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Archive for the ‘Burger’ Category

A tall order

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Wandering the mall on a random weekend and needed to find a spot for lunch. The same old chain restaurants that occupy entire wings of the mall, all serving the same overpriced meal options – it’s very much, slim pickings. Zark’s, which also happens to be a chain, usually offers up good burger and fries options, always a go-to when there isn’t much of a craving for anything in particular.

Having visited several times before, it has always been good – although, still taken aback by the number of patrons who eat their burger and fries with a fork and knife.

On this occasion, picked the stone-cold stunner, described as “a double bacon cheeseburger on a bed of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and caramelized onion,” it sounded great.

The plate arrives at the table and, having experienced double cheeseburgers before, this one did not disappoint in height. It took a bit to figure out the mechanics of it, and it was an absolute mouthful.

Zark’s has always been a good fallback when there didn’t appear to be many other options. Plus, the massive “stone-cold stunner” was some good eats to carry through the rest of the day.

Stone-Cold Stunner

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A Decent Burger Spot

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Ever since moving to the Philippines, it’s been a disappointing search for a decent hamburger. Either the bread wasn’t great, the toppings were insufficient, or (the worst) the burger was not all beef – and not a blend of another meat, some kind of filler made it obvious restaurants were not serving a 100% meat patty.

Did have a smidge of hope with the monthly burger pop-up at The District by Ayala, in Talisay, but that went to the wayside after too many occasions having to wait because they opened without having their beef patties or buns ready for service; just unprofessional.

Burger chain Zark’s opened up at SM City and, after visiting twice, it’s a pretty good spot and the price isn’t too bad. Enjoyed the Black Mamba on the first visit, came with a really delicious and sweet barbeque sauce; on the last visit, tried the Shaq, topped with onion rings and bacon.

For something as simple as a sandwich comprised of a bun, burger patty, lettuce, tomato, and any other additional toppings, it’s incredible how many places get it wrong. Zark’s has a huge menu and there are so many more to try – so far, so good.

The Shaq, a cheeseburger topped with onion rings and bacon.

The Shaq, a cheeseburger topped with onion rings and bacon.

There was an incident with the hostess on the last visit. Apparently, some fellow food photographers have taken the rather tacky habit to an all new level. The customer, who ordered takeout, asked to have the food brought out on a place for her to take a photo, to add to that, she asked the seating hostess to hold the plate as she took the photo.

That was some pure idiocy, on the part of the customer, and very bad judgement from the seating hostess.

Written by Paulo Loreto

April 17, 2016 at 12:19 AM

Australian Burger

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In all the years in New York City and all the variety of foods consumed in that time, there is really nothing that satisfies than a good hamburger. Leaving the United States, learned very quickly that a good hamburger cannot be taken for granted and it’s not as simple a concept as one would imagine in formulating a decent burger. Having enjoyed an extended vacation in 2015, stopped by one of the regular haunts, The Australian NYC – the only place to enjoy live rugby league at five in the morning.

If there’s anything as quintessentially Australian as koalas and kangaroos, it’s the way they enjoy their burgers. Two words: Beetroot and pineapple. Have had pineapple on burger before, usually places call it an “Aloha burger” or something Hawaiian, but it’s the Australians that have locked in an amazing combination of flavors with the variety of toppings. Given the other essentials – lettuce, tomato, onion – the burger can stack pretty high, but what other way is there to enjoy it?

The burger at The Australian NYC is both a classic and a new concept (depending on where you’re coming from). Must say, personally, not one to really indulge in beetroot that often, it’s usually only on hamburgers that the ingredient ever springs up. The Aussie burger is a nice contrast to the regular burger one would get at a typical pub, plus (for newbies), it has that little extra from the Aussie ingredients without getting too far into weird burger territory.

Beetroot and pineapple never worked better together.

Beetroot and pineapple never worked better together.

It also comes with some really tasty fries.

Written by Paulo Loreto

February 15, 2016 at 8:12 AM

The Fitz

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Wandering somewhere in between where Midtown ends and Lenox Hill begins, as usual, it was a time for scoping out a place for lunch. Had the phone out to geolocate myself and walked passed multitudes of markers showing spots for a meal. Walked by PJ Clarke’s, been there a couple times, and it seemed like the peak of lunch rush – barely able to step inside. Immediately, left and the journey continued. Stumbled across the menu for The Fitz restaurant, housed within The Fitzpatrick Hotel, and they offered an overall decent-looking menu, was a couple blocks over and decided to give it a try.

