The Roaming Foodie

Posts Tagged ‘burgers

Tuesday night, Andrew and I met Andrew’s sister at The Bookhouse Pub for dinner. I’m pretty sure the main reason we went here was for the extensive beer list because both Andrew and his sister had each had a rough day and agreed that a beer was in order. I didn’t partake in this aspect of the evening, so I can’t say much about the alcohol other than the beer list is significantly larger than the food menu. But, they also have decent food.

Andrew and his sister each got a burger, and I got a veggie burger. The veggie burger was made from edamame, black beans, roasted corn and red peppers. It was pretty good, although it fell apart very easily (I’m guessing because it was fresh made) and I ended up eating it with a fork. It also had kind of a cornmeal texture to it, so I’m guessing they used something like that to bind it together, but I didn’t mind it. It just kind of reminded me of cornbread. They also grilled the bun that it was served on, which was a nice touch and something I always enjoy. It was served with “asian bbq” sauce (aka, hoisin sauce) and instead of fries I had a side salad with ginger vinaigrette. I didn’t try any of Andrew’s burger, but I did snag some fries. The fries were kind of oversalted.

Service was good, if not overly friendly.

The bookshelf in the place is small. It runs only part of the wall, and is like this little shelf right next to the ceiling. I kind of thought that a place named “The Bookhouse Pub” would have more of a décor focus on books. But I guess the point is the booze and the food, so I won’t count it against them too much.

Plus, I’m kind of obsessed with this veggie burger now.

The Bookhouse Pub on Urbanspoon

Thursday night, I found myself craving a meaty, juicy, perfectly simple beef burger (it’s a rare occasion that I willingly seek out beef, but it happens). I didn’t want Flip. As good as it is, I wanted something simple and classic, and I wasn’t in the right mood for the atmosphere either. I rounded up Andrew, as he is male and also a carnivore. He called his sister, since the only places he could think of for burgers were Five Guys (never been, and sounds way too greasy from what he’s said) and The Vortex (I like it, but I couldn’t bring myself to NOT order their veggie burger). She suggested a place in Virginia Highlands called Highland Tap. Andrew and I pushed that to the side, as neither of us seemed to be greatly familiar with that area of Atlanta. So I called my Atlanta food guru (aka, my brother). He suggested Highland Tap, saying that it had one of his favorite burgers in Atlanta. Alright…so if both of our siblings recommended this place, we had to go. (Thanks guys!)

My brother asked, “You’re familiar with the Highlands, right?” to which I replied “Of course” even though I totally wasn’t. He told me that Highland Tap was next to Noche (I had passed by it before and remembered the sign) and Murphy’s (again, had passed by it and remembered where it was). So after passing by both Noche and Murphy’s a few times a) looking for Highland Tap and b) trying to find somewhere to park, Andrew finally spotted a sign that said steaks and burgers, and then noticed the window that said Highland Tap (go Andrew. I never would’ve seen that, but in my defense I was watching the road). It’s tucked in there and hard to find, and when you do find it and enter the front door, you head down a set of stairs into a dark, basement-y (not a real adjective, but get over it) bar. To the right of the bar area is the restaurant. The whole restaurant is also dark, all the furniture done in mahogany, a dark red fleur de lis wallpaper on the walls that weren’t exposed stone, with the only light coming from the kitchen and little low lit lamps situated on the tables. Though I generally prefer restaurants with a lighter ambiance, the food more than made up for the lack of lighting. Also, I shouldn’t complain too much…it labeled itself as a “steak cellar” so I should’ve been a bit more prepared for the cellar vibe.

But, let’s get to the real point. The food. I was going for the burger, and searched and searched the menu, until I found it in it’s own little box (clearly, my observation skills were lacking for the evening). It was a 10 oz steak burger. As in, burger made from steak. Not a steak sandwich. Um…yum! But, even in my carnivorous state, 10 oz was a lot of beef. I kept reading down, and found what was called a “Mini Tap Burger”. It was the steak burger, but only 5 oz. This was apparently my lucky night. One could also choose from a variety of different condiments for the burger (it came with onions, lettuce and tomato), such as different cheeses, mushrooms, etc. I went with avocado on mine, and a side of onion rings. Andrew got the 10 oz with avocado and Swiss cheese, and a side of fries. He also ordered more onion rings. The onion rings came out first, and to me, they were pretty much perfect. Nothing fancy; just a perfect ratio of breading to onion. The onion was thick cut, not over cooked or overbreaded and well seasoned. Definitely get the onion rings, if you’re into that.

