Monday, August 27, 2012

Vince’s Burger Update Lets talk Hamburgers for a bit. I realize what makes a good burger is for the most part relative to the consumer. Some love the classic back yard burger with the grill flavor. Choose your grill type and method of wood or charcoal. Foodies like the smaller size with artisan cheeses and various uptown garnishes. We can dance that dance. It is my belief that this American icon and favorite of all is as simple as its quality meat and its quality bread. I am prone to make my judgments based on these two items being properly prepped and executed. A tender succulent patty whatever grind you are using, and a proper temperature. This is done through methods of cooking, resting, and patty construction. Then we have our bread, which should never be an after thought. The bun should have classic shape and lend itself to the portability of that sacred patty. How does the bun hold up, how does it absorb toppings, am I making a mess of my clothes while enjoying? These are all topics I use to determine a great hamburger. There are so many different aspects of this I am approaching from a simple perspective since chefs have been hitting this homerun for the masses a long time now. We are going to focus on the elevated hamburger. Food trends often take swings at overturning classics and redefining them with new technique. It is exiting for us to see something we loved growing up grow up with us as the American hamburger has. So where do we go to find this type of hamburger? I will most defiantly take you and your colleagues to The Tripel @ 333 Culver Blvd. Playa del Rey CA, which is the perfect spot for some “burger research” I have made my way through this diverse menu, hamburgers as well as its salads and elevated bar snacks. This little spot does several different patty to bread combos. The tripel burger is a combination of ground pork, duck confit, and angus beef. To get this little gem to a perfect Medium is tricky given the different fat contents of those proteins. They nail it. Resting the burger by half the cooking time, it comes out on its hearty yet soft brioche bun. So the soft bun perfectly cradling the juicy patty and that’s a new twist on the old favorite. The flagship burger on this menu is defiantly the lamb burger. I know everyone’s had a lamb burger but this one takes the cake. This square patty is delicately constructed with out over working the ground lamb.
It is easy to make the finished product tough by doing so. By doing the same resting as before and finishing in the oven this burger really is a work of art. Its served w mazzuna greens, cucumber and taziki . I am a lover of the burgers at Tripel but they have so many great offerings besides burgers. Fresh locally sourced ingredients and a seasonal menu are a must in this market. This pub has the best of both worlds with an exiting beer and wine list. Lots of local brews and kraft beers are found here as well as unique seasonal cocktails. This local haunt is a great casual place to take guests for drinks as well as high-end cuisine. Lots of small details you appreciate like the house made pickles and friendly yet subtle service. This place just feels like home.
My sister who is a retired chef and professional diner comes to town. She says she wants to eat lots of different items and “snack” and catch up. No bar food, pizza or sushi she says. I automatically think cheese boards, pates, charcuterie this type of upgraded picnic if you will. I steer us to a place I come to love Waterloo & City 12517 West Washington Blvd Culver City CA. This exiting food venue is the brainchild of Brendan Collins and partner Carlos Tamazos. These two brilliant restaurateurs have put together a great feeling for your dining out in style. Besides the fact that this place is extremely bustling they put up exquisite and tantalizing food and drink. The atmosphere is relaxed yet serious. Waitrons have impeccable food knowledge and are quick w guidelines and changing menu offerings. Chef Collins is steeped in the art of charcuterie. His pates, cured meats and pickling techniques are flawless. His attention to detail shows in every plate you see going out into the dining room. He uses a very large army in his virtually open kitchen and he is averaging around two hundred covers on a weeknight. Not an easy task. Much of the prep that goes into charcuterie service is done months before and requires years of training to procure. So when you are getting Salmon terrine or pate of pig trotters and sweetbreads you know that a lot of time and technique went into this food. My favorite was the chicken liver mousse while my sister fell deeply for the Rabbit and Pistachio terrine. So you want the Wild boar terrine and the smoked tongue, carrot terrine, who can decide? We are in luck; they offer a few options so everyone is happy. You may choose from Commoner, Prince, or King size selection and mix and match all you want with pickled onions, cornichons and various cured meats. We could stop there but what about dinner? These are the most amazing plate presentations I have seen so far. Beautiful, quant yet not too fussy was the classic Ceasar salad. This retro dish is held to its highest peak as its delivered with anchovy filets, farm to table Romaine and a perfect 60 degree egg all encompassed in a circular crouton. The vinaigrette was smooth and sophisticated; this is by far the most memorable salad Iv had in quite some time. Next we tried the chilled Thai Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab and Coconut. This was a very well executed melding of flavors to my surprise and I don’t usually order crab. This evening I was glad I did.
The soup was spectacular and the crab so fresh it was breathtaking. So we’ve been sharing so is there a need to press on into this fortress of a menu? Of coarse when I peek into entrĂ©es I am quick to select the Short Rib Ravioli and the Indian Butter Chicken pizza for the table. We share and all find the dishes to far exceed expectation. The pizza had curry spiced chicken and a cucumber ribbon salad in the middle so you could dress each slice w the yogurt and cucumber mixture. The Ravioli was rich and wonderful, complete w a note of truffle in the sauce complementing the spinach and Cipollini onion. I’m so looking forward to my next culinary adventure at WC. I will defiantly have the Fish and Chips in this gastonamique haven of merry gluttony. The cooks in Bowler hats all toiling to ‘London calling’ by the Clash and a passionate chef putting his heart into the “gastopub” food of his Brit heritage. That is the picture in this burgeoning Culver City eatery.