Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

November 12, 2007, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , ,

I ate at McDonald’s for lunch today.  It was convenient, so sue me.  At least you know that what you’re getting has been perfected through meticulous food science to be virtually identical in taste and healthiness regardless of your location on the planet…Auckland or Atlanta or Alberta.  Plus, it’s darn cheap.  McDonald’s is a fairly ubiquitous chain here, with a location or two in every Auckland neighbourhood.

Wendy’s and Burger King also operate here, serving Baconators and Whoppers to your heart’s content.  There are also two very cool, uniquely New Zealand chains.  One is Burger Wisconsin, which I have never eaten at but look forward to enjoying one day, and the other is Burger Fuel.

I ate at Burger Fuel when I was shopping in Parnell this weekend.  The sandwich itself is HUGE – bigger than my open hand, although I’m not known for having big hands.  I can’t remember what I had but it was pretty good: tomato relish, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, mustard, mayonnaise, cracked pepper, proper roll.  It came with fries and a “garlic aioli” which is really just fancytalk for mayonnaise.  Not that great.  And because it was Parnell’s birthday (sadly, I don’t know anything beyond that it was a birthday), I got a free Phoenix Organic Cola to wash it all down.  I’m going to miss this drink when I go home.

I’ve seen a lot of Starbucks’ in popular gathering spots including Auckland Central and at Dress Smart in Onehunga yesterday.  Esquires is another chain with real Canadian roots – they launched in Vancouver.  There must be a zillion other independent little stores with one or two outlets.  If I knew more about coffee, I would make a better reporter.

You all know about my love affair with pizza.  Domino’s and Pizza Hut have successful franchises here, with Domino’s having a fantastic unlimited $7 large pizzas (pickup) deal every day.  Great way to feed a party crew.  The local chain is Hell Pizza, whose game is larger pizzas with a devilish flair.  My true favourite is just around the corner from me: Pizza Fresco.  It’s “gourmet” and generally is, but I like it for how nicely it finishes.  No grease, perfectly cooked…just a great eating experience.  I should note that New Zealand “large” equals Canadian “small.”  Very small.  I always end up eating a whole large pizza and feeling sort of piggish, but a kid’s gotta eat.

There are quite a few grocery store chains such as Pak N Save, the No Frills/Food Basics equivalent; Four Square, which operates in smaller communities or locations like a Knechtel’s or Foodland and is a very old chain; Countdown, which is like a Price Chopper; New World, which is a Zehrs or Sobeys; and Woolworth’s, which is the big Loblaws/Real Canadian type of shop.  I’m spending all my money at the only supermarket in Central, which is Foodtown.  It’s just another big grocery store, nothing special, but they were the ones to get the good location in the regeneration of my area of Auckland.  A cool gimmick is that you get points for every dollar spent at their store and once you spend enough, they mail you discount coupons for your next trip.  Almost every purchase gets you four cents per litre off your next purchase of gasoline at a Shell station.

And then there are the restaurants.  Oh goodness, this city and its restaurants are to die for.  Every block, even the seediest strip club block two over from me has a restaurant on it.  I may not be paying attention but I haven’t noticed too many chains around here, but then again I’m not exactly heading out to the ‘burbs all that often.  Parnell (the neighbourhood I keep visiting on unsuccessful shopping trips) has dozens of restaurants and bistros spanning the world of international cuisine.  I’ve eaten Indian there, and there are two Italian restaurants that look good.  Parnell has a reputation for good eating.  Ponsonby (which I have yet to visit but may finally get to this weekend) is legendary for its cafes and associated nightlife.  Very hipster.

I like Central too, but there isn’t a lot of high end eating because of its tourist nature.  Kebabs on Queen is the kebab wagon pushed indoors.  They have at least six locations along or just off Queen Street (the Yonge Street of Auckland) and several out in the suburbs.  I couldn’t even tell you how many imitators there are either.  As for actual restaurants, there are lots of places with one or two locations throughout New Zealand but lots of places seem to be single locations.  My personal favourite is Revive, which is a vegetarian restaurant.  I go once a week, with additional efforts to go after I run to enjoy the protein-packed meals.  They’re smart about that there.  Worth every penny.  The Viaduct is full of restaurants but they’re all a little pricey, even when using Canadian pesos.

Considering the above, I consider it a feat that I am preparing more food in Auckland than I did in Barrie…and I rave about Barrie’s restaurants.


2 Comments so far
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you might put on a pound or two down there…good for you….enjoy yourself !!!!!

Comment by Blacksheep

Well hey, there’s no better time to occasionally splurge for your taste buds than while you’re still in town to try some of their finer restaurants. I’m sure you’re bound to find one through a web search, or perhaps through some of your colleagues. I highly suspect you’ll fare better than I do in Brandon… I have to drive to the ‘peg for the good stuff.

Comment by PianoMan

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