Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

With Melissa and her Mum in town, we decided to do the touristy thing and drive down the Great Ocean Road. We arrived in Lorne around 12pm and by this stage Katie was in need of some form of nourishment. At this time of year Lorne is always busy and the town was packed and the traffic backed up on the main thoroughfare. It looked like it might be difficult finding a park, so I suggested we try down at the Lorne Hotel. It was still pretty early so I thought the pub would be reasonably quite. Thankfully I was right and we were able to get a park and a table with a nice view quite easily. It’s a great spot, no doubt about it, lovely views, even when it is a bit grey and dreary. The prices however, are a bit on the steep side – even for a tourist trap like Lorne. I had forgotten just how ridiculous the prices here could be. I mean, $27 for a standard pub parma in a order at the bar, get your own cutlery kind of place. I ordered the fish and chips – Local Gummy Shark, beer battered, served with average chips and an uninspired salad all for the bargain price of $26.90. Katie and Melissa ordered the Spaghetti Bolognaise and Maria got an entree of the Prawns. No one was particularly impressed by their meal – I felt a bit bloated after mine, the fish was a bit tough and seemed over cooked and the batter was very heavy. Unfortunately my phone was flat at the time so I didn’t get any photo’s. I wouldn’t recommend eating here, the prices are just too much for what you get. I’d grab and drink and enjoy the view and then head somewhere else.

Lorne Hotel on Urbanspoon


So with Dad down from Cairns for the weekend we all decided that a family catch up for a drink and a meal somewhere was in order. Of course getting my family to organise anything is a chore – the selected venue needed to be between my sister Jo’s place, my brother Christopher’s place and my place. Sounds difficult but if you triangulate all of that you get Chapel street! Taz and Fil were in for the catch up as well so we had quite a few mouths to feed – making things even more difficult to organise. I figured a drink first might help sort things out, so we organised to meet at Bridie O’Reilly’s. I almost suggested just eating at the pub but the others weren’t too keen, everyone had a different idea regarding food, but once Jo and I remembered that Third Wave have another place in Prahran, the deal was done and a booking made. It looked like BBQ was on the cards! Having been to the Port Melbourne version of Third Wave only a couple of days before, I decided that I was going to try something different on the menu – even though I knew their burger was pretty filling and rather tasty.

This time around we all ordered a couple of starters – I got the pulled pork sliders, there was some candied bacon and some wings going around – everyone was pretty hungry, and pretty happy with the starters. I’d order the sliders again – they were very good.

Pulled pork sliders - not bad.

Pulled pork sliders – not bad. Smokey pulled pork in a sweet brioche slider bun, sharp pickle and a refreshing coleslaw. 7.5/10

Next we come to the mains –  I really wanted BBQ – so I shared a large brisket with Jo, Christopher and Fil shared some beef ribs and Dad and Taz both ordered the Rubens. We probably went a little overboard on the sides – lots of Mac and cheese, chips and coleslaw. No one was going home hungry tonight.


The brisket (Large $42) was ok, I found the serving size a bit smaller than I was expecting for the price – you wouldn’t want to share it with two hungry blokes, but the flavours were good. It needed a bit more fat as it had dried out a bit. The beef ribs (Large $44) were very good, although again, for the price, I’d want more. Fil and Christopher bit enjoyed the ribs , but felt they had had better for the price. Dad wasn’t all that impressed with his Ruben – which he quite rightly pointed out should have been corned beef not smoked brisket. But then it did say that on the menu… I guess sometimes when restaurants take a traditional dish and then do a new take on it – that’s non-traditional – they should make a bigger point of the difference, otherwise diners might have an expectation of what they will be getting, and then get disappointed when they don’t get it. Or Dad should just have read the menu…

We were the last people there but a fair magin, the waiters were cleaning up in the background, but they didn’t hurry us at all -It was nice to be able to digest all that food without feeling like we were being pushed out the door. The waiter even suggested dessert when it was clear we were going to be a while – Which Jo took them up on. Jo felt the dessert here was nowhere near as good as it had been in Port Melbourne which was a shame however. Overall, I think I prefer the Port Melbourne venue, just based on the ambiance. The Prahran venue is in a weird location and is far too brightly lit – it feels much more a café, and more a place you would dine at during breakfast/lunch than a dinner place. Still – both places are pretty good and serve pretty darn good American style BBQ. There’s not a whole lot of options for good BBQ in Australia – not a bad place if you are in the area.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

