You guys. Shake Shack has dominated my Instagram feed, and it seems to be the holy grail of American burger icons. I finally found it! Having never been to the States, I was thrilled to find an outlet at Dubai’s International Airport on my way home from Germany. So, being the dedicated foodie I am, I ordered a Shack Burger (AED $35) with a side of crinkle cut fries (AED $20) at 8am – roughly AUD $20. I am a huge fan of soft, sloppy burgers (give me that over crispy burger buns anyday) and Shake Shack totally rocks this category. The patty was fresh and cooked just right, although on the downside, it did have a piece of gristle inside (not cool). The lettuce, tomato and cheese are all pretty standard, but the ShackSauce was so excellent that it lifted the burger up a notch. I couldn’t finish the fries (8am people, 8am) but I found them a little underdone (just a minute more and they would have been awesome). The crinkle cut certainly expands the fried surface, maximising flavour, and they were well-seasoned. Overall, this was an enjoyable burger, although not quite worth the fairly high price for what it was.
Shake Shack, Terminal 3 Airport Rd, Dubai United Arab Emirates, https://www.shakeshack.com/location/dubai-dxb-airport/
My brother and his partner tell me that Fudd’s has the best burger in Adelaide, and on my last visit they took me there to back up the claim. We arrived fairly early on a Saturday night and the place was already packed, so we sat in the outside area (which has great heating, thankfully!). We started with a bowl of chilli cheese fries ($10) to warm us up. The chilli had a nice amount of heat without being too much, and although it was drier than I like my chilli to be, that meant the chips stayed crisp, so I think the balance is right. Yum. I chose the Cheeseburger ($10) and on the waiter’s recommendation added bacon ($2) – this was a great decision. The burger is served on a milk bun with a huge patty, mustard, ketchup, Fudd’s sauce, pickles, red onion and cheddar cheese. The beef was absolutely delicious – although it was cooked through, so could have been a shade pinker – and had a great texture. The mix of sauces worked really well together, with the Fudd’s sauce rounding out the sharp mustard and ketchup. This is the sort of burger my Dad makes at home – hearty and tasty. Best burger in Adelaide? Pretty darn close.
Fudd’s, 3/40 Sandpiper Crescent, Aberfoyle Park, SA, no webiste
Latkes? What are latkes? I usually try to order the unusual things on a menu, and this drew my eye for sure. I met an old friend for breakfast on a Saturday morning and we holed up along the long communal table at Bowery to Williamsburg, where you’re practically part of the kitchen. The Lox & Potato Latkes ($20) was a great side to a good catch up, with two perfectly poached, runny eggs, spears of asaparagus, a slab of cured salmon and latkes with horseradish. The mystery was solved on first bite – latkes are potato pancakes, and these were spiked with zucchini – they were filling and tasty and delicious with the kick of the horseradish. I’m generally not a huge fan of fennel, but pickled the way it was, it brought a great flavour contrast to the latkes. The cured salmon was more subtle than smoked, which was appreciated that early in the day. The asparagus was cooked nicely and had just the right amount of bite, without being stringy. This was a fun introduction to New York food for me – enough familiar elements to be comfortable and enough new things to be exciting.
Bowery to Williamsburg, 123 Hardware Street, Melbourne VIC, no website
Ink Bake Grill does a roaring lunch trade – on arrival, we joined a long queue so had plenty of time to decide on what we wanted to eat from their blackboard menu. I’d decided on the beef stroganoff pie, only to find that they’d sold out. Instead, I ordered the lamb and chardonnay ‘doggie’ (hot dog), served with honey mustard, tomatoes and sweet potato crisps ($11.50). Our food came out fairly quickly, considering how busy they were, and I was delighted by the pile of chips and jam-packed hot dog roll. It’s the kind of dish you can’t wait to get stuck into. I started with the chips, which were liberally seasoned with chicken salt, with just the right balance between crispy outside and soft, fluffy inside. Yum. The hot dog was equally delicious – the sweet potato crisps added a great contrasting crunch to the sausage, which had a great lamb flavour. The honey mustard was well complemented by gooey cheese, and everything was freshened up by the slices of fresh tomato. This is a really tasty, hearty meal on a cold day – I’ll be back for sure.
Ink Bake Grill, Shop 3, 7 Geils Court, Deakin ACT, http://www.inkbakegrill.com.au/
Manchester Press’s lunch menu is all about the bagels (oh yeah), so after a delightfully perfect soy hot chocolate (seriously, I had to confirm that it was dairy-free, it tasted so good), I ordered the Reuben closed bagel ($14), with smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and pickles. Also – bonus – the bagels are served with salted pretzels and a pickle. Yum! The bagel itself was firm but not too dense, and you get a sensible, serrated knife to eat it with dignity. There was so much pastrami on this bagel I couldn’t quite believe it – I particularly liked the spicy kick of the seasoning (it reminded me of spicy togarashi), but be warned that it isn’t for the faint-hearted. The meat was tender and tasty, just as it should be, and I loved the way that the pickles served in the sandwich were diced up and mixed throughout the creamy dressing. Mmm. The sauerkraut flavour was a bit lost amongst the strong tastes of the pastrami and the dressing, but there was enough of a tang to know it was there. Basically I’d happily eat this any day with no complaints – #cometocanberra?
