I suppose its time to share the background behind the name ‘Anger Burger’ — though, at this point, it has gained multiple meanings. Originally, anger-burger was an attempt to describe a peculiar reaction I had to very good food, a sort of contradictory food rage borne from confusion over how something could be so delicious1. Since then there have been few moments of real anger-burger, though they still happen.
New Zealand’s premiere burger fast food chain, Burger Wisconsin, did not inspire anger-burger. Mike was prepped for what I had previously described as NZ’s despicable burger habits, including a burger (not from Burger Wisconsin) I attempted to eat that had been heavily spiced with Italian seasoning; I thought I must have ordered wrong, but other diners assured me that the chain was known for their seasoned burgers. And unless that burger is topped with marinara and mozzarella, Italian seasoning has no goddamn business being there.
However, Burger Wisconsin had me intrigued. Their menu has a decidedly gourmet slant to it — an inconclusive omen (I’d rank Dick’s in Seattle and In-n-Out amongst my favorite burgers in the world, both of which are under $3) as I’m not opposed to fancy tastes, but I don’t like paying a lot for them in a hamburger. I mean, it’s a burger. Anyway, I’m glad I ate before reading the rather hilarious About page on their website, which reads as though french fries are health food and takeaway packaging is helping close the hole in the ozone.
Enough of that, how is the burger? In a word: mediocre. The bun was unremarkable, if a bit tough, and certainly didn’t taste like the sourdough they bragged about. The “salad,” a.k.a. lettuce and tomato, were redleaf, a green I actually find to be a step below iceberg on a burger. My reasoning is that iceberg at least provides crunch and tends to stand up to the heat of the burger for longer than a few seconds, whereas a lettuce like redleaf was too delicate and too flavorless to be anything but a filler. The beef itself was the most surprisingly disappointing — New Zealand produces superior livestock of all breeds, and to find a spongy, characterless beef patty seemed an anachronism. In fact, if Burger Wisconsin weren’t constantly shrieking about it’s PURE ANGUS NEW ZEALAND BEEF! then I’d be certain there were fillers in it. The fact that it seemed like there were and there weren’t is especially insulting.
And now you’re asking – what the fuck is that bright red shit in your burger, Sunday? Well, I’ll tell you, but its another sad story. See, in New Zealand, they love putting slices of cooked beet on their burgers. I swear it! And that’s what I wanted, a proper New Zealand burger. And guess who motherfucking doesn’t offer beet slices? That’s right: Burger Wisconsin. After all of that, I can’t even get a proper Kiwi burger. Instead I had to suffer the indignity of paying an additional $1 for beetroot relish as well as, I decided at the last minute, garlic mayonnaise. And you know what? It tasted pretty good, altogether. All it was missing was a better quality beef patty and a softer bun. And different lettuce.
I ordered my usual side of kumara (sweet potato) chips, and I’m going to miss these desperately when I’m back in the States. I can normally forgo french fries, but the complex sweet/salty thing of the kumara are unbeatable — and more importantly, available everywhere.
Overall, it was a better experience than the burgers I ate in New Zealand five years ago, but these guys are a few decades away from catching up with the the big boys.
1For example, several years ago at the Dahlia Lounge in Seattle there was a raw scallop and yuzu dish from the Sea Bar that was transcendental – I don’t know what happened exactly, but for a moment it was like I had reached a point of meditation in which I was reduced to a single taste-sensing organ and was thus overwhelmed with emotion. My only expression was one of, apparently, rage, though it was far from how I felt. Turns out that experiencing all emotions at the same time = angry.October 25th, 2009 | Eatin' Fancy, New Zealand