Thursday, December 31, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Merry Merry Merry until we speak again.
Monday, December 21, 2009
This sponsorship agreement will continue through 2010, and will be re-evaluated at the end of said year. As we now have a sponsor, I will soon be removing the Pay-Pal button from the sidebar. Also no one ever gave me money through it, so that's another reason it's going. Now feel free to move to the comments section and call me a sell-out.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Our little Kerg-muffin is in a close race to become an official olympic games blogger for Hosteling International. You can do your part to send him on his way by signing up here and lending your vote. After all, the holidays are all about helping friends... and the olympics... and blogging. So just go ahead and help out our buddy kay?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The latest attempt at fiddling with the formula, the Bourbon Whopper, is easily better than its predecessor the Angry Whopper (althought that was not bad either). The biggest advantage the BW has is its lack of ketchup. Although the bourbon sauce employed in the package is almost sickly sweet (I agree with Burger Beast's assertion that it tastes like teriyaki sauce), it doesn't overpower the package like the gobs of ketchup in the Angry Whopper did.
As much as the "Angry" was supposed to be "extreme", it was a bit of a fucking pussy wasn't it? I mean is there any other burger topping as dainty as onion straws? Onion rings might not exactly be loud and in your face, but at least they're nice and meaty: they also do a better job of staying in place within the burger unit.
If the Angry Whopper was the "hot" version of the old classic, then the Bourbon Whopper is the "sweet" version. Aside from the sauces, and the onion rings/straws thing, these recent variations on the classic are pretty similar. Both burgers come standard with bacon and cheese, and both are messy, comforting eats. Though the teriyaki-style flavour of the bourbon sauce in this exciting new venture seems almost too much to handle at times, I still think it's a winner. I'll take "sweet" over some sort of faux-extreme eats bullshit any day.
VERDICT: A worthwhile variation on one of the most succesful fast-food burgers in history.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Click the old play button down below this paragraph to enjoy all mentions of burgers from the September 12, 1949 episode of the radio serial "Murder By Experts". To listen to everything in context, go to this link and listen to the episode entitled "I Dreampt I Died". I won't spoil the story for you, but I will say again... burger buyer beware when dining out with a batshit insane adulterer.
To mangle a line from an infamous fake person, "I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but breakfast's at 7:00pm these days, and shit's gone all topsy turvy." Ya, so apologies for neglecting you pretty people for so many weeks, hopefully I'll be back in a regular burger-munching rhythm soon.
So the Reef eh? Despite some of this burger's quirks, I think it's still one of my preferred options in the city. The give and take in this package starts with the patty; although it's texture is perhaps a tad mealy, the flavour is peppery and pleasant (it's jerk seasoned) and blends well with what I assume was a house made jerk aioli (which is a thousand times better than the essentially dumbed down version—chili aioli and bbq sauce—that other restaurants use as a condiment mix).
The second condiment adorning the patty is a fresh tomato salsa. Nestled underneath the salsa is a slice of grilled pineapple. I have an inkling that the pineapple might be more effective as part of the salsa, as on its own as a meaty chunk it takes the balance of this unit a little off track.
The last point to be made is on the bun:burger ratio: it ain't perfect, but I'll let it slide. Although it's a tad large, the mouth-feel of the Portugese bun couples well with the rest of the burger elements (including the mega-melty provolone). All right, so that's all I have to say about this one. I hope you all missed me, but in reality I'm sure you've been busy weather-stripping your homes, or doing whatever people that don't eat cheeseburgers for breakfast do around this time of year.
I couldn't decide whether or not the football shape of the bun is a good thing or a bad thing, as the patty is a regular round one; I was nevertheless fascinated, as this is an interesting change from the conventional burger.
The burger has an interesting zing to it. The patty was well cooked and well seasoned with exotic flavours. The slice of pineapple adds an interesting burst of juiciness into the burger, and is well held in its place by a layer of cheese which is melded nicely to the patty.
