A Gastronomical Guide to Queenstown
Each and every day that we spend in Queenstown is another day that we wish we didn't have to leave. And though the penultimate day of the PokerStars.net APPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event may be fast approaching, we've been fortunate enough to enjoy the afternoon off in order to further explore what this city has to offer.
Even with the two days we had spare before the start of the tournament, all the players, media and staff were making the most of their time, hitting up the diamond runs on Coronet Peak, cruising around Lake Wakatipu and even tearing up the tracks on the Skyline Luge, all before enjoying a pinot noir with a meal at one of the many eateries throughout the city centre.
For if there's one thing that we love most about Queenstown, it's not the incredible views of the mountains or the snow. It's the food - and this winter wonderland caters to all tastes and budgets, made with love, from the freshest produce in the world.
Still, the PokerStars Blog team have their favourites. To start, there's Joe's Garage, located in Searle Lane. It's the best place to get yourself an all-day breakfast, whether it's something light like a toasted sandwich, or something a little more substantial like the traditional fry-up (just ask for "The Local", which will set you back $19.80**). For something that's just as filling, but without the guilt, try the Mr. Marsellus ($14.80), a full plate of of field mushrooms tossed in a rich garlic butter, served over toasted ciabatta with a sprig of parsley to finish.
Lunch options are almost endless, with plenty of $10 specials at many establishments around town. Memories of Hong Kong do a great Tom Yum soup, but why not try the beef rendang at the Thai Siam or even a lamb rogan josh at Elaichi. All these places are either in or next door to SKYCITY Queenstown, so they're perfect for those who are feeling a bit peckish between hands.
And when the team are ready to chow down at dinner time after another gruelling six-hour day in the office, we're spoilt for choice. For great pasta, you can't go past The Cow, located directly behind SKYCITY. The Lone Star Restaurant on Brecon Street offers a great selection of hearty meals (nine Redneck Ribs for $26.50 make for a perfect starter between friends or a meal for one), but true carnivores may want to pay a visit to the Botswana Butchery, or if you prefer seafood, Aggy's Shack is the place to go for the traditional Kiwi meal of "fush end chups".
There's also Winnie's Gourmet Pizza Restaurant located in The Mall. The quaint European ski resort cabin decor is warm and inviting, complete with an open fireplace and two pool tables. After grabbing a fresh Monteith's Golden Lager from the bar, tuck into one of their incredible offerings (up to $34.95 for a large pizza), including the Mexican Fiesta (chilli con carne, chorizo sausage, capsicum and tomato, finished with a flourette of corn chips, sour cream and jalapenos), Chicken Cranberry & Brie, or the Kiwi Sunday Roast, which captures all the taste and memories of the traditional roast lamb dinner, just like Nanna used to make - right down to the mint sauce.
It would be considered an insult, however, if you did not pay homage at least once to the Queenstown institution that is Fergburger during your stay. Since this place first opened in 2000, it has earned the reputation of producing New Zealand's - if not the world's - best hamburgers. More than 24,000 fans from all around the world on Facebook - ourselves included - will be happy to tell you that.
If you're game, the Big Al ($17) is the ultimate test (and possible prop bet) weighing in at more than half a pound. The record for the fastest eating of this burger is 2min 14secs, but be warned, this burger has caused not only stomachaches, but dislocated jaws - an original letter signed by a local paramedic sits pride of place on the restaurant's wall!
Even the basic Fergburger with cheese ($11.50) is enough to get you hooked. Open 21 hours a day, the queue often stretches around the block during busy periods, but everything is made fresh-to-order - including their hamburger buns. After all, Fergbaker is right next door and they too have some mouth-watering offerings, particularly their pies and sausage rolls.
Of course, if you're looking for the ultimate Queenstown dining destination, all you have to do is ascend Bob's Peak to the Skyline Restaurant. Offering a delectable selection in their buffet from just $49, including the return gondola ride, you'll be dining in style, overlooking what has been rated as the world's most incredible restaurant view. Bookings are essential.
Though you may be getting hungry as you read this, we are here to whet your appetite for poker this evening, and the 21 remaining players are about to make their way back into the Summit Room at the SKYCITY Casino in Queenstown very soon to kick off Day 3 of the PokerStars.net APPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event. Be sure to keep your browsers locked to the PokerStars Blog from 4pm local time (GMT +12) as we serve you up the hottest poker action on the planet!
**All prices are listed in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) and are correct at the time of publication.