after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Flay

Bobby’s Burger Palace: Hype Meets Hamburgers

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t says: Bobby Flay came to town, as k had foreshadowed and the end of our Ladder15 review.  He was opening up a new burger joint.  For $7-8, Bobby’s Burger Palace (BBP) promised some semi-fancy, semi-fast-food burgers that are made-to-order.  What makes them semi-fancy?  k already told you: unique topping combinations – not uber-fancy stuff like at Village Whiskey or Ladder15, just good stuff like avocado, bacon, hot peppers, etc.

g and cm were at work on the day that BBP was to open.  And you know … when g and cm are at work … t and k go and have adventures!  k absolutely had to catch a sight of the man, the myth, the legend … Bobby Flay.  Personally, I just wanted to taste me some good, cheap burgers (Ladder15 totally did me in with their over-the-top meat-and-fat-fest).

So, at 3pm, k and I cut out of work to head to West Philly for the opening.  This was actually k’s second attempt at visiting BBP – she’ll tell you more about that visit, her impressions of this visit, and her one-on-one encounter with Bobby later … after she and cm have had time to visit BBP multiple times (I’m far quicker to pass judgement … does that make me a bad person?) …

3/2010, Friday 3pm, Party of 2. So … I arrived at BBP before k and there’s a line.  A very long line … a very long line that extends out the door by about 20 people.  Fortunately, it was a nice day, so I stood and waited for k to arrive.  As I waited, I found that the line refused to move.  There was a BBP employee at the front of the line, so I imagined she was trying to hold us back so we wouldn’t mob the place?  After all, Bobby was inside (I saw him through the windows, shmoozing with the customers).  It became apparent that I wasn’t allowed to go inside … or at least … not if I waited in this line … When k arrived, I explained to her the situation and that we might not be able to make it during our lunch breaks.  Just then … the BBP employee disappeared, and then the whole line waiting outside shuffled into the restaurant … including us!  k has magical powers of non-verbal persuasion …

As we picked out our burgers, we saw him … Bobby.  And you know what … he’s skinnier in person that I imagined.  No, he’s not scrawny, but he’s not “normal American sized male” – he’s leaner, not super-tall, and has pretty highlights in his hair …  We didn’t get a chance to talk to him before we ordered, but we did talk about what k should say as an icebreaker.

I ordered a pistachio milkshake and the “Philly Burger”, which featured beef, hot peppers, provolone (my choice instead of cheese whiz).  Also, k and I ordered sweet potato fries to share.  We paid and were seated at the long curvy-counter – we kept a lookout for Bobby (but he was standing right behind us the entire time, talking to some older gentlemen in suits and ties).  My burger came first – it looked pretty good!  Not as fancy as pictured here, but for $8, who cares?  I saw a sesame bun, a burger topped with hot peppers and topped with melted cheese.  How’d it taste?  Not bad!  The peppers were actually hot!  No, they weren’t fancy hot peppers or anything, but they were still good.  The provolone could have been sharper (as is the style seen in Philadelphia cheese steaks) to compete with the heat.  The meat was cooked well-done instead of medium-well as I had ordered, but it was still juicy.

The sweet potato fries were very good.  They weren’t too sweet potato-y, which is a common flaw in sweet potato fries – they’re often just too sweet!  These were good.  The milkshake was also tasty but not what I was expecting.  I expected it to hit me in the mouth with pistachio – but it didn’t.  It was a sweet vanilla at first, later followed by a hint of pistachio.  The pistachio wasn’t as vivid as CapoGiro’s gelato, but it’s supposed to be a milkshake to go along with what you’re eating, so that might be excusable – and there really isn’t anything wrong with a pistachio-vanilla combo.  I’d get it again!

