Somebody has made an error. In the culinary community, the word "pedestrian" has somehow been associated with "not good". Common. Anyone can make that. Un-original. How can this be?
Some foods that I adore would get this classification yet using the P word to describe them is supposed to make my nose point upward and walk away. Well I will not!
Long before I knew I was a foodie and long before I could afford to buy almost anything, I loved a good burger. One of my first "OMG, this is fabulous" food memories was at a George Washington University burger stand some 23 years ago. In the mid 80's, burgers were the same from Seattle to Maine to Key West. Beef, lettuce, tomato, onion etc. but not at Lindy's Bon Appétit. They served over 20 variations of a burger in 1986. What a new concept for the time. Here's a copy of their menu today.
Lindy's gave me a new burger perspective that would last the rest of my life. Game on. Sure you can see me at fast food drive thru's but if I have my say, I look for a good pedestrian burger. What qualifies? That's simple. It has to taste good. If it works, it works. Last week, I ate at a different DC establishment with a celebrity chef owner. It wasn't exceptional. If you like you can visit my own food blog and read about it here. This week, however, I made a local discovery that was quite pleasing.
At a recent going away party for an old friend, a group of my contemporaries and I gathered at Kelly's Chic a Boom Room in Dunedin. Normally, I avoid places with such silly names, but that would have been a mistake. Kelly's is actually three side-by-side establishments that are a cornerstone of the Dunedin scene. Kelly's is the restaurant, The Chic a Boom is a nice bar with lovely outdoor courtyard and Blur is the adjacent show bar known for a drag scene that would rival Bourbon Street.
The Chic a Boom Room offers Kelly's menu so we sat down to eat. The fare looked contemporary and inviting and I saw several things I wanted to try but my eye was drawn to a burger; the Hell Burger specifically. This 1/3 pound beauty is served with Cajun seasoning, thick cut cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo. Boasting that I could choose a doneness from "Mooing" to "Brick", I immediately realized they are serving unfrozen beef and chances are it never WAS frozen (but I did not confirm that). As usual, I order rare.
Rare is harder that you think to make. I do like a bit of a crust but I also like the center to be uncooked and just warm or even a touch cool. That is exactly what I got. Perfect. Another indicator of freshness was the rare texture. Not watery or runny. Just beefy goodness surrounded by spectacular burger accoutrement. How pedestrian. I loved it.
I think most CL readers are Tampa folk. Well guys, try out a few places on my side of the bay. Dunedin, sister city to Edinburgh, Scotland, is a wonderful day trip with shops restaurants bars, marina and nightlife. People gather on the benches along the intercoastal nightly for the spectacular sunsets. Dog walkers, joggers and fishermen will smile as you pass. And if you're in the mood for a great burger, stop by Kelly's.
(Editor's note: Kelly's burger also got props in last year's CL Burger Tournament.)