Thursday, May 21, 2015

Burger Culture, Tampa: Burger Heaven!

Burger Culture Truck, Tampa Burger Culture Truck, Tip Jar Giant Burger at Burger Culture Cheeseburger at Burger Culture Black and Blue Burger, Burger Culture Fries at Burger Culture, Tampa AVO Burger, Burger Culture
Very rarely am I smitten by a burger joint. In the last few years there have only been a few that really got me excited. And offhand, I can only name one; Patty and Bun in London. I know there are more and if I cared to take the time and reread my past blog posts I could list more, but that's not the point. The point is, that there are very few places making truly excellent burgers. There are lots that pretend to be brilliant, but few that deliver. With a dish that is so easy to make amazing, it often boggles my mind that there are so few, but that's the state we're in.

On a recent trip to Tampa I stumbled across Burger Culture. And I was absolutely blown away. It's not the most beautiful restaurant in the world. Actually, it's not a restaurant at all, but a food truck. Located in a Harley Davidson parking lot off of busy N. Dale Mabry Highway, Burger Culture is miles away from fine dining. In fact, when I went, there was a landscaping crew in the parking lot blowing dirt, leaves and debris everywhere. Luckily, it wasn't long until they found other areas to clean and we were left in relative peace. Except for the sound of their incredibly loud blowers.

In the truck there is one lone cook, whipping up some of the best and most original burgers this foodie has ever had. For instance, the Avo Burger Wrap: Avocado Mash, Red Onion, Swiss Cheese and Cilantro Lime Sauce, all wrapped up neatly in a Pita. The other Burgers I tried were all equally as tasty, with the Black and Blue flying miles ahead of just about any other burger out there. And the Fries were as good as one could possibly make Fries without using fancy Potatoes and triple cooking them before adding a dash of Truffle Salt. Nothing beats that combo!

Well done to the folks at Culture Burger. You've created an excellent product. I wish you were in England. I would get clinically obese on your Burgers. They are very yummy, indeed.

To view my professional food photography visit: Taylor Young Photography

Burger Culture on Urbanspoon




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Restaurant Story, London: Fat Duck Who?

Restaurant Story Restaurant Story, London A Story in Story Snacks at Story A Lovely Bite Not an Oreo Chicken Treat Treat at Story Wonderful Little Bites Story Snacks Soup at Story Pork at Story Theatre at Story Sea Delight Story Stamp Parcel of Fish Oysters at Story Veal Tongue Beef Dripping Beef Dripping Candle Scooping up Beef Dripping Onion, Apple, Old Tom Scallops, Cucumber, Dill Ash Brioche Triple Layered Butter Mash, Asparagus, Coal Lamb at Story Lemon, Lemon and Lemon Pumpkin Different Ways Almond and Dill Tea Cakes Tea Cake at Story
Normally I cannot wait to write the text for this blog. It's one of the ways I express myself and, especially with great restaurants, the text is almost as important to me as the photos. However, in the case of Restaurant Story, I am going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves and I'm going to say very little.

As you scroll up and down looking at the photos of this incredible restaurant, I'll just say this; for the money, Restaurant Story is the best restaurant I've ever been to. What did he just say? What about The Fat Duck? What about Gavroche? Surely The French Laundry is the best? No. For the money, Story beats them all. Every restaurant in my top 5 leaves you feeling amazing, no doubt. But it also leaves you several hundred Pounds, or Dollars poorer. The full tasting menu above can be had for £80. It was £75 when I went on April 1st 2015. And for that, you get one of the greatest food experiences you'll likely have in your life.

The highlights for me are: The Beef Dripping Candle with Bread, Brioche and Triple Layered Butter (hello Foie Gras!), Onion Apple and Old Tom, Lamb Served Four Ways, Lemon Dessert Served Several Ways and Tea Cakes to top it all off. Incredible quality, amazing theatre and wonderful food!

Stop reading this and get on the phone to them and make a reservation. You won't regret it.

My highest recommendation.

Restaurant Story on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 6, 2015

Z Grille, St. Petersburg: $22 Hamburger

Outside Z-Grill Z-Grill Menu, Tampa Deviled Eggs Guacamole Deviled Egg Z-Grill Foie Gras Burger Foie Gras Burger
I was attracted to Z Grille for one reason, the $22 Burger. I don't generally like restaurants in the Tampa Bay area, the exception being several Mexican restaurants and a handful of Steak/Burger joints. I find the food very, meh, and uninspiring. So when I heard of a $22 Burger in St. Pete I had to try it.

Z Grille has been on my radar for a while now. Every time I search the inter web, Z Grille pops up on at least a few respected websites. The menu is pretty wild, as is the head chef and owner Zack. I went on a Tuesday as their website advertised a $15 Foie Gras Burger, normally $22, only to be told that it was only $15 at dinner. Checking the website right now it doesn't specifically give a time the deal is on, but it does say under their Events Page, "Don't Miss Out and Make it a Night Out With Friends". I guess the key word there is "Night Out." Still, I hate that type of misleading marketing.

Regardless, we were there and both my uncle and I wanted to sink our teeth into, what Z Grille touts as, "The Best Burger in The World." Seriously, that's what they say on their website. First up was some very creative Deviled Eggs. I'm not normally a fan of Deviled Eggs, but I did really enjoy the Avocado, Bacon and JalapeƱo one. Although all three were given a heavy treatment of Garlic, that left me not being able to taste much else for the rest of the day.

Next up, the main attraction. The most expensive Burger I have ever tried and, apparently, "The Best Burger in The World." The Foie Gras and Steak Burger with a Half-Pound of House-Ground Ribeye and Brisket, with Grilled Onions, Nueske Bacon, La Belle Farms Foie Gras, Roasted Garlic Tomatoes, Mayo and all served between a Brioche Bun with Truffle Fries piled on the side.

I'm sure the only question you're asking yourself is, "was it the World's best burger?" No, of course not. If it was we'd all have heard about it a long time ago and it wouldn't have taken me so long to try it. But, I did really enjoy it. I thought the meat was delicious, the bun was perfect and everything went together extremely well. But, it was a monster of a Burger and if you're going to have Foie Gras on a Burger that's a half-pound, I think it could do without the Bacon. If you have to have Bacon, I think all that fat needs to be offset by something fresh and acidic like Kimchi, or Slaw. It was just way too much Burger for this foodie.

However, I'm glad I tried it. It's not everyday you get to taste a $22 Burger. If you want to try it, go at night when it's $15 and make sure you have something fresh with it, or you'll be stuck in a coma on your sofa for the rest of the day like I was.

Z Grille on Urbanspoon