There really aren’t a hell of a lot of options when it comes to cheeseburgers in Melbourne. It’s not like the USofA where there is a plethora of good franchise options – Wendy’s, Checkers, Five Guys, In and Out burger just to name a few. In Australia there seems to be a lot of fast food chicken outlets, but only a handful of real burger options. On Saturday, Chris and I decided to head out into the burbs and hunt down Melbourne’s best fast food Cheeseburger from some of the franchise’s that are available around town- all for the sake of research… We wanted to know if you can actually get a good, reasonably priced Cheeseburger from a franchise in Melbourne. For research purposes we included the two main options – Hungry Jacks and McDonalds. After that we discussed a number of options including TGI Fridays – However we decided that it really needed to be a place where you can take out rather than a restaurant. We finished with a list that included Burger Edge, Huxtaburger (Three locations around Melbourne now) Grill’d and Ribs and Burgers – I went to Grill’d on the Sunday as 6 burgers on one day regardless of how much exercise preparation you do is still probably not a great idea… Other that these 6, there’s not a lot of options – sure there are a heap of one off burger bars around town that do some amazing burgers, but my goal was to find places that are more accessible – franchise options like you might  find in the States. The prices of the burgers ranged from $1 to $12. Ok – so the McDonalds Cheeseburgers aren’t normally $1 but we got there at 12:30pm and they had a deal – normally I think they are about $2 something – probably about the same as the HJ’s burger which was $2.35… Anyway, all of the burgers except for Ribs and Burgers were under $10 (Although my additions to the Simply Grill’d brought it above the $10 mark…). Each of the places we visited have at least three locations.

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Hungry Jacks:
Burger 1 – We started early around 11am, Chris went for a BBQ double Cheeseburger and I opted for the plain Cheeseburger – Both were around the $2 mark.
Tasting notes were pretty much the same – sweet, cakey, soft bun, flavourless microwaved beef patty – far too much bread to meat ratio. The cheese was more of a texture than a flavour, the sauce was overpoweringly sweet – even the pickle was sweet with no sharpness. If there was mustard in there then it tasted far too sweet – no contrast. The overall burger experience wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t good either. Finished the burger so at least that’s a positive.

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Burger 2 – We arrived during the special $1 Cheeseburger hour. There was quite a rush so I actually had to wait a good 5minutes for our to Cheeseburgers.
The tasting notes here were the same – Not good, neither of us could finish our burgers, they were not good – I don’t recall the cheeseburgers here being that bad – I know the quarter pounder I had a few weeks back was ok, so I’m not sure what happened. My Cheeseburger tasted a little sour, the onions tasted weird. Again the bun was super sweet, but there was a better ratio of bun to patty in the McDonalds Cheeseburger. Sauce is really sugary, too many onions in this burger, the cheese is tasteless and really just adds a texture, and the patty had no flavour. My Burger had no mustard. You just can’t trust a 15 year old kid who’s on minimum wage to get your burger right if there’s a rush. Let’s be honest, they DON’T care. The end result was two terrible burgers for $1 each – I threw out half of mine, Chris probably only had two bites. Thing is, I’ll probably be back – I go past at least 3 McDonalds on my drive to and from work – sometimes it’s hard to say no to convenience, and sometimes the burgers here aren’t that bad… Sometimes…

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Burger Edge:
Burger 3 – First of the non-majors – We went to the one in Brighton on Bay street. This Burger was $8.90 and we got them to cut it in half. I ordered the Feel the cheese with no lettuce or tomato as they don’t have a plain Cheeseburger on the menu. The bun was a sourdough – far too doughy in my opinion, however it did have lightly crispy crust that worked well. Chris like it more than I did. The patty was a bit sausagy but at least it had some flavour. I liked the pickles in this one and the onions gave the burger a nice bite. The cheese seemed to be the kind you get pre-sliced in the supermarket, not the processed cheese, but the pre-sliced tasty cheddar like Mainland or Bega etc… The overall eating experience was nice. I wouldn’t be upset if I had to have another one of these.



