San Francisco: Bay Area, Stanford & Palo Alto

Yes, I know, I came back from San Francisco more than a month ago – somehow I feel like chronicling my foodventures through the places I’ve been is a lot simpler and easier than just a restaurant in itself. Feel like a place does influence the kind of food people tend to cook cos 1) culture and 2) profitability. I mean, you see like a smorgasbord of pressed juices/green juice/kale in SF, which is definitely not as prevalent as say, HK (yes, HK post coming right up). Also what better time to write a new entry than when I have 3 tutorials in the next 3 days?? Gah, ethics….

After the culinary high that was Melbourne and Sydney, I have commented to people that I doubt I’d be able to find a place that matches up to them both because almost every single meal was a “WOW!!!” from me. For people who don’t know me, I categorise my life/experiences into roughly these 5 categories: ‘wow factor’, pretty great, good, alright and meh.

SAN FRANCISCO: WHAT I LIKED
(disclaimer: my time was spent mostly around Palo Alto, a chichi suburban neighbourhood where Stanford is located, and it honestly felt pretty dang good to be away from the crazy ass city life for a bit.)

1. La Tacqueria, The Mission District
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Ah, tacos in the mission district. This is definitely a MUST DO in San Francisco. Alight at 16th Mission and take a leisurely stroll down (or up?) to the 24th. La Tacqueria is conveniently located on the 23rd if I recall correctly.

THESE TACOS ARE NOT NORMAL TACOS. They are soft tacos wrapped around with a crisp hard taco and filled with the most luscious guac, pico de gallo and whatever choice of meat you choose. Rj ordered for us and BOYYYYYYY these were fan-freaking-tastic. They were dripping with goodness, (yum I love messy food) but THE TACO SHELLS (skins???) RETAINED THEIR STRUCTURE TILL THE VERY END. I did not want to give up the last mouthful to Tebello.. but anyway the point is. Come eat here. I haven’t had that many tacos before, and I’m not sure if taco joints all around the world do this soft taco/crisp taco thing, but that was the highlight for me. That and the perfectly charred meat and copious amount of guac heaped onto my taco. We also had agua frescas but they tasted like sugary watermelon & mango juice diluted with water. I’m not sure I’d try it again… but damn these tacos. If I ever go back I’m not sharing any.

So the Mission isn’t really my favourite part of town because the only word to describe it is DODGY (or sketchy, if you’re American)…. and the smell of pee is everywhere. Walk one block down to Valencia and it’s a whole new world. I would like to own a house on Valencia tbh. It is such a hip, happening place with great spots like…

2. Craftsman & Wolves
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THIS PLACE IS EPIC!!!!! C&W is most well known for ‘The Rebel Within’ – a savoury muffin with sausage, asiago, green onion and an entire gooey soft cooked farm egg in the middle. Don’t even know how they manage to keep the yolk runny, but what a gorgeous sight when I sliced it down the middle. So, the verdict on this? I wished it was warmed up.. and I think fans of cheese would love The Rebel Within. It was one of the most unique things I’ve ever tried, and a pity I couldn’t truly appreciate its full awesomeness because well, I don’t like cheese. That said, the farm egg in the middle is a genius idea – who would’ve thought? My coffee was excellent & my takeaway blackberry muffin was bursting with blackberry goodness. Topped with bran flakes, it made a wonderful lunch. I love it here.

3. Tin Pot Creamery, Palo Alto
Stanford students have it so frkn good, and I am insanely jealous of every single one of them because they have this frkn epic ice cream shop at their doorstep. When Rj told me Tin Pot was voted best icecream shop in Palo Alto I was kinda skeptical, but after having it, I think it should be declared best icecream in San Francisco. Humphrey Slocombe cannot compare. AT ALL. I had the blueberry lavender & pumpkin and oat strusel; I think the latter was a halloween special. I really cannot stand it when my icecream is icey and this was pure, creamy goodness. Blueberry lavender is such a special lavender pairing; seriously, earl grey lavender was so last year. It was creamy, floral and fruity at the same time. I really want a tub of it right now. I wouldn’t recommend pumpkin to anyone who doesn’t even like pumpkin but I gotta admit that oat strusel makes for fun eating, texturally. THIS HAS MUCH WOW FACTOR!!!! And if I had to pick a #1 item on this list, THIS WOULD BE IT

