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Gourdough’s / Austin, TX

We flew Continental to Texas and during the Transatlantic part, when we were at our most bored, Mrs D and I watched one of the random TV shows they had on the seatback video system things. Flying Continental to Texas is great by the way: all the stewardesses look like the Mum or Aunts from the first two Home Alone movies. Anyway, we’ve seen all the movies so we’ve moved on to this show about foodtrucks. Some Travel Channel thingy. Very on topic. In Austin there was a piece about Gourdough’s, and we watched it open-mouthed. They make the biggest, most incredible looking doughnuts you’ve ever seen. There was this one with bacon on it. Once in Austin, and having realised the usual Gourdough’s spot was too far away from downtown to get there, we resigned ourselves to not visiting. But because SXSW was happening, those savvy Manhattanites Squarespace had hired their own foodtruck, with a different local foodtruck providing free food each day, just round the corner from the Convention Center. And, lo, we did see that Gourdough’s were there, and that they were serving up the famous bacon maple doughnuts we’d seen on the plane. And they were free and they were called ‘The Flying Pig’. God bless the internet. On picking up the box, the first surprise is how light it is. The Gourdough’s doughnut looks like something that could destroy you from the inside out, but the batter is deceptively light and fluffy, and delicately fried. The maple butter and crispy bacon give a perfect salty crunch to each bite. If your doughnut experience doesn’t extend beyond Gregg’s and those slightly cold, stale Krispy Kremes that all get made in Essex, then Gourdough’s will be otherworldly in its goodness. Absolutely a must-visit if you love doughnuts. We’ll be going back for the proper truck experience next time. Simon.

We flew Continental to Texas and during the Transatlantic part, when we were at our most bored, Mrs D and I watched one of the random TV shows they had on the seatback video system things. Flying Continental to Texas is great by the way: all the stewardesses look like the Mum or Aunts from the first two Home Alone movies.

Anyway, we’ve seen all the movies so we’ve moved on to this show about foodtrucks. Some Travel Channel thingy. Very on topic. In Austin there was a piece about Gourdough’s, and we watched it open-mouthed. They make the biggest, most incredible looking doughnuts you’ve ever seen. There was this one with bacon on it.

Once in Austin, and having realised the usual Gourdough’s spot was too far away from downtown to get there, we resigned ourselves to not visiting. But because SXSW was happening, those savvy Manhattanites Squarespace had hired their own foodtruck, with a different local foodtruck providing free food each day, just round the corner from the Convention Center.

And, lo, we did see that Gourdough’s were there, and that they were serving up the famous bacon maple doughnuts we’d seen on the plane. And they were free and they were called ‘The Flying Pig’. God bless the internet.

On picking up the box, the first surprise is how light it is. The Gourdough’s doughnut looks like something that could destroy you from the inside out, but the batter is deceptively light and fluffy, and delicately fried. The maple butter and crispy bacon give a perfect salty crunch to each bite.

If your doughnut experience doesn’t extend beyond Gregg’s and those slightly cold, stale Krispy Kremes that all get made in Essex, then Gourdough’s will be otherworldly in its goodness.

Absolutely a must-visit if you love doughnuts. We’ll be going back for the proper truck experience next time.

  • Simon.

Gourdough's on Urbanspoon


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[PREVIEW] The 1/3lb Bacon Cheeseburger from Kua’Aina, Soho

Yes, that is quite a char isn’t it…

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[RECIPE] The Default Burger Anarchy Bun

Burger buns. So many different types. So many ways they can go very, very wrong.

Anyone remember that whole ‘Artisan-style Ciabatta’ debacle a while back? You catch my drift.

Most depressing of all is the bloody awful selection we get from the majority of our supermarkets and bakeries. Typically we have to suffer the following:

  1. The humble white bap. A moisture-sucking floury roll that capitulates like an over-dunked Malted Milk in the face of burger juice
  2. The crusty cob. A roof-of-mouth torturer.

And don’t even get me started on what they call burger buns, you may as well enclose your burger in two bits of fucking balsa wood.

Faced with this, I’ve tested various recipes over the last few months; from simple buns, to classic hamburger buns, to more fiddly potato rolls. More recently, with the increasing popularity of them at burger joints in London, I’ve had a go at differing brioche recipes too.

After finding some way too buttery or too sweet, I finally found this recipe.

And it’s a doozy, yielding light, beautifully textured buns, with that impressive shiny orange dome. Ever since, I’ve been using this for all of our burger experimentations, (including our Super Bowl Bacon Double Cheese, and the mini-concoctions for our rockumental burger fondue).

Give them a go, the prep is fiddly as fuck, but it delivers a very impressive cache of buns at the end, and they will give you results better than in most restaurants.

Burger buns

Brioche Burger Buns

Makes 10-12 4(ish) inch buns

  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups strong bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let it stand until nice n’ foamy, about ten minutes.

  2. Beat one egg.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Gradually add butter and rub into the flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and your beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic. I do it for 12-14 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side, so it can be hella messy and will stick to your hands, the kitchen cupboards, the cat, hell, everywhere. But keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will be.

  4. Shape the dough into a ball and return it back to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, between one to two hours.

