Sunday, 20 March 2016

Bountiful Burgers

I had hoped to get this posted a little earlier in the week, but as always work seems to be getting in the way of my hobbies. It confounds me sometimes how I manage to live with these first world problems but I'm a battler and I managed to fight through it and get this post up by Sunday.

Anyway today I thought I'd give a little burger review on a few ground rounds I've tried over the past month.

The first is the Cheese Burger Rodeo from a cool little American themed diner in Mt Victoria named Five Boroughs. Sam and I had a pretty busy week and we wanted to get out of the house and try somewhere new for lunch. Sam had heard some good things about Five Boroughs so we thought we'd give it a shot.

This place is hipster central which threw me a little, but it also had enough quasi-diner charm both in the d├ęcor and the menu to keep me interested. I ordered the Rodeo Cheeseburger while Sam ordered the Chicken Burger which you can see in the background.

My burger was great if a little difficult to handle as they tended to stack them quite tall and skinny. All fresh ingredients make a big difference in a good meal and they were what made this burger. Beef, cheese and pickles aside though the best parts were the onion rings. If you've ever had home made onion rings fresh out of the fryer you will know the feeling of biting into a thick, juicy, battered piece of onion which then bursts out steaming hot onion juice and fat to scold the roof of your mouth. Nothing quite says diner food like piping hot, greasy onion rings (apart from maybe curly fries). This was an absolutely awesome burger and we'll definitely be going back. Just as a side note though I think I'll be getting Sam's burger next time. The buttermilk chicken in her burger was incredibly smooth and creamy, and the chipotle ketchup gave it just a little bit of spice and smokiness. I only got one bite but it's definitely a winner.

From Mt Victoria to the State of Victoria, the next two burgers are from Melbourne. I was over there for work a couple of weeks ago and I managed to get a bit of time to walk around town and sniff out two burger joints. The first I found down an alleyway near the Victoria markets; Mr Burger. I had ended up at the markets around lunch time and as soon as I saw a sign advertising burgers I knew that was where I needed to be.

Mr Burger is some kind of franchise around Melbourne that runs eateries and food trucks. This one was quite cool, it was an old shipping container set up down a back alley and laid out with simple tables, chairs, leaners and stools. The menu was really simple too which I loved, it reminded me of In-n-Out Burger in California and their 3-Burger menu. Mr Burger double that menu with 6 burgers on offer but it's still pretty straight forward; beef burger, bacon burger, spicy burger, chicken burger, double burger and vege burger...that's it. I went with the one titled 'Mr Burger' because I figured that would surely be their best burger if they have named the whole franchise after it...

Well if that was their best burger I'd hate to try their worst. On the good side the bun was beautifully soft and I thought the tinfoil spill bag was a really cool idea, it's the rest of it that let it down. The meat tasted like some re-processed McDonalds patty and the lettuce was dripping in oil. It wasn't so terrible that I couldn't finish it but it certainly left me feeling short-changed in what is supposed to be the foody capital of Australia. Surely Melbourne had something better to offer than this?.. thank god then for Rocket Burger...

Rocket Burger is one of the many takeaway food bars on Elizabeth St across from the Train Station. They are the self-proclaimed 'Best burgers and fries in the known world'. After such a disappointment at lunchtime I needed some kind of redemption so I thought this slogan needed to be put to the test.

The menu was once again pretty simple with only 6 burgers listed and once again I chose the burger the store was named after; the Rocket Burger. As the saying goes; "The definition of insanity is doing something exactly the same and expecting a different result", but I decided that I would not let a previous bad experience lean my choices toward the defensive. I was going to find burger redemption or I was going to make myself inconsolably miserable in the process.

Just because this was going to be my dinner I picked up some fries with aioli as well which by-the-by were really good. When I opened the box and first laid eyes on my burger I wondered if the fries would be the only thing I was eating that night. The burger certainly wasn't much to look at, but then again I wondered how things could be worse than my lunch time I picked the burger up out of it's box and took a bite...

This burger was awesome! As previously stated fresh ingredients make all the difference, but on top of that the patty was perfectly cooked, the bun was fresh and soft and just the right amount of mustard and ketchup meant there was flavour without it being overpowering. Ok it's a pretty basic burger of meat, mustard, mayo, cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions and ketchup so it's not going to win any awards for originality. But sometimes when you get a burger (especially after your previous experience was so average) you just want a simple burger that's done really well, and Rocket definitely do burgers well. It could even be debated that they live up to their slogan of "Best the known world" though I'd have to try a few more before I admit to that.

The last entry in this post is a cheeseburger from Pre-fab in Wellington. Sam and I wanted to take the dog out for a walk somewhere last weekend so we'd organised to meet up with my step-sister in town and go somewhere outside for lunch. In the end my step-sister unfortunately had to cancel but we still wanted to get the dog out of the house for a few hours. So after organising a few errands in town we figured we would stop in at Pre-fab as we were going to be close by and I had yet to dine there.

I was really hanging out for some pancakes or waffles but the topping on the waffles looked pretty disappointing, so in the end I decided to go with the cheeseburger. The title on the menu said simply; Cheeseburger, bacon, avocado and fries. Doesn't seem that exciting at first glance. But this is what turned up...

Ok my apologies for the photo. I got half way through demolishing this burger before I decided I was going to get a photo for a blog post. The reason for that is very simple; never in my life have I had a burger where the patty is so prefectly cooked. I've had a number of burgers where the cafe or restaurant has tried to cook the patty somewhere around rare or medium rare but they always end up leaving it cold and undercooked in the middle. Pre-fab got it bang on, it was warm and juicy all the way through and tasted absolutely incredible. All the other ingredients of this burger were good but it was the patty that made it fantastic.

Alright that's enough for one post I think, it's turned out much longer than I expected. I've still got a quick review of the latest book I've read to post up so I'll get that done by Wednesday. In the meantime just remember that a bad burger is not a reason to stop looking for that best burger. We all have our favourites so trying something new can sometimes be seen as an unnecessary risk when we know the tried and true will deliver something we're happy with. The downside is of course that there is likely something better out there than the tried and true, but if we don't take the risk in looking for it we'll never, ever find it. I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere relating to life and contentment rather than just burgers, but my brain hurts from too much writing to ponder on it any further. Until next time...

Eat more burgers!!!

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