4. Evvia, Palo Alto
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My first experience with Greek food! Grilled octopus, the most lovely charred lamb riblets and marithes tiganites – crispy smelt with a garlic and potato skordalia. Okay food aside, doesn’t SKORDALIA REMIND YOU OF A POKEMON????? Or izzit just me?? FYI: a skordalia is a sort of thick, chunky dip. Here the skordalia made my entire meal. The lemon rly complemented the bold and punchy garlic and the crispy smelt was the perfect fish to hold it all together. Taste & texture wise, it was faultless. Ok think: fried crispy fish with the most garlicy dip in the world. YUM??? The lamb riblets were a bit gamey for me; I generally have a distaste to lamb, BUT I really wouldn’t mind having more of this; and the grilled octopus…. just….wow…. I feel like my favourite dishes at restaurants are those which are cooked simply with the freshest ingredients; while I enjoy the oohs and ahhs molecular gastronomy brings to food in general, sometimes the best kind of food is choosing the best cooking method to let your choice of ingredient shine. GIVE ME MORE OF THAT OCTOPUS

Tbh, most of my time was spent eating great food at Casa Italiana where RJ lived – I am still in awe at how catered food can taste this good. I’m quite sure freshman 15 would not be limited to just the freshmen, considering the open kitchen at Casa, and the food that Jose churns out day after day.

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HONOURABLE MENTION: Food at Casa Italiano; the monkey bread & kale mojito at CoHo

I’ve already talked about how frkn amaze Casa’s food was but honestly everyone needs to go visit Stanford just for the Monkey bread! Crisp buns of walnuts and drizzled with just the right amount of honey? caramel? when toasted make the best. snack. ever. And also, it will be one of the best $3 you spend in your life. I also miss the kale mojito, a juice blend of kale, mint, mango, celery, parsley and orange juice. I swear all green juice skeptics will change their minds on kale and green juice AFTER HAVING THIS. It is refreshing and exhilarating and makes me feel like I’m at a beach with a hot bod when I clearly am sitting at Coho with an expanding waistline instead.

OH, AND ONE LAST ONE (how could I have forgotten):
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In-N-Out: just because you’re in the West Coast. Also, it’s better than Shake Shack.

WHY MUST I DO ETHICS WHY

Sydney

TUTORIALS ARE OVER FOR THE WEEK. YES (but omg 3 next week the thought of it is just exhausting…). So I’m back to continue where I left off from Melbourne.

We went to Sydney for four days (but really had only a grand total of three days) and I kind of wish we spent more time there? Would have loved to visit Manly… and Bondi (er. Kind of forgot to go to Bondi because I was eating……. I know nobody is surprised by this.). And supposedly the Blue Mountains are gorgeous! AND I DIDN’T GET TO EAT MY WATERMELON CAKE 😦 Elaine’s food recommendations were completely spot on (thank you Elaine!!); if only I had the time and tummy space to conquer Sydney. Honestly though, while I preferred Melbourne as a city to Sydney, I think the culinary highs from the trip came from Sydney.

SYDNEY MUST-EATS:

1) Breakfast with the Sakuma’s, Devon Cafe

5452Miso grilled king salmon, 63 degree egg, smoked eel croquette, petit radish salad, kewpie mayo and a sprinkle of furikake – this is probably the most well thought out and put together dish I’ve had this year. It goes down in history as one of the most memorable dishes I’ve had & I want to fly back to Sydney just to have this. Asian fusion to me has always seemed a bit dodgy but I think this dish really took what I loved from Japanese cuisine and one of my favourite meals of the day and made it work – it is truly light on the palate but enough to wake your senses up with the umami bombs. AMA-FRKN-ZING. Whoever thought of adding furikake deserves a huge huge prize.

