Posts Tagged ‘BBQ’

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Wow, has it already been a month since I last went out for a burger? Damn this whole having a baby thing has really put the breaks on leaving the house… Who knew? Anyway, I think things are starting settle down a little bit,we’re starting to feel a little bit more comfortable about heading out with the little one. Since I had been hankering for a burger for quite some time I suggested to Katie and Jo that we find a burger joint for Saturday afternoon – around 5:30ish, that way we avoid the busiest time in case Lucy decided to spit the dummy. Katie was on research detail and came up with The Resistance Bar & Café located under the Glenferrie train station. Not too far from us and right around the corner from my sister Jo’s place. We arranged to meet Jo there, and then proceeded to pack the car. I don’t recall the process of going out for a burger being so difficult. How many changes of clothes does one tiny human being need? Why does she even need to look good? Let’s be honest, the cute little bonds hoodie is just going to be covered in spew later anyway… Babies! Anyway, we eventually we left the house, found a park, unpacked the car and arrived at our destination.

It looked like they were just getting organised when we arrived, which was great for us as there was no one there. The nice guy working there even turned down the music for us so as not to upset the little one. Resistance is an interesting place. Bit of a stoner, Bob Marley/Cuban vibe going on. This is obviously reflected in their menu – I mean come on – all day pancakes? I can see how that would work nicely with their target market if you know what I mean… They also offer a “Cubano” on their menu. God damn, but I do like a good Cuban sandwich. I’ve had a few in Florida – the best one I had was in Key west – which is only 90miles from Cuba… Mmmm… But I had to stay focused – I was here for a burger, and when you have to wait this long (over a month) you can’t mess about. Eyes on the prize so they say. I ordered the Supremo de Resistance, which is their standard burger, it comes with a grass feed beef patty, caramelised onions, bacon, Colby cheese, grilled pineapple, lettuce, tomato, onion and their secret sauce all on a Brioche bun – $15.00. Katie got the special – which was double beef, double cheese, double bacon, pickles, sauce on the Brioche (I don’t actually know the price as I forgot to look at the receipt…). Jo ordered the Classic Cheese burger for $9.00. We also got sides – Yuca fries – which were great and went nicely with the salsa and chipotle Aioli $6.50 and a side of the sweet potato wedges $6.50. Oh my sweet potato lord, but those sweet potato fries were exceptionally delicious. Don’t make my  mistake of ordering the side – make sure you order the share sized platter – these were hands down the best sweet potato fries I’ve had. They went too fast for me to get a photo!

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The burgers took quite some time to get to us – either that, or I was just freaking out every time Lucy started to cry… But these burgers were worth the wait. Resistance bakes their own buns, and these were some very nice buns, perfect scattering of sesame seeds, a nice spongy brioche, not too cakey, and not too sweet. Lightly toasted, the bun worked with the burger. The patties were great, a nice hint of pink, well seasoned and very beefy, a good quality beef. You get a really nice hit from the bacon, it’s nicely grilled, and you can taste the grill, not just on the bacon, but also on the pineapple -Which in this case wasn’t too sweet. It’s a rich burger with the caramelised onions and mayonnaise based sauce, working with the juicy beef patty encased in melting cheese. My one disappointment was the lack of pickles in the Supremo, both the other burgers had pickles… The burgers are also a little on small side, although the patties are big, the buns are smallish, and at those prices, without a side included, I wouldn’t exactly call this place value. All of this aside, I really enjoyed my burger – and not just because it was the first good  burger I’d had in a while. This is the kind of place I could come back to.

I’d give it a 7.5.

The Resistance Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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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

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!

So with Dad down from Cairns for the weekend we all decided that a family catch up for a drink and a meal somewhere was in order. Of course getting my family to organise anything is a chore – the selected venue needed to be between my sister Jo’s place, my brother Christopher’s place and my place. Sounds difficult but if you triangulate all of that you get Chapel street! Taz and Fil were in for the catch up as well so we had quite a few mouths to feed – making things even more difficult to organise. I figured a drink first might help sort things out, so we organised to meet at Bridie O’Reilly’s. I almost suggested just eating at the pub but the others weren’t too keen, everyone had a different idea regarding food, but once Jo and I remembered that Third Wave have another place in Prahran, the deal was done and a booking made. It looked like BBQ was on the cards! Having been to the Port Melbourne version of Third Wave only a couple of days before, I decided that I was going to try something different on the menu – even though I knew their burger was pretty filling and rather tasty.

