giraffassomewhere recently I read about a new Brazilian* chain that would be opening in Orlando called Giraffas.  With over 400 semi-fast food locations in Brazil we didn’t totally know what to expect because the menu said steaks and burgers.  I don’t generally think of steaks as fast food.  We put it on our to do list and yesterday were planning on heading to Magic Kingdom when we took a look at the waits and quickly changed our minds.  Giraffas is located on I-drive in the heart of the tourist district and is surrounded by loads of random one off outlets for sunglasses and sportswear.  The decor was fresh and modern and had lots of touches from  a cute pair of giraffes shaped like a knife and fork.  It is a counter ordering scenario where they deliver your meal to you.  I ordered a picanha burger with cheddar and bacon and a side of giraffas sauce which turned out to be chimichurri in butter sauce alongside a side of fries.  I walked away from the counter at that point and was surprised to learn that Z ordered a steak with fries, black beans and quinoa.  Quinoa?  I’m not really sure why he didn’t have rice or some veggies but that is what he wanted.  He thought it might be a specialty or something.  Everything came out fairly quickly-I’m not sure how they stage the kitchen so that a steak takes only a few minutes to cook but it came out in under ten minutes and was definitely cooked to his specifications.  My burger was nice and beefy-I’ve since learned that picanha is a standard Brazilian cut kind of rumpy.  I liked to dip it in the chimichurri although it was hugely garlicky.  I thought it was maybe a little expensive but not terribly so.  The food was pretty good and it was fun to people watch the largely Brazilian tourist crowd.

*Brazilian.  I mean the country and/or people-makes me giggle.

dinner #21

longest week ever.  I don’t know why.  It’s only Wednesday.  I have been going through a lot of change at work and trying to maintain what I consider a high level of output.  I think it’s begun to wear me down.  Today they took the door off my office and the back wall down while I worked.  I took that as a good opportunity to do some of my favorite work, merchandising in the Village Shop.  I’ve been working on a new online store all summer and you can see it here and make purchases to support the work of Wycliffe – – I’m proud of it!  The cold still lingers and I’ve had an on and off headache long enough that I’m going to tell a doctor about it tomorrow.  Z took me out to the easiest quickest and closest dinner to our house for dinner tonight, Outback.  I always get one of two things and neither are a ‘giant’ steak.  Always a burger or a filet focaccia (sort of french dip) sandwich.  Always a side salad instead of fries.  I really wouldn’t even need to look at a menu.  Z always gets a six ounce steak and some sort of green vegetables.  Tonight I added in a blackberry sangria which was super sugary.  I could probably live without it but it was nice and Kool-aidy.outback

burger bar

hubertwell, I can say that Hubert Keller wasn’t on my radar until he made macaroni & cheese in a dorm room on Top Chef Masters and used the shower to rinse the noodles.  I don’t really rinse noodles but I guess that’s how he rolls and he won so who am I to judge.  Either way, we were able to walk over to one of his restaurants, Burger Bar, while we were in San Francisco and have a quantifiable gourmet burger. Before I get into that let me tell you about the view.  Six stories above Union Square we sat against the huge glass windows looking out over the public space.  It was enough to give a girl a little vertigo.  After we ordered we sat and watched the people meet and greet each other in the park, sitting on the steps, sitting at the coffee terraces, coming and going.  The view was really amazing and made the few extra dollars tacked on to the burger.  I ordered the Black Jack Burger which had monterey jack cheese and olive tapenade with Angus beef on a ciabatta roll.  I wouldn’t have particularly expected it to be tasty as I couldn’t foresee how the mildness of the cheese could match the strength of the olive spread but it was really delicious with a smear of mayo on the roll and I devoured it!  Z had a peppercorn burger which was crusted with crushed pepper and had a housemade Dijon mustard and creamy peppercorn sauce.  The real stand out though, were the deep fried jalapeno pickles that he upgraded his fries to.  Great spears of spicy pickles deep fried in the lightest crunchy breading.  Seriously, I nabbed way more than my ‘fair share.’  They were so delicious I was inspired to try this at home sometime this week and shamefully bought one bottle of beer at the grocery store.  You know how stupid I felt buying one bottle of beer?  Oh well, it’s all in the name of adventure!  I can’t wait to try.  We made our own spicy habanero pickles so watch for that!

gott’s roadside

IMG_20130725_115058our first real stop in San Francisco was at Gott’s Roadside, a micro chain with three locations (SF, Napa and St Helena).  The first time I ate there, five years ago, it was still known as Taylor’s Refresher, as it had been for 50+ years and has since changed over to Gott’s Roadside, who leased the original property from the Taylor Family.  This actually caused a bit of a feud/legal issue.  But, feuding aside, we homed in after dropping our bags and making the mile or two walk from our hotel down to the Ferry Plaza where the only San Francisco location is housed.  We arrived close to noon and we just beat the rush and walked right up to the register and by the time our food arrived a line snaked out the door-this place felt mostly populated by locals but I have found that most tourists don’t gauge their eating right and tend to eat late and hangry.  We ordered and chose seats at the big communal style high top tables.  Our food took a little bit to be prepared and while we waited I people watched.

A few observations.  Locals here are convivial.  Over the course of our visit I can’t say how many people we saw, jump up, embrace, welcome, greet and eat together.  It was so refreshing to see people take time out of their day to eat, chat,  have a cup of coffee.  The color palate is a study of neutrals and everyone wears a scarf.  Oatmeal, greige, and charcoal are the business in the general color scheme of clothing and everyone seemed to wrap their neck in a scarf.  I have never seen so many coats in July no matter where I’ve been.  The weather was brisk but the sun decidedly came out every day.IMG_20130725_115311

Our food arrived and we dug in.  I had a bacon cheeseburger and Z had the Wisconsin Sourdough.  I’m not sure why it would be Wisconsin in this city that has a Boudin Sourdough sandwich shop every 1/2 mile but his was a burger with roasted mushrooms and cheese all melted together.  My burger was juicy and hefty and had the most delicious ‘special sauce’ sticking it together.  Kind of one of those ketchupy mayo pickle type sauces.  Z had an espresso bean shake, which was just, ok-not bad but not over the top either. We also ordered a side of garlic fries to split. They come out speckly green with parsley, garlic and butter.  The flavor of these fries is bold bold bold.  If you don’t like garlic they aren’t for you.  Over the weekend Gilroy, CA (an outlier burb of SF) held it’s annual garlic festival and they were invented by this guy. They are definitely bring a friend and you should both eat them so you can share the garlic breath and have someone to check your smile before you head back out into the world.IMG_20130725_120902

botham burger

jamie oliver calls all burgers botham because his dad called them that in the pub they own.  Here is a botham burger I made from pinterest from a blog called cherry on a cake (right.)  It is loaded up with curry mayo, caramelised onions and a fresh tomato.  I didn’t really follow the recipe for the burger – fail for me.  But the curry mayo was fun and I loved it.  I’ll use it as a dip for future potato-based things when it fits with what we are eating.  I could totally see using it for roasted Spanish-style potatoes.  Anyhow, we served this with Colmans curry sauce for roasted garlic Alexia tots.  The British are coming!IMG_3515