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I also think Devon’s rendition of Eggs Royale was spectacular!!! Instead of English muffin/bagel/rye/insert bread here, Devon uses blinis for its Eggs Blini. It didn’t look huge, but the portion was just right. The best part? The Eggs Royale was topped with ikura (salmon roe). So incredibly special. (PLUS THEY USE BROCCOLINI. I LOVE BROCCOLINI.)

I didn’t particularly enjoy my Little Lost Bread – pb&j brioche french toast, grilled banana, nutella, jam and pb icecream! I wish the banana taste were stronger because I felt like it was like separate components being slapped onto a plate, even though I have to say, the pb&j went well like… pb&j. It was like pb&j had a party and the grilled banana crashed it. Man!!! (Also, it was too sweet.)

I think Devon’s menu had other interesting things that I would have loved to try – the Korean Fried Chicken burger with gochujang & kimchi slaw sounded amazing on paper as well; except by then I had burger fatigue so, it was a no go. Their takeaway chicken salad also looked pretty yummy on display! Devon is a must go if you’re in Sydney.

2) Bourke Street Bakery

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The problem with Bourke Street Bakery is that everything looks too yummy. Um, limited stomach space here? I thought I had my eye on the chocolate tart in front of the store (and I’m not even that big a chocolate fan!!!) but once I entered and saw lemon curd and ginger creme brulee.. sorry chocolate. The lemon curd tart was my favourite, and edges ginger creme brulee out by 0.1 – purely because it is very very difficult to find lemon curd that is tart enough. I feel like lemon curd is one of those things where everyone has a different standard on – some like it sweet and others like it tart. This lemon tart is second only to Jacques Genin’s lemon tart!! And at A$5, it is such a bargain!! BUY MORE. The ginger creme brulee, however wins points for originality – cos I mean, a creme brulee tart????? LIKE WAAAOOOOOW RIGHT. I’ve never had one, and who would’ve though it would work?! Biting into a burnt sugar top is truly one of the littlest (??? little? small?) joys in life. I wish I brought back a dozen of each.

3) The Grounds of Alexandria

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The Grounds is a really genius idea. Take a huge lot in an industrial area and transform it into a grounds of sorts – a cafe on one end, and a miniature farm, a flower shop (SUPER GORGEOUS) and plenty of space for people to sit around and order take out from push carts. It really sounds like a kind of place I’d want to spend my weekends at, minus the screaming kids; but yes, it is a great place for a family to spend time together on weekends. We waited an hour for a table at the cafe – and while waiting, we…. started eating. Had a grilled corn on the cob and a green juice of kale, apple and mint to start off with! I wanted to take a picture with Kevin Bacon (the resident pig) EXCEPT I felt like the poor pig was already having its privacy invaded by the hordes of humans ): Poor pig.

I suppose the highlight of the Grounds would be its dessert table??????? The problem as always is just choosing ONE. I was torn between the passionfruit cheesecake (how unique really, PASSIONFRUIT!!!!) and the pear tart but was recommended it so I went for the pear. I mean, it was a good pear tart, but it didn’t make me go ‘!!!!!’. I had forest mushroom salad that came with a gooey egg encased in a panko batter. HOLY GUACAMOLE, THIS IS EGGYOLK PORN AT ITS FINEST!!!!!!!!! And it really did taste as good as it looked. As silly as it sounds, the house chips at the Grounds was really great – NO SOGGY FRIES AT ALL (I cannot stand soggy fries) and a beautiful chilli aioli that had a great garlic punch without being overwhelming. Since my description and vocabulary is limited: the grounds is simply Pinterest in REAL LIFE.

Honourable Mention: The Paramount Coffee Project.

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This was the first place we ate at when we touched down in Sydney. It is a gorgeous open space, with ceiling to floor windows (ALWAYS AWESOME!) and beside it is a proper mini cinema! The cafe is in front and at the back, all decked out in industrial grunge is a bicycle (and handmade goods??) store. Yep. This takes hpstr to a whole new level, except the food is anything but pretentious.

