Ash’s B’day @ Cafe 51 & Ike’s Rack Shack

Hello hello from both Melody and Ashley!
Today we bring you a joint post about the awesome places we visited for Ash’s birthday. So if you see any blue text in the post, that’ll be Ashley butting in with his opinions about the dericious food we fattened ourselves with.
(Sorry that this post is so late, it took foreverrrr to force Ashley to write a few sentences -_-)

I messaged Cafe 51 about a potential birthday booking for Ash’s bday and man, did I receive an amazing response.
Not only did they take my booking (not something they’ve done in the past), they presented me with several different options and offers to make Ash’s birthday that little bit more special. As you can see in the photo below, we got our own little private table out the back along with awesome decorations that they let us keep! Best customer service ever.

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I was happily surprised to see the above signage outside the cafe and on their instagram!!
Yeah, like I said, they have excellent customer service and there aren’t much other places that are this awesome.

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Bacon 3 Way burger. This burger sounded like rocket sauce but unfortunately I wasn’t overly fond of the sauce, namely the bbq-sauce-like-bacon-jam. However I could taste potential, which was confirmed when I tried Mel’s derishicious doughburg, that was awesome and I need to have another. Now. Normally I’m a fan of sweeter buns, the big eg being brioche and so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at how much I liked the sweetest of sweet buns, namely the donut encapsulating the doughburg. Note: they have since switched up the buns which are now prettier ;)

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At this time, the doughburger wasn’t yet on their menu so when I explained my sweet tooth to them over email, they encouraged me to try out their latest creation. I actually really enjoyed it and finished it easily! It helped a lot that the size of this burger was a lot smaller than Ash’s one haha. Overall, I really enjoyed this and would like to get it again!

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We stuffed our faces gloriously (literally haha ^) but the main attraction was yet to arrive!
Our Death By Chocolate burger …waffle?… CAKE! Yes, his birthday cake was a special burger cake haha ♥

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This gargantuan beast aka my burday burger bake… I mean cake aka a much bigger than usual death by chocolate. This baddest of bad sweet boys from bottom up is waffle bun, 10 inch beef patty, heaps of cheese, layers of bacon, nutella, bbq sauce and popping candy, and waffle again. MAN this was the tits but also super rich. I would say it should be treated as both your main and dessert rather than attempting to conquer it post ‘savoury’ burg. Woops. The overwhelming sweetness of the nutella was a bit of a clash with everything but when you remember that bbq sauce is normally pretty sweet anyway it’s not too much of a stretch. I can’t guarantee everyone would like this but I’d say if you like the way it sounds its no doubt worth a try.

Like shit, I knew they warned me about the size of this thing but I really didn’t realise how big it was LOL..
While I personally wasn’t a fan of nutella and beef … I really really liked the nutella and the waffle!!! Seriously. Their waffle was amazing and I will happily order it separately to eat with nutella :)

Cafe 51 on Urbanspoon

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After waddling out of Cafe 51, feeling at least a few KGs heavier than when we walked in haha, I gave Ash some secret driving instructions to a nearby place for his next birthday surprise! For agessss, Ash has been bugging me to go to one of those Escape Rooms but because I’m literally a wuss, I always refused as the majority of them are quite scary. But as I really wanted us something to do other than eat on his birthday, I did lots of googling until I found one that provided non scary themes haha …also lucky that it was super close to Cafe 51.

Hilariously, there were a few other things nearby such as go-karting and paintball nearby so he was kept guessing until we finally entered the building named ‘EXITUS” and he saw what we were really doing!

I chose the ‘Casino Heist’ challenge and managed to successfully complete it! YAY! :D

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Even though, dinner was at like 8pm ..we were NOT ready for this. Seriously. I was still so full :(

Dat triple rack stack. These were some sickkkk ribs. Pork, beef and lamb. When people talk ribs they are usually talking pork and let me tell you these were the business. Best I’ve had. Altho I enjoy a good lamb rib, and it goes without saying that these were damn fine, I usually find lamb ribs to be a bit too fatty and so they are my least favourite and that held to be the case here. But again prob the best lamb ribs I’ve had and still very enjoyable. I might be a bit of an oddity and beef ribs tend to my favourite and so man these were the shiiit. They reminded me of an old fav – Racks Ribs Co which unfortunately closed it’s doors permanently and is sorely missed, but the great smoky taste was def invoked here.

As for the non-racked food accompaniments aka sides, the jalaoeno cornbread and salad were all more than up to scratch. (Oddly, I found myself enjoying the jalapeno cornbread way more than I should! It was dericious!) All the rack recipes as well many of the others were put together by famous Texan pit smoker, Chris Terlikar and are prepared on a competition grade smoker imported from rack city itself, Texas. Anyway the short of it is, get these ribs in you now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ike’s Rack Shack on Urbanspoon

After a long day of eating and solving puzzles, Ash took me home where I finally got to present him with his gifts! I tried my hardest to make everything a ‘B’ theme haha – for no particular reason except that he loves boardgames, burgers and beer lol. Although, I couldn’t think of a ‘B’ word for the Makise figure hmm…
 

Pressies from mah babeh #baconbourbon #win A photo posted by Ashley Kasner (@encephlon) on

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His mum says I should stop spoiling him though ahah (Naaaaaah, spoil me more)
Isn’t Makise Kurisu just beautiful though?

