Archive for May, 2014

Marlows TavernSpring 2014

I always wonder how many great restaurants are out there in Orlando that I have never heard of before. Marlow’s Tavern was next on that list. Invited by a couple of friends, Jess and I traveled over to Winter Park completely unsure of what to expect.

Pulling up to the establishment, I quickly became confused. The structure looked like an old Burger King with a built-out layer in the front for relaxing and music. All that was missing was a playplace. But in the parking lot were plenty of high-end wheels including a six-figure machine next to us. After banging my car door into theirs (I really didn’t but I wanted to), we stepped out and found ourselves in a calming environment with a cozy bar area and patrons collapsed in comfy seats.

Finding a booth that fit all six of us, I desired an adult beverage, only this appeared to be a joint where a Bud Light would cost $6. Thankfully, a 16oz can of PBR was on the way and I could focus on the task at hand: what should I order up for my grouchy belly.

And there it was. The Royale with Cheese. With one of my favorite movies being Pulp Fiction, I had to go for it. I do realize several establishments now have this on its menu, but I have never actually ordered one. Time to put an end to this drought.

“Waygu beef seared perfectly and stacked with American cheese, pickles and buttery brioche.” Get rid of those darn pickles and we have ourselves a burger! It arrived elegantly in front of me and I wasted only 2.3 seconds before it entered my face.

Struggling to label the burger, it certainly pleased me only not to the extent I thought it would. I failed to finish it not because it tasted bad, I just felt like my heart did not want it anymore. The grease and fat seemed to build up quickly in my system so I said, “No mas,” and took in the good vibes this place offered instead.

I probably will turn away from the burger during my next visit, but I do recommend for burger lovers to give one of them a try at Marlow’s. I can easily see how they could achieve a nice little following.

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IMG_7986April 2014

I am pretty foolish. Visiting another country should make me want to try the local cuisine – experience a sample of what residents crave. I felt like I was not being respectful when I visited Ireland in April, skipping over the menu items such as fish and chips or the bangers and mash.

My mind was set on one thing: 100% Irish beef.

And rightfully so. Some of the burgers I saw floating out of kitchens in Dublin were more magnificent than any historic castle on the countryside. Could these creations rival those from the States? I wanted to find out.

Baggot Inn - IrelandNow I was not quite sure what 100% Irish beef really meant. I was told that label really could read: 100% grass-fed beef which would explain things. Either way, first up was Paddy’s Irish BBQ located at the Howth Market, a fantastic little farmer’s market on the Irish Sea. Grilled up by a couple of gentlemen with thick accents, this cheeseburger carried a very thick slice of cheddar cheese, an artisan bun and some English mustard.

Whoa baby did the mustard provide a solid punch right to the throat. It is hard to describe a burger as smooth, but it really was as it had a delicious texture throughout. And that would be the theme of the trip.

On to downtown and the Baggot Inn, which was just far enough away from the tourist district that everyone appeared to be a local. My kind of spot. Walking down a small stairway, the bar area opened itself up to a cozy setting with friendly patrons and friendly servers. A Galway Hooker beer arrived on the table, as did a Baggot Beef Burger. “Homemade 100% Irish beef, stacked high with melted cheddar, homemade onion ring, rasher (thick slice of ham/bacon I guess), side of peppercorn sauce.”

Sheehan's IrelandAside from the onion ring, this certainly filled me up, and again provided a smooth taste for a burger. The rasher was a bit much, though, and I only ate half of it before removing the rest.

To close out the burger fest, I stepped foot into Sheehan’s near Grafton Street. Its outward appearance was certainly inviting as it carried a red and black color combination on its façade, and had the look I want in a Dublin eatery. The first floor was simple enough – bar area with a few booths for patrons. Upstairs was far less busy and a place I would love to grab a few Guinness and stare out the windows, looking down on the scene below.

From a small menu, I sent back an order for The Grafton Burger. “100% Irish Beef Burger in a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and melted cheddar cheese served with fries.” So pretty much the same thing without the rasher. It arrived on a cutting board with a small bucket of thick fries, and this too tasted very similar to the two previous concoctions. Nothing dramatic, yet a simple tasty burger.

 

If I were to put the two restaurant burgers next to each other, I would have a difficult time determining which one was which. The Irish burgers were yummy, I just expected more. None of the three gave me the “wow” factor I sought. My final verdict is that I liked Irish beef, but I will be on the lookout for something else during my next trip.