Posts Tagged ‘burger’

I Ain’t Got Beef Wiv Dat

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Innit.

Another week, another Yelp event with more food than even my endless stomach could handle. Last night I headed to Handmade Burger Co on Deansgate with my fellow Yelp buddies for food and frivolity. It was part of the Carnivorous Maximus series of food events being run by Yelp where a group of us go to a meat-tastic restaurant and gorge on cow/pig/chicken/whatever. My current cooking habits and the regularity of my friends saying, “But I thought you were vegetarian, Jess?” would suggest that I am more of a vegetable than meat lover. I would always choose a spinach and feta filo tart over a plate of ribs. Broccoli excites me and pumpkin… wow. Don’t let me start talking about pumpkin. But every now and then my inner beast craves a big chunk o’ meat. A nice rare filet steak with peppercorn sauce, my mum’s various one-pot chicken dishes, or a juicy burger are always welcomed by these taste buds.

I purposefully avoided over eating in the lead up to this event. Burgers are filling things and I wanted to ensure I had enough space in my belly to fit it all in. Plus there would undoubtedly be chips. Mmm… chips.

On arrival we were offered a drink and I was a little disappointed by the beer options as they were your fairly standard Peroni and Coronas. I had come picturing myself with a pint of ale in one hand and a dripping burger in the other. But some clever reflection on the situation made me realise that a glass of wine is far less stomach-swelling than beer and their New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was a much better choice anyway.

After a bit of mingling, we sat down and ordered our food at which point my thoughts on Handmade Burger and Co skyrocketed. I had spotted the “Specialist Cheese” burger – beef patty, salad, tomato and onion with a choice of ‘fancy’ cheese. One of the cheese options was “blue cheese mayonnaise” which sounded both fantastic and disgusting at the same time. Why ruin a perfectly wonderful cheese by adding mayonnaise? The particularly friendly and organised host serving us delivered the best news of the evening when I questioned how ‘mayonnaisy’ the cheese would be. She simply asked the chefs if I could have plain blue cheese added to my burger and my request was made! No hassle, no rolling of the eyes and I’m fairly certain they didn’t spit in my burger. Wonderful. Now that is customer service.

Handmade Burger Co burger

Look at that Stilton.

The burger arrived and I was thrilled to see a sourdough bun instead of the sickly sweet brioche buns most other burger companies insist on using. It wasn’t the greatest bread but at least I didn’t feel like I was eating a very expensive Big Mac. The beef patty was well cooked and still juicy in the middle and the blue cheese was fabulous. Normally I feel slightly ill after eating a burger and regret the decision – not this time.

I did, however, regret the plain potato chips that I ordered as my side dish. While they may be hand-cut, they lacked any flavour and were just a bit stodgy. You certainly get a lot of them though – I was served at least five potatoes worth. Fellow Yelper, Becs, made an excellent comment saying they should recommend sharing a bowl of chips between three people. There were a lot of wasted potatoes on the table last night.

After stuffing ourselves silly on cow and carbohydrates, a selection of what I can only describe as novelty-sized sundaes were placed down the table for us to share. These beasts were massive heart attacks and we were all a bit overwhelmed by the sugar overload. Sure – they were tasty but I would never, ever order one. Once you start piling cream, brownie pieces, ice cream and sauce, into a giant glass, you lose all concept of flavour. I prefer more refined and less sickly desserts but I have a certain housemate who would make that thing disappear in record time.

Handmade Burger Co sundae

What a whopper.

I was quite impressed by Handmade Burger Co and would put it as one of my better burger experiences since moving to the UK. Nothing beats my favourite Jus Burgers back in Perth, but it is nice to see a burger company offering an interesting range of burgers that stems beyond added copious amounts of bacon.

A Week of Food Miracles

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

I don’t know what it is – maybe it is the arrival of Spring and the warmer temperatures. Maybe there is something in the water. Maybe there are some higher, more powerful beings at work. Whatever it is, I am, and will be, eternally grateful because this miracle worker has brought me two cuisines that in the past year of living in Paris I have missed greatly.

I’m certain that I have previously complained about the lack of decent Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean restaurants in Paris. Generally speaking they lack flavour, spice and/or have strange ingredients that only the French would use.

Dear France, Japanese food does NOT have cheese as a main ingredient. From Jess.

However, some sort of divine spirits (namely my friends Becky and Vivien) have led me to a Thai restaurant a mere 5 minute walk from my house that ticks every box in my “Thai food must include” rules. It is wonderful. A group of us ate there last night, sharing a tasting plate for entrée and then five main dishes. Each dish was flavoursome, hearty and exciting to the palate. One dish was beef with spicy sauce and wow, it actually was spicy! I even experienced a burning back-of-throat moment as a chilli flake got stuck on the way down. It was glorious. Another highlight was finally discovering pad thai that actually tasted like pad thai. A year’s worth of searching and finally!

The restaurant is owned by a lovely old Frenchman and his thai wife and has a very homely feel about it. It is hidden away in a side street so not many people have discovered it yet and it was therefore easy to get a table on a Saturday night. Hopefully enough people come and try it so that it didn’t close down within a few months, but at the same time I hope it stays a local hangout for Thai food lovers.

Miracle #2 happened last Thursday when Tom and I invited our friends Sonia and Guibril to try a new burger restaurant I had spotted near the canal, Le Mal Barré. I walk past it every day as I return home with my lunch time baguette and the menu has sparked my interest. Burgers with ingredients OTHER than plastic cheese and non-bacon bacon. What was this? We had to try.