Burger 4 –I’ve been to Huxtaburger before and been disappointed – this time we tried out their latest location just off from Chapel street in Prahran. Chris ordered these as it was his shout – apparently he made sure to ask for no lettuce or tomato but clearly they thought that was a stupid request and put them in anyway… Oh well. Once again we got the burger cut in half so we could share it. At $9 this burger was the most expensive we had tried, and you could taste the difference. The bun was a fantastic, classic burger bun, soft white bread, with a sesame seed covering, nicely toasted – a classic style that always works. The sauces were nice – you had the holy trinity of mustard, mayo and ketchup. The mayo was quite sweet – almost like that kewpie Japanese style mayo, although it was balanced nicely by the mustard and ketchup. The pickle was lovely and created a sharp contrast and even the cheese in this burger was good. A shame about the lettuce and tomato – more from the point of view of the research and the ability to compare the burgers – I mean, personally, I like these elements in  a burger… The main downside with this burger is the patty, honestly, it’s not good. You can see in the photo that the texture is off – too meatloaf like. It clearly has a bit of filler in it, and it’s been frozen and then cooked all the way through. Like I said in the past, it reminds me a lot of the frozen patties you can by from the super market… If they could get this right they’d have an amazing burger, as it stands, it’s still good, just not great.

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Ribs and Burgers:
Burger 5 – The final stop for the day – a place that holds fond memories for me – Chris, Katie and I had adventured off to the Craigieburn Ribs and Burgers a while back and thoroughly enjoyed their offerings. This time around I was ordering their standard Cheeseburger – not the delicious, but much more expensive Wagyu burger. The Cheeseburger here is $12, you get the choice of American or Swiss cheese – I chose American as I think it’s more traditional. The tasting notes would have been the same except Chris cheated and ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger – cheeky bugger. Damo joined us in Northcote as he lives around the corner now, and he got their delicious Wagyu burger  – which he thoroughly enjoyed- Yhus I was left to sample the Cheeseburger: Their Cheeseburger come standard with a choice of cheese and a “Beef mince patty, grilled, basted and served on a sesame seed bun with iceberg lettuce, tomato, Spanish onion, dill pickles and… pink & BBQ sauce”. Their standard bun is terrific, not quite as good as the Huxtaburger bun, but delicious none the less – a soft white affair with a multitude of sesame seeds on top, lightly toasted on the grill. The cheese was standard American cheese – Kraft burger slices to be specific – giving a salty cheesy note, combined with the sauces and meat juices, you get a great juicy, saucy texture. The pickle were lovely, nicely sharp but not over the top. All of the elements worked well – but it is the meat the sets this burger apart. Cooked to medium well – a light pink in the middle – juicy, well seasoned, smokey note from the grill, beefy. This is a quality patty. You can taste the difference – this is the first patty all day that tasted like beef and not some sort of meatloaf/sausage concoction. The down side is price – your talking 6 times the price of a McDonald’s Cheeseburger. Although to be honest, the fairer comparison would be with a Quarter Pounder – still, at least twice the price of the McD’s Quarter Pounder.

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Burger 6 – No Cheeseburger challenge would be complete without a stop at Grill’d – the original gourmet burger chain in Melbourne. Thankfully there’s a location near by so I stoped in for a sneaky Cheesy. I ordered the Simply Grill’d sans lettuce and tomato on the standard bun with pickles and cheese added of course. I didn’t have to wait long since it was about 11:45am and I was the only one waiting – I grabbed a seat outside and waited. The bun today seemed really soft – I don’t know if it was because it was really fresh or I just got lucky, but regardless – it really worked with this version of the burger – the fact that there was not lettuce or tomato gave the burger a lower profile and it was easier to eat – it was also less juicy – no tomato juice – and so it didn’t fall apart or get soggy. Without all the extra’s that I normally get I was able to get more of the meat flavour coming through – the smokey grill note comes though really strongly and just makes this burger so much better. I still think they should leave the meat alone and just keep it simple – but at the end of the day it was pretty damn good. The light herbaceous flavours from the mayo added a nice freshness and lightened the burger, and the sweet relish contrasted nicely with the sharp tang of the pickle. All in all this is an impressive Cheeseburger. They charged me $15 with a 600ml drink so about $11 something – Not the most expensive but still on the pricey end of things.