Manchester Press, 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC, no website
I wanted to kick the new year off with a 10/10 post – a meal that I had completely, utterly loved. So, ladies and gentleman, here is Bread & Bone Wood Grill. I started with the Dark & Stormy cocktail ($12) – a perfect blend of rum, ginger beer and lime that packed a punch but at the same time was just right (so much lime!). On the waitress’s recommendation, I ordered the B&B Burger ($18), the house specialty. Cooked on their eponymous wood grill, the beef patty was done to perfection, blushing pink inside, and had fantastic flavour. To be honest, after my first bite, I didn’t deconstruct the burger in order to be able to give you a blow-by-blow – I devoured that sucker without another word. So, all I can tell you is that there is some sort of magic mayonnaise/sauce, lovely thin bacon and that the whole damn thing is so tasty you’ve made me want another one right now just thinking about it. The fries were also top grade, well-seasoned and super crispy. With flawless service, great atmosphere and heavenly food, add Bread & Bone to your must-visit list for 2016.
Bread & Bone Wood Grill, 15 Peel Street, Adelaide SA, no website
To celebrate this week of Christmas, I’m celebrating my favourite foodie thing – burgers! Welcome to #burgerweek! I adore Grease Monkey. I really do. When my friend came to visit from Adelaide I took her straight from the airport to Braddon for a solid Canberra burger experience. On my quest to try all of their burgers, I picked the Pitt Stop ($15), stacked full of BBQ pork brisket and apple cider coleslaw and spiced up with a habanero mayonnaise. As always, Greasy’s didn’t disappoint, with the food coming out quickly and obviously freshly prepared. There was a huge serving of their delicious chips, which I’m not ashamed to admit I devoured – yes they were salty, but man, that seasoning is so good! The burger itself was also perfection – the BBQ pork paired with the milk burger bun was surprisngly and delightfully sweet, and the pork just melted in your mouth. I’d added pickes to the order (an extra $1), and they were chopped up and mixed into the coleslaw, which was perfect. The coleslaw was actually really great to balance the huge amount of meat. Every mouthful was a bite of happiness, and I seriously wished for a second stomach to be able to eat more. Nom nom nom.
Grease Monkey, 19 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
This is a public service announcement – Smoque offers 50c wings (yes, you read that right, 50c wings) on Monday nights for dine-in customers. Cue marching band celebratory music here. Three of us headed down to the Woden store after work to indulge – we ordered 25 wings, sides of Mexican street corn and coleslaw, and a plate of poutine (chips with gravy and curd). It was a merry feast, although my friend picked the spicy (not suicidal) wings and as much as I wanted to eat more I couldn’t – clever tactic dude, clever. The wings were freshly cooked and had a nice amount of batter without being super oily. I avoided the blue cheese dipping sauce but apparently it was great, and there were some carrot and celery sticks served with it too. The chicken was tender and fell easily off the bone – so good. The corn was a highlight, fresh and covered in delicious cheese and sauce and a bit of lime, it was a nice break from all the meat. The poutine was my favourite though – the chips were really tasty (must be made from flavoursome potatoes), and whilst I would have liked more gravy, it filled me up after I couldn’t eat any more spicy wings. Next time I’ll be getting the non-spicy ones and smashing plenty more!
Smoque, 10 Bowes Street, Phillip ACT,
I have blogged many times about the need for a good, hearty burger, and that was exactly what I felt like when I met my colleagues at Bobo’s Diner in Frankston. They decided to share a plate of ribs, but I was sucked in by the promise of beef, cheese, lettuce and Bobo’s burger sauce that was ‘the original’. The food came out quickly and whilst the filling of my burger huddled like an island amid the sea of bun, once I got to that filling it was oh so good. The patty was wonderfully thick and packed full of ground beef (definitely not beef mince). The cheese and burger sauce added a huge amount of flavour and I actually did really like the soft but slightly crisped bun. The chips were tasty but nothing to write home about – they needed sauce and whilst the mustard on the table was tempting, I went for plain old tomato instead. My colleagues enjoyed the flavour of the ribs but were disappointed that there wasn’t more meat on them. The diner is open until late, and the staff happily let us work away as we ate.
Bobo’s Diner, 435 Nepean Highway, Frankston VIC http://www.bobosdiner.com.au/
Miss Peaches promises soul food, and that’s what we went seeking on a chilly Wednesday night. Bringing Southern American to Newtown, Miss Peaches takes up the space formerly occupied by the Marly Bar. We arrived as they opened, and snagged a table overlooking the street, after admiring the art in the hallway. Their cocktail list sounds fantastic (will have to go back for that), but we got right into the food. I ordered the smoked brisket po’boy, which comes with onions, pickles, mustard and gravy, as well as a serve of fries. The po’boy itself was a good size, and was packed with thickly-shredded brisket doused in gravy. Mmm. I am a huge fan of pickles and there was a very generous amount in the roll, which was light and just the right thickness. It’s not an elegant meal to eat, but dipping the fries into the gravy was particularly satisfying and delicious. Dad tried the gumbo – it was very spicy, but had a great complex flavour that I would probably have enjoyed more with a touch less spice. We were there very early, but I can imagine a really great atmosphere with some live music on a weekend. Soul food? Fo’ sho’.
Miss Peaches, 201 Missenden Road, Newtown, Sydney http://www.misspeaches.com.au/