We had the crab po’boy and a cola braised pork with waffle. I preferred this to Hammer & Tong’s personally but Nick felt that there was no difference cos they were both AWESOME. This is a lot messier because there’re more sauces but I love it when a burger is messy because that is how it’s supposed to be! Don’t bother paying extra for the onion rings. The waffle meanwhile… was an acquired taste for me. It was creative and unique, but while I didn’t agree with the taste, Nick loved it. I do believe that this flavour combination is worth a try though!!

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I think I’ve been spoilt by the brunch options available in Melbourne and Sydney that brunch in Singapore will never (ok maybe not a long while) live up to anything I’ve had. I suppose with brunch being very ‘in’ and fashionable, the challenge is coming up with an excitable brunch menu. Nearly every place we went to in Melbourne and Sydney had their own flair. Though they may be serving an eggs benedict/royale/florentine, most cafes/places always have their own interpretations of these brunch classics. That really differentiates each place and gives them their individuality. & I think this is what keeps people coming back! The fact that menus change according to what is in season is also something I really respect.

I feel like I wasn’t in Sydney long enough to actually see half of it. Totally regret not going to Bondi/Manly – I mean which losers go to Sydney and then don’t visit one of the most popular attractions?!?? BUT AT LEAST WE MADE IT TO THE OPERA HOUSE AND HARBOUR BRIDGE. The greatest thing I’m taking away from my trip to Australia is probably just the niceness of Australians. PEOPLE ARE JUST SO FRKN NICE. We met the nicest airbnb hosts (Martina & Gavin!) and people on the streets were friendly and always keen to help with directions (I can’t read maps..). I really can’t wait to go back.

Till next time, super travellers!

Melbourne

Alright, it’s been more than a year, and what a difference a year makes. So what inspired this – basically ET asked me to update and today Trish asked me about Melbourne AND about Tummytay in lecture and during lunch. So why not? And also, I feel like I may never have such satisfying meals for a while since almost every meal was an epic meal in Melbourne and Sydney.

Plus it helps that I have to watch a video in preparation for mediation tomorrow. Obviously I should write a hugeass long post about food instead of preparing for it.. #priorities.

Without further ado, I present:

MUST EATS IN MELBOURNE

1) Coconut-Pandan gelato at Spring Street Grocer
And I thought I tasted the mother of all gelatos in Italy. I was wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. This was *magical*, the pandan and coconut were like pb & jam, yknow? THEY GO SO WELL TOGETHER. Like Britney and Justin. (They are still my OTP. Do not judge.) It was incredibly smooth, with NO ICE CRYSTALS AT ALL – don’t you hate icecream that is icy? AND IT IS SO HARD TO ACHIEVE THAT FEAT. Gelatos for the win. Who needs iceream or any other gelato flavour anyway? This gelato spoilt the market for the other gelatos I had in Melbourne, and none of the others I tried even came close to this. Not even the famous Messina.

2) Fried Brioche at The Hardware Societe

I think I loved this mainly because it was an infusion of all the flavours I enjoyed – rosewater/earl grey panna cotta/fresh raspberries – that reminded me of Pierre Herme’s famous ispahan. Prior to visiting Melbourne I had heard so much about THS (OMG SAME INITIALS AS ME?????) and I was not disappointed at all. The portions are huge, and because the flavours are quite complex, and the brioche is fried, it does get a bit heavy. But no problemo, it just means that you have to eat two dishes so as to alternate between that and the fried brioche. Which brings me to….

BAKED EGGS DEUX at THS.
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This was beautiful. I love baked eggs but I find sometimes the problem with brunch food/eggs is that I can easily replicate it at home. NOT THIS I CAN’T. three baked eggs sitting pretty in a pot full of warm tomato stew, silvered almonds and hidden spinach at the bottom. This really warmed us up on a blustery winter morning.

