Sorrynotsorry but when I think of Japan my stomach doesn’t instinctually scream burgers and for good reason. It’s almost an oxymoron. They just don’t get it. Like wtf is “hamburg”? A meat patty covered in bolognese sauce served on a plate should not even exist. Okay, it sounds kinda delicious but it actually isn’t. The meat patties are super greasy and gross. Anyways, I have sourced (through Instagram) THE BEST BURGER PLACE EVER. Shuvi Du Bar in Tottori is amazing! Because their burgers are real burgers. As in, proper bun, 100% meat patty, legitimate size and the option of additional fillings including jalapeños, salsa and my favourite, avocado! What’s more, the staff are lovely and most importantly, passionate about what they do – having travelled to America and fallen in love with the American burger scene. You must must go and I must must go back real soon.
So I have embarked on a mini ‘holiday’ to Auckland (situated in the North Island of NZ) as recently, my brain has been desperately nagging the rest of my body to take a much-needed break. Yet, I currently find myself in a dodgy underground internet cafe sandwiched between two 20 something year olds playing Dota (and by ‘playing’ I mean battling – vigorously, to death – rather scary, to say the least) writing this post as I just can’t help it.
Day one, I arrived at my cosy (to put it nicely) accommodation at precisely 12.38pm AKA ‘lunchtime’ – perfect. Prior to arrival, I had heard several great things about ‘The Food Truck Garage’ which originally began as a NZ TV series aimed at highlighting our nation’s obesity problem and eventually (as of 2013) evolved into an epic eatery serving healthier alternatives to your classic “fast food” which is typically high in fat, salt and sugar. To my absolute delight, Google advised me that Food Truck Garage was a mere one minute walk from my temporary place of residence – yes, ONE – naturally, I ran there. Upon arrival I was greeted by a very adorable female chef with the most friendly smile/face. When said chef saw that the FOH crew were occupied, she left the kitchen space and personally sat me herself! The entire place oozed ‘hip’: cute wooden tables, prints on the wall, the turquoise lamp shades that matched the turquoise napkin holders and the napkins themselves which encouraged me in bold red to “get messy” – well, if the napkins say so! In short, everything at The Food Truck seemed complete. I.e. nothing left unfinished – well duh (sorry I have a habit of turning all Captain Obvious).
I was most impressed by the menu. There were so many delicious sounding options that I had a difficult time choosing just one item – the killer smells wafting through the air did not assist in my decision making process. Moreover, as I knew I was going to Burger Burger (a prominent burger(well-duh) joint here) in the evening, I compensated by ordering a burger bowl (shut up, it was a legitimate compensation) instead of an actual burger which my heart/stomach madly lusted after. Well, that and the skinny wait-staff in daisy dukes which served as great motivation that I order a salad – not that much motivation is required when food is so damn delicious and everything is so healthy anyway but yeah.
Burger Bowl – w. red quinoa, baby spinach, carrot, beetroot, tomato-cucumber salsa, red sauerkraut, avocado, flax seeds & rocket yoghurt. Choose either vegetarian pattie, beefroot pattie or achiote chicken breast, 16.
I chose the vegetarian pattie which was made up of quiona, beetroot and walnut pieces ; an absolute outofthisworld combination. Seriously, this salad bowl was freakin’ flavorsome. I highly (110% to be exact) recommend it. Next time I visit, I want to try a healthy taco or a low fat/sugar froyo shake!
If your youthful child/sibling/significant other/class-mate randomly goes missing on a Tuesday, they’re probably at Velvet Burger. Or, if for whatever reason, you are looking for the entire youth population of Christchurch, go to Velvet Burger on a Tuesday. Okay, I think you get the picture; young people dig Velvet Burger. But what’s so special about Tuesdays you say? From 12pm-5pm and 8pm-close, using a unique password which you can receive by signing up as a “GC” (a bawdy title for a club member), you can purchase two burgers for the price of one hence the young clientele (yes, i’m assuming most young people, like myself are penniless).
Last night, I dragged my sister’s fiancé, Andy to sample VB’s largest burger yet – the Manburger (pictured above). Made up of streaky bacon, beef pattie, venison pattie, lamb pattie, crumbed chicken breast, cheese, relish and aioli, the Manburger is every vegans nightmare. I’m kidding, but I am also serious. Let’s just say after consuming five different types of animal flesh/an average person’s entire week’s worth of meat, you’ll start genuinely craving a green smoothie (unlike the rest of us who are just pretending). Nonetheless, for the meat loving male or FEMALE (you really didn’t think I’d let the sexist name slide, did you?), the Manburger is freakin’ epic; comfort food at its best. Plus, Velvet Burger is donating $1 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for every Manburger they sell. So, when you start lusting after a kale salad and Bart Simpson’s “you don’t win friends with salad” chant starts ringing in your ears, just remind yourself that it’s all for a good cause.
My sister and I don’t eat meat so we ordered the Animal Rights burger (love the name!) which consisted of a kumara and coriander pattie, salad, beetroot, a minty yoghurt sauce, aioli and velvet relish. It was incredibly moreish, so much so that I impolitely licked my fingers trying to get every last bit of it (sorry staff and other diners). So if you happen to be craving a good burger and by good I mean AWESOME (sorry stupid question what normal person isn’t?), I definitely recommend you try Velvet burger. Especially on a Tuesday because who doesn’t love a bargain?
Because I’m sick of these stupid green smoothies and because sometimes, all you need is a burger.
This recipe is so freakin’ good that I won’t even make you read through some sentimental bs about my day/family/life before I share it with you, so without further ado, here’s my recipe for the ultimate animal friendly burger:
1 can organic chickpeas
1 can organic corn kernels
bunch fresh coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 tbsp almond meal
zest of one lemon
4 wholemeal buns
1 red onion
juice of half lemon
organic tomato ketchup
salt and pepper
Drain the corn and chickpeas then place in a food processor.
Add half the coriander, turmeric, cumin, paprika, flour, almond meal, lemon zest, salt and pepper, then process for a minute or until well combined (should be a chunky texture not completely smooth).
Using your hands, divide the mixture into four equally sized patties. Pop onto a plate and place in the fridge for about 30 min to firm up.
In a hot saucepan (with a little oil) fry the patties for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked right through and golden on the outside.
Squeeze ketchup on the base of each bun then top with the patties followed by tomato slices, onion rings, some lettuce and fresh coriander.
Using a fork, smash the avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper and smear on the inside of the top bun.
Finish by inserting the skewer – top with a cherry tomato or olive or both for an extra food-porn effect!