Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Eat Challenge -- 2 for 1

Dear No One in Particular,

I've always been a little intimidated by the Ferry Building; there are so many delicious, interesting-looking restaurants nestled under its glass and steel arches -- not to mention the bustling, legendary Farmer's Market on the sidewalk outside -- that I get overwhelmed and end up leaving for more familiar territory.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to bite the bullet and sink my teeth into some delicious food from the Ferry Building.

#40: cheeseburger from Taylor's Automatic Refresher:
I can't remember where I first heard of Taylor's Automatic Refresher, but after a cursory glance at their yelp page, decided I was, in fact, in the mood for a gourmet burger.

I'm really more of a patty melt girl, so I opted for the patty melt over the top 100 list making cheeseburger. The jury's still out on whether or not this was a wise decision. Then again, I'm just looking for any excuse to visit again.
In addition to the patty melt, I demanded an order of sweet potato fries and an espresso shake. I was stupid enough to be starving when I visited Taylor's, which is a lot like volunteering to have my fingernails pulled out. I'm such a slave to my hunger, it's ridiculous.

I sat at my table, inhaling the splendorous scent of their garlic fries. I began to worry that I picked the wrong side. Then I began to wonder if I could kill the couple who so disrespectfully ordered the garlic fries, but didn't eat them. I'm 99% sure I could have gotten off with minimal jail time.

As soon as my order came up, I grabbed a fistful of the gorgeous, bright orange sweet potato wedges and crammed them into my mouth. At that moment, I reached nirvana. Heavenly choirs sang hallelujah and the sun danced in the sky.

You guys, Taylor's sweet potato fries are THAT GOOD. They somehow lack the starchiness of regular fries, and are seasoned perfectly. Per. Fect. Ly. The slight heat of the chili powder, coupled with the light dusting of regular ol' salt and pepper cuts through the gentle sweetness, creating a symphony in my mouth. If I had ordered nothing else, I would have been so happy with Taylor's I would have run through the Ferry Building singing its praises.

The patty melt was more than a bit disappointing. To be fair, I was so hungry, I barely tasted the first couple of bites. They use a nice dark rye bread, which is a welcome change from the usual light rye. The burger itself is obviously of good quality, but it's sadly overshadowed by the liberally applied condiments. There is way too much mayo and mustard on the damn burger. Granted, I hate mustard, and truly believe the spice and tang of the rye is more than sufficient to cut the fatty goodness of the Swiss cheese and beef. Still -- they overpowered the yummy dead cow, which knocks it down a peg in my book. The meat should sing in a burger, not the sauces.

The shake was equally disappointing. It was made wayyy before the rest of the meal ( I know because I was sitting near the end of the bar and watched it being made) so it melted and became a runny mess, rendering it no more than melted ice cream. Tasty melted ice cream, but not a shake.

Overall, it was a decent meal. Sure, the burger fell short, and the shake was laughable, but those fries -- THOSE FRIES -- were delicious enough to forgive puppy kicking. My biggest issue with Taylor's is the overinflated prices. Maybe if everything was perfect spending $20 on a burger, fries, and shake would be worth the cash, but not if my meal was the best they could offer.

The sweet potato fries, though. They were miraculous.

#49 -- ginger snaps at Miette
Miette is somewhat legendary in the confection/baking world. Bakers and major sweet teeth make pilgrimages to the adorable bake shop in search of their notoriously delightful cupcakes. Or so I've heard. I don't think I've ever had one of their cupcakes. I'm a snob, you see.

Anyhoodle, I was a little surprised to see their ginger snaps as the list-maker over their more well-known cupcakes or macarons, but I jumped at the chance to try a new ginger cookie. I love ginger confections, and ginger snaps are some of my favourite cookies.

"Adorable" is the best way to describe Miette. Everything, right down to their shopping bags, is tooth-achingly darling. I didn't get any photos of their Ferry Building location, but it's a nice French girl respite from the stark architechture that predominates.

The ginger snaps were ... well, there's a reason their cakes are more famous. That's the kindest way I can put it.
The cookies, despite looking lovely, were disgustingly stale. They lacked anything resembling the "snap" necessary to make a good ginger snap. They had a strange bite; soft, yet tough and chewy. I took a bite and had to chew for a good 5 minutes. My jaw was aching so bad I couldn't get through an entire cookie.

I made the Boy try one, and I wish I had taken a picture of his expression. His entire review: "Ew. God, ew. No." A couple days later, he informed me that they made impressive Frisbees.

But! I am no fool. I was wary of the ginger snaps, and had heard incredible things about Miette's macarons. I snapped up a classic raspberry for the Boy and a chocolate-lavender for me.

Let me tell you, the macarons should be on the Big Eat list, not the ginger snaps. They were the most perfect macarons I've ever eaten. The meringue had a slight crunch, yielding to a soft, melt-in-your-mouth fudge/jam centre.

The raspberry tasted true to the berry, without being overly jammy or sweet. The chocolate was a study in unfolding flavours: the fudge melted across the palate, giving way to a gentle lavender flavour, which, miraculously, didn't taste a bit like soap.

I could have eaten a million of them.

While the actual entries on the Big Eat Challenge fell short of my expectations, they pushed me in the direction of some really great food. If the rest of the challenge continues in this way, I'm going to be very fat. Very happy, but also very, very fat.



Vanessa said...

Oh my, I want one of those macarons right away! And the sweet potato fries! Just the mention of sweet potato fries and chili powder has me drooling.

I definitely should've saved reading this until I wasn't so hungry.

Diana said...

One of the greatest things about the city is even if you eat like a queen, you can walk it off in an hour. Miss this city and the great food!