Tag Archives: burgers

Hometown Foodstalking- Flip Burger

For the holidays, I traveled back home to the place where the foodstalking magic first happened between LG and Miss Em: Birmingham. I got to sample several new-to-me spots, including a couple that are new to the Magic City.

First up was a newcomer to the B’ham restaurant scene, Flip Burger Boutique. I had been stalking this menu for months in eager anticipation of visiting the new Birmingham location over Christmas. This is the brainchild of Top Chef alum and Atlanta native, Richard Blais, one of my all-time favorite Top Chef competitors. He made his mark on the show with a playful and accessible brand of molecular gastronomy.

Blais himself was in da house on the night that we braved post-holiday Summit traffic to grab some gourmet burgers. He was looking a little flustered- later on I think we would find out why.

Hipster fun with the light fixture


Even after reading this menu dozens of times, the fam and I had a hard time choosing between all of the amazing sounding burgers. One whole side of the menu is dedicated to beef burgers, the other side is anything-goes. I went for the carne- specifically, the Butcher’s Cut with caramelized onions, blue cheese, and red wine jam. At our table, we had a Farm Burger, a Korean BBQ burger, a Chorizo burger, and two regular ole hamburgers. The general consensus, I believe, was that the burgers were tasty, but that there was an issue with service and/or the kitchen on that particular evening. They had been open for no more than 2 weeks at this point, so I’m sure they were still ironing out the wrinkles. Most of the burgers arrived to our table not exactly warm. I thought mine was tasty, but definitely could have been warmer and I would have preferred the ratio of toppings a little different: less blue cheese, more red wine jam. We sampled fries, fried pickles, fried okra, and the warm potato salad. All were perfectly serviceable, although the okra especially were very greasy.

My choice. The Butcher's Cut.

E's Chorizo burger

Dad's Korean BBQ burger. Points for originality.

As an apology for the hour-long wait for our food, and the lukewarm-ness of it when it finally arrived, we were sent a sampling of Blais’s famous liquid nitrogen milkshakes. My favorite was the Pistachio, rather shockingly. I don’t dislike pistachios, but I would never think of it as the first flavor I’d order on a milkshake menu. The slight saltiness went with the sweetness very well. Other flavors at our table: S’mores, Krispy Kreme donut (just like the real thing pureed into a frosty mug), and Foie Gras (seriously not as disgusting as it sounds- if you didn’t know it was Foie Gras, I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess).

S'mores. Pleasingly burnt marshmallows on top with bits of graham cracker interspersed.

Pistachio

While our experience was less than perfect, I do think we’ll be back. For one, the prices are fair. The menu is so varied that you’ll always have something new to try. And of course, I’ll be back because I have faith in Blais! Hopefully he can attract and retain some real talent in the kitchen, folks who are able to execute the “foodie” vision that this restaurant is going after.

Pretty food

When I logged in to the WordPress site, it said: “Welcome back, LG!” I take this to be a good sign that I am A. still welcome and B. they still remember my name. 

I can’t even begin to document all of the good (and bad- Ziggy’s, I’m looking at you…) food that I’ve eaten over the past two months, so I’ll just share some highlights! Without further ado… 

dsc02448Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Sugarland, TX. An off-shoot of the Brooklyn original! Absolutely fabulous. This was a pepperoni pie with fresh basil.


White pizza from Grimaldi's. Equally amazing.

White pizza from Grimaldi's. Equally amazing.

dsc02538Late night dining at BB’s Cafe in Montrose. The Southern Man: Fried catfish, cheese grits, eggs, bacon, and a biscuit.


Homemade pizza sauce for my Margherita pizza!

Homemade pizza sauce for my Margherita pizza!


The finished product. Crust was a little soggy this time, but still delicious.

The finished product. Crust was a little soggy this time, but still delicious.

dsc02563Five Guys Grand Opening in Houston. My life is complete.


Homemade pizza try #2. This time with pepperoni, black olives, and mushrooms (my standby). Crust was much better after pre-baking for 5 minutes.

Homemade pizza try #2. This time with pepperoni, black olives, and mushrooms (my standby). Crust was much better after pre-baking for 5 minutes.