Our burgers came out shortly after the onion rings. The Mini Tap Burger was about the same size as a Flip burger, and it was the perfect amount to satisfy my hunger for meat without going overboard on eating. The avocado was a nice, cool contrast to the rich juicy beef.Highland Tap definitely scored points with me by having avocado as a topping for the burger…I love love love avocado.  I’m not sure what else to say about this burger…it was just a classic burger done perfectly. Nothing pretentious. It was cooked exactly how I ordered it (medium rare…I hate when you order a certain doneness and it comes out overdone. That’s happened many times to me, and so Highland Tap scored more points by doing mine medium rare like I asked).  Andrew’s 10 oz burger was HUGE, and he managed to devour the whole thing. That’s his way of saying he really enjoyed it as well. I tried a french fry from his plate, and it was good. Well seasoned, well cooked.

Our service was also great. Everything came out quickly (there were only a few other diners. Most everyone was at the bar) and she was attentive without being overly so.

After our wonderful meal at Highland Tap (my new go-to burger place, when I’m not in the mood for Flip), Andrew and I took a nice walk down the street to Ben and Jerry’s. Virginia Highlands is a really pretty neighborhood. We passed lots of nice, upkept gardens in front of nice houses, and the smell of various flowers blooming made the evening lovely. We got to Ben and Jerry’s, got some ice cream (he got Peanut Brittle, and I got Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt). Getting it fresh scooped from the store was about a million times better than getting a pint of it from the grocery store. Although there are times when a pint from the grocery store is necessary, but when you aren’t in dire need of destroying a whole pint, then getting a cup from the store is far superior. (Believe me…I know the merits of a whole pint of ice cream when things just aren’t going as they should, or when you’ve had a bad day, etc.)

I will definitely be returning to Virginia Highlands to try out other restaurants (I’ve heard Murphy’s is good) and other places (there’s a gelato store we’re going to next time, because I love gelato. The end.) Thanks for a nice evening, Highlands!

Highland Tap on Urbanspoon

Alright. So here’s my first real post. It’s based on something I’ve been wanting to discuss, but didn’t know where. And now I have a place to put it!

So. Flip Burger. It’s run by Richard Blaise (he was one of the three finalists on Top Chef Season 4). He’s an Atlanta chef whose creativity level, in my opinion, is way above anything I have ever experienced. He opened Flip as a new, inventive way to enjoy the classic American staple…burgers.

What’s cool about Flip is that they grind their beef for the burgers in house. Everything is fresh, and seasonal (so yeah, that means the menu changes, which I like, but some people may not). They even make their pickles in house (and they are absolutely delicious). Their milkshakes are made using liquid nitrogen to freeze them, so they come out with smoke on top, but with a creamy consistency that you can’t get with traditionally made milkshakes.

I ate at the one in Atlanta several times with my brother and some other friends. I wrote about it awhile ago, so I’ll just repost that here as my insight into Flip Burger Atlanta.

so, after fighting through some Atlanta traffic, we arrive at Flip. It’s in a kinda odd area, surrounded by some auto dealerships or whatever, but it’s not too terribly far from Tech. The ambiance is very cool and hip, albeit slightly on the small and crowded side. The majority of the restaurant was painted white, with touches of red in the seat cushions, and lots of light coming into the restaurant. The plasma TVs sat behind the bar and were framed by white picture frames.  It had a good crowd, mostly younger/middle aged people, but there were a few older adults scattered. I think I saw like one kid (my kind of place).we didn’t have to wait for seating, probably because we went at like 6:30 on a Thursday night (my brother went on a Friday night last time and said he had to wait about 2 hours, but well worth the wait).  we were seated at the chef bar, so you could actually see them working on plating the dishes and serving them (SO FREAKING COOL). And who just happened to be at the chef bar, right smack in front of where we sat? that’s right…Richard from Top Chef. spiked hair and all. He didn’t stay there long…he stood there for a few minutes right when we were seated, and came back at the end of our meal…still awesome either way.

Here’s what we had:

Butcher cut: beef, caramelized onions, red wine jam, bleu cheese -probably my favorite of the three. simple and classic, but made exceptional by the red wine jam with gave a nice sweet contrast to the bleu cheese. Luckily this one is always on the menu.