This time around we all ordered a couple of starters – I got the pulled pork sliders, there was some candied bacon and some wings going around – everyone was pretty hungry, and pretty happy with the starters. I’d order the sliders again – they were very good.

Pulled pork sliders - not bad.

Pulled pork sliders – not bad. Smokey pulled pork in a sweet brioche slider bun, sharp pickle and a refreshing coleslaw. 7.5/10

Next we come to the mains –  I really wanted BBQ – so I shared a large brisket with Jo, Christopher and Fil shared some beef ribs and Dad and Taz both ordered the Rubens. We probably went a little overboard on the sides – lots of Mac and cheese, chips and coleslaw. No one was going home hungry tonight.

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The brisket (Large $42) was ok, I found the serving size a bit smaller than I was expecting for the price – you wouldn’t want to share it with two hungry blokes, but the flavours were good. It needed a bit more fat as it had dried out a bit. The beef ribs (Large $44) were very good, although again, for the price, I’d want more. Fil and Christopher bit enjoyed the ribs , but felt they had had better for the price. Dad wasn’t all that impressed with his Ruben – which he quite rightly pointed out should have been corned beef not smoked brisket. But then it did say that on the menu… I guess sometimes when restaurants take a traditional dish and then do a new take on it – that’s non-traditional – they should make a bigger point of the difference, otherwise diners might have an expectation of what they will be getting, and then get disappointed when they don’t get it. Or Dad should just have read the menu…

We were the last people there but a fair magin, the waiters were cleaning up in the background, but they didn’t hurry us at all -It was nice to be able to digest all that food without feeling like we were being pushed out the door. The waiter even suggested dessert when it was clear we were going to be a while – Which Jo took them up on. Jo felt the dessert here was nowhere near as good as it had been in Port Melbourne which was a shame however. Overall, I think I prefer the Port Melbourne venue, just based on the ambiance. The Prahran venue is in a weird location and is far too brightly lit – it feels much more a café, and more a place you would dine at during breakfast/lunch than a dinner place. Still – both places are pretty good and serve pretty darn good American style BBQ. There’s not a whole lot of options for good BBQ in Australia – not a bad place if you are in the area.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

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It has been too long since I’ve been on a burger hunt – work and uni (Oh and a side trip to Japan) have conspired to keep me from the beefy goodness that is the burger. Honestly, I feel like I have been writing those same words far too often recently. But I swear I’m back on the burger wagon. Anyway, I sent out the burger signal to the team on Wednesday night and the reply was a resounding yes! After about 30 texts and a conversation with Katie, the venue for our reunion was chosen – Third Wave cafe in Port Melbourne. We made a booking and Jo, Chris, Katie and I all met at the Cafe. Third Wave is located on a side street off the main Bay street area. It’s surrounded by apartment buildings and seems a little bit hidden away. In we went, quite a small venue – that feels more café than restaurant to be honest. But then you get handed the menu and there’s no mistaking it – by day it’s a café but by night it’s a meat lovers paradise. You have ribs and burgers and all sorts of delicious treats. I had already decided I was going to order the special – The three little piggies, which is advertised as a “half bacon half Porterhouse Patty, Mustard, Pickles, spicy BBQ Sauce, Cream Cheese, Candy Bacon, Tomatoes and Smokey Pulled Pork – hence 3 Little Piggies. All this in a tasty brioche bun”. At $20.90 that’s a lot of burger goodness. However it doesn’t come with sides – you can get a small serve which they say is enough for one and range in price form $7 to $10 or a large serve which will feed two which range from $12-$18. I have to say that this makes things on the pricey side, but judging by the smiles, no one really cared.

