Posts Tagged ‘Bacon’

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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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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!

I’ve been in the USA for a few days now and I’m just starting get over the brutal trip and jetlag. Door-to-door, Melbourne, Australia to Deland, Florida took 36hrs. With 9 month old baby Lucy along for the trip, let’s just say, events conspired against Katie and I getting more that a couple of interrupted hours of sleep. The first few days here haven’t been great for sleep either. Lucy likes to stay up screaming at all hours of the night and then sleep in past Midday – did she morph into a teenager while I wasn’t looking???

Anyway, I feel partially human now and the first real burger in the USA helped things nicely. I’ll post a few updates in the next couple of days.

In the mean time, here is a photo of an awarding winning burger that I enjoyed for lunch today.

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It’s been far too long since I’ve had the chance to head out for a burger adventure. Thankfully Chris has offered to help out and review a few tasty burger establishments while I languish at home…

Recently, Chris was kind enough to review Borris Murgers in Bendigo:

Bendigo has some surprisingly awesome and surprisingly modern food places. We’ve talked about The Woodhouse before and it’s still my go-to place in Bendigo. Sure it’s not cheap but it’s all things to all people. It’s a 5 star steak house and a super amazing pizza place (that doesn’t do take away and isn’t open on a Sunday…both things that should be changed). And if it were in Melbourne everything would be twice the price. Then there’s Mr Bebe’s which is as hipster as they come, even to the point of being overrated which I think they do deliberately. Then there’s Masons and the Dispensary both of which would be very much at home on Smith Street. So food in Bendigo is a thing and getting better all the time. So it was with some anticipation that I heard about Borris Murgers and being a regular visitor to the gold-fields there I decided to do my good mate Andrew a solid and eat there. Borris Murgers is pitching itself as a Melbourne style burger extravaganza.

It’s even got a clever name.

The menu looks the business. Everything looked good. They make extravagant claims about their meat. They even have Mac and Cheese. Oh…..a Gay time Milkshake! I gots to get me one of those.

I order a Gaytime milkshake. The streaky bacon murger and some mac and cheese. My companion on this trip orders a BLT burger with Avocado. Both come with chips.

The Good:

The Gaytime milkshake was good, cold and tasted like a Gaytime – can’t fault that. It even had little biscuit pieces through it. The chips were quite good, nice thick sliced double fried pieces of potato goodness which if we were in the US would be referred to as“ potato skins “even though they aren’t. And would have been brilliant with some chives, sour cream and some melted American cheese. Hannah’s BLT burger was quite good with avocado giving it good texture and smoothing out the beef flavour.

The Ok:

The Burger I received was ok, the meat was so-so and very well cooked being both juicy and pink in the middle. But the last three places I’ve been to seem to be afraid of seasoning. There was no salt and the quality of the meat wasn’t sufficient to stand up on its own. The bun was a mixed affair, sort of a cross between a Kaiser roll and a brioche and was pretty cakey. Not terrible, and soft enough, but nothing to get excited about. The tomato looked a bit tired and the lettuce was cos, what on earth is wrong with iceberg? Anyway the bacon wasn’t streaky enough for my liking. But the disappointing thing was the relish. This burger would have been quite good with a really good burger sauce, it needed umami sadly it got picked mustard sweetness. It wasn’t a terrible burger but it wasn’t inspiring that’s for sure.

The Bad:

The Mac and Cheese. I would put this below Kraft Mac and Cheese. This was the most bland disappointing thing I’ve had in my mouth since I accidently had breakfast at Ikea.  It was overcooked stodgy noodles in a terribly thin and tasteless cheese “sauce” which seemingly the chef had only noticed at the last minute panicked and put a slice of cheese from a burger over it which he then breathed on till it went semi-soft. “Here have a bowl of sadness” the waitress seemed to say as she apologetically delivered the meal. It was so tasteless that I forgot I had tried it and had another spoon full only to be reminded that I had indeed put this in my mouth previously. It was muddy berrible.