Burger Noms: Americana

Yo yo it’s Ash again, back for burgs.

I have some infatuation with American food places so every time I hear of an American place I drag a group and/or Mel along and 9 times out of 10, I’m  deeply disappointed and feel cheated to say the least. The gleam of the proud red, white and blue in these places is not present in the food they serve. Then I go to the next American place and the exact same thing happens. Goddamn. Maybe I should just actually go to America.

Although somewhat American diner style, Merrywell does not appear in this post for two reasons: 1) it is only subtly American compared to the kitsch of say Misty’s and Captain America’s 2) they make a goddamn good burger and get to hang with some greats instead of the dregs* of burgerland discussed here.

As I have a better memory for tastes I do enjoy, I don’t have much to say about um let’s say ‘lesser tastes’, and so rather than give my usual verbose analysis on those, I’ll just give the quick and dirty.

*Not all the places mentioned here are ‘dregs’ just most of them!!

Misty’s Diner

103-105 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181
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I ordered the American burger, which for some reason has an egg. USA residents/experts, please let me know if many of your  standard and/or signature burgers contain eggs because my understanding is that they don’t. This burger also had a terrible and overcooked patty. The inclusion of egg didn’t help, however the burger was otherwise a bit dry with just a smattering of ketchup for sauce  so it might’ve been even worse without but who knows,  I won’t be returning to test that.
Melody: I actually had a super shit burger and didn’t even bother trying to finish it. However my spirits were lifted when I saw they had the legendary ‘American desserts’ which seemed to include a lot of deep fried goodness. Not being able to persuade Ash, I shared the double stuffed deep fried oreo with Lawrence and enjoyed it.
Misty's Diner on Urbanspoon

Captain America’s Hamburger Heaven

38 Forest Road, Ferntree Gully VIC 3156
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We actually ventured out to this “fine establishment” many aeons ago, so my memory isn’t the best. I think the wings were alright but all I  remember otherwise is a giant sloppy thing they called a a burg with average ingredients and being later told some racist pricks harassed my mates on their trip home. Conclusion: Avoid like the Ebola.

Captain America's Hamburger Heaven on Urbanspoon

Soda Rock Diner

257 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
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 The USA diner vibe here is actually mad cool and the crew I came with put money in to the little juke box thing and made a night of it, but the food is just super average. To elaborate, I had the burger and curly fries which were mediocre at best and then, a member of said crew had a hotdog and didn’t seem to pleased with it. So not matter how you approach the menu, you’re not going to get a great feed.
Melody: I got chilli fries which was surprisingly different than what I thought, but still good.

Soda Rock Diner on Urbanspoon

Panned Pizza

189-191 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
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You will note that they are called ‘Panned Pizza’ not ‘Wrapped Hamburger’, and so taking this on board if you inexplicably find yourself here, give the burgs a miss and instead give their recreation of NYC-style pizza a whirl. Originally they only sold pizza and a few sides but then they moved to a bigger and more central location and massively expanded their menu, namely including a full range of American burgs. So you’d think they’d be awesome at least doing pizza, let alone burgs, but really the pizza only rates as good, not great. And let’s not even talk any further about the burgs.

Melody: The first time we came here, I ordered ‘poutine’ not really knowing what it was ..ever since that fateful day, I jump at the chance to order poutine despite Ash’s dislike for gravy and chips! (I may or may not have made it my sole meal the few times we ate at Panned Pizza)

