Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Clarendon: Z Burger

Apparently, I am determined to clog my arteries by going to two burger places in one week. I have driven by Z Burger a bunch of times; curiosity rising each time I did. Fate seemed to agree with me so when I saw a Groupon for Z Burger, I quickly snatched it up.
The setup is very similar to Five Guys when it comes to placing your order. You make your selections for the basic burger foundation (single/double, cheese/no cheese, bacon/no bacon) and then you pick your toppings.
My friend and I both ordered single bacon cheeseburgers with toppings of our choice. While the burger itself was a bit too bland for my liking, the toppings were delicious and very fresh.
We also split an order of ½ fries ½ onion rings. Both were decent; the batter on the onion rings was tasty and the onions stayed in the batter when you bit into them (if you ever had that moment where you found yourself holding a hollow piece of fried batter, you would understand why this is a KEY factor of Onion Ring Evaluation). The fries were standard and a little dry, but dipping them in ketchup made up for it.
Taste wise, this place does not really stand out on its own compared to local burger joints in the area. Although Z Burger is not quite my new "go-to" burger place, I will point out that that pricewise, Z Burger is good and pretty comparable to mainstream fast food franchises (ie: McDonald's, Burger King, etc.) but offers better taste and quality in their food.
Would I come back??? Maybe. If I needed a late night bite or milk shake.

3325 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA
Z-Burger on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 28, 2013

Leesburg: Melt Burger

After going on a tour of the South Lawn, Teddy and I decided to head to Leesburg to go to Leesburg Animal Park. He was in the mood for meat so I looked up places on the drive there and Melt Burger looked like a good option.

We went on a Saturday around 130/2 and it was packed. While waiting in line to order you can watch as they cook the burgers and make the rolls (kind of like my fav restaurant here!).


To start off the meal I decided that we needed to split a milkshake so we went with the Double Dark Chocolate. This was really good, although it just tasted like normal chocolate to me, maybe a little richer.
Teddy ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger Char-Grilled Premium Hamburger served with Fresh Lettuce, Red Ripe Tomato, Shaved Red Onion, Crisp Bacon, Aged Tillamook Cheddar Cheese and Our Special House Sauce $9.95. He really enjoyed his burger. 
I ordered the Tex-Mex Burger Our Premium Beef Burger topped with Melted Jack Cheese, Fresh Pico de Gallo, Grilled Spicy JalapeƱos, Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa, Fresh Lettuce, Guacamole and Our Smoky Chipotle Sauce $9.95. I ordered mine without the corn & black bean salsa. This was a delicious burger, not too spicy but enough to make my nose run some. Teddy tried a bite and said that he was fine with the spice but he definitely wouldn't be able to do an entire burger. 
It's important to note that these burgers are huge. I wasn't able to take a full bite of the burger because it was too big to put in my mouth (yes...I know) and I couldn't smash it down. Although I was starving I couldn't finish the burger because there was so much there.

On their own the fries are just ok, so I would suggest getting them with one of the toppings offered (Teddy got bacon and cheese...yum!) and sharing them between 2-3 people. 

Burgers are the new cupcake, with new restaurants popping up everywhere you look. Melt Burger stands out. I was impressed with their burgers and I liked the fact that you could choose the temperature that your burger was cooked (I need some pink in my meat!). The burgers were quality and there were a lot of fun and creative options to choose from. They cater to the low carb diet, offering to put your burger on a bed of greens.  Melt can definitely hold their own against all the other burger places popping up. 

So would I come back??? Yes! I've got my eye on the Paris Burger, probably on a bed of lettuce so I have room in my stomach for the entire burger. 

525 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA
Melt on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gwen's Mac and Cheese

This cheesy wonderfulness almost didn't happen. My family had plans for a cookout Sunday and on Saturday night a cab driver rear ended my car at 1:00 AM. Although it was a little fender bender where a quick exchange of insurance would have been sufficient, we had to wait for the cab company's manager and the police to arrive at the scene.....2 hours later I was finally on my home (when I was only a minute away from my house).

My eventful (and stressful) night explains why I felt like a train-wreck while talking to my mom the next morning. Mom suggested that I scrap the idea of making the mac and cheese to allow myself to mentally detox by indulging in some store bought mac and cheese. However, I insisted to my mom that since I had already bought the ingredients, I was going to stick to my guns and give this recipe a try.

Let me tell you, had I passed on making this recipe our lives would be missing the *amazingness* of this mac and cheese. I got this recipe from a former co-worker and at first was a bit hesitant given that this recipe does not call for a roux. However, it only took a bite of this deliciousness to conclude that this will be my "go-to" mac and cheese recipe. Perfectly cheesy, the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from this mac and cheese makes it ideal for chilly fall/winter nights. This dish also reheats well the next day and does not lose any of its delectable flavors.

An instant hit for everyone who tasted it, this dish is now in my top three mac and cheese recipes. In regards to preparation and cooking, this recipe is probably my favorite as it is ridiculously easy (cheesy and delicious!). You first mix in shredded cheese (you can shred cheese yourself or pre-shredded cheese works just as well) with cooked pasta, milk and eggs. Then you place the mixture in a suitable pan for baking and let the oven do the rest. That's it! :) 


Ingredients
8 oz bag/block of sharp cheddar
8 oz bag/block of mild cheddar
8 oz bag/block of mozzarella
1 12oz box of velveeta chopped (my grocery store only had the 32oz one so I used 1/3 of the box)
3 eggs
3 cups milk
1 box cooked macaroni

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Shred cheese if you bought it in block form and chop the velveeta into small pieces, placing a cup of cheddar on the side.
3. In a big bowl mix together cheese, eggs, milk and cooked pasta and place in a 9x13 baking pan, sprinkle reserved cheddar on top and cover with foil. Cook for 30 minutes, take foil off, then cook for another 10 minutes. 

Tips/Comments
-I prefer to use blocks of cheese because I think it tastes better when its freshly shredded, but pre-shredded bags would save a lot of time and energy
-The creator of this recipe also puts a melted stick of butter on top of the mac and cheese before she cooks it which I bet would be divine but it was already amazing without it.