I decided to score on 4 key criteria – Price, Speed and Quality of ingredients – all out of 5, and Taste – out of 10.

This was a tough one to call – the ribs and burgers cheeseburger was clearly the winner on taste alone, but as it was the most expensive you have to expect that. The clear message here is to avoid McDonalds if you can – or get a Quarter Pounder if you can’t since they are much nicer than their flaccid, grey, flavourless cheeseburgers…

Franchise Price Speed Quality Taste Total
McDonalds 5 4 1 1 11
Hungry Jacks 5 5 1 2 13
Burger Edge 3 3 3 5 14
Huxtaburger 3 2 3 7 15
Ribs and Burgers 2 2 5 9 18
Grill’d 2 3 4 8 17


It seems as though Monday has replaced Friday as the burger night of choice for me. Not exactly sure why, but it seems like a pretty good way to start the week. Hell, every night can be burger night because, well, burger… Anyway, so Chris and I had liaised throughout the day shooting around ideas for a burger – there was some added pressure due to the run of pretty average burgers (And by that I mean some downright poor burgers) that had been consumed in the past month or so. This time around some proper research was conducted before the venue was selected. We settled on Ziggys because of the very high urban spoon rating and that rather tasty looking photos. Their website wasn’t much chop and almost put me off – but don’t worry, this place is worth a visit. Chris and I both ordered burgers – obviously – however, Chris opted for the special Cheeseburger (with added bacon) option, whilst I couldn’t go past the “Recovery” burger. Double beef, Double bacon, Double cheese… how could I say no?? I made it a meal with some added chips and a can of coke. Incidentally, their chips are cracking good, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle – good solid chunky chips. But enough about the potato right, lets talk beef and bun. All burgers are served on a light brioche bun, nicely coated with sesame seeds, a soft to the touch bun with an ever so slight sweet taste. This paired well with their special sauce which has a nice heat to it, and the caramelised onion which added sugary/savoury note. The double lashings of bacon added a nice saltiness and the tomato and fancy lettuce played their part in freshening it all up.


Of course, Ziggys wins no points from me for the lack of pickle, I still think its a compulsory addition to any burger… However they do win some points for the patties –  The beef is quality beef, well seasoned and cooked to a medium well – a very slight pink was present – which kept the patty nice and juicy. My one criticism was that the cheese wasn’t melted, as you can see in the photo – it’s still quite hard. I think it adds to the burger if you put the cheese on while you rest the meat allowing the juices to flow back into the patty and the cheese then acts to keep it all in – A small point, but I think it certainly makes a difference.

Both Chris and I did agree that our burgers very quite good – Chris was of the opinion that his Cheeseburger would work brilliantly as an “after the pub/big night out kind of burger”. His had a melted cheese sauce with a slight peppery back note – quite nice by all reports. We both felt pleased with our burgers after they had settled and agreed that if we had just stumbled in on a night out, these burgers would certainly add to a pleasant experience. I’d give Ziggys a 7.5.