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We ordered a couple of sides to share – the smoked mac and cheese and the confit kipfler potatoes, and then a small coleslaw. Chris ordered a Rubens (Actually should be called a Rachel as it was pastrami not corned beef), Katie got the same as me and Jo got two starters – the chicken wings and the lamb quesadillas. Everyone really enjoyed their meals and we all agreed that the smoked mac and cheese was amazing. So lets talk about my burger. It’s a big burger there’s no doubt about that! One thing to note is that there was a lot going on in this burger – but they managed to pull it off reasonably well. The individual parts of the burger might not sound like they would work, but together you get a nice balance. One of the first thing that struck me was the piped cream cheese – I wasn’t expecting that at all! When the menu mentioned cream cheese I figured it would be spread on the bun… The piped cream cheese is one of those things in this burger that actually made sense (apart from the fact that it stuck the two halves together) when you consider it with the other elements, it added a cooling cheesy note that rounded out the smokey pulled pork and the spicy candied bacon.  Oh my sweet lord, that candied bacon – it was amazing , slightly salty, spicy, smoky and sweet – oh and very crispy. The pulled pork was also pretty smokey and when you add the BBQ sauce you realise why the cream cheese is there. The tomatoes do the job of adding freshness as well. The pickles in the burger were nice, another balancing element – cutting through the rich smokiness of the burger as a whole. The bun was a light Brioche style, so you got the sweetness there as well which worked to complement the smokey BBQ flavours. 

The patty was interesting – the bacon/porterhouse patty worked in the burger, however, if you got a bit on it’s own, it had that hammy, almost hot dog flavour – that was the bacon flavour that you kind of get in soups or when it’s not cooked but stewed. You needed all the other elements to make that patty work.

This burger was interesting to say the least, but it was also enjoyable. Not my usual type of burger, I’d give this one a 7.5.

 

Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Sometimes in life things just take a turn for the best when you least expect it. Tonight was one of those occasions. Monday night is usually trivia night if I can get the team together. However, it was Katie’s first day back at work and she was tired and pulled the pin. Then, when I tried to book for the rest of the team I find out that it’s fully booked and we “might” be able to get a seat at the bar if we are lucky. Things didn’t seem to be working out, but then I got the idea that we should head out for a burger as a team… Ok, so I don’t need an excuse for a burger – thankfully the rest of the team were on board with the idea and so off we went to the selected destination. Only problem was that the first selected destination just happened to have a sign up that said – closed on Monday 15th September for repairs or something. Which would have been fine except it was Monday 15th September… Damn – I had the team looking at me with what can only be described as distain. Also, my sister Jo was becoming “Hangry” a word she made up – meaning hungry and angry… This might give you some indication with the crowd I was dealing with. Thankfully on the drive down Glen Huntly rd. I had spied a sign that read ribs. With nothing more to go on, I suggested that we move quickly towards this options. Self preservation mode was kicking in. Jo was definitely looking “Hangry”… Unfortunately my memory of the distance to the sign with ribs probably wasn’t spot on and the walk was a little further than I had recalled. The team were looking at me with more than distain at this stage… On arrival the place looked a little smaller than I recalled – by smaller I mean, this is a take away place with a couple of seats up against the wall and the window. Most of these seats were occupied… The team of 6, Dave, Chris, Taz, Ben and Jo all gave me “that” look. I was sweating now. I could only hope the burger here was edible. The $12 price tag was a little on the cheap side so I wasn’t holding my breath.

But then things began to look up – the guys at the window finished and left – there was space now for us to sit. Dave then suggested that we share a half rack of pork ribs – I’m not going to say no to ribs, it’s just down right rude. Once we had gone through the ordering process we all sat down and waited. From our vantage point we were perfectly located to watch as the grill master weaved his magic – Chris and I studiously watched as the chef flipped out the patties onto the flaming grill and then basted and seasoned the patties. Off to the side the ribs roasted above the charcoal and the brioche buns warmed above the oven. It was great to see the cheese go down on top, and melt enticingly over each patty, finally being placed over the grill in a warm spot to allow the meat to rest – it’s care like this really makes a difference to the end product.

