Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Born in Arizona..."Flipped" to Babylonia

Okay, the title makes no sense unless you 1) remember "King Tut" by Steve Martin, and 2) understand that I went to the King Tut exhibit in Atlanta this past weekend, AND 3) ate at Flip Burger Boutique, Richard Blais' newest restaurant adventure.

Let's chat about Tut first...I gotta say that I'm torn between thinking that the "Tutlanta" logo is cool or extremely goofy.  After all, the Boy King's stuff did travel 3500 years and across the ocean to be gawked at by the masses, so shouldn't we show a little more respect?  (Confession time...I did get a Tutlanta shirt, because they were on sale for $9.95...that sort of cheapens my moral stance, doesn't it?)

Atlanta is into "peachifying" everything they can lay their collective little hands's not enough that there are a gazillion streets with "Peach" or "Peachtree" as part of the name, which will drive your GPS insane, but everything else has got to have some degree of "peachiness."  Sometimes it works, sometimes...not so much.

The exhibit was good...too short, I thought, because I want to see EVERYTHING that Howard Carter dragged out of the pit.  Unfortunately, Egypt won't let the gold death mask and many other iconic Tutankhamun items out of the country any more...and who can blame them?  Tut's coffin might end up at one of those "home gold parties" that seem to be all the rage now.  Plus, there is a concurrent Tut exhibit in Dallas, which has a different set of artifacts.  However, some of the Tutlanta artifacts have never been out of Egypt, either, so it all works out...and is cheaper than traveling to Cairo. : )

(You can actually see a fairly faithful replica of the tomb and the artifacts at the Luxor in Las Vegas.  It looks a lot like it did in the photographs from when Howard Carter opened the tomb...without the dust/sand and there's an exit into the gift shop.)

I think what was so amazing to me was standing there looking at a carved frieze or a statue and taking in the level of detail that has lasted for close to 3500 years.  Some of the items looked as if they could have been carved yesterday.  And, there is a golden death mask of another pharaoh, so you get an idea of what Tut's looks like.

(The Man and I looked for the Stargate, but that must be part of the special private VIP tour...alas.)

(And, when you Google "condo made of stone", you get this from, a website of real estate ads gone terribly wrong.  Browse's lots of fun.  You know...the Stargate could very well be in the master bedroom of this place.  Hmm...things to ponder.)

After we tromped through the sands of ancient Egypt, The Man suggested that we have lunch at Flip Burger Boutique.  Hell yes! I say, if we can get in on a Sunday afternoon.  So, off we go...

Flip is hip!  Flip is cool!  Flip is very noisy and a little on the pricey side, but Flip was good!

The menu is burgers, of course, with a listing for beef and then the "Flip" burgers, which veer off into the wild side of pate, lamb, smoked salmon, etc. Prices ranged from $7-$7.50 average up to $35 for a Japanese Kobe beef burger with seared foie gras and shaved truffles. I had the Butcher Cut, with caramelized onions, blue cheese, and red wine jam. The Man had the Pate Melt of veal & pork, swiss cheese, cornichons, and lingonberry dijon. Yeah, it sounds like a bunch of weird and odd flavors, but they worked well together.

Nothing on the menu totally scared me off...well, maybe the Philly, because it actually has Cheese Whiz.  (No offense to the great city of Philadelphia, but what is up with using that fake orange stuff on a sandwich?  Yeah, I know it is traditional, but I much prefer the noveau method that involves lots of melted Provolone.)  One thing to keep in mind is that these burgers are not giant burgers--nothing like Ann's Ghetto Burger over off of Memorial Drive--more like large sliders.  If you only order one, plus a side, and a shake,  you will be full...a bit less flush with cash, but full.

The sides are all a'la carte, which drives the price of the meal up, ranging in cost from $3-$7.  The fries are very good fries...nothing fancy, just hot and crispy and potatoey.  We got the fries and the sweet potato (tater) tots, which I had high hopes for, but have to admit that they might have been the most unimpressive part of the meal.  Although, they came with this creamy, foamy blue cheese dip, which rocked with the fries.  (You may have figured out by now, if the cheese is blue, bleu, blau, whatever, it's mine!)

And, let's not forget the shakes...the Liquid Nitrogen Shakes!  Is $7 too much to pay for a shake ($9 for the foie gras one)?  In this economy--probably, but this meal is an experience.  It's not a meal that I would have every day, every week, or probably every month.  I sort of look at it as a "total dining experience"--the atmosphere, the celebrity chef, et cetera, et cetera...just not the normal run-of-the-mill fast food burger.  

(Speaking of fast-food burgers, somebody needs to do some sort of intervention with Padma Lakshmi.  WTH--Hardee's?!  Has she lost her mind?  Are her taste buds just gone after eating whatever slop some of the Top Chefestants throw her way?  And, that whole little close up of her sitting on the steps and eating the burger is just wrong on many, many levels.  Do not lick your own leg!  Let someone lick it for you.)

Back to the shakes...The Man opted for the Nutella + Burnt Marshmallow...sort of a high-end s'mores effect.  It came with a layer of torched marshmallows on top, and tasted like the best chocolate milk drink ever.  It was smooth, not too sweet, and not too chunky.  I could actually drink that shake every day...not for $7 a pop, but if Richard wanted to give up the recipe and a nitrogen tank and a blow torch, I'd cheerfully make my own.

I had the Spicy Chocolate Mole, which is made with a hint of hot peppers...the initial taste was smooth chocolate, but then there was a bit of a fiery afterglow at the back of your throat.  I thought it was great fun--something a bit unexpected...maybe a bit "flip"? Ha!

So, I'm chomping my burger, slurping my shake, stealing dips of the blue cheese stuff for my fries and generally thinking that my whole Flip experience would be complete if the man himself would walk in...and, I might have to start believing in the power of prayer or at least the power of wishing, because who do I look up and spy at the end of the bar counter?  The Blais himself, along with Mrs. Blais and the little Blaisling!

He's casually dressed--long-sleeved t-shirt and flipflops--fauxhawk on the rise, with some weird little thin elastic head band around his he was getting ready to have a facial or something.  Maybe it's some metrosexual fashion statement that hasn't made it to the Rocket City yet...and probably won't.

He's a bit thinner in person than he looked on Top Chef, and he seemed friendly and relaxed while talking to the staff and tickling the baby.  He wandered around the restaurant for a few minutes and greeted a few people, and I managed to not fall out of my fancy aluminum bar chair when he walked past me.  I totally could not bring myself to snap a quick shot with my cell phone, because I thought it would be rude, but if he'd come by the table again, I probably would have thrown good manners to the wind.

As with every restaurant review, you get the experience that the reviewer had that day...some days are probably better than others, and I feel like my day was just fine.  It's a great little memory that I can hold in the wrinkles of my brain of a good meal and a fun experience...and it's good the way it is...don't have to do it again...unless you'd liked to take me back? I know how to get there...and maybe my presence is a good luck charm for Blais to appear.  You never,  let me know when you're ready!  Hahahaha!  


LinC said...

Wow, Tut and Blaise in the same day! You must be living right. It's always so weird to see somebody in person after seeing them on TV -- like they're not real. The price of the food is was so totally worth it since you got a full experience. We'll have to work on the Nutella shake.

Now if Alton had just been at the next table...

J said...

The nutella and burnt marshmallow shake sounds like heaven!