Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hard Rock Cafe puts burgers on summer tour

Nadine Kam photos
Jodi Mikel Miller presents a trayful of slider-sized samples of the Honolulu Legendary Burger during a media event introducing Hard Rock Cafe’s World Burger Tour.


What started in Hard Rock Tokyo as a fun way to explore flavors around the globe has become an international phenomenon, as Hard Rock Cafe started its summer by launching its inaugural World Burger Tour.

Local chefs have always had the freedom to create a unique Local Legendary Burger capturing the flavors of their city, but those creations were only regional hits, until now.

More than 150 local burgers were evaluated by Hard Rock’s culinary team, with 16 favorites selected to star on the World Burger Tour menu, four of which are available at Hard Rock Waikiki through the end of the month.

Alas, Honolulu’s Portuguese sausage-topped burger didn’t make the World Tour cut, but luckily for us, it’s available here and happened to be my favorite during a media tasting that took place June 4.

With each burger marked by a Hard Rock flag and the flag of its home nation, our tabletop looked like a mini United Nations, covered with slider-sized samples. Culinary adventurers don’t have to pack their bags to order up the half-pound burgers:

The Andean Burger: A Bolivian Legendary featuring a Certified Angus beef patty topped with avocado slices, a fried egg, melted Cheddar cheese and garlic mayonnaise. Plainer than its international relatives, this is the burger that is most frequently ordered.

The Bosphorus Burger: Turkish Legendary features a Certified Angus beef patty topped with homemade eggplant salad, haydari sauce and pickle.
The Schnitzel Burger: A German Legendary that features two stacks of pork schnitzel (think tonkatsu) topped with sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard and bacon.

The Chamorro Burger: This Guam Legendary features a Certified Angus beef patty topped with housemade Chamorro glaze, chili paste and spicy pepper Jack cheese. It’s popular with Japanese clientele who know who Chamorros are.

The Bosphorus and Honolulu, pictured, burgers were my favorites, the hometown burger paired with furikake fries served with a creamy Sriracha dipping sauce, below.

Each of the World Tour burgers are paired with a signature french fry-dipping sauce combo. These chili-seasoned fries with chipotle garlic ketchup goes with the Chamorro burger. Parmesan Romano fries with garlic aioli aligns with the Andean, and herb-garlic fries with chimichurri mayo pairs with the Bosphorus burger.

It’s too bad not all the burgers could be offered here. I would have loved to try Mumbai’s tandoori-spiced chicken burger, Vietnam’s banh mi burger, Miami’s Cuban burger and Dubai’s date burger.

Cocktails showcased during the tour include:

Mai Tai One On: A Pacific-inspired blend of Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Monin Orgeat, a splash of lime and orange juice.

Pomegranate Mule: Of ABSOLUT Vodka, Monin Pomegranate and ginger beer.

Mezcarita: A smoky margarita from Mexico, combining Del Maguey Mezcal, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Malibu Coconut and fresh strawberries.

Pineapple Ginger Caipirinha: A Brazilian blend of Água Luca Cachaça and pineapple with a splash of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur.
Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu is at 280 Beach Walk Ave. Call (808) 955-7383.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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