On their own, none of the ingredients were outstanding. But when assembled together, they create a nice blend that triggers all taste buds. It was really a dish that takes you all the way to the Caribbean, or perhaps I was simply hearing the ocean waves inside my head.
VERDICT: Worth a look despite faults that might fell other burgers.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
In lieu of a burger review this week, I have some exciting news! Five Guys Burgers and Fries is expanding its empire into Canada next year, and the search for employees to man the chain's forthcoming Langley location has already begun! For those who don't know, Five Guys is non-frozen fast-food burger chain that probably fits somewhere between Fatburger and In 'n' Out as far as love from critics. Also Obama is totally down with Five Guys.
I've never sampled Five Guys myself; I'm just happy that burger culture in Western Canada is continuing to grow. Vancouver In 'n' Out franchise in the next ten years? I predict the olympics will make it happen!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Editor's note: Back in June I asked for some reader help in determining whether or not the Big Bob Burger in Duncan was worth a road trip. Now thanks to Matthew Macalister, we have an answer, and that answer appears to be "no, not really". Thanks Matt!
I noticed that in June you asked for a recent picture of the Big Bob burger to determine whether it is worth making the trip to try it. I frequently visit my parents in Duncan and yesterday I took the opportunity to go to Bob's and sample the burger in question.
If size is your only requirement for making the trip to Duncan then the Big Bob most likely deserves a trip. If, however, quality is also a factor I would recommend a pass on this one. While many of the elements that make a good burger are present the quality of those elements is sadly lacking. I was pleased to see that mushrooms, cheese and bacon, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes come standard and the only condiment appears to be either mayo or some mild house sauce (Hard to tell, it could simply have been a huge amount of grease mixed with mayo that made it appear to be a sauce of sorts). The biggest issue with the burger is probably the "bun" used to contain these ingredients along with the two enormous beef patties. It is half a french loaf. This was not a good choice as a bun as it was far to large to fit into one's mouth and was very prone to becoming soggy.
While I cannot say that the Big Bob is bad value at $8.95 I still would not recommend it to any but the very hungry and broke.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Clive's Classic Lounge (Chateau Victoria) | 740 Burdett Avenue | 250.382.4221 | www.chateauvictoria.com/clives.html
Clive's Everything Burger
$12 (burger only)
(choice of any three toppings included: bacon, cheddar, brie, avocado, mushrooms, fried egg)
The world-wide Kobe Beef fad of apx. seven years ago never really got a foothold in our fair city. While over in New York, Halifax, Portland (and parts in-between) people treated their taste buds to the by-product of cows who had revelled in the pleasure of having sake mashed into their muscles, we on the island stayed happily behind the curve of burger progress.
Well now Clive's is on the scene with a Kobe burger offering. I didn't have great expectations going into this one (based on the banality encountered on a recent trip to Chateau Victoria's other restaurant, and the ho-humness of a previous Kobe experience), and I have to admit Clive's didn't do much to blow me away.
The flavour of the beef is the obvious stand-out in this package. Though I prefer AAA Alberta, the Kobe burger patty is certainly better than your average mid-level or pub patty. Mostly it stands out here because there just isn't really a flavour for it to play off of. The cheddar Clive's employs is melted well, but is really a little bland. The fried egg is runny, but not enough so as to make you forget that there is an incredibly infinitesimal condiment offering in this unit: if there is, in fact, anything there at all. This burger could really benefit from some sort of dijon aioli, but instead it appears to be brushed with butter which renders the lettuce saturated to maximum sog levels.
Despite these issues and others (wilted onions whose taste is impossible to pick out in this package) this is not a bad burger. The bun is soft, and wraps itself around the patty quite well, and the bacon is of the lovely fried grease and salt variety that melts in your mouth like a fizzy candy centre. The texture and flavour of this unit is fairly pleasing, but it could be so much better if they just put some sort of fucking condiment on it and maybe some caramelized onions. Mayo isn't rocket science.
I knew we'd be in for a surprise attack from some overpriced food item on the menu the moment we stepped into this fancy extension of a hotel.
