Black Garlic Food Truck: Bernie’s Backyard, Spring TX

September 6, 2016 at 10:48 am (American, Burgers, Travel, USA) (, , , , , , , )

Between Melbourne’s burger fetish and moving the the US, we’ve had some good burgers over the past couple of years, possibly a few too many according to my denim meter.  So given the (one could argue) over-saturation of excellent options, what is it that really distinguishes one from another?

Within the diaspora of burger joints, there is the contingent that markets their fare on the merits of wholesomeness bu,t by and large, the burgers that draw our attention are more likely to be gracing our #foodcoma than #cleaneating feeds.  And at the far end of this spectrum is Black Garlic.  Case in point – the Scorpion.  A 1/2 pound all-beef pattie on a grilled challah bun, piled high with roasted peppers, avocado, smokey bacon, havarti cheese, balsamic and slathered in togarashi aioli.  It’s gloriously composed and manages valiantly to remain so while you chow down.  The challah bun is genius, the lightly sweet, chewy,  enriched pastry a brilliant match for an umami-charged filling.

As all burger connoisseurs will attest to, fries can make or break a burger and Black Garlic has this part of the equation sorted.  Definitely go for the upgrade to chimy fries, tossed in fragrant herb oil, which are worth living with garlic breath for the next few days.


Black Garlic source their organic ingredients from local farms and suppliers, so you can feel good feeding your belly with wholesome stuff and supporting sustainable producers.  The difference this makes to their wares is clearest in the flavor and texture of the hand-ground beef patties, and it’s obviously appreciated, judging from the 45 minute wait at Bernie’s Backyard where we tracked these guys down in Spring, Texas.  Check out their website at for times and locations – just take care driving home afterwards as a Black Garlic meal is well deserving of that #foodcoma hashtag.





Black Garlic At Bernie's Backyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Seattle : Chowder, Piroshky and Market Goodies

May 1, 2016 at 8:52 am (American, Bakery, Dessert, Seattle, Travel, USA) ()

We arrive in the Emerald city to find a lush, colorful hive of activity; it’s the start of baseball season, the tulips are in bloom and locals are out and about, joining the tourist crowd, taking advantage of a beautiful, sunny weekend.  Our trip into town is enlivened by encounters with black-robed Heartless on the Link, a stroller-pushing Wonderwoman on 4th and Dolores Umbridge in the hotel lobby; we’ve also managed to pick Comicon weekend to visit.

Pike Place 4

Pike Place 5

First on the agenda is Pike Place Market for a spot of lunch.  The daily market is a one-stop shop for fresh produce, arts, crafts and good eats, attracting out-of-towners and Seattleites alike.  We duck into Post Alley just off Pike Place, but not before pausing to snap a photo of the iconic public market sign, joining the rest of the tourists negotiating pedestrians and traffic to get that perfect shot.

Pike Place

Pike Place 2

A long queue extending out into the alleyway marks our destination and we fall into line with other hungry customers waiting to get their fill of hot soup and seafood rolls at Pike Place Chowder.  Service is efficient and, with plenty of outdoor seating made available by the good weather, it’s not long before we are tucking into cups of that sought-after chowder.  The New England clam chowder is a cheesy mouthful of luxuriously thick, smoky soup, heavy with potato and a generous amount of juicy clam meat.  Lobster and bacon make today’s market special a popular choice, a sweeter, lighter-bodied stew but no less indulgent.  We’re generous with our garnish of crispy oyster crackers for texture, but aren’t fans of the sourdough, which is rather dry and crumbly, with an acidity that hints at vinegar.

Pike Place Chowder

Pike Place Chowder - Chowder

The same sourdough detracts from the dungeness crab rolls, spilling over with fresh, citrus-y crab meat, which would be better partnered with brioche (or is this just Melbourne-influence talking?).  You can probably also give the sourdough chowder bowls a miss for the same reason; there are better carbs to be had in this market.

Pike Place Chowder - Crab Rolls

Like food-envy-inducing, Russian pastries from Piroshky Piroshky, for instance.  These guys do well to compete with the buttery aroma of fresh croissants wafting through the open doors of Le Panier, but compete they do.  This hole-in-the-wall bakery invariably sports a haggle of customers eagerly craning their heads to scope out the day’s wares.  With over 20 years of history at Pike Place, expect to see some of the local tastes (hashbrown and bacon, jalapeno cheese and garlic cheddar rolls) mingling with the more traditional.  Faced with a snap decision and customers pressing in behind us, we grab one of the coffee and cinnamon rolls to go, before immediately wondering whether cherry and white chocolate or a puff pastry wrapped, whole baked apple would have been a better option.  The pastry is heavenly – still warm from the oven (that’s one plus side of queues; high turnover), it’s moist, buttery yellow and finely layered before rolling to pack more coffee and cinnamon into every bite.


Piroshky 2

Piroshky - Coffee Cinnamon

Back in the main section of the market, it’s a feast of another kind as we browse the artisan craft stores displaying colorful glass ornaments, ceramics, wood arts and plushie cat donuts (we’re also asking why).  Florists have no trouble finding homes for the season’s luminous tulips.  Even the fresh produce section is something of a spectacle; enormous, glistening silver salmon and glassy-eyed rockfish, elephant garlic bulbs the size of large grapefruit, striped peppers, dimpled satsumas and giant purple artichokes.

Pike Place 3

Market 1

Market 2

Market 5

Market 3

The downstairs portion of the market has a distinct ‘tourist trap’ vibe to it, key giveaways being the souvenir shops hawking Chinese jade decorations, accessories stalls à la Paddy’s, おみやげ emblazoned windows and the occasional whiff of naphthalene.  A good point to make our exit and make a start for Pioneer Square to get a lesson in Seattle’s history (to be continued….).

Market 6
Pike Place Chowder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Piroshky Piroshky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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