Where I Ate In Auckland – Part Two – WFLNZ

Pies, cheese, pizza, that stuff is good. Burgers and pub food? That’s my jam. Let’s dance.

The Fox Sporting Bar & Restaurant

A sports bar that streams any sporting event you can think of and they make their own beer? It’s true, and it’s Foxes in Auckland. Thier beer is good and they streamed the Canadian Mens World Cup qualifier for me. It’s also one of the few places in Auckland that has seats at the bar which I love. T-bone steak with eggs and chips was the only choice that I could make. I mean, New Zealand beef is good and then you throw a couple of sunny side up eggs on it? Go ahead, try and tell me this isn’t something you’d order. You would, I did, and it was fantastic.

Steak and eggs!
Steak and eggs!

Burger Burger

Burger Burger comes up on most searches for “best burger in Auckland.” I hopped on a bus in the pouring rain and headed for New Market to see for myself. Burger Burger uses local produce, free range meats, they have a good recycling program, and they’re a part of Conscious Consumer which incorporates the use of environmentally and socially responsible products and services. All of that is nice but if the burgers suck it’s pointless. Well, they don’t. In fact this is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. So fresh and juicy, I added bacon and cheddar to mine. The bun was fresh and up to the task of holding everything together. The fries were pretty good too, they came with a side of mayo.

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The Albion Hotel and Restaurant

The Albion was in the hotel I was staying in. I only went once. It was a weird place that always seemed kind of empty. No seats at the bar, which is apparently common around the world but there was also no table service. That may be normal but in my opinion it sucks. As far as the hotel goes I was pretty happy. Clean enough, good location, and cheap. I had fish and chips on my one visit to the pub, they were good, not great.

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Adey’s Place

Adey’s Place (formerly Blair’s On The Beach) is a little beachside shack in Piha. Piha is on the west coast of the North Island but is technically still part of Auckland. My tour guide recommended the fish burger and said the chips won some sort of award. Sounded good to me, also there was really only one other place to eat. The award winning chips were good, definitely award worthy. The fish burger was good but two pieces of fish was overkill. I took one out to eat separately, it made the burger better. This may be the only time in my life a lobby for less meat.

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Stay tuned for part three where I go full hipster.

Scott.

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Quick Bite – Carl’s Jr!

Fast food is fast food, quick, cheap, not that great. Is that actually true? In most cases it is but there are a few exceptions. Five Guys and In and Out are both fantastic fast food joints but they also cost a little more than a Big Mac combo. A recent addition to Vancouver’s fast food scene, Carl’s Jr, takes a similar approach. Fast food that aims to be better than most but at a slightly higher cost. Does it all add up?

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Located on Dunsmiur between Howe and Hornby, Carl’s Jr isn’t easily found if you don’t know it exists. I’ve had lunch there 2 or 3 times now and I’m not blown away by anything in particular. The best burger I’ve had is the Western Bacon Thickburger complete with an onion ring and a “fresh baked bun”. The regular Western Bacon Burger is pretty underwhelming but the trademark Thickburger version brings a larger beef patty with better seasoning and the bun is actually pretty good too.

If I were forced to compare Carl’s Jr to another fast food burger joint I’d say it reminds me of Burger King but more expensive.

The verdict? Carl’s Jr IS slightly better than most burger joints but I don’t see the extra dollars being worth it. I’d gladly pay the extra at Five Guys and for slightly less I’d rather have a Bacon Deluxe at Wendy’s.

Scott.

Red Robin, It’s like a 90’s time machine!

I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in high school. My first visit to Red Robin was in the mid 90’s at their brand new Guildford location in Surrey. It was great, lots of retro posters all over the walls, a train that circled the room hanging from the ceiling and these crazy shaft driven ceiling fans. The menu was centred around burgers which were pretty good and they had “Non stop pop” which wasn’t that common in 1995.

It's a plane!
It’s a plane!

Fast forward 17 years, outside of Red Robin it’s 2012, inside…it’s still 1995! The same posters cover the walls although they’re very faded, the fans are still there but the train is sadly gone. There’s so much brass in this restaurant and the colours are pure 90’s. The fact that “What’s the frequency Kenneth” by REM came on while we were eating was perfect, it totally fit the mood of the place. The menu is pretty much unchanged with a few new burger variations, the beer menu is pure Macro brewery garbage but at least they have Guinness on tap. Somewhere over the last 17 years they’ve added “Non stop fries” to their menu, I’m ok with that.

Prime Chophouse Burger
Prime Chophouse Burger

I ordered the Prime Chophouse Burger, a heavyweight for sure. Nestled between it’s Onion bun (with about 4 specks of onion on it) is a surprisingly good beef patty, horseradish, steak sauce, provolone cheese and crispy onion straws. All of this was held together with a large steak knife thrust through an onion ring into the heart of the burger.You know what, this burger is pretty damn good! I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did and the steak fries, which come seasoned with Red Robin’s own seasoning salt, are good to!

This location has always been busy, there’s almost always a wait for a table but Red Robin has seen some local closures in the last few years, most notably their Surrey/Newton location and their Vancouver/Broadway location. Red Robin works in the suburbs, for now, but it desperately needs a HUGE face lift. It’s so dated it makes me feel really old because I remember being young and it looking exactly the same. 17 years is too long to stick with one look. I wonder how much longer the Robson location will last?

Scott.