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Each member except for Ben ordered a Burger – they come standard as a 180grm patty, Brioche bun,  cheese, mix lettuce, tomato and “rack sauce” – $12 + $3 for a generous serving of chips. Dave and I shared the half rack of pork ribs which were $22 – to be honest I’d like to see the pig these come from because half rack – come on, more like full rack – it was very a generous serving, or a bloody big pig…

So on to the burger – first thing first – it looks great. The bun is a standard light brioche style (apparently from Dench bakers), nicely toasted over the charcoal grill, soft and warm. The patty is juicy and delicious – it benefits from the flame grill fro that smokey grill not,e and the basting for added moisture. I’d say there’s a good ratio of fat to beef as even though it’s cooked though, it’s still quite juicy. The melted cheese encases the beef to keep the flavour in. The sauce is quite interesting – there’s quite a bit of it, so do expect this to be an elegant burger to eat – not a first date meal as my cousin Megs would say. There’s certainly a mayo base with a slight sharpness there as well, works to cut through the smokiness from the grill and the richness of the beef – this burger is well balanced. The tomato and lettuce add the necessary freshness and texture. Oh, I should probably mention the ribs – although only Dave, Chris and I  had any, and Chris got lucky because Dave shared one while I wasn’t looking – The ribs are good, no doubt about it, and not expensive either $22 for a large half rack. They were falling off the bone and had a lovely sticky BBQ sauce. I have to be honest, I like mine a bit smokier, but other than that there’s not much to fault (Perhaps a bit more sauce??) –  At the end of the day I’ve  had better ribs (It’s hard to compare to Texas 24hr pit cooked ribs – so I wont), but not by much and not at that price point in Australia.

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By the end of the meal my trivia mates were no longer looking at me like I had Ebola. Smiles all round, the “this is a tasty burger grin” from ear to ear was obvious for all to see. We struck up a conversation with the Chef after the meal and both Chris and I had the suggestion that perhaps some sort of “McRib” style burger would work. The guy actually told us that they do have one they call the Sow and Cow, a normal burger with added rib meat. However it’s not on the menu because it’s considered a bit too expensive. It was at this point that Chris became violently disposed towards the guy for holding out on us – how unfair that we only find out about this amazing burger creation until after we finished eating. I guess we’ll just have to come back now – first world problems… When I enquired about what was too expensive the guy sheepishly told me. Yep you’ll be shocked too – I’d say guess, but since this a conversation in writing you can skip ahead so it really doesn’t work in this format, but humour me. Nope, not $25, haha, no, not $30, it’s $16 – are you serious. wow, this guy must be from the 80’s, or possibly unaware of the concept of inflation. $16 for an amazing beef and rib combo burger of this quality is insanely cheap. $20 would be cheap. Anyway, if you live in the area you have to give this place a go. I give the standard Racks burger a 8.5 – it’s almost a 9. There’s no mistaking it, this burger is up there. I’m sure if you add rib meat to it will only get better!

Racks Ribs Co. on Urbanspoon

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Katie wins again at finding amazing places to eat! Originally I had planned to visit another burger joint, but Katie was craving buffalo wings – and you don’t argue with a Pregnant woman who has a craving. You smile and nod and ask when she would like to leave… Le Grill is located in Hawthorn, off Burwood Rd – well actually I’m not sure if you can get in off Burwood Rd, we went down a side street and parked out the back – they have this little eating area where you order the food with big share tables. It’s actually quite handy because trying to find a park on a Friday night on Burwood Rd was proving to be rather difficult. The Menu is short and sweet. A couple of burgers, various types of fries, wings and ribs.

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Speaking of fries – they have waffle fries and poutine!!! I just love poutine,  My kind of joint. Anyway, so Le Grill has a bar out the front, and upstairs area for functions and the eating area out back which is where you order.  We ordered some wings, fries – poutine and waffle, and some burgers and then sat down on one of the large share tables waiting for a lobster to vibrate (They give you this lobster pager that vibrates when the order is ready). It wasn’t too long before our food was ready – although it was clear that we ordered too much. I thought the waffle fries would be just enough for one and the poutine would be the same size but it looked like both were share size… Oh well, better to have too much than not enough. The wings were delicious, tender, falling off the bone, with a nice hot sauce, although I’d like a bit more kick to mine – Katie enjoyed hers. The poutine was nice, with house made cheese curd, although it reminded me more of a goats cheese than the more rubbery cheese curds that you get back in Canada – this was more of an upscale version. Waffle fries baffle me – how are they made – they seem to be these impossible constructs of potato goodness (Yes – I am clearly easily impressed). They came with a nice little ranch style dipping sauce. We thoroughly enjoyed them but couldn’t finish them.

