Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Super Duper…do we need another burger joint in SF?

It's a resounding YES! The name is Super Duper. The tag line is fast food burgers…slow food values (meaning the use of local, fresh ingredients operating in the most earth conscious way possible) The concept comes from the Paganini group – the ones who introduced us to Pasta Pomodoro and more recently the pizza / cocktails concept at trios Beretta, Delarosa, and Starbelly in SF.

With the above introduction in mind, you expect bright signs, quirky artwork, “green” furniture, and compostable serving products. When I walked into their outpost on Market St (a block east from Powell St BART station), it didn't disappoint. Small indoor and outdoor tables flank the walkway; then the restaurant opens up with a loft seating space directly above the cash till and kitchen. There’s a small eat in counter that overlooks the cooking area. They serve Straus ice cream, which can either be soft-served or made into a milkshake. I opted to not have any ice cream – had to cut the calories at some point.

The burgers can be ordered mini or super – I went for the super. You chose the patty and then select the toppings (everything on it also works). I ordered a veggie burger (with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and super sauce); and fries (with garlic and skin on). My total bill came to around $10.50, not bad for an elevated fast food burger. Within 5 minutes, my burger and fries were up. Orders are yelled out from the counter and on the opposite end, there’s station with ketchup, mustard, fresh (store made) pickles, and fountain drinks. Green lettering on the wrapper meant my order was vegetarian. I sat at the counter watching as the chefs work over the searing hot griddle and the wait staff mixed up delicious looking milkshakes.

The veggie patty was made with carrots, corn, oats, onions, and garlic (at least that’s what I could see). It was cooked crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. For my taste it was a bit too crispy and kinda tasted like a flattened falafel. However the flavor balance was great – much better than veggie patties I’ve eaten at Barney’s and Taylor’s. The sesame seed bun (from La Boulange) was toasted off with hummus on one side and super sauce on the other. I was surprised to also see cucumbers inside. This just added to Mediterranean feel of my burger. The grilled onions were juicy and tender; but by the end of my meal, they had oozed down onto my serving tray. I couldn’t really make out the super sauce – some sort of thousand island-ish spread. There just wasn't enough of it (and the hummus) so I ended adding ketchup to keep each bite from being too dry. This is common with veggie burger; didn’t really taint my overall view.

The fries were just all right – not great but above average. The garlic and salt seasoning were uneven making some fries overwhelming and others plain. I’ve had better garlic fries at Taylor’s and Gordon Biersch. The serving portion is enough for one, but I’ll probably pass next time and opt to save room for a milkshake.

Maybe it’s me, but I like the look and feel of these types of places – open eating area, crisp design lines, sustainable elements, and lots of stainless steel / natural woods / bright colors / mod lighting. All in all, Super Duper is a welcomed addition to the crowded burger scene. Sheila is going to have to try it soon since I flew solo on this visit. For the rest of the veggie burger aficionados, you be the judge given that I have yet to try Burgermeister, Burger Joint, or The Grove. Let me know what you think!

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