That’s about all I’ve got after cleaning off my memory card. I ate a lot of pizza, now that I think about it. I’m ready to get back in the swing of things!

Thai food, BBQ and Sliders, oh my!

Hi folks. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

If there’s one thing I love about living in a big city, it’s the variety of unique and sometimes oddball food experiences that pop up all around. There’s a new restaurant in Montrose that I had been dying to try. I believe it fits the oddball bill: Little Big’s– a small burger stand with limited seating (but a huge porch) that serves only sliders and their buddy, the french fry. Little Big’s was started by Chef Bryan Caswell, the chef/owner of Reef– another place I need to get to soon (it was recently named the #1 seafood restaurant in America by Bon Appetit). Although Reef specializes in seafood, the sliders became a popular menu item- so popular that Bryan decided to open a casual, counter-service outpost where the slider is king. 

I jumped at the chance to go on a recent weekend night, and I’m glad I did. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever had, but then again, I wouldn’t necessarily go there if I wanted a burger (and by burger, I mean a giant, dripping behemoth that is covered in ketchup and mustard). I ordered a trio of sliders, one of each of their offerings: spicy chicken, beef with caramelized onions, and mushroom. The spicy chicken was possibly my favorite, and I don’t typically go for white meat. It was perfectly spicy, perfectly crispy, and the single pickle was a nice touch. I love you, Chick-Fil-A, but this deal put the #1 combo to shame. The beef that makes up the beef slider is very tasty. You can tell that it is freshly ground in-house. However, mine was a little dry. The mushroom slider was a fried portabello mushroom cap stuffed with some kind of molten cheese. It was very good as well- the breading was nicely done. The buns are freshly baked, yeast-y wonders. We also ordered several baskets of handcut fries for the table and they were tasty. There is a condiment station featuring Little Big’s signature sauce: a sriracha remoulade that is perfect for dipping fries and smothering over the beef slider. I can’t wait until the weather decides to stay warm, as I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time on that fabulous porch.

 

Excuse the BlackBerry photography. This foodstalker needs to remember to have her camera on her at all times.

Excuse the BlackBerry photography. This foodstalker needs to remember to have her camera on her at all times.

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Thai food was one of the first ethnic foods I fell in love with, and for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart. In search of a big bowl of curry, I had lunch one day at Nidda Thai. The dining room is your typical cheesy Asian-themed decor, but you don’t go to a Thai restaurant for the atmosphere, you go for the food! I had the Panang curry with chicken. The curry was perfect- just spicy enough and appropriately sweet from the coconut milk. I love dumping spoonfuls of rice into the curry. In fact, I could probably be served just the curry base with rice (and no protein) and be perfectly happy. I would drink that stuff if it weren’t so spicy.

 

Bowl chock fulla comfort

Bowl chock fulla comfort

 

In Houston (and Texas in general), rodeos are a big deal. I don’t know that I am a rodeo kind of gal, but any fair-like opportunity with free food and drink is A-OK in my book. To kick off the huge Houston rodeo season, there is a World Championship BBQ Cookoff. $7 gets you in the gate and one plate of food from the public tent (this is usually catered by a second-rate local BBQ joint from what I hear). Lucky for me, I had a friend who scored a free ticket to a private booth- and these are pretty hard to come by. There are hundreds of private booths where competitive BBQ pit masters test their skills. These booths are then sponsored by various corporations (from what I understand) and feature free ‘que and drink (open bar!). The pulled pork at our booth was DELISH. I could have eaten only that and been really happy. While I’m not ready to claim Texas BBQ as my favorite, I’m definitely warming up to the idea. The stuff I grew up on- Dreamland and Byron’s- remains #1 in my book for now.

 

All this for $7! My own personal stimulus package.

All this for $7! My own personal stimulus package.

 

 

Pit masters hard at work

Pit masters hard at work

Look for a foodstalkers trip to Austin very soon! My favorite city should have a lot to offer in the eats department.

