For lunch today I had the Canoe burger, which on a value/taste matrix, may be the best burger and fry in town. It’s what I call a hotel burger. It’s an over-sized hockey puck of in-house ground beef, properly cooked to temp, served with all the fixings – charred onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and little ramekins of mayo, mustard, and ketchup. It comes with a big pile of completely acceptable fries and gratis bread and butter for $11. That’s at lunch only, mind you. The dinner version is $16 and is made with a mixture of duck and beef.
I am confident that any man (or woman) will walk away from this burger more than satisfied. It may be the most pure beef flavored burger in town. And the way burger prices are creeping up, it got me thinking, I think it’s one of the best values in the city too. Many places no longer include fries either, so if you want to stuff your face with the most typical of burger sides in the solar system, it often runs you an additional $2-3. With tax and tip there are some places where I’m spending $20 for a burger and fries. That, in the business world, is what you would call a killer gross margin. Though, I think Antico will always be the margin leader of Atlanta food. A $22 pizza that uses about $4 in ingredients. Mangia!
So what does the burger pricing landscape look like in the ATL? Check it out below. These are the restaurants I could think of with burgers I enjoy, which also offer fries either with the burger or as a side. I realize burger sizes are not always consistent, but I tried to select the basic burger with cheese for each. I also realize that some of the fry sides are 2-3 times as large as those that accompany most burgers automatically, but if that’s the only option, then it’s included on this chart.
We are in the primetime for tomatoes, and every summer I get all anxious that I’m not taking advantage. I mean, I probably only have forty good tomato seasons in my lifetime. When I was a kid I didn’t appreciate it. Then later in life in our Matrix Reloaded sub-terrain world I will be old and crotchety and not even a perfect tomato will stop me from bitching about “kids these days” and how they don’t even value a bitcoin anymore. So yeah, I have like 25 seasons left, and I freak out and for about two weeks every dish I make incorporates herbs and tomatoes and peaches and summer weight cheeses like feta, mozzarella, ricotta, or farmer’s cheese.
Things could be worse.
One of my favorite tomato dishes is this pasta sauce method I learned from Ruhlman a few years back. It’s super quick and fresh and has a wonderful flavor and silkiness from the tomato water emulsified with butter. I made it yesterday with some dried tagliatelle from Storico Fresco. I used a hodge podge of herbs from my new garden, which is freaking amazing, now that I don’t spend $2 each for those little packets at the grocery store.
I also love quickly pan cooked cherry tomatoes mixed with some eggs. They soften up and the textures mimic each other. Here I used some yellow heirlooms from Peacthree Rd Farmer’s market. I can’t remember which farm, but if you frequent PRFM he is the “have you tried our arugula?” bro. Served on sliced tomato and pain au levain. For quick and easy soft scrambled I used the Ideas in Food method of putting eggs and butter in a zip-loc and gently simmering for a few minutes. Near perfection, without twenty minutes of stirring.
Then late last night I made a tomato pie, this time using a variation from Garden & Gun, which is a bit lighter goat cheese iteration with no mayo or cheddar. It’s different in a good way. Or good in a different way. I salted the tomatoes for about thirty minutes in an effort to implore the excess liquid to stay out of my pie.
Tonight I’m making a cucumber, feta, tomato salad, and some bruschetta.
What dishes am I missing? OH GOD THE END IS NEAR
The other evening, after a long day, I wanted to go out by myself for a quick bite. I thought about the brand new Pig & The Pearl (no alcohol) and the new-new Luminary (would have had to fight traffic), but I ended up at a happy place – Sushi Huku for some raw fish treats.
My friend/Chef Jey wasn’t there, as he is super busy preparing to open Craft Izakaya at Krog St Market, but no matter.
The meal capped off with uni nigiri. I usually like my uni gunkan maki style, which is version where the nori is wrapped around the rice, with the fish piled on top. The crunch of the nori with the seafood funk is inimitable.
Variety is great though, and as nigiri the uni gets all mished mashed with the rice as you bite, creamy and luxurious like. I thought this version looked particularly extravagent, piled high into an uni gang bang where you don’t know where one lobe ends and the other begins. It is sort of a sexual dish, eating the reproductive organs of the sea urchin, this deep orange, smallish version flown in from Hokkaido in the north of Japan.
Uni is kinda played out, but in the right hands, it’s still magic. Some people hate it though. Where do you fall on it?
Btw rookies – That’s the way you end a blog post. CONVERSATION STARTER. Get more comments, better SEO, more community involvement.