3) Grilled lemongrass banh mi at Ba’get

One thing I really missed about western nations: their sandwiches. Alright, banh mi is asian… but wowowow. Perhaps it was because Nick and I were RAVENOUS after trekking half of the CBD to get here (so much for me saying “it’s really nearby”. No one should ever trust my direction sense. More to come later). The baguettes were crisp and provided a REALLY satisfying crunch when we bit into em. I also enjoy pickled vegetables so this sandwich really ticked the right boxes for me. The best part: $6.95 for each banh mi. SAY WHAT???? It also stays fresh for a long time because I brought half a banh mi onto the plane home. It was still as great 6 hours later. Dammit sometimes I wish Willy Wonka’s TV were real then I’d be able to reach through my screen and grab whatever food I want and EAT IT.

4) Soft shell crab burger at Hammer & Tong 412
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Hammer & Tong’s logo is reminiscent of the CCCP for some reason (Communist Party), and that’s another reason why I like it. The soft shell crab burger has been talked about so much by the online food community (thank you urbanspoon.) that I think one of the stupidiest decisions I made in Melbourne was to share the burger with Nick. It should not be shared. Period. CRISP SOFT SHELL CRAB, PILLOWY BRIOCHE, and forgettable greens. It was also very light!!! Deepfrying a soft shell crab is not that easy ok??? Alright, maybe the Bill Murray at Lucky Chip has a greater wow factor (hellooooo wasabi mayo + secret sauce, how not to win!?) BUT THIS WAS A GREAT BURGER ON ITS OWN MERIT. Tummytay approves.

5) Original beef burger with the works at Andrew’s Hamburgers

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RLY ANNOYED BECAUSE I WAS SO FULL SO I COULDN’T FINISH MY HALF. Any burger with bacon and egg is also a winner in my books. And honestly? Andrew’s is better than The Royale Brothers whom we made the trek out to Middle Brighton to search out. Don’t know how to describe just how awesome (see, running out of adjectives) this burger is, so please just look above for the gorgeous cross section. Dammit why aren’t burgers this accessible in Singapore? WHY? (Answer: we don’t grow our own cows, that’s why.)

6) Spaghetti Scoglio & Lobster tail tagliatelle at Villa Romana Trattoria
2767No trip to Melbourne is complete without a trip to Lygon Street, even though food has been said to be a hit and miss, cos yknow as places become touristy, food standards just plummet ): But!!! THIS! WAS! SO! WOW! Alright, so the Scoglio was a bit dry for my liking and I felt there should have been a bit more white wine – yes yes I know the irony of this statement considering how alcohol and I are not friends – so as to create a nice vongole type sauce. But hey, I’m not the italian so.. ohwel. Other than it being a bitttt too dry (not ‘moist’ enough. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) it was A GREAT HEARTY DISH OF CARBS AND SEAFOOD IN A HUGE PAN. I would highly recommend this dish; it is pasta done simply and done well. The lobster tail tagliatelle was also for two, but there was a creamy sauce instead, just right to coat the pasta without it being too cloying. We loved it. Maybe a bit more than the Scoglio… but just a tiny bit.

7) HONOURABLE MENTION: Vegie Bar (no pictures though. OOPS.)
Vegie Bar is the kind of place I think Adele and I would frequent if we lived in Melbourne. It is completely vegetarian but in Singapore there tends to be this stereotype that vegetarian food = tasteless rabbit food and that there is a sense of being ripped off paying the same price for a dish that has no meat. I regret not taking pictures of the wonderful place but its menu is quirky and innovative, and EVERYTHING SOUNDED YUMMY – baked mushroom with quinoa!! vermicelli and soba salads, omg. The serving plates were also bigger than my face. Though the interior was dark, and lighting was a bit sleep inducing, I enjoyed the bar concept of it (neon lights! YAY!) and how they have managed to make vegetarian food cool.

