Sunday, 25 March 2012

Thunderbird, Wellington - Thunderburger with Cheese, 7/10

Thunderbird CafĂ© is on Featherston Street in Wellington.  As their website suggests, their menu displays influences and flavours from Southwest USA and Mexican cuisine, comingled with NZ favourites.  So, simply listed as a seasoned pure beef pattie with cheese, there was no surprise when their burger was delivered with a chipotle mayo.

Now this is a tasty little number.  The bun is fresh (a sesame seed bun, which i would have toasted), the pattie is beefy and nicely seasoned, and the additions are simple – lettuce, tomato, cheese – and chipotle mayo.  A juicy burger.  Easy to eat whole (which is what I love – there is nothing worse than having to use a knife and fork to eat a burger) and leaves little mess on you or your plate.  This one comes in above average and I give it a score of 7/10

Now when I said this is a tasty little number I was being literal – it is a relatively small burger!!  However, as I have only had it for lunch it is quite sufficient.  And this is also relevant when it comes in priced at $9.50.  If you have a solid appetite then order the curly fries or the onion rings (which again come with their chipotle mayo) as a side.  If you have a huge appetite, then you probably want to go somewhere else (or order two burgers).

Adding fries at $6.50 or onion rings at $8.00 does put it at the pricier end of the burger/fries spectrum so if you need more then you are really pushing it.  But you pay for what you get and you get a pretty damn good burger with some quality sides.  I have eaten this burger more than once!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

2011 Burger Wellington

Reminiscing on the 2011 Burger Wellington

This rant actually happened last year during the Visa Wellington on a Plate Competition.  It was a tough week but good fun.  Unfortunately i didnt have a proper cameraphone and so havent got photos for the first three burgers.  I have deleted the names to protect the innocent but otherwise its as i emailed to the team...

It started last Thursday with a team lunch at the eating house.  Burgers all around apart from X who had the Putanesca pasta.  The burger was prime Wairarapa beef mince with Kingsmeade Lansdowne Gouda and pickled zucchini with fries ($19.90).  Burger scored a 7/10 considering it was the first we tried, this was probably a highish score.  It was a bit difficult to eat (easier once cut in half and quite messy).  The condiments were nothing to write home about and the fries were ok.  The major letdown was the bun – which was probably too tough.  It did have pickles in spades though – which was a good thing!

The next day i followed up with a Venison patty with smoked black jack cheddar, crispy port belly and date chutney in a home made bun ($19).  This was the pick of the bunch really.  Looked good, easy to eat.  Juicy, tasty, with the perfect bun.  Burger scored a 9/10.  Being from Arizona, I was pleasantly surprised.  Their deconstructed nachos were also really good!!

On Monday the boss and i met with our WOAP client for a light lunch at Plum.  An Angus beef patty with pancetta, Kapiti kikorangi blue cheese, beetroot relish, caramelised onions and rocket in a cottage lane bun, with fries, tomato sauce and aioli.  The bun was square, but the burger was really quite tasty.  A choice of shoestring or chunky fries and aioli as well as t/sauce was a bonus.  However, it was a bit too sweetish and so i gave it a 7.5 out of 10.  Great value for money though at $15.  (then i finished of a orange blossom panna cotta with whittakers dark chocolate, almond and confit orange zest)

Come Tuesday i was getting into it and met a mate at the General Practitioner for a prime star Wairarapa beef and bacon patty with chicken liver pate and red wine shallots with shoestring fries and truffled mayonnaise ($22).  A damn good looking burger and tasty to boot.  Unfortunately it was let down by being very messy (lots of juices and the bun crumbled for some unknown reason).  Also the mayo didn’t really taste like it had truffle in it. 

Peppermill - Porirua

Wednesday i was off to Porirua for a workshop presentation and thought i might sneak into the peppermill for their char grilled beef patty with caramelised onions, Kapiti kahurangi creamy blue cheese, rocket and ration creek orchard chilli apple gem with hand cut fries and aioli ($18).  

A real let-down due to the cheese and the caramelised onions being cold.  As well the bun made the burger a bit too bready.  On the plus side the fries and aioli were the bomb.  Unfortunately i couldn’t score higher for those so it got a 5.
Thursday i cried off.
Peppermill - Porirua
Friday i was about to cry off but then thought i couldn’t let the team down so close to the finish.  So off to Smith the Grocer for a spiced Wairarapa lamb patty with lettuce, tomato and cheese in a pandoro bun, with crinkle cut fries and tzatziki ($17.90).  This was against my better judgement, particularly as it was a lamb burger and with morrocan flavouring – sacrilege.  

Unfortunately my judgement was right.  The burger was pretty bland (albeit spicy) and fries (which weren’t crinkle cut as you can see) with Tzatziki just don’t go.  Also it didn’t look like a burger – more like a sandwich.  However, i gave it a 5.5, slightly tastier than the peppermill...
Smith the Grocer - Lambton Quay
Epilogue.  Its now Friday afternoon and bloated bigger than a whale washed up on an isolated Wairarapa beach.  Finding it hard to find inspiration when the mind is clouded.  Good thing the competition is close to over.  From the looks of things it has been a great hit and the burger competition, which BERL sponsors, has been heavily subscribed.  Coasters on all tables with our logo inviting people to vote for the burger.  I have been told that the morrocan spiced lamb patty with tomato salsa and provolone cheese on Bordeaux bakery bread with hand cut chips is the best burger ever  and it would be really really sad if i missed out on it.  WOAP doesn’t end till Sunday...

Burger Wisconsin, Petone. Beef and Cheese 5/10

You will find as this blog progresses that a burger for me is a cheeseburger (beef, cheese and condiments) - and Burger Wisconsin puts together a pretty good one.

Which is why I have started my blog with this the Wisconsin Beef and Cheese.  For me this is the standard against which i will set my scale.  I reckon half the burgers i have had are better and half are worse.  Therefore, the Wisconsin Beef and Cheese starts off the scoring with a 5/10.  If I think another burger is better it will score more than 5.  If i think it is worse, then less.

So a bit more about the burger itself.  Out of the New Zealand franchises, i reckon they do the best beef pattie.  Angus Pure.  Slightly on the small side, but texture-wise it has the right feel - not too crumbly, just meat, and well seasoned.

The cheese is nicely melted.  The bun is ok - doesn't add value but doesn't detract either.  Not too sure about using gourmet salad leaf - i always prefer the iceberg lettuce for the crunch.  Again it adds colour but then that is about it.

Under that salad leaf is a tomato, a couple of slices of onion, mayo and some tomato chutney.  Overall, the burger is a bit on the dry side.

$10.40 for the normal size, and then you need the fries, which i must admit are pretty good - very good with the garlic mayo.  In fact i added some of the garlic mayo to the burger to make it less dry.  An improvement i must say...