Belgian Burgers: Quick

Just in case you have had the good fortune never to have heard of Quick burgers, here are some photos I stupidly took of their advertisements around town.

I seriously wonder which niche market of fast food lovers is attracted to a burger that comes in both spicy and not very spicy within the same mouth bite.

Belgian Burgers: Ketchup, Ghent

Ketchup burger, Ghent
Ketchup burger, Ghent. Come to Belgium for the burgers, not the hamburgers.

Last month I took a few weeks off work and went to New York for a few weeks of Burgers, Beers and Brooklyn (in exactly that order), and came back surprisingly 5 kilograms lighter than how I departed. Perhaps it’s the tastiness they don’t put in their beers, or the insane amount of times I walked from one side of Manhattan to the other searching for whatever it is I was searching for.

It could also be that I completely substituted my standard Italian based home cooking with Burgers. Really, really, good. Burgers.

Since I’ve been back in Belgium, I’ve had hourly cravings for really, really, good, burgers. So much so that I took it upon myself yesterday to track down a burger joint here in Ghent.

Unfortunately, the prize just wasn’t there for me. Ghent has (so far) one known burger place (discounting the terrible ‘Quick’ and ‘McDonalds’ variants): “Ketchup“, located smack bang in the middle of the pedestrianized mall of downtown Ghent.

The menu is burgers, fries, and hotdogs, and respectably priced shitty beers. The fries taste like your standard Belgian ‘frit-kot’ (Fry house), and the burgers are pretty much exactly what I expected from a Belgian trying to make a Burger – a Belgian bread-roll (crunchy on the outside, soft and nothingness on the inside), meat that has just a little too much non-meat inside it (they loooove putting herbs and breadcrumbs in their mince, what is this place?) covered in enough tomato sauce to make any other ingredient a little unnecessary.

I’m told that there are a few places in Antwerpen that sell a decent burger, so before I dismiss this country as a burger waste land I should embark on the 40 minute drive east.

I miss New York, though I miss her burgers ever so much more!

Shake Shack burger, Mets Stadium NYC
Shake Shack burger, Mets Stadium NYC. I don't remember much about the game (I think it was baseball?) however this burger was worth the price of entry + airfare alone.

Bread rolls and old emails home

Whilst trying to work out if today was indeed my parents wedding anniversary (it isn’t) I found this old email I sent them nearly five years ago.

It’s one of my many late 2006 rants about I didn’t particularly like the town of Ninove, the first ‘town’ I lived in upon arrival in Belgium. I find it interesting to see how my love of the place hasn’t changed much since my first initial impressions.

Ladies and gentleman of the blog-o-sphere, if you ever find yourself moving to Belgium, I would recommend avoiding Ninove as your first port-o-call. Perhaps go there once you’ve fallen in love with Gent or Antwerpen or heaven forbid Bruges, but whatever you do, don’t allow Ninove to be your introduction to this beautiful country.

Ninove is without doubt the smallest town I’ve ever attempted to live in. There are no shops, no restaurants, no signs of aaaany nightlife.. I’d be crazy to move in here! Having said that – I would certainly spend a lot less money, but whats the point of making money if you can’t spend it?

This afternoon I’m going to head into the “downtown” of Ninove and try to set up my first non-Australian bank account. Apparently all I need is a letter from my employer, which I have (including my contract), so hopefully it’ll be a breeze. The downside is that I’ll have to walk there, a mere half hour hike, however it rains here all day long! I’ll have to get one of those dryzabones next time I’m in the country.

Are those things even made for rain? I have no idea what they are really. regardless – I’ll have to make a start by buying at least an umbrella. Everyone at work was shocked when I told them I only owned one, and that it was in Australia! People here have multiple umbrellas on them at any one time, so the lady I’m living with (in her B&B) gave me one from her car’s backseat.

Apparently Ninove is going to try and get some work with the company that brews Fosters in Europe, that would be funny.. I’d be working at a pseudo-Aussie brewery in Europe! Imagine that. I hope they don’t make me drink the stuff!

I bought a Duvel beer last night for less than a Euro. It was so strange, I’ve never bought one for less than AU$7! I felt rightly royal.

Living in my B&B has been a little tough in the evenings, I don’t have any kitchen facilities, and the only food is in town (half an hour away) – so I’ve gone the past two nights without anything for dinner. This I plan to change tonight, when I go into town. Apparently there’s a pub that will serve me some pasta – I’m ITCHING to eat something that isn’t on a bread roll. eerp.

Incidentally Belgium makes the second best bread-rolls in Europe. If you’re ever in the country I thoroughly suggest you stock up on bread, unless of course you’re coming via the land of the best bread-rolls in Europe.

Ahhh Germany, you and your bread can come over any time.