FRIES WITH THAT ORDER?

burgerTwo all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!

Aghhh the Big Mac… but over the past few years stock standard fast food has now become a staple menu item in some of the best restaurants around the world. No longer is McDonalds or Burger King the only choice for burgers, as no matter where you live in the world, there is always a good chance you will find a “fancy hamburger” somewhere in that city. And no, Chilli’s or Applebees do not count as fancy!

So where are the most expensive burgers to be found? And I am not including room service burgers in hotels (always over-priced) and the one off Guinness Book of World Records (does the book even still exist??) entries.

Coming in at number one is the FleurBurger 5000 (at Fleur de Lys in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas) and it will set you back $5,000. Foie gras, a special truffle sauce, it is served on a brioche truffle bun with black truffles on the side. But the price is hiked due to the bottle of Chateau Petrus 1990 it comes with.

Le Burger Brasserie (Paris) in Las Vegas is number two with a $777 Kobe Beef and Maine Lobster Burger, caramelised onions, imported brie cheese, prosciutto and 100-year aged balsamic vinegar. The burger is served with a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon champagne.

New York City delivers the $666 Douche Burger – a foie gras-stuffed burger topped with lobster, truffles, caviar, Gruyere that’s been melted with champagne steam, a barbecue sauce made with coffee beans that have been digested (and pooped out) by an Asian palm civet and served in a gold-leaf wrapper. Yes only the most pretentious would eat this.

The $295 Serendipity Burger from New York’s Serendipity 3 restaurant comes with its very own diamond-encrusted solid gold toothpick.

London’s One Burger King restaurant offers a $200 Wagyu beef, white truffles, Pata Negra ham slices, Cristal onion straws burger in an Iranian saffron and white truffle dusted bun.

The $175 Richard Nouveau Burger( the Wall Street Burger Shoppe in New York) was topped with real gold flakes, 25 grams of black truffles, a seared slab of foie gras and aged Gruyere. And I say “was” ad unfortunately the store closed when banking wages plummeted.

The $120 DB Royale Double Truffle Burger, on sale at New York’s B Bistro and the Daniel Boulud Brasserie in Las Vegas, is stuffed with red wine-braised short ribs – off the bone – foie gras, a mix of root vegetables and preserved black truffle.

Indonesia’s Million Rupiah Hamburger, served at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jakarta, earns its place in the top ten with the $108 patty topped with foie gras, portobello mushrooms and Korean pears.

The W Hotel in Seoul serves up a $160 burger that’s topped with seared foie gras, a lobster tail and shaved black truffles.

Oh, and don’t count on getting fries with any of those, that is extra!

Where have you had your most expensive burger experience?

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY… VERSION 2.0

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International Women’s Day (IWD) has come and gone for another year with celebrations around the world on March 8 focusing primarily on achievements by women in the areas of politics, economics and social activities. And let me preface this post by saying I think IWD is a powerful platform for women’s issues and the people behind it do amazing work. This year’s theme was Violence Against Women – a hugely impactful topic for any woman.

But what I really can’t say is that I feel the same passion for the IWD corporate celebrations. Lunches are held at work/in offices, emails are sent from diversity teams and CEO’s praise women in the organization, and then on March 9… all goes back to normal. To be honest most people are too busy to even notice it has happened.

So in light of this, I have penned my thoughts on what might be a more appropriate International Women’s Day celebration in the corporate world (and women who work by staying at home and raising their child/children you are of course more than welcome to join in too)

There is no need to send emails telling us how great we are, we know this already. And by the way, women tell each other all the time. (Except if you are Marissa Mayer using your power for evil, not good)

Let’s not waste time with a token lunch of sandwiches and juice in the office, if you really want us to “network” and talk about women’s issues, put the money on a tab at the local wine bar and give us the afternoon off.

At the next “bring the kids to work day” the men will look after the kids all day (while we are at the wine bar).

And finally, let’s just be done with it. The best way to celebrate IWD would be to buy us all a new Prada bag (aka “computer bag” for tax purposes). I am sure that would guarantee employee loyalty at least for another twelve months.

Ideas are welcome as I start to put together my list of requests for International Women’s Day 2014.

PLACES NOT TO PUT ON YOUR MUST-DO LIST

skyviewA recent trip to Dubai has inspired this post after experiencing something that I never need to see again.

We constantly hear about the best places to visit around the world, but what about the ones that are the “must NOT do’s before you die”. Author Catherine Price, has even written a book on the topic.

So where are my Top 7 places you shouldn’t bother putting on your list? Remembering the below is taken from personal experience and taste, and research by other writers (everyone is of course entitled to put together their own list).

Times Square on New Years Eve. Unless of course you like to stand out in freezing temperatures with a million people in a confined space, no alcohol and minimal portable toilets

Four Corners monument. It is in the middle of nowhere where four states intersect – New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. There is nothing to look at but a concrete slab with markings and apparently it is 1,800 feet away from the correct point.

The Seattle Chewing Gum Wall. Definitely not art! Used gum stuck on a wall for 15 years is just not hygienic or pretty. Makes me appreciate the gum ban in Singapore.

Beijing Museum of Tap Water. Yes you are reading correctly! Inside there are 130 real objects, 110 pictures, 40 models and sand tables on display to reflect the 90-year-old history of Beijing tap water. Would suggest saving your 20 cent admission fee.

The Taj Mahal. I know some people love this place, but for me it was disappointing. A 4-hour car journey each way (from Delhi) only to have people trying to rip you off at every turn. Then you line up only to find the building is actually empty except for a while tomb. Lesson learnt – do more research before going.

Burj Al Arab, particularly the Skyview Bar. The excitement of going to a 7-star hotel (I strongly dispute that fact too as it’s self-awarded and just a marketing ploy, I have been to far more luxurious and exclusive hotels)… anyway it was a let down. The Skyview Bar on the top level is a cross between walking into the inside of a computer (complete with circuit boards on the walls) and a bad 1980’s nightclub that has a spaceship theme. Enough said!

Machu Picchu. I have personally done this trek, and again just my opinion. Was it life shattering? Definitely not. To start with, it’s a long way to get to Peru to share a path with thousands of 18 year olds on their gap year. Even more disappointing is the fact you can buy a can of Coke from hundreds of stalls along the way. And then in reality it isn’t really that old (again my lack of research). The Terra Cotta Warriors are approximately 700 years older, the Colosseum 400 years, and Westminster Abbey 300 years older.

So what are your must “not” do’s?