Panned Pizza on Urbanspoon

Parlour Diner

64 Chapel Street, Windsor VIC 3181
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Now we come to the first joint in this post that actually deserves a review, and having gone thrice hopefully this lengthy read will be entertaining/informative for at least some of y’all, or alternatively I promise not to be offended if you scroll straight down to the tl;dr. Really I won’t be. Much.
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So first time I went, lots of mistakes were made, but not by them rather by me.  I eagerly ordered fried chicken, french fries, an oreo milkshake and their burg with the lot (named the captain) and as soon as they brought them out, I realised my folly, the old ‘eyes bigger than the stomach’ adage. The fried chicken we shared, and I gave up on it quickly and let Mel tackle most of it due to being disappointed in its unremarkable taste. This was also tactical as I like to think it slightly reduced the bloatedness I still later felt in abundance. Due to the somewhat atypical milkshake flavours, I was a bit lost and ordered the orea shake on the waitress’ recommendation. It was average to the point of unenjoyableness. Bleh was the prevailing  taste in the back of our proverbial mouths  – but wait was there a golden beacon of light in the form of fried potatoes shining in the distance? Sadly, they were out of their signature curly variety and we had to settle for normal fries – delicious, delicious normal fries that is! So far that’s one home-run and 3 strikes for those keeping count.
As for the burg I need to remember to not just order the main/biggest burg and actually pay attention to what I’m ordering. As in this case there was too much salad and egg. I found it amusing when the moment of clarity came of why a review I read called this burger a ‘rainforest’. As for the egg, well stupid stupid egg I love you, but you do not belong in burgs or at least not in mine. The thick melted American cheese was however a positive and I could sense buried potential in the bun and patty given the right dance partners.
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Being unsatisfied, I nagged Mel to go back and ended up switching things up entirely and ordered some of the least appealing bbq ribs ever and no beef patty sandwich. I mean shit, tomato based sauce on my ‘murican bbq? no thanks. I ended up turning to the available Dr Pepper bbq sauce which I was not only keen to try based on my love for Dr Pepper but also to drench the ribs in. Apparently it was little more than a prop for added Americaness, because when I asked the attendant (aka the owner) how it goes with the ribs I distinctly recall him answering thus “I wouldn’t put that in my stomach”. Anyway the sauce was sweet n tasty, overwhelmingly sweet in fact, but for a cheap soft drink-turned sauce it is what it is and did its job of drowning out the tomato-based sauce. Also, on this visit we were able to nab the elusive curly fries!! The old-school style fries were a treat, if not due to an exceptional flavour compared to the regular cuts, but the novelty alone. Although being wary of their milkshakes due to my previous experience, but having seen glowing commendations of their oldschool choc malt shake, I was willing to give them a second chance. I was rewarded for being a true believer with one of the best shakes I’d ever had, mmm dat shake.

Melody: The above lobster & shrimp roll is mine and while delicious, I didn’t realise their shrimps would be whole – others I’ve tried have had them in smaller chunks and smooshed :( I’m not the biggest fans of shrimps, so thankfully I had Ash to finish it for me :D
Later returning for my third and final visit (so far), I of course reordered the choc malt shake (just as good the second time!), and also made some sweeping changes to the burger. I asked for the Captain again, as the lesser burgs were missing the delicious sweet onions and requisite bacon, but I  also made sure they saved the tomato and egg for the next customer, and then did some deforestation (aka I took out half the the lettuce).  These small changes made the delicious patty and cheese really shine, elevating it to the best burg of this post so far, especially apparent when compared to the previous 3 burgers of absolute distinction.
 tl;dr version: you should give this place a try, just careful with what you order. despite having the appearance of a varied menu you may as well pretend the chicken and ribs arent there, just get a burg WITHOUT EGG. also for any veggos that have stuck with me for this long, a mate told me they do a ripping vegetarian burger but thats not something i will be verifying myself.

Parlour Diner on Urbanspoon

TGI Fridays

Various locations (this one in particular is in Melbourne Central, CBD)
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Here we have a locally available burger that isn’t quite off the zombie conveyor belt aka the big yellow arches, but nor is it up to the (high) standards of Mr Burger. So let us take a wee looksie. Inexplicably they only put some, rather than all of their burgers in brioche buns, so the obvious solution here is no matter which one you order, request brioche. Combining the sugary notes of brioche with the sweet/bitter Jack Daniel BBQ sauce made for a more than palatable experience. On the downside the lettuce towers their chefs seem fond of aren’t great, but I’ve never met a burger salad that a good picking apart can’t solve. Not the same quality as the good stuff but defo cromulent. With 7 locations around Victoria and more around the rest of Australia, wherever you are (well not everywhere but at least 7 places!!), TGI can fulfil your passable American diner burg needs.

Melody: I did not like this burger… but have enjoyed their chicken stuff :D

TGI Fridays on Urbanspoon
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So there you have it peeps, the bad, the ugly and some more bad and  then a couple half  cromulent American diner burgs. Also turns out writing these burg posts are hard-work especially compared to just snapping and eating them, so inevitably these burgs will almost always appear well in-advance on my instagram.

@ENCEPHLON

“Forever Seventeen” Birthday

For my 23rd SEVENTEENTH birthday (oho), I partied with some loved ones as usual.
Headed to 29th Apartment in St Kilda, where some of my friends gobbled down unlimited spicy buffalo wings while the rest of us attempted to dance to the DJ’s odd choice of non-dancey songs. Pictures speak a thousand words, so here are just a few of my favourite photos from the night. Props to my awesome friend Nico for the photos!

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Just around when this photo was taken, a drunk weirdo kept nuzzling his head on to my friend’s shoulders/necks lol. They were too shy to tell him to f*ck off, so I had to politely (lightly) punch his head off them lol.

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Nearly at the end of the night, Ashley surprised with me a rose ♥ Sweetheart, I know right?
Turns out some random dude was selling long stem single roses for $5 each along the streets of St Kilda :| (not dodgy at all) and he thought it would be sweet to surprise me with one hahah ..eh? it was still sweet :P

But yes, I chose 29th Apartment because if you look closely ..it looks like an apartment!
It’s completely decked out with cool windows, a bath tub, sofas, TVs and GIANT Jenga hahaha

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Because Fathima wanted me to upload a picture of her ;) haha ♥

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Overall, I had an amazing night and I’m so thankful for my gorgeous friends ♥
I can’t believe this was 5 months ago already ..and I’m already nearly half way to my next birthday ;A; Noooo…