Of course it’s the burgers that were the big ticket item for me – so lets talk beef. I ordered the Cheeseburger as a double with bacon. They are usually cooked medium rare which I love, but Katie was also ordering a burger and made sure that they cooked hers all the way through for safety reasons (Is this really that important? So many things you can’t eat when you are pregnant apparently…). I think they thought she meant both burgers because mine was also well done. Damn. Still the burgers were juicy enough. The meat is clearly good quality beef, nice and beefy, well seasoned – I’m not sure of the cut, but I’d say that there’s chuck there but also a better cut as well because you get that “steaky” flavour – Very nice regardless. The buns are a traditional burger bun – soft white bread with a scattering of sesame seeds on top. Lightly toasted, they hold up well to the rigours of eating a double. The burger comes with two types of cheese – as you can see, very cheesy! They also come with a sweet mustard and a homemade ketchup, which is also on the sweet side. You also get some caramelised onion interspersed throughout. The bacon was ok, but I didn’t get a lot of flavour to be honest, it seemed to be overpowered by the other elements. I think I would have loved a nice sharp pickle in the burger – but then I ALWAYS want pickles in my burgers. This was a good solid burger – I was quite impressed, I’d love to try it medium rare to let the quality of the meat really shine through. I give this one a 7.5, and I’d love to see what it’s like properly cooked (Pink).

Le Grill on Urbanspoon

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Not quite the Friday night burger that I had planned, but Sunday evening works for me just fine as long as there’s a tasty burger involved.  By a stroke of good fortune, Damo, Katie and I all felt the strong urge for a burger and after a brief conversation to organise the particulars, we decided the best course of action was to meet up in  North Melbourne – well I thought The Three Crowns Hotel was in North Melbourne – apparently it’s on the wrong side of Victoria street and thus West Melbourne… Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, we organised to meet up at the  lovely little gastro/steak pub the Three Crowns Hotel. The buffalo wings on the menu were the deciding factor for me, oh, and of course the fact that there was an interesting burger available might have had something to do with the decision as well… We met up early in the evening and preceded to order some starters – no prizes for guessing what we ordered – 12 buffalo wings with creole blue cheese sauce and a bowl of Chilli Cheese Fries. The buffalo wings had quite the crispy coating on them and reminded us of the KFC wicked wings in texture and crispiness, the hot sauce that covered the wings was a bit on the not so hot side, very mild – I like a little more zing to my wings, however Katie quite enjoyed hers, so it’s more a matter of heat preference I guess. The Chilli cheese fries were terrific – the chilli itself was a slow cooked smoky beef cut that just pulled apart with a fork which was really really good. Add in some melted American cheesy, saucy goodness and some thick cut chips, and well, you’ve got yourself some pretty damn good chilli cheese fries!

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Once the starters had been polished off it was time to move on to the star of the show – the ” American cheeseburger with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, fancy sauce and pickle on brioche” which came served on a wooden platter nestled in snuggly next to a mound of chips. First thing I noticed with this burger was the bun, it was a super soft bun – however there was also a lovely crust to it. This is the kind of bun that I really enjoy, and it really worked with this burger – it wasn’t sweet at all, it was covered in sesame seeds which added nicely to the overall flavour, it had some nice charring and it compressed down nicely when you bit into the burger. Great start. The next thing I noticed was that this was a juicy burger – I needed extra napkins for this one – and the fact that it comes out on a wooden board meant that I made a bit of a mess…

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The fancy sauce that I dripped everywhere served as a great accompaniment to the chips – but it probably did it’s best work in the burger – a nice and creamy mayo based sauce with a hint of spice.  The beef in the burger was good – but both Damo and I agreed that this a burger that is dying to be a double – it reminded me of the beatbox patty. Not too thick, but not too thin – you get a juicy beefy patty, but you want more if you only have one. Well I know what I’m ordering next time! The patty itself was encased in melted American cheddar which kept the meat juicy and delicious. The bacon was good – crispy and salty, but I got mostly the short cut – whereas Damo and Katie got the streaky bits… They both like their bacon more than I did. The salad elements were ok, but my tomato slice was tiny so for most of the burger I thought they forgotten to add it – I would have like them to be a little more generous here – one tiny slice of tomato and one leaf of cos lettuce. Ok, I know you don’t make friends with salad, but in this case, just a little more wouldn’t hurt… The pickles rounded off the burger and added that nice sharp bite that cut through the richness of the sauce. overall, we all agreed that this was a really good burger, no one had any real complaints at the end and we all left happy. I’d give it an 8.

