This time last year for Visa Wellington on a Plate, complete with a positive attitude and an agressive front fringe, I undertook a daily blog of eating and investigation into dating culture in which I consumed 17 burgers in 17 days. There was absolutely no chance of a repeat this year - my body, headspace, creative streak, nor my sensitive heart was up to the task. I also now live in Auckland and still have a day job, however, I'm here in Wellington for 5 days and there was no way I couldn't not try a few, for old times sake if nothing else.
I just didn't expect it would be 3 in 24 hours.
First up was a burger lunch date with my friend Claire at Boulcott St Bistro. Their T-Rex burger is served on a bone, and was more delicious than the majority of the ones I have chowed down on, well, ever. It's a Preston’s Hereford BBQ short rib and ground chuck patty, with amazingly crunchy and delicious horseradish celery salad and beetroot relish, with handcut fries. The relish was oniony, and smokey, and the bun was fresh and really, this is one of the best burgers I have ever had.
There really is something so satisfying about being at a white-tableclothed upmarket restaurant, next to tables of ladies who lunch daintily eating with their knives and forks, and mowing into a burger with one's hands.
So a brief hiatus, a few oysters and all of a sudden it was time for dinner at Duke's. It was a catch up with some of my favourite friends, and although my intentions really and truly were to order the excellent value and recommended Dine Wellington set menu, some maddening sense set in and I knew I couldn't leave without downing the Tongue'n'Cheek burger on offer. It featured a beef tongue and cheek patty, with a second dose of tongue turned crispy into bacon. Despite boldly declaring that generally with food I'll 'try anything twice' I have to admit I am sometimes challenged with offal. The tongue bacon was actually very good; my patty however was a little grey and rubbery. To be fair, my friends who ordered it had much juicier, pinker patties so maybe mine was a little bit dud. Our other friends who had the set menu raved about each of the choices - the moroccan chicken and the gnocchi both highlights.
At least this year my Duke Carvell's burger experience didn't end with me faceplanting on Cuba St at 4am like last year (from which I still proudly sport a knee scar, I'll have you know).
By this morning I was nervous. I just wanted fruit. Fruit and a cleansing juice and maybe some spinach. But I live to serve, dear readers, and I had been told in no uncertain terms by it's proud proprietor Cam (last year's lucky date #5) that I was not to leave Wellington without tucking into the General Practitioner's Great Philadelphian Cheeseburger. And great it most certainly was. Any fears were swiftly curtailed as soon as my belipsticked mouth was wrapped around this sloppy mess of cheese sauce, beef, bacon, mushrooms and crisp crisp iceberg. This burger is an absolute classic and absolutely delicious.
I went with my friend Sam (who, funnily enough, last night had a drink thrown down his chino's. Just like I did to my GP burger date from last year, Steve), and I noted that if this was a first date I would have been in some serious trouble. I was fingers-deep in burger juice, but Sam reckoned that there are two kinds of burger eating girl, and really it's all about commitment to the cutlery-free meal. Commitment I certainly had, and the combo of the crunchy iceberg lettuce and the amazing cheese sauce went everywhere, but was worth it. Highly recommended.
So not quite the madness of last year, but still, quite mad. And with a number a meals yet to be consumed, I fear these may not be the only burgers I'll be telling you about. I'm already fantasising about a salad filled detoxy September, but let's not get ahead of ourselves eh?