Saturday, June 21

Food Review: Better Burger

Cuisine: Burgers
Price: $14.50 for burger, fries and milkshake
Location: 31 Galway Street, Britomart, Auckland

Better Burger is a newly opened premium burger joint in Auckland’s CBD. After a cold, wet and windy Tuesday morning I checked it out. The seating was open air which, while great in more pleasant weather, was noticeably chilly on this particular day. Thankfully they had flame heaters, which provided some warm. Better Burger’s menu is extremely simple, with beef or vegetarian burgers, fries, soda and milkshakes on offer. I ordered the double cheeseburger, with fries and strawberry milkshake, and an additional vegetable burger. The staff were extremely friendly and happy to explain their philosophy behind the eatery. All of the produce is carefully picked, and cooked with care. For instance the buns contain honey, as opposed to sugar, for a fuller flavour. 

Much like the menu, the presentation of the food was simple but clean. I couldn't wait to get stuck in! The beef patties were thick and perfectly seasoned, the vegetables crisp and the rich cheese adding to every bite. Each mouthful was juicy, delicious and morish. The doubled fried fries were fantastically crispy, while still retaining a light and fluffy centre. To top off this delightful meal was the strawberry milkshake. Thick and luscious, it was like drinking ice cream. Heaven! The vegetarian burger featured a fried Portobello mushroom, which had a fantastic savoury flavour. 

Better Burgers concise menu doesn't provide a lot of choice. However what they do serve is incredibly delicious and good value. The beef burgers are cooked to perfection and the fries are crispy pieces of heaven. I will absolutely be back for more.


Monday, June 9

Just Dance

I remember back when I was in Glasgow, hanging out at a bar and being handed a flier for salsa classes. I used to find dancing an uncomfortable and awkward experience, in clubs I would simply head bop. Here was an opportunity to test the limits of my comfort, try something new and get better at dancing. That's how I ended up at my first salsa class.

I felt very uncomfortable in my first lesson, with me being so reserved at the time. Touching girls was a bit weird, the moves were hard and I felt like I was being judged. Despite this, after the first class I realised I was hooked. Dancing was surprisingly fun! So I went back, and even took lessons twice a week. After a few months I was somewhat competent at salsa and would enjoy myself immensely. Part of the charm was undoubtedly talking to the girls, many of whom were cute. I also found that salsa would dispel a sour mood and leave me over flowing with positive energy. If you had told me that I would enjoy, and become an okay salsa dancer, I would have thought you crazy. Salsa also helped me to become less self concious, to the point I really started to enjoy dancing in clubs. Then things changed. I graduated, left Glasgow and didn't continue with salsa in Singapore. Now, more than a year later, I started salsa in New Zealand.

There are several options in the city but calling out to me was a Latin American dancing school, literally, opposite home. So I signed up for a class and went for the first time last week.

I forgot how fucking amazing dancing is.

It felt like I rediscovered something I had lost. I was actually terrible at the dancing since the class was teaching LA salsa (as opposed to Cuban which I learnt in Glasgow), but it didn't matter. Even when I was screwing up the moves I still had a great time and was so happy for hours afterwards. I'm definitely going to make salsa part of my life. I just need to find the right school now!

Saturday, June 7

I'll Be There For You, When The Rain Starts To Pour

I've only been in New Zealand a short while, but I can say I've been very lucky in one regard; the amount of friends I've made. Perhaps it's because I've done my best to be proactive and friendly, I always try to be a genuine person, but in a way I've been taken by surprise in how fortunate I am. So far I've made enough friends that I could see one a day, or even groups, and still not have time enough for all of them. More importantly these are all people I sincerely like and enjoy spending time with. Sadly some of them will be leaving the country soon, but I still feel blessed for these relationships.

Wednesday, June 4

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Being unemployed sucks. It’s been around two months now and I'm starting to feel the unpleasantness. I arrived in New Zealand in January, travelled until April, found a place to stay and I've been looking for work since. The first couple of months were fine. Many a time I was bored, but I somewhat enjoyed the freedom and time. Unlimited video games and movies? Yes please. Now things have changed.

The lack of day to day goals, challenges, team work and the feeling that you are contributing nothing of value to society is straining. Over the last few days I've felt afflicted by a feeling of malaise. To combat these feelings I'm pushing myself to keep occupied and challenged in the following ways:
  • Get out of the house every morning/afternoon, if only for a walk
  • Get out of the house during the evening
  • Socialise with existing friends
  • Embrace any opportunity to get out of the house and meet new people
  • Write blog posts more frequently to give me a sense of achievement and progression
  • Take up a sport or activity

For instance today my schedule looked like this:
  • Do laundry
  • Apply for jobs
  • Plan activities during the week
  • Arrange with friends to hang out
  • Go for a walk and get a snack and shopping supplies
  • Hang out with friends during the evening for an arts exhibition
  • Go to a bar to meet other friends

I still have far too much down time, but it’s keeping me sane just now. I’m afraid that if I stop, I will die.

Tuesday, June 3

Food Review: Giapo

Cuisine: Ice cream
Price: $9.50 for a single scoop cone
Location: 279 Queen's Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Giapo specialises in one thing and one thing only; ice cream (well, sorbets as well). Located conveniently on Queens Street, it's a must try if you are in the city centre. Giapo's compact premises have minimal seating so be prepared to take your ice cream for a walk. This is perhaps the only mar on an otherwise fantastic experience.

Giapo's June menu 

There are over a dozen choices of flavour, some of which change every few weeks. Each is lovingly crafted by the staff, who decorate the ice cream with creative toppings like blow torch melted marshmallow. Prices are extremely reasonable with double scoop cones under $10. You can also try deluxe cones, with one covered in white chocolate, which are worth trying for the novelty.
I've been to Giapo a couple of times now and eaten several flavours such as avocado, tiramisu and chocolate evolution.