Foodstalkin’ with my feet ten feet off of Beale

Last weekend, I headed to Memphis with my college friends to celebrate Taylor’s last hurrah as a single lady. While the main focus of this trip was not eating (although what trip of mine isn’t focused on food?), I managed to sneak in several really good meals. Here are some of my favorites:

Thursday night we celebrated Caroline and Kate’s birthdays with a yummy homemade meal of grilled chicken thighs served over sauteed spinach and cheese grits. It was so delicious- in fact, I’m thinking about attempting to recreate it this weekend. We finished the meal with the cutest cake ever. I’m so mad I didn’t get a picture of the whole cake, because it was freakin’ adorable. It was the Cindy Lou Who cake from Muddy’s Bake Shop. I googled the bakery name last night to find the website, and ended up spending way too much time reading through the owner’s blog. It reminded me how much I would love to do something like open a bakery! Maybe one day…

Cindy Lou Who Cake

Cindy Lou Who

Friday night we capped off KB’s art show with drinks and bar food at Bardog Tavern. Most of the table had some form of the grilled cheese. I got mine with tomato bisque. There really is nothing better than a grilled cheese, in my opinion. It was especially good on this super chilly night. The tomato bisque was thicker than most, which I liked. It was served in a mug with big croutons to sop up that sweet nectar.

Mmm mmm good

Mmm mmm good

Saturday night was the main event. With hot pink wigs on our heads, we headed over to Spindini’s. We got some pretty hilarious looks as we walked into the restaurant. We started off with the Tuscan Butter- which tasted just like an appetizer served at the now defunct River Market and Deli- and also the fried calamari. The Tuscan Butter consisted of marscapone, goat cheese, and marinara, and is served with toast rounds. I remember that the River Market and Deli appetizer was a spread of marinara and montrachet cheese. They taste so similar to each other.

Doesn't look too appetizing, but looks are deceiving

Doesn't look too appetizing, but looks are deceiving

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For the main course, the group split four different pizzas (and it was totally overkill- we had way too much food due to my eyes being much bigger than my stomach). Our pizzas, in order of my preference:

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1. Lobster Pizza

2. Margherita Pizza (didn’t get a picture of this one, but I’m sure you get the idea)

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3. White Pizza

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4. Pesto Pizza

The lobster was so good. I loved the bacon and aioli on top. It was definitely unique, but not nearly as heavy as it sounds.

The margherita was pretty standard- how can you go wrong with the classic?

Loved the arugula on the white pizza.

The pesto was a little much. There were too many red onions hanging out.

There were a couple of meals that I didn’t get to take a picture of, but that were good nonetheless. When we all arrived on Thursday, we grabbed lunch at Huey’s. They have good burgers and a fun atmosphere.

This was the first time I’ve been to Memphis without getting BBQ. Nuts! For the record, I prefer Rendezvous (I think I have only had Corky’s and Rendezvous though). Let the debate begin…

Eyes < Stomach

I‘ve had some pretty promising foodstalking opportunities lately, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to adjust to my new, bloggy self and bring a camera with me. I picked up a Chocolate Chai cupcake today from The Path of Tea, a local tea shop (I know, strange place for a cupcake). I have read several times that they make some of the best cupcakes in town, and since I happened to pass by it while running errands, I thought I’d give it a try. Too bad I remembered to take a picture only after I devoured the yummy morsel in 3 bites. The cake was a little on the dry side, but the icing was amazing. Sweet- but not too sweet- and plenty of delicious chai spices. I’m on a mission to recreate the recipe at home. I think I could do the cake part better than they did. After doing some research, I found a recipe for Chai buttercream icing that requires you to make your own chai spice mixture. No big deal, except for the fact that it has FENNEL in the mix. Excuse me? If I could have a spice nemesis, it would be fennel. Or maybe dried dill. Either way, I refuse to believe there is fennel in my beloved chai tea!

Chocolate Chai Cupcake- past tenseThe remains

Earlier this week, I picked up a burger for dinner from one of my favorite places in Houston- Christian’s Tailgate. The location I frequent is a total dive bar- just picture the fact that I was the only female in there at the time, besides the biker chick taking orders (they also have a yuppie-fied Midtown location… but do yuppies know good carne? I think not). Once again, no picture, because I tend to forget these things when there is a huge hunk of beef waiting to be eaten. Their onion rings are top-notch too.

I’m having a hard time getting recipe inspiration for this week. Suggestions are welcome!