Walked in (by this time, peak lunch was probably over) and the main seating area was filled with people having tea and coffee. Continued walking towards the back and found a full bar, equipped with bar counter seating along with high-top tables along the other side of the room. Took a seat at the bar and admired the beautifully designed bar area; dark wood, modern-looking taps, with lit-up bottles along the back wall.

By that time, after the search for lunch, needed some kind of burger or sandwich and zeroed in on the New York Steak Sandwich. Upon arrival, the sandwich was one on the beautiful side, a generous size, with plenty of steak making its appearance upon first glance. That first bite, it was on the chewier side, but nonetheless delicious; the combination of a firm steak with hearty bread made it one you had to take a good bite out of. Definitely a satisfying lunch and the steak fries that were paired with the sandwich; hot, fresh, and everything one loves about french fries.

The Fitz

Would probably consider this place for a Happy Hour.

Written by Paulo Loreto

January 13, 2016 at 7:34 AM

The Big Reade

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On an early Sunday afternoon, wandering lower Manhattan to meet a friend for lunch, hoping for some decent pub food. Walked down Reade Street and stopped at the Reade Street Pub, the only customers – probably the first customers, the place likely just opened a few minutes prior. After perusing the healthy beer menu (accompanied with decent prices), looked through the food menu and zeroed in on the burger selections.

The Big Reade, described as two 5oz. patties, American cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, and what grabbed the attention was the addition of a chipotle sauce. Before the burger arrived, imagined a traditional burger, one stacked high with ingredients and two patties; arriving at the table, it was not what was expected. The burger was, essentially, split into two open-faced sandwiches. Not sure the exact way it was supposed to be enjoyed – did attempt to make it one burger and it was difficult.

In the end, went with eating one patty with the lettuce and one patty as a traditional burger – one “Atkins”-esque and the other like a slider. Tasty stuff, very satisfied but it must be said, the chipotle sauce was smoky. Understood, chipotle is known for a smoky flavor, but the abundance piled on top of each patty was breathtaking. Did have to take a bit off after the sauce was having an effect, but, ultimately, it was good pub food.

Big Reade

Written by Paulo Loreto

January 3, 2016 at 10:54 PM

Shrimp Burger

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The Monday after Thanksgiving, got back to Park Slope, Brooklyn from Toms River, New Jersey with giant suitcase in tow and some twist ankle ligaments. After getting everything tucked away, needed to grab lunch and with limited mobility, close proximity was a necessity. Hobbled over to Krupa Grocery, a fairly new establishment, with a healthy beer selection and a menu featuring all-day breakfast and various lunch offerings from sandwiches to salads – it was pretty easy making a selection.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the Panko Crusted Shrimp Burger. The menu lists the ingredients as black tiger shrimp, seaweed salad, Korean pickles, and kewpie mayonnaise – it was a lovely setup for what arrived – a delicious treat.

Shrimp Burger

The sandwich was big. The ingredients were stacked high and the shrimp patty was massive and that first bite was an amazing mix of flavors from the crunchy shrimp and pickles to the uniquely-flavored seaweed salad. Paired with fried fingerlings – definitely a welcome change to the typical French fries or onion rings – from beginning to end the meal was fantastic.

Written by Paulo Loreto

December 11, 2015 at 6:03 AM

Jane

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On many instances, one of the things that make the work experience what it is is the environment. Whether the place of work is surrounded by business, greenery, or part of an office park, it really impacts the way one operates at the job. In a previous job, before moving overseas, had the prime opportunity of working in between New York City’s Greenwich Village and SoHo. North, south, east, or west, there was always something to see or do.

One of the great lunch spots in the area is Jane, situated right on Houston Street. Also known for their weekend brunch, during the week, the place never disappointed with their offerings, which change seasonally.

A classic, one of the constants, is their Jane Burger. With ingredients stacked high, their signature rosemary fries, and a cold beer, that’s a lunch one doesn’t forget too easily. The burger is cooked to order, juicy with a generous helping of bacon, and those rosemary fries – those come in a large pile on the side of the platter – delicious and filling.

And with lunches like that, it makes the rest of the day a good one.

Sometimes a burger is a burger, other times, it’s a Jane Burger.

Sometimes a burger is a burger, other times, it’s a Jane Burger.

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 5, 2015 at 7:24 PM