8) ONE OF A KIND LOCATION: MART 130


So there was this day we were supposed to meet Ray at this lovely brunch spot in the middle of nowhere (HPSTR ALERT!), called Mart 130. Mart because it’s tram spelled backwards and it is literally right at the tram stop. Like when we stepped off the tram, crossed the tram tracks – I LOVE CROSSING TRAM TRACKS. “You are waiting for a train…” (DOES ANYONE GET THIS REFERENCE) – and there it stands, on the other side of the platform. Alright, silly me didn’t think to capture a picture of it on a digital medium – I have it in film. I think everyone should pay this a visit, I have never seen anything like it before. Just don’t make the same mistake as me and take the tram in the wrong direction (THE TRAM IS NOT TOWARDS EAST BRUNSWICK.) only to realise that we’ve gone in the wrong direction at the tram’s second last stop. #winner

9) COFFEE!

3730Another thing I really enjoyed about Melbourne was the availability of great coffee. I love how serious the coffee culture is and as much as I try to pretend I’m into the whole thing, I only describe coffee as whether it is ‘gao’ enough. The best part is waking up at 10ish everyday and making a pilgrimage to a new coffee spot while Nick sleeps in (what a pig.). I enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with sitting at a coffee joint alone with my coffee and kindle. It is quite a thing to be in a city but yet be able to stay grounded and not lose yourself in it. I love it. My favourite coffee spot was a little bird told me… possibly because it was the nearest to us (ha!!) but also of it’s non-cramped space and open interiors. Brother Baba Budan‘s interior decor was incredibly quirky – a ceiling full of chairs!! but it was a bit dark for and cramped for my liking. Maybe now Singaporean hipsters will be inspired to adorn their cafes with chairs instead of just BICYCLES. Bicycles are so 2012.

Next up: Sydney!!!

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Honest Burgers

The Burger Chronicles continue.

I finally, finally, FINALLY tried Honest. Slowly making my way through my burger list PLUS since ZX raves about them all the time (they’re her fave) and Tess loves their chips, I had to taste them for myself!!! Went during lunch hour and we were incredibly lucky to score a seat immediately.

Honest is really simple – 3-4 varieties of burgers, chz burger, honest burger, chkn burger & veggie fritter burger which honestly sounded pretty good. Maybe I’ll give it a shot one day. This strategy of offering a small range of burgers is quite a smart one – focusing on fewer things ensures that the quality across the board is higher, and I guess also means burgers are churned out at a faster rate = HAPPY CUSTOMERS!



Anyway on to the burgers – on first glance it looked quite small but I was so full after the meal – when will I ever learn not to ever underestimate the size of the burgers. One thing that really struck me was how neat the burgers were. This isn’t a messy burger joint like AF or Meatliquor.. the patty is thick and there’s only one patty (more than enough!). I chose mine to be done medium, and on hindsight should hv really asked for medium rare.. but nevermind. I felt the patty was a bit dry for my liking even tho it was done to the right amount of pinkiness. But on all grounds, it’s still is a good burger. The red onion relish (in the Honest burger, which was what I had) added some sweetness to counter all the savoury in the burger. And yes, it went brilliantly with the bacon. I LOVE BACON. Zx thinks that the burger is let down by the bun.. which I don’t think is anything ‘bad’ per se, but I hv to admit this bun was quite forgettable. Patty&bun still has the best bun, imo.

THE AMAZING ROSEMARY SALT FRIES. I will return to Honest for the fries alone – it is THAT good. There is a right amount of salt and the rosemary is strong enough. More often than not for most places when they advertise their chips with some form of herb salt, I always find the herb too subtle for my liking but NOT HONEST! I have finally found the best chips to go with burgers!!!!! Zx had the coleslaw as well, which was a good coleslaw, great crunch, not too creamy, and I love how they used red cabbage.

Anyway, honest is worth checking out if….. you are vegetarian (I swear the veggie burger really sounds amazing)/in the area/like thick burger patties/like burgers that aren’t messy/YOU LOVE CHIPS LIKE I DO. Btw, PRICES ARE SO REASONABLE FOR LONDON. Everything is £9 and under (except The Federation burger) and comes with chips. Loads of people were ordering the lemonade when I was there, so give that a shot. Watch out for the queue – go at odd hours, or in small groups!