Sonia and I were both undecided over the same two burgers so we decided to try both and share. A fabulous idea. The first was chicken with fig and spinach – very tasty and the fig was certainly a great addition. The second burger was chicken with avocado, sundried tomatoes and cantal cheese and was my favourite of the two. Both had juicy pieces of chicken and were really well cooked. The boys both went for the double steak burger – two beef patties with salad, tomato and onion and they both had huge grins as they munched away. Clearly impressed.

Chicken burger

Mmm... chicken burger.

The only downside of the burgers was the bread – why, oh why, do the French insist on using sweet, American-style burger buns when they make such amazing bread? When I suggested baguettes would be better to Sonia and Guibril, their French faces told me I had just uttered the worst possible sin – baguettes are baguettes, not burger buns. Sorry. But they did agree with me that the bread was too sweet.

The burgers were served with a side salad and homemade chips – big pieces of potato with the skin still attached. Now that’s a chip worth eating. The American theme of the restaurant continues in its dessert menu with your options being either cheese cake or cupcakes. I went for the ‘originale’ cheese cake and it was good! Apparently it is baked by an American so there aren’t too many French additives, other than a speculoos biscuit base. Very tasty.

Cheesecake

The presentation could do with some work but still tasty

So my week of food has been particularly wonderful, and the miracles continued today when I baked a banana cake that when I first put it in the oven it appeared to not want to rise but simply burn from the top down. But that Food God stepped in once again and my cake suddenly decided to rise and the end result is a rather delicious afternoon tea. Ahh food. How I love thee.

Jolly Good London-Town

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Jolly good. Rightio. That’s rubbish. Woh?!

As you can see, I became fluent in Pom while in London. Considering I spent the first two days apologising in French every time I bumped into someone, I think I have done quite well. I have since returned to Paris and appear to have forgotten how to speak French. Not so good.

Anyway, London was fun although it is one of my least favourite capital cities in the world. I don’t know what it is about London but I always find it confusing, over commercialised and lacking personality. Perhaps it is because I haven’t spent enough time there but usually when I go to a new city there is something about it that really interests and excites me. I don’t get that with London. There is plenty to see and do and I love the ‘free museums’ concept but it feels a little bit stale. I do think it is a beautiful city when the sun shines and the buildings turn a brighter shade of grey and the parks are lovely, but there really is something miserable about London. I honestly felt that Paris looked bright and cheerful in comparison when I returned home, despite the dirt and grime.

A highlight of the trip was our adventures with Tom’s family. We met a few of Tom’s mum’s cousins and were taken on a tour and out for lunch and dinner in the English countryside. Now THAT is something I enjoy. English countryside is beautiful, no matter what the weather, with its rolling hills and green, green grass. It is so fresh and colourful and the little country towns are quaint and adorable. We had good weather for our outing in the country which made things even better, but it was so nice to meet some of Tom’s extended family and to experience a bit of England outside the capital.

England

Green grass, blue skies, white clouds.

We were generously housed by my friends Angela and James who let me sleep on their blow up mattress every time I come to London. They are great hosts and always take me on out-of-the-ordinary nights out – this trip was no exception. On our first night in London, they had organised a dinner at an Austrian restaurant where we ate huge pieces of pork, drank giant steins of beer and Tom and I played the cow bells with the restaurant owner/entertainer who sang Austrian songs throughout the night. It was quite a spectacle. Once again I left thinking, “London has one crazy night life, or maybe it is just Angela and James.”

Austrian bells

Ring a ding ding!

We did manage to visit a few pubs while in England which is something I enjoy. France doesn’t have the same pub culture and seriously lacks good beer and cider. We also gorged on a few decent burgers to fulfil a desire that had been burning since we left Australia and Jus Burgers.

Byron Burger

A Byron Burger

One thing that London has done right is its museum and art gallery culture – I presume it is because everyone needs somewhere to hide while it is raining outside, so they make galleries free to enter. Fantastic. It means you can wander into a museum or gallery and not feel bad about just seeing part of the exhibitions. You can pick the bits that really interest you and then head to the next gallery when you’re done. We managed to visit the British Museum and the British Library and thanks to James’s membership card, we got into the Miro exhibition at the Tate Modern for free. I had been to see a Miro exhibition in Paris a few months ago and saw an extensive range of his sculptures. This time it was mostly his paintings and it was nice to see some more of his work. I really like his style and found it a particularly pleasing display.

So that was London. I have already prattled on about the concert and the mud on my shoes so I won’t go into that again. Tomorrow we catch a plane to New York (it seems the hurricanes have moved on) which I am now very excited about. I’m not so excited about the flight over but I will survive. I will try and write from the Big Apple, even if it is just to say, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY ON THURSDAY!”

Move Over Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

There’s more to pumpkin than pie. That’s right, I’m talking about Jus Burger’s pumpkin burger, served on a crunchy roll with a wad of goat’s cheese and a smothering of pesto. I’ve tried their other burgers (ok, so maybe I’ve only had the chickpea once and I had a bite of the wagu with wasabi mayonnaise) and none compete. I always go back to pumpkin.

Pumpkin burger

Mmm... yum num num...

Jus Burgers has become an addiction – it was the first burger joint to really make it in Perth and now look at how many other burger restaurants are trying to get their share of the burger-eaters. I’ve only been to the Jus in Leederville and have been told by relatively reliable sources that the Subiaco version just isn’t as good. It is the perfect place to go before or after a movie at Luna – the food is consistently good, the staff are generally friendly and the service is fast. On Tuesday we had 30 minutes to order, receive, eat and leave before getting to our movie for a 6.30 start. EASY.

Highly recommended – you will get greasy, you will end up with half of your burger on your new dress and you will need a guilt-fueled trip to the gym the next day, but it’s worth it. GO PUMPKIN!

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