Ziggys Eatery on Urbanspoon

On this past USA trip I had decided to break up the homeward journey from Florida to Australia by spending 3 days and 2 nights in LA. I’d never been to LA before and since you get one free stop over I figured why not – I’d do some ridiculously touristy stuff, cut the trip into more manageable chunks, and hopefully find some good burgers. Well, as you can probably gather from previous posts, I did manage to find so very good burgers in LA. One of the best however, was located right next door to my hotel. I stayed at the Ramada Plaza, in West Hollywood, which is apparently owned by an Australian who must do deals with travel agents back home – every second guest was an Aussie. Wow does our accent really stand out after spending three weeks away – almost hurts the ears… Anyway, on the second night I decided that after a long day of wondering around and seeing the sights, I really didn’t want to travel too far for a burger. Kitchen 24 is located right next door to the hotel, and it always seemed to be busy so I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately my phone was flat and so I couldn’t take any photos! But I’ll do my best to describe the burger so you get the picture. The burger on their menu is advertised as the k24 Burger, a rather large “Half-pound top sirloin burger, organic mixed greens, tomato, red onion, sliced pickles and mayo on a toasted brioche bun” – all for $12.95 and that comes with fries. I ordered mine with cheddar cheese and Applewood bacon for an additional $2.80 – when you add in tax and tip and the exchange rate, well, lets just say that LA is probably at least as expensive as Melbourne, if not more.
But let’s move on from the prices, we’re in LA, everything is expensive… Let talk about the burger shall we? When the burger came out, even though it was expenisve, I felt at least I was getting value for money – this thing was a true two hander. I had ordered the burger medium and it came out pink and juicy – excellently cooked and well rested. The meat itself was really good quality, very beefy and had that steak flavour, a more refined beef flavour than you get with chuck patties. The elements were all there, cheese, tomato, lettuce and onion, I liked the fact that the burger came with mayo, and then I added some ketchup and mustard. The bacon was nice and crisp, slightly smokey, and the pickles were excellent, sharply cutting through. The brioche bun was nice and soft and had a glazed brown crust, surprisingly not too sweet. Everything worked really well together. I was actually very impressed – for some reason I had low expectations – I just assumed it was the hotel restaurant and hadn’t given it much thought. I definitely recommend getting one of their burgers if you are staying near by. I’d give it an 8.


This place is ridiculous – in a really amazing, awesome, slightly dirty way. If you go to Key West you really need to give this place a go. Well, let me clarify, if you are easily offended by sexual innuendo, slightly naughty descriptions of food and beverages, or are one of those weird people that HATE sugar, well, you probably shouldn’t go. Go and do what ever it is that makes you happy. I’m sure you have an exciting life. If you are like me, and you love your food in all shapes and sizes, then make sure you put this place on your to-do list. Katie and I had booked in to visit for dessert after our lovely meal at the Flaming Buoy filet co., we figured 10:30pm would be a good time, apparently they are open to 12am so that gave us plenty of time.

Anyway I guess I should get on with describing the experience. It’s going to be difficult to review this place and keep it PG, but I’ll give it my best shot. I guess dessert is always just a little bit naughty, I mean, you know you really shouldn’t, but damn it’s so good, how can you say no, just one little bite, one little scoop, it can’t hurt can it?? Better than Sex takes the idea that dessert is always just a little naughty, and runs with it. The place is so dark with the mood lighting, that they used to give you a  flash light just so you could see your menus – now, they give you iPads.

Inside is all red mood lighting and seductive music, nothing overtly rude, but a lot of “suggestive” art work adorns the walls. The overall feel is one of sensuality and seduction. Well, that’s pretty much what dessert is all about anyway right? The offerings are only desserts and drinks, and everything is sexed up. Looking at the menu you get things like… um, just trying find something not totally R-rated to mention… OK, well it’s actually rather hard to talk about the food and beverage without being a little bit inappropriate… Um, basically they offer a bunch of over-the-top, amazing dessert options along with some really creative drinks, all described in an hilarious and totally inappropriate manner, the names of the drinks and desserts are even more inappropriate (And I mean that in a good humored, funny kind of way). Oh, I should mention the drinks – What they do is the coat the rims of the glasses with say dark chocolate or caramel and then you lick that as you drink your wine. The pairings work amazingly well. I ordered a Paringa sparkling Shiraz – how very Australian of me I know right. But the rim of the glass was dipped in dark chocolate, wow did this just pair amazingly well with the wine. The dessert I got was called… OK, I won’t go there on that one, but it was basically a red velvet cheesecake. OMG was it delicious. Katie got the twist and stout – which was a chocolate cake, with chocolaty frosting and all this other amazing stuff…
Look, if you really want to look at the menu you should go to their website (warning though – it is fairly rude 😉 ) Anyway, what a food adventure this one was – to be honest, this idea could really have fallen flat, and crossed the line and just been a bit too dirty and just bad taste. Initially I was a little put off, I can be a bit of a prude, but I’m glade I went. Look,  I’m sure a lot of people will find the restaurant in bad taste. Just don’t go if you are easily offended. Also, don’t try to take your kids there – I don’t think they allow under 13’s anyway. At the end of the day this place just really works – and the reason – the wait staff are obvious foodies, and they clearly know their stuff. But not just that, their warmth and humour allow they whole experience to be fun and not awkward. I highly recommend this place – if you love your dessert (and have a sense of humour) you’ll love this place.