Three Crowns Hotel on Urbanspoon

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Generally speaking I’m not big on gimmicks, I kinda think, if you need a gimmick to get the punters through the door then you’re focusing on the wrong thing and not the food. On this occasion I was however, pleasantly surprised – you can have it both ways! So anyway, last Sunday night Chris and I had decided that we needed a burger, I’m not sure why I specified that it was Sunday night – you can get the urge for a burger at any time or day of the week. Is there ever a wrong time to grab a burger? I think not – Anyway, after driving around to find the place that we had originally intended to patronise closed, we decided to drive past Zombie burger and give it a go – I know Chris had his reservations, but we were hungry and it was open so the decision was made.  Located down a side street in busy StKilda, Zombie burger is more of a burger bar/take away place, although it does have some seating room. Chris and I elected to sit along the bar and watch the guys work their burger magic on the grill, the smells coming off the grill, I tell you, they certainly whet the appetite. I ordered the Zombie burger which is described on their menu as “Fire-grilled grass-fed beef, beer caramelized onions, melted American cheese, dill pickle, vine-ripened tomatoes, oakleaf lettuce, topped with American mustard, our special ZB ketchup, signature ZB mayo on a toasted brioche bun” all for a bargain $10.50, I got mine with an extra patty and bacon. Chris foolishly didn’t double up and only got the standard Boomstick burger, although he was wise enough to add bacon. Why you wouldn’t get bacon on a burger if it’s an option is beyond me. Everything is better with bacon. Everything.

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After waiting for what seemed like the longest 10 minutes ever – remember we could see them cooking the burgers and smell the beefy goodness, it was so hard not to jump over the counter and demand they just hand over all the patties… The burgers arrive in a nice cardboard take-away container, the buns look great, nice and soft to the touch, lightly toasted and well sprinkled with sesame seeds – these are the sort of buns that I want on my burgers, really the quintessential burger bun. So this burger adventure starts well, picking up the burger and taking the first bite I knew I’d made the right decision, two patties are better than one. The patties themselves are more a traditional American fast food style in flavour although at the top of the quality scale, they are beefy and juicy but don’t have that buttery, rich Wagyu steak flavour you get in some of the top end burgers around town. It’s more of a strong beef flavour. When you add in the American cheese it really does remind me of a traditional fast food American burger.
The Burger itself is well balanced as a double, with a nice freshness from the salad elements still coming though, the sauce keeps everything moist while the onions add richness. You still get the pickle there and the bacon and cheese add a rich saltiness that brings it all together. Both Chris and I were quite impressed – this is a really good burger. I’d give it an 8 – Know I’ll be back.

Zombie Burger on Urbanspoon

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If you’re looking to satisfies your BBQ cravings, then Meatmother in Richmond is a great option. I’ve sated my need for good quality BBQ a few times at Meatmother now, and not once have I been disappointed. In fact, I’d go out of my way just to get their Mac and Cheese – this place does the best Mac and Cheese in Melbourne hands down. Located not far from the ‘G, Meatmother often forms part of my pre game “warm up”, and since Paul and I were off to see the big game at the ‘G (Of which we shall never speak of again) we decided that BBQ was the best way to start the evening. I normally find it difficult to say no to the meat tray here – which come with a choice of meat, side and texas toast which depending on meat choice is between $18-$25, so a good value meal. Generally I select the pork ribs and Mac and Cheese – the ribs are smoked for 12 hours and slathered in BBQ sauce which results in a tender, smokey, delicious rib. This time however I thought I’d try the bun tray – basically because last time Paul and I visited – Paul got the bun and I got plate envy. Anyway, so I ordered the Pulled Pork bun ($18) which is topped with chipotle slaw, mustard and pickles, and of course I ordered it with the Mac and Cheese!
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You can tell that they have taken their time with this pork – it’s meltingly delicious, smokey, flavourful, covered in a luscious creamy slaw, sandwiched in a nice, soft spongy bun. Winning. And at $18, it’s great value as well. Highly recommended.

Meatmother on Urbanspoon