Overall, I was happy with the result.  How happy?  Well, if I got these at a real sit-down restaurant, I wouldn’t send it back, but I don’t think I’d come back, either.  However, at a fast-food-esque setting like BBP, I think it’d be a tough call between Chipotle and BBP – BBP might have an edge due to delicious milkshakes and not charging a whole extra $2 for adding guacamole to a  burrito (that’s outrageous!).  Of course, BBP has humungously long lines – so long that when I tried to take g there, we stepped out of line and went to Chipotle instead.  Actually – to be honest – I think BBP’s opening was the best thing to happen to Chipotle in a long time – there were several BBP menus scattered about in Chipotle, evidently from people who couldn’t wait for Bobby.  I will say that if I go back, I wouldn’t order the same thing again …  I’d go for chicken and either the Napa Valley Burger (crunchified) or the Sante Fe Burger, the plain fries, and the Black and White milkshake.  I think it’d be another satisfying meal.  But after that – I dunno – 500-degrees is a little closer to home … and we’ve never been!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

26 April 2010 at 10:14am

An Ode to Bobby Flay

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k says: This is an ode to my culinary hero. I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bobby’s Burger Palace (BBP) just a few blocks away from our apartment. First, a little background on the topic that is so close to my heart —

I love Bobby Flay. Now, I know there is some controversy here. t himself has bashed Bobby on a few occasions, even in this very blog. And yet we’re still friends … t thinks that Bobby is inferior to Morimoto and that he was kind of a whiner in that classic Iron Chef episode where they first faced off, and similarly childish when they rematched in Japan. While I agree, it’s now over 10 years later and the new Bobby is not like that. The new Bobby makes shrimp and corn tamales that still make my mouth water one year after eating them. The new Bobby has humility. He is always a little embarrassed when he wins a Throwdown. The new Bobby knows how to share the stage and is always open to learning from others on Grill It. t will mention that Bobby is sometimes criticized for playing it safe in competitions, only sticking to the cuisine he knows best, relying heavily on southwestern flavors and his favorite chipotle. True, but who sticks to what he knows more than Morimoto? And nobody criticizes him…because it’s delicious! A robust statistical analysis will show that Bobby consistently wins in the “taste” category during Iron Chef competitions. Bobby has cultivated a style with bold and complex flavors, as evident by the Mesa Grill menu, that in my opinion is quite delicious.

Still, even Bobby knows that not every dining experience needs to be, or should be, a Mesa Grill type of event. BBP shows Bobby’s enjoyment of simple, every day foods. (I was going to write that he is “a man of the people,” but I’m pretty sure cm would laugh in my face, and rightly so.) But back to the burgers. In my opinion, there’s nothing more boring than greasy meat on bread. But Bobby takes burgers to the next level. There is watercress and avocado, goat cheese, bacon, and my favorite of all…pickles. All for just $7.50. (See my previous comment on Ladder 15.)
So…you can imagine my excitement when construction started on a BBP in my very own neighborhood. We have walked past it many times in the past few months, peeking in the window for signs of new development, and recently, for signs of the man himself. I have been scoping out the menu and have already decided that the L.A. Burger will be my first order (this also happens to be Bobby’s favorite.) I have also been contemplating what I will say to Bobby if I get the chance to meet him. I realized that I may have only a brief opportunity to speak to him. What is the perfect opening line to catch his attention? I’ve been brainstorming ideas. Any suggestions will be considered. Tomorrow is the big day…my stomach is a flutter.

A full restaurant review is forthcoming …

t says: If I see Bobby tomorrow, I’ll fight the urge to buy a burger from Supper (or a burrito from the nearby Chipotle) and challenge him to a throwdown …  But on a serious note, I’m totally down for a good burger – I hope he delivers the goods …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 April 2010 at 11:19pm

Bold Flay-vors Coming to Philly

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t says: Some people love Bobby Flay.  Some people love to hate Bobby Flay (often referencing the epic Morimoto vs. Flay battle on the original Iron Chef).  Regardless of which you are, surely you’d be interested in the spring opening of Bobby’s Burger Palace in West Philly.  As a Flay-hater, I know that I’ll definitely go and try one of these burgers in the hopes that it will single-handedly change my mind about him.  Additionally, surely my patronage will make up for all of those hurtful, sarcastic comments I’ve made about him over the years (e.g. I’m sure that “what these burgers lack in appearance, they’ll make up for in flavor”).  But, if/when the flavor doesn’t make up for it, I’ll just have to comfort myself by writing a scathing review (and visiting Capogiro that’s right around the corner … you know … the one that serves gelato and alcohol – why aren’t there more of these?) …

P.S. Yes, I do love that Tony Luke beat him in the cheesesteak throwdown and that Morimoto beat him in the recent Iron Chef America battle.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 February 2010 at 10:16pm