible effort from a local fish and chip shop. Stale, burnt bun that fell apart. Not a great experience. If you want a good fish and chip shop burger you should go to:

Tommy Ruff – Shop 3/1-3 Carre St Elsternwick VIC, or Old Salt – 246 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC

Beer Deluxe – 329 Burwood Rd Hawthorn – VIC

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One of the worst burgers looks deceptively good… 3.5 Worst patties ever. I felt sick for 12hrs!

Final Thoughts

Anyway, it’s been an amazing year of Burger adventuring. I’ve had some great burger experiences on three different continents. I’ve also eaten a lot of overrated burgers! However I do think that I’ve found some of Victoria’s best burgers. Hope you have enjoyed coming along on the hunt with me.

Special thanks go out to the team –

  • Damo, who came along from the start and made so many fine suggestions. In fact, most of the good burgers were his suggestion…
  • Jo, who helped out and offered some sage words of burger wisdom. And put up with my burger ramblings.
  • Chris, who enjoyed some of the highs and  lows of the burger experience and who provided the idea for the Heaston cook off.
  • And finally, Katie, who put up with all my burger madness throughout the year.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!