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Honest Burgers
4 Meard Street
Soho
London
W1F 0EF

ALMOST FAMOUS

Hello again. It has been a really, really long time! I don’t know if I am back for good, but I like having this space here to write about the food that I have eaten & when I graduate, at least I’d have something to look back on and remember my wonderful 3 years in the UK – obviously, mostly food related of course.

On Saturday, zx came up from London to visit me and being the burger fiends we both are.. (and Raerae too of course, but that one was too busy playing basketball) we had to HAVE a burger. I’ve been dying to try Almost Famous since… Almost Famous became famous. So yeah, like the rest of the London establishments (ahem, Lucky Chip, Meat Liquor, Patty & Bun) AF started out as a popup and became permanent since.. a really long time ago. Frankly one of the reasons why I was put off by it was their website – it is incredibly rude and gives me a headache. In other words, it’s is super act 一个 and I’m honestly… not a fan of its over the top pretentiousness at trying to be bada$$. It’s like they’re trying to be the rebellious, younger version of meatliquor, which is incredibly unoriginal.

That said, I still feel like kicking myself FOR ONLY TRYING IT LAST WEEKEND. I mean, I have been missing out on the most amazing burger in Manchester for years – yeah at this juncture I am gna call myself a loser. And……… for all that marketing hype that was a massive turn off, AF is INCREDIBLY CHILL. zx and I went on a Sunday afternoon at 1255h (it opens at 1) and there was already a queue snaking around the street that Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn was at. And. It was snowing. Frankly, it’s so smart, not opening the shutters until 1305h, keeping the hungry people even hungrier and hence more excited…. and you know, even cynics like me were anticipating something really awesome.

AF is situated at the top floor of a building in the Northern Quarter, and it really looks kinda dodgy if you’re there at an odd hour/there’s no one around and the entrance to AF is a wooden door… no kidding. Anything indie they could do to make it indie-er, they have already done it. I was half expecting wait staff with nose piercings and tattoos… but no, they are incredibly nice and POLITE. (unlike the website. and twitter.) The guy who took my order at the counter was also good at math – he tallied my order in his head as I ordered, WITHOUT A CALCULATOR. I never thought I’d be treated to a display of mental arithmetic at AF, ever. So far, so good.

AF in the afternoon has loads of families actually – and I love, love, love the open space concept it has. Couches for big groups, with tall ceilings & huge windows that let the midday light in. LOVE IT. Yeah ok rambling too much, on to the food.


Zx had the original famous burger, and I had the DD burger – I mean, there’s SLUT SAUCE in it. We had a beef chili fries to share.

Personally, I think they forgot about my onions which is why they were at the side. Otherwise, this is a FLAWLESS BURGER!!!!!! Except I would like to have seen some greens in it – I knew I exercised 4x that week for a reason – but IT’S A BURGER PLACE SO. Anyway the PATTIES WERE THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE BURGERS!!!! I love it I love it so so so much. Usually it’s really difficult to achieve pinkness with thin patties, but AF does it well and the patty is flavourful and holds its own against the condiments. It is an incredible patty. I also have never seen so much mustard in a burger before, but I love mustard so it wasn’t a problem for me. I love eating messy burgers! And AF gave me that experience of dirtying my fingers. Really a happy child after that burger experience. The fries were a bit of a disappointment because they weren’t hot enough for my liking – Meatliquor has better beef chili fries but I loved how AF mixes sweet potato fries with normal fries!! And again, there’s loads of mustard. Um would have preferred it if the cheese was melted rather than the kind you get in theatres with nachos.. but it was not that big a deal. I DIDN’T TRY THE WINGS which means I have to go back again!!!

I know I keep comparing AF with other burger establishments that I have dined at, but frankly I’ve come to realise that burgers are something that are intensely personal.. nonetheless objectively speaking, I think AF is a wonderful place for burgers/afternoon hangout – I can see why people flock to it time and time again. Next on my burger to-do list: Honest burgers for their FAMOUS CHIPS. And maybe Lucky Chip Round II when the Bill Murray gets back on the menu again.

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Almost Famous
100 High Street
Northern Quarter, Manchester