At $12, the Everything Burger comes at quite a bargain. The catch here is the monumental $3 you must splash out for a side order of salad. WTF $3 for a salad??? I knew this shit was gonna happen!
Taste-wise, the fried egg is a beautiful addition to the burger. While Donald wished the egg could have been runnier, I like it just the way it is: dry and crispy (perfect complement to the juicy mushroom and patty). With that said, the mushrooms could and should have been cooked a little longer to really bring out the sweetness in it. The lack of sauces is a blatant way of telling the eater to savour the taste of the ingredients alone. This would be great if the ingredients themselves were actually THAT tasty. Instead the encounter with this burger reminded me more of that skinny bitch in high school who stresses out over gaining half a gram in body weight and drinks Diet Coke over the actual goodie. The plating for this burger is also like all the skimpy clothes skinny bitch wears to impress the boys: shiny and minimal.
If they had focused less on presentation (style) and more on taste (substance), then perhaps I'd actually take skinny bitch to this place again for a nice candle-lit dinner, but for that night I had to settle with staring at Kennedy's sideburns.
VERDICT: Kobe Beef is still a little overrated, and Clive's itself is lacking in some very key areas.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
(add $1 for cheese)
(add $1.55 for drunken caramalized onions)
Editor's Note: This Penticton burger report comes to us from Tim Bissky (some photo credit to Wendy Bissky). Tim is a former restaurateur, long-time foodie, maker of (along with his wife) some killer chili dill pickles, and a man that knows how to throw one hell of an Ukrainian Christmas dinner party. He also happens to be the father of our Lower Mainland/Interior burger correspondent Miles Bissky. Thanks to Tim and Wendy for filing this report. Now let's enjoy it together shall we?
A vintage tire shop has been transformed into a happening burger place. It is designed mainly for take-out but you can fax your order in and it will be ready in about twenty minutes.
There are a few seats inside where you can eat at the counter and there are picnic tables outside.
I admit it. I am a serious foodie. I've been going and looking at what has been going on at this place for a few weeks now, ever since I heard that there was going to be a burger joint at this location. I cruised by at about 5:30 last Sunday night and screeched the car to a halt when I saw the open sign. My wife and I entered through the front door which had been recently decorated with an explosion of colorful bubbles and an orange gum ball with the number 55 painted on it.
(According to Steve and Chris, they had spent many hours driving back from Vegas and they began to interview inanimate objects! One of the objects interviewed was an orange gum ball and the idea for Burger 55 was hatched. You know what happened next. )
A chalkboard directs you to a wall section where there are about a dozen clip boards hanging. Take one and begin to create your own vision/version of the perfect burger. You begin with a classic white hamburger bun, cracked wheat, Bun 55( cheese, herbs and onions), sausage dog bun and whole wheat tortilla and those are your choices for buns! It goes on from there through the choices of cheeses, sauces etc...
Our salad was an interesting mix of market fresh greens. It also included roasted red peppers, shreds of beets, shreds of carrot, Bermuda onion (purple) and a homemade vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil. It needed a bit more vinegar, for my taste, but they qualified it by saying “that their dressing recipe is being fine tuned”.
For the meat we both chose a patty of custom ground Alberta grain fed Black Angus chuck. We chose one traditional deluxe cheese burger with a toasted fresh white bread hamburger bun, aged cheddar, 5.5 oz. of fresh perfectly cooked beef, Hellman's mayonnaise, Bick's sliced dill pickle, lettuce, tomato. I thought the burger was delicious and I remarked on how good the onions were. They told us, “To make the caramelized drunken onions we use a heavy beef stock, fresh rosemary, thyme and sauteed yellow onions all marinated in a good Okanagan Merlot.” Our other choice of burger was a Mexicanized one with roasted corn and hot sauce in a warm tortilla wrap. Awesome! For an interesting and retro cool side dish we ordered deep fried onion rings that were finished with a homemade whiskey glaze
The total cost of the burgers, fried onion rings, salad, and wrap came to $23.57 plus tip. We even splurged on a Burger 55 T-shirt ($20.00 even) for the son of a burger lover.