Better Than Sex - A Dessert Restaurant on Urbanspoon


If you’re looking to satisfies your BBQ cravings, then Meatmother in Richmond is a great option. I’ve sated my need for good quality BBQ a few times at Meatmother now, and not once have I been disappointed. In fact, I’d go out of my way just to get their Mac and Cheese – this place does the best Mac and Cheese in Melbourne hands down. Located not far from the ‘G, Meatmother often forms part of my pre game “warm up”, and since Paul and I were off to see the big game at the ‘G (Of which we shall never speak of again) we decided that BBQ was the best way to start the evening. I normally find it difficult to say no to the meat tray here – which come with a choice of meat, side and texas toast which depending on meat choice is between $18-$25, so a good value meal. Generally I select the pork ribs and Mac and Cheese – the ribs are smoked for 12 hours and slathered in BBQ sauce which results in a tender, smokey, delicious rib. This time however I thought I’d try the bun tray – basically because last time Paul and I visited – Paul got the bun and I got plate envy. Anyway, so I ordered the Pulled Pork bun ($18) which is topped with chipotle slaw, mustard and pickles, and of course I ordered it with the Mac and Cheese!
You can tell that they have taken their time with this pork – it’s meltingly delicious, smokey, flavourful, covered in a luscious creamy slaw, sandwiched in a nice, soft spongy bun. Winning. And at $18, it’s great value as well. Highly recommended.

Meatmother on Urbanspoon

Happy National Burger Day

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

I hope you all have a delicious burger tonight – I know I did.

hofbrauMy brother and I decided that it was schnitzel time, and as a result, set off to experience the wonders of the schnitzel at Hofbrauhaus in the city. I must admit, I really love a good schnitzel – my Nanna, being from German stock loves to crumb things, and then fry them and serve with potato –  this must be where my love of the schnitzel comes from. My normal go to place for a schnitzel is the German club Tivoli on Dandenong rd., they do an amazing Jager Schnitzel which is a Wiener (Veal) schnitzel with mushroom and bacon sauce. I like to order it with a 500ml DAB and some egg spatzle… Mmm hungry just thinking about it. So, anyway, as you can imagine, I was looking forward to the Hobrauhaus’s take on one of my old favourites.


As you arrive you have the choice of eating in the restaurant next-door or upstairs in a Munich style beer hall with communal seating on big tables and various musical entertainment throughout the evening. We opted for upstairs. The feel of the place is a bit touristy, with all the waiters/waitresses in traditional dress (Although – they’re not Germans, our waiter was an American…). The beer hall wasn’t very big and because it was a cold Tuesday evening, it was also pretty quiet. We started with bread and ordered the Pork Wiener Schnitzels with chips, veg and spatzel on the side. Although not the traditional veal, the pork schnitzels were quite good and a generous serving size. I got mine with a side of Mushroom sauce so the total cost was $34 which is rather more than the German club. The spatzel was ok, but in need of more salt and butter, and again almost twice what you pay at the German club. I guess location wise you would expect to pay a little more considering it’s right in the heart of the city, so I really shouldn’t complain too much here, sometimes I’m just a bit of tight arse… I’d like to come back on a busy night and attempt the crazy 1.5kg Schnitzel with 1lt of beer and a bowl of chips. If you finish it all in less than 45mins you get the meal for free, otherwise it’s $75. Both Christopher and I thought we could mount a fairly decent attack on the schnitzel challenge if we trained hard enough for it. If you are looking for a good traditional German meal, go to the German club, if you want a bit of fun and you are in the City already – well, it’s not a bad option.

Just a quote

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Spices do to the tongue what colours do to the eyes”