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Monday, 30 July 2012

Devil Burgers, Queenstown, Yankee Devil - 6/10

Queenstown was humming. School holidays meant the hordes were in town. After struggling to find somewhere to eat the night before (we ended up in a dingy food hall, where the kids had MacDonalds and I went hungry) we decided to eat at Devil Burger, which was relatively empty at 5.30pm (this was in stark contrast to FergBurger down the road where there was a queue). It was also a chance for me to review a burger outside of Wellington (I knew I had called it BurgerNZ for a reason!!)

I went for the Yankee Devil as this was the closest i could get to a cheeseburger.  The basic devil burger comes with their own Devil Relish, which i wasn't too keen on sampling.  The Yankee Devil came with cheese, pickles, fancy lettuce, red onion, tomato, aioli and tomato relish.  I ordered the regular size for $12.50.  (Large was $14.50 but looked significantly larger).

When the burger arrived it looked ready for the ball.  Well wrapped, the onion and mayo offering a glimpse out the front end.  Unfortunately it was all window dressing.  Check out the opened burger.  The onion and the mayo were planted in a position of prominence but the rest of the burger was neglected.  They were joined by a solitary slice of tomato and enough lettuce to hide the pattie and the cheese.  At least they were consistent.  A lone gherkin slice was perched on the onion.

The burger, overall, barely squeaked past average.  My score of six was largely in support of the initial presentation, a solid bun, and an alright pattie.  I would expect more from a place that specialises in burgers.  There is a reason this place is relatively empty, whereas Fergburger was packed!!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Fergburger, Queenstown, Double Ferg with Cheddar cheese - 8/10

This is a national burger blog.  Really it is.  And on a family trip to Queenstown I hit paydirt.  Surprisingly I had never heard of Fergburger as it appeared that every man and his dog was lining up outside the joint.  This was the first time that I had ever seen a queue for a burger in NZ!!

A few questions were asked and I was advised that Fergburger was an institution in Queenstown and that they were the best burgers in the country.  There was always a queue, which was exacerbated by it being school holidays.  It was even mentioned by the Mayor in her welcome speech at a conference I was attending.  OK I was sold.

And so every time we (I was with the wife and kids who aren't necessarily burger fans) went down Shotover Road, I assessed the opportunity to stop.  The line was always too long.  So on the last day of our holiday I bit the bullet.  I left the wife and kids at a cafe and lined up with the throng.

Surveying the menu, I couldn't go past the Fergburger with cheddar cheese.  And just to make it worthwhile I upgraded to the Double Ferg and ordered a side of onion rings.  $15 for the burger and a further $5 for the onion rings.

I was told there was a 30 minute wait.  Took it on the chin and said "no problem".

Went back and checked on the family.  Their order was just arriving.  Went back and stood amongst the faithful.  25 minutes.  30 minutes.  35 minutes.  It wasn't going to be on time.  There were still a few numbers before mine (they have a number system...).  Finally, after 45 minutes my number was called and I grasped my Fergburger, which was neatly stored in a paper bag, and hightailed it back to the cafe hoping the wife and kids were still there.  They were.  Just.  Unfortunately they were ready to go back to the hotel.

So, being the family man, we went back to the car, and then back to the hotel.  Got the kids settled and then sat down at the table to sample the burger.  So here is where i raise the caveat.  While you cannot tell from the photos, the burger was not fresh!!  It was at least 30 minutes old before I ate it.  The onion rings were cold and so were the two meat patties and cheese.

As you can see from the photos, the burger looked damn fine.  Awesome presentation, wrapped and bagged.  It just looked tasty.  Taking it apart it was put together just as well.  I did not have to rearrange a thing.  This was a first.  For a place that was so busy, it was brilliant that they still took the care to put the burger together well!!  kudos.

 The bun was a proper burger bun.  Good texture.  Not too crumbly and not too tough.  Just right.  The same could be said for the flavour.  The right quantities of quality mayo and sauce, ensuring a moist burger.  Frilly lettuce, and a good amount of tomato and onion.  Cheese was melted on.  Unfortunately, the patties were a bit hard by now and so weren't as juicy as i would have liked.  The downside of the patties was amplified as I had ordered a double!!

And here is where I don't think I can do this review justice.  If the burger were fresh I probably would have scored it a 9/10. I will not make that mistake again.  Next time i will sit down at Fergburger and eat it right there and then.  I am pretty sure the discomfort (of probably not being able to sit down) will be worth it.  Don't be put off by the wait.  Think of it as an experience, which the wait only enhances.  Well done Fergburger.  I will be back!!!


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Big Mac Index 2012

And no burger blog is complete without reference to the legendary Big Mac, even if it is in relation to purchasing power parity and has nothing to do with rating the burger (which i believe sits around 7.5 to 8 on my scale out of 10).  The link is that i am a practicing economist, so when you can combine my two passions, then the rationale for blogging about the Big Mac index becomes clear!!

The index calculates the exchange rate that would leave a Big Mac costing the same in each country.  The assumption is that the product and the processes required to produce it are the same and so it should cost the same wherever it is made.  If it costs more then that country's exchange rate is overvalued.  If it costs less, then that country's exchange rate is undervalued.  Straight forward.  Easy to understand.  But a bit simplistic and there is so much more that you need to consider when discussing monetary policies...it makes my head hurt just trying to think about what i should be thinking about.

What is more fun, really, is seeing how much people pay for a Big Mac!!  A Big Mac in New Zealand is worth US$4.  IN the US it is US$4.33.  I pity the Venezuelans, who pay close to US$8 for a Big Mac, while your Scandinavians are also hit hard for their fix.  At the other end of the scale, Hong Kong pays a meager US$2.13 but are probably up against a mean kung pao chicken...