VERDICT: It was good food and a fun time—check it out!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Crossroads Bar and Grill | Colwood, B.C. | 1889 Island Highway | 250.478.1311 | www.crossroadsbarandgrill.ca
Stout Onions add $1.50
Bacon add $2
Let's put beer in everything cause beer is good and then we'll be unique: thus seems to be the philosophy at Crossroads. Although they appear to be trying to rise out of the pit of mediocrity that is CRD pub food, this burger is pretty banal.
Although not as bad as the Lilliputian wrapped in the fist of Gulliver style bun:burger ratio at Bo's; there are still some problems here. Whole wheat buns generally suck balls, and such is the case at Crossroads. The bun in this package is dry, boring, and adds nothing to this package. The flame-grilled patty (seasoned with garlic, pepper, and diced sweet onions) is alright, but there just really isn't anything in this package to properly support it.
The Beacon IPA Beer Cheese, and the Farmhand Ale BBQ Sauce are alright, but aren't anything to write home about. More importantly, they really don't go very far towards enhancing the overall cohesion and flavour of the unit. As for the stout onions and bacon... they pretty much just get lost under that crappy bun, effectively muting their impact on the package. Snooooooozeeeeeeefest.
VERDICT: Crossroads appears to at least be trying to look like they are doing something interesting, but the reality is this one's a bit of a bore.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
So you're coming to Victoria next month... wanna grab a cheeseburger? I'm really trying to kick this Kelebrity Korner thing into high gear, and I could totally use your help. Tell Reba's hubby it's totally cool for him to tag along and bring friends.
Founder Victoria Burger Blog
Friday, October 2, 2009
(add $1.50 for cheese)
The tag-line on the Smith's Pub website reads "Pub classics made in house with a foreign service twist". Translation: "We've got booths with a Union Jack weaved into the upholstery, and we serve fish and chips." The claim of "Great British Food" may be an oxymoron (this is a nation that considers mushy pees an essential side dish) but thankfully I was here for that pinnacle of American cuisine: the cheeseburger.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) Smith's doesn't offer any sort of crazy Brit-style topping options—like say black pudding—but they keep the British theme going by at least making cheddar the default cheese option. The Brit motif (at least burger-wise) seems to end with the cheddar though, as the burger is housed with a foccacia bun. Surprisingly the bun actually balances fairly well with the excellent grainy mustard mayo and the flame grilled patty.
The burger patty itself is of medium quality at best (judging by taste I would say it's no better than AA) but flame-grilling and good seasoning saves it from being a total disappointment. This could probably be a very well balanced, decent tasting burger, if the patty was slightly thinner and more house mayo was used. Also, not that there's anything wrong with Alberta beef (or whatever it is Smith's uses) but if they really are serious about committing to the whole "British Pub" thing—they should probably be using the same Hereford Beef that the Pink Bicycle uses (from Springford Farm in Nanoose Bay).
I've heard lots of people sing the praises of the Smith Burger, but it feels like a lot of style over substance to me.
VERDICT: Smith's at least remains authentic in the sense that it does little to dispel the myth that British people can't make a standout burger.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Honestly the most recent incarnation of the Fifth Street Buffalo Burger sort of reminds me of the offering at Gathering Place (just substitute BBQ sauce as the main patty infusion as opposed to sugar water, or whatever GP use). They both have similar textures, but Gathering Place uses an appropriate bun to downplay the different feel of the patty.
I think Fifth Street is moving in the right direction, and I'm interested to see how the recent bun change will be received by the restaurant's rabid fans.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Jasmine's Restaurant | 1610 Island Highway | Colwood, B.C. (Just Before Colwood Corners) | 250.391.8648
(add $1.50 for American Cheese)
The burger philosophy employed by Jasmine's is really no different than that of many other family-style restaurants; the main ingredients are chemically enhanced, and everything