  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 10-12 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball, place on the baking sheet and then swish down a bit with the palm of your hand, ideally they should be two to three inches apart on the sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray/sunflower oil and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

  6. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 205 degrees celsius with the rack in the middle. Beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water and brush some on top of buns. If you want sesame seeds on them, lob them on top now. I don’t, typically. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Boom.

  • Rob.

(Recipe adapted from the awesome Smitten Kitchen)

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Superbowl Sunday Essentials

  1. Bacon double cheeseburgers, with brioche buns handcrafted by Rob.

  2. Nacho cheese. Recipe

  3. Double-fried Buffalo wings. [OMG it really works]

  4. Momofuku Milk Bar Cornflake Chocolate-Chip Marshmallow cookies

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[REVIEW] Eggs Benedict / Austin Java / Austin, TX

Austin is blessed with a plethora of fine breakfast emporiums, and as American coffee goes, Austin Java is pretty good. There are a few different locations around the city (including a kiosk at the airport) but our favourite is the Parkway spot; it has a lovely deck out the front where you can enjoy a sunny Eggs Benedict.

Great muffins and a serviceable hollandaise make this worth the stroll out of downtown proper, and if you’re in Austin during SXSW, we can guarantee this is far enough away from the throng of more central breakfast spots.

Their breakfast quesadilla looked pretty special too, and stick to filter coffee. Espresso round these parts isn’t anything to write home about.

Austin Java on Urbanspoon


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[PREVIEW] A little S02E01 photo gallery

Rob is finishing up the edit. Here’s a little gallery preview of what to expect.

  • Can you guess what it is yet?

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Cheeseburger Macaroni Cheese from the MacBar, New York.

Cheeseburger Macaroni Cheese from the MacBar, New York.

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[REVIEW] Fish Tacos / Luardo’s / Brockley Market, London

The only other London burrito slingers to our knowledge that serve a fish taco are Wahaca.

Much as I love Wahaca, they have a tendency of being a bit snooty toward Californian Mexican fare, then putting it on their menu and botching it.

The Luardo’s version is far closer to tacos we’ve had in SoCal. The Coley is nicely cooked but the liberal amount of lime juice, mango, coriander and wonderful creamy guacamole brings a little piece of the west coast to a wet car park in Brockley. Without any local point of comparison then, we can say quite conclusively that these are the best fish tacos in London.

Sadly, the fish taco is only available on Saturday lunchtimes at the moment, and not during their more popular Whitecross Market or Eat Street residencies. This is because it’s nowhere near as popular as their standard meaty burrito options, which is a massive shame.

Fish tacos are a great differentiator for Luardo’s now that the London burrito scene has become so shamelessly identikit. Let’s hope they roll them out more regularly. And that people buy them. Please buy them. Supply and demand and all that.

  • Simon.

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[BURNS NIGHT] The Rib Room / Knightsbridge, London

The one sixteenth of Scot that resides in me absolutely bloody loves haggis. And whisky. So I was very excited to get to preview the Burns Night menu at the Rib Room in Knightsbridge. It’s lopped on to the side of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, just round the corner from Charles and Nigella’s. No, seriously, it’s their local restaurant.

And we can see why. Although we don’t have the right kind of Italian automobile to do Knightsbridge properly, we like to visit the 1% from time to time. The Rib Room is most famous for its Sunday lunch (£55 set menu), but also has a jawdropping wine cellar and humidor.

The haggis here is beautiful, served with a wonderfully pink loin of venison. My favourite course was the cullen skink - an interpretation really, served like a croquette with scallops. Lovely.

Needless to say, the service was impeccable, as you’d expect for the postcode.

If you’re looking for a Burns Night blowout this week, then the Rib Room should be your first port of call. The menu is £50 per person plus wine, and you’ll definitely be wanting to partake of their fine whisky trolley afterwards.

  • Simon (who was invited to review the Rib Room).

Flaming cocktails

The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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[PREVIEW] An Honest Burger / Honest Burgers / Brixton, London Divisive. We’ll give it that.

[PREVIEW] An Honest Burger / Honest Burgers / Brixton, London

Divisive. We’ll give it that.

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[PREVIEW] The Mother Flipper Cheeseburger / Brockley Market, London Full mutha-flippin’ report coming soon, but we had to share some of the pretty. @MotherFlipperUK

[PREVIEW] The Mother Flipper Cheeseburger / Brockley Market, London

Full mutha-flippin’ report coming soon, but we had to share some of the pretty.

@MotherFlipperUK

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Time for tea A sandwich selection at Mariage Frères, Paris

Time for tea

A sandwich selection at Mariage Frères, Paris

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With access to excellent British beef, cheeses and bread, somebody with an entrepreneurial streak here in London should be rocking my ex pat socks off with awesome burgers at cheap prices. Alas no one has yet. Or, at least, I ain’t come across ‘em yet. And I surely have been looking.
— A compelling read from Chris blogging for Food Network UK.

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Steak 'n Shake in NYC

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Steak 'n Shake in NYC

“Value for dollar, this is easily the best burger in the city, and makes a strong case for best burger at any price. It’s not big, it’s not fancy, but it’s the quintessential American burger.”

All over this for our trip in March.

All. Over. It.

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