Kobe beef: kobe beef, seared foie gras, shaved truffles, pickles, red wine syrup -this one was delicious, but one of those things I’d only order once in a blue moon.  The beef was so tender, it was like butter. I’d never had kobe beef before, and this was an awesome way to eat it, although it was a little on the pricey side.

tuna: yellowtail tuna, pickled ginger, vietnamese herb salad -probably my least favorite of the night, but still really good. Kind of spicy, with a lot of cilantro on it.  Next time I’d probably try one of the other non-beef burgers instead though.

vodka battered onion rings -I’d heard of beer battered, but never vodka. And they were amazing. Not too greasy, and still crunchy when they got to our table (I hate soggy onion rings). They were served with a beer honey mustard sauce that was quite good as well.

french fries with smoked mayo -just normal, well cooked french fries, but what made them exceptional was the smoked mayo. I don’t know how one goes about make smoked mayo…but i’d like to.

and to finish it all off…nutella with burnt marshmallow milkshake. -it tasted more like chocolate than nutella, and had bits of hazelnut in it to give it a nice crunch.  The whole thing was topped off with a good handful of marshmallows that were burnt with a torch on top. It was delicious, and I don’t think I could go with any of the other milkshakes, though if someone ordered a krispy kreme milkshake (they literally put a doughnut in a blender), i’d have to take at least a sip. but the nutella was fantastic.All in all, an exceptionally wonderful meal.  Totally brought out the side of me that secretly longs to be a chef and own a restaurant.  I loved how hip and trendy it is, and how it’s taken classic burgers and made them gourmet (not a new concept by any means, but a nice change of pace for Atlanta).

Other times I’ve been to Flip Atlanta, I’ve had the Shrimp Po’Burger, which is just a fried shrimp patty with lettuce tomato, and Old Bay mayo. I didn’t care for that too much, as it was too shrimpy for my taste, but what I did really like on it was the fried lemon. Weird, but very yummy. My absolute favorite burger at Flip is the turkey burger. It’s a turkey patty with avocado (I love avocado so much), alfalfa sprouts, and pomegranate ketchup. I get this everytime I go now, because it’s not as heavy as the Butcher Cut (my favorite beef burger), but still incredibly yummy. As far as milkshakes, I usually stick with the Nutella, but once I tried a Chocolate Mole. It was just a normal chocolate shake, but it had cayenne in it which gave a nice warm background to the sweetness of the chocolate. I still like Nutella best.

When I moved to Birmingham, I was deeply saddened at the loss of several of my favorite Atlanta restaurants, Flip included on the list. One weekend, though, while I was shopping at The Summit (an outdoor, kind of ritzy expensive shopping area), I noticed that…much to my shock and happiness…a Flip Burger was opening here! It finally opened in December, and my mom and I went before I went home for Christmas break.

Flip B’ham has a much bigger space to occupy, is a lot lighter feeling (probably because of the huge window at the back that looks out over the summit and provides a beautiful view of some mountains and the horizon), but had pretty much the same setup and decor as Atlanta. We were seated fairly quickly, as we went at 11:30 am, so the lunch crowd hadn’t quite appeared. We sat next to two businessmen, who, after learning that we ate at the one in Atlanta a lot, kept asking us for advice, lol. I was happy to give it…it makes me feel like a real foodie.

So, looking over the menu, I was immediately disappointed to see that my favorite turkey burger was not there. They had a turkey burger…but it was a “wild turkey burger” that had bacon, and a lot of unnecessary things on it (where was my avocado and pomegranate ketchup burger???). The special of the day was a turkey club burger. My mom ordered that, I ordered a mushroom and swiss (from here on out referred to as M&S). We also ordered the fried pickles, which I believe were the best thing we had that meal. The M&S was a patty made from mushrooms, topped with swiss cheese, red wine ketchup, and lettuce, tomato, and onion. It was good, although hard to share with my mom, because when you cut it, the mushroom patty got squished and fell apart. My mom’s turkey club was a fried turkey patty with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. It was alright, but too heavy for my taste. I do not think that any kind of meat patty really needs to be fried and slapped on a burger, but that’s just me, and I can only take so much friend food. They also didn’t have my Nutella shake on the menu, but they had a S’mores milkshake, which was essentially the same thing minus the nuttiness of the Nutella. It was good…I liked the graham cracker bits in it, and of course I loved the toasted marshmallows.

All in all, I definitely prefer Flip Atlanta. The atmosphere seems more chill and a lot less pretentious than B’ham (which, I think, was only because of it’s location in a shopping center that has a Saks Fifth Avenue). I personally like that Flip Atlanta is a little crowded, kind of small, and in a weird location. I also like the food better at Flip Atlanta. I mean, come on, they have my turkey burger! I’m not saying Flip B’ham is bad, because the quality of the food is still fresh and very high quality, but it’s just not nearly as good as Flip Atlanta, and that’s mainly due to the fact that the menu is slightly different.

FLIP Burger Boutique on Urbanspoon

Flip burger boutique on Urbanspoon