Please either take this off the menu or do it better. No-one will be praising you for this terrible side.

I give Borris Murgers 5.5 out of 10.

 

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It was Damo’s Birthday a few days back and we’d planned to catch up for a refreshment or two on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately (Or fortunately depending on how you look at it…) his birthday party went longer than planned and he wasn’t out of bed until late afternoon on Saturday. Instead we decided that the best course of action would be to catch up on Sunday and grab a feed from a burger joint that just happened to be around the corner from his new place in Thornbury. So early Sunday afternoon, I crossed the Yarra and headed into the Northern suburbs. On the way I drove past the Anarchist Club… I knew that northern suburbs were different… Anyway, I made it Damo’s new place unscathed, picked up Damo, his girlfriend Minnie, and their friend Tessie.

As it was fairly early in the evening, it was easy enough to get a park out the front. We were also able to sit inside, even though there is fairly limited seating. Without even looking at the menu I was pretty sure that I would be leaving happy – they sell Dr Pepper AND Dr Pepper cherry! Winning at life! Anyway, the four of us took a little time to peruse the menu before settling on our selections. Damo went the Hot Rod Chilli burger, and a side of chips and deep fried pickles, The girls went for the vegetarian version of the FJ Holden Aussie Burger – which just swaps out the meat patty for a chickpea vego version, and I went for the F250, some buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce all washed down with this amazing liquid concoction:

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Tessie had never tried Dr Pepper, so I tried to explain the flavour – of course that conversation ended with her trying some Dr Pepper and then exclaiming that it tasted like cough syrup, Pft… Look, I guess that Dr Pepper is an acquired taste for most Australians (Or New Zealanders in this case…).  The wings here are really nice – super crispy with a really good blue cheese sauce, I’d prefer it if they cut them up into pieces for ease of eating though – and get rid of the wing tips. The deep fried pickles were nice enough – but you really have to love your pickles to enjoy these – I do and I did, but not everyone was so enamoured. Good chips here as well, and with the ranch dipping sauce – even better…

But who cares about all that – we’re here to talk burgers right – so let’s do that.

Ok, so one of the things liked about this place is that you have a choice of bun, old school soft white bread bun or brioche – both with sesame seeds (There’s also a gluten free option if you hate life or actually have coeliac disease – which would not be much fun – like eating gluten free bread…). I liked the choice because I think that brioche is really over used – it’s too sweet for a lot of the burgers that I’ve eaten, and it can really throw off the balance of the burger – don’t get me wrong, in the right burger it’s great and really enhances the experience, but all too often it’s just too cakey and doesn’t work.

The F250 burger is just like the F150 burger – only it has double meat, bacon and double cheese. At $16.5 it’s a lot of meaty, cheesy, bacony goodness. The first look lets you know what you are in for – dripping oozy cheese and meat juice, bacon hanging out the side. Picking the burger up, already the sauce, cheese and juice is all over your fingers. The “Old school” white bread bun was soft and spongy. The first bite you get a lot of cheese, bacon and meat – strangely enough… The patties are really good, cooked medium, so there’s no hiding here – you get good quality, well seasoned meat. Not a prime cut, but a good meat to fat ratio, with a looser grind, very juicy. When you combine that with the melted American cheese, smokey fatty bacon and caramelised onions – you get a really juicy, rich, beefy burger. There was a leaf of lettuce there down the bottom – I’m sure I saw something green. Although It may very well have been some of the pickle. They don’t mess about here – good solid slabs of sharp pickle. Very much needed to cut through the rich fattiness of the other elements. To be honest, a little bit more lettuce and a slice of tomato wouldn’t have gone astray in these burgers – being as rich and fatty as they were, the freshness of a bit more lettuce and fresh tomato might have balanced out the burger a bit more. But really I’m just being picky – I did very much enjoy my burger, and judging by the appreciative smiles all round, I wasn’t the only one. I’d give it an 8.5. This a burger place I would come back to.

Kustom Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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