There is something about fried chicken and biscuits that has me completely hooked. Growing up in Canada I never had fried chicken (unless you count KFC) but moving to the south opened up a whole new culinary door for me. From fried chicken,gravy and biscuits to the more traditional cajun dishes such as gumbo and red beans and rice, let’s just say I’m hooked. I recently discovered the Rusted Rooster, a small non-pretentious diner style joint on Saint Landry street in downtown Lafayette. Seems like the secret is already out and I’m the last to know as there is quite a wait for lunch and breakfast. Their fried chicken is out-of-this-world delicious as is their selection of burgers, sandwiches and breakfast staples. Their morning hash brown has me craving on a weekly basis. For those seeking a healthier alternative to fried goodness, fear not, as you can order everything grilled.
105 St. Landry St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
It seems our generation (or atleast everyone I know) is slightly obsessed with Shake Shack burgers, claiming it to have the best burgers in the USA. That to me is one serious claim, one that can only be backed up by having tasted every single hamburger in the United States. Either way, I had to check it out for myself. The Shake Shack in Philadelphia is located downtown in the Rittenhouse Square neighbourhood. There is usually a long line, sometimes out the door. On the day we went it happened to be practically empty which was a nice surprise given that we were extremely hungry and not in the mood to wait.
A large wall sized menu covers the wall describing what and how to order. We ordered the Shake Burger and the SmokeShack Burger. Both good.
The hamburger patties were made to order and made it slightly more flavorful than an all out fast food joint. We ordered with a side of fries which were disappointing. Overall, our experience at Shake Shack was slightly underwhelming. I’m not sure what I expected going in. I guess I thought I was in for tasting the ‘best’ burger in the USA only to come out having had an average burger with less than average fries. Can someone enlighten me on what makes Shake Shack so damn good?
There are many places in New Orleans where you can get your hamburger fix. Ranging from the peanut butter burger at Yo Mama’s bar to wet and sloppy at Buffa’s or Port of Call. However, one of the newest additions to the New Orleans burger family, the Company Burger, offers a more refined American burger.
The owner, Adam Biderman takes a lot of pride in his restaurant. I was lucky enough to have met him the day I went in. I got a brief lesson on his approach to the American burger and restaurant history. His beef patties are all hormone and antibiotic free, with the patties made in house from scratch. The buns for the burgers are baked on the Northshore using his own personal recipe. There is also a condiment station offering a wide array of sauces ranging from garlic mayo to basil mayo.
Who can resist their carrot and chocolate cake stand? I have of course heard about their tasty burgers but whats more I have been told repeatedly about how they have the best carrot cake in town. So without hesitation a carrot cake was added to our order. Biderman told us that the secret to the amazing carrot cake is his mother’s home recipe. I must get my hands on her recipe. It was probably the best tasting carrot cake I have ever had…no exaggeration.
The place was modern and clean. I really appreciate a restaurant that pays attention to sanitation and cleanliness. Many burger joints in the city (some hole in the walls with good burgers as I have mentioned) really pay no attention to sanitation whatsoever and I sometimes question what else is being served with my burger. But not at Company Burger- the place was spotless clean and whats best you can literally see whats cooking right in front of you.
Before I get too carried away, back to the issue at hand: the burgers. We ordered two single patty burgers although Biderman later told us we should have ordered the Company Burger- a doubly patty burger. I don’t think I could have finished it. I struggled with my own single patty burger.
The burger bun was perfect. Not soggy. Not wet. Not stale. But fresh, chewy and pretty much what a burger bun should be. The patty was delicious and meaty. What I mean by meaty is that you can actually taste the char grilled beef. Sometimes less is more. This is what a hamburger should be. At Company Burger, your burger is served without condiments. You have the option of adding fresh jalapenos and a variety of sauces at the condiment stand.
Okay. So now back to dessert. We were also given the chocolate cake to try. They offer only two kinds of dessert: the carrot cake and the chocolate cake. Both tasty, however, I devoured the carrot cake in less than a minute whereas the Count devoured the chocolate cake alone. It’s personal preference I guess but for me the carrot cake ruled.
When we first walked into this place I immediately felt like I was home for Sunday dinner. The place has a casual ambiance and the menu offers many comfort foods. I’ll begin by telling you that I loved it before I get into the details.
Brack May– “philosopher, social entrepreneur and teacher” was formerly a chef of the former Cobalt and opened this homey restaurant last year. The place uses many eclectic pieces and elements from post-Katrina (including their sign which as I was told was the door from a washed up car from Katrina). The inside is wonderfully decorated. My favorite: the host stand, black tiles and the lighting fixtures. Maybe I can ask them to come decorate our home?
The menu has a range of comfort foods from mac ‘n’ cheese, grilled cheese with a side of soup and of course their amazing natural beef burgers and fries (notably the chili cheese fries).
In order not to feel guilty of what was to come we decided to order the mixed green salad served with goat cheese. The dressing was slightly oily but nevertheless it was good.
I was in the mood for anything unhealthy and so of course I ordered the chili cheese fries as a side to my burger. Best decision ever. The fries were so good and the chili cheese topping even better. Needless to say I single-handedly finished the fries without the Count’s help. The burger came next. I was completely full after only a few bites. I love a good burger, especially one that is made with detail and love. The cowbell burger tasted like those high quality burgers my parents made at home. The beef was tender and tasty. The condiments were fresh and were topped off with the special pink sauce they serve with every order. It was definitely one of the best burgers I have had in town.
As we were leaving we noticed their sign hanging outside which stated ‘eat happy’. What a great motto. From now on I’m going to always eat happy.