Archive for April, 2010

Burger Builders

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Burger Builders
4006 North Grimes Street
Hobbs, NM

(575) 392-8511

Good Food : 3.5/5 | Good Service : 4/5

While back in Hobbs, NM I had a craving for a green chile burger. You can’t be in New Mexico and not have a green chile burger, as the state is known for its green chiles. The famous Hatch green chile festival helps spread awareness of this pepper.

Burger Builders is housed in a nondescript small brick building on North Grimes Street. Located on a corner block, it is easy to drive in and out. The main method in ordering is to drive up to the window located on the right-hand side, place your order, drive back around to the front and pick up your order from the front window.

Burger Builders cheeseburger order

My burger and toothpick fries

Unwrapped burger

The burger comes out of its paper wrapping

Burger cross-section

Cross-section showing the green chile and lettuce

I got a cheeseburger topped with green chile, tomatoes and lettuce & the texas toothpick fries, which are strips of jalapeno that have been battered and fried. The burger definitely hit the spot, and the battered jalapeno strips were coated in a flavorful crispy batter and were addictive. Yum!

Texas toothpick fries

Closeup of the jalapeno strips

Ottimista Enoteca Cafe

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Ottimista Enoteca Cafe
San Francisco, CA

Good Food : 2.75/5 | Good Service : 4/5

Having caught a Food Network episode that mentioned Ottimista’s fried olives, I knew I had to try these while in San Francisco. My ex-chef college friend decided to accompany me, as she had tried these during a recent food fair at the Ferry Building and was hooked.

We eagerly tried the fried olives wrapped in asiago pastry. The olives were salty, and there wasn’t enough pastry dough to temper the sodium factor. The texture of the olive pastry was also slightly dough-y, meaning that the olives had not been cooked long enough in the fryer. And the dough didn’t have any tangible body to it. Very disappointing.

We then moved on to the arancini – these were perfectly fried, and the fontina center oozed beautifully. But, we noticed that the rice balls had been dusted with coarse salt on the outside, ruining the experience.

The house charcuterie plate was next – the small portion only came with 6 small slices of bread, not enough for all the meat, olives, mustard and pickles. The paper-thin meat slices melted in our mouths, but also didn’t give us enough flavor to distinguish one from the other.

I decided to try the scallops dis, listed as pan seared dayboat scallops with grilled artichokes, slow roasted spring onion and salsa di mare. My scallops were obviously cooked over too high a heat – they were black & over-caramelized in some spots, overcooked and were a bit rubbery. The roasted spring onions were tender, had that slightly onion-y taste and complimented the tomato sauce. The baby artichokes were also very yummy. But the salsa di mare also demonstrated the chef’s heavy hand with salt, and could not be eaten by itself.

My friend decided to have the pizza of the day, topped with the spicy house salami and burrata cheese. The pizza looked great – thin and crispy, obviously coming from a wood fired oven. But again, the chef’s propensity for over-salting was evident, as we could not eat more than one slice due to the sodium overload.

Service was great – our waiter artfully dealt with 2 bubbly women eating out, and dealt with our indecision in choosing our appetizers with grace. It’s just disappointing that the food did not live up to our expectations.

So if you like salty food, you’ll probably be happy but this was very disappointing to both of us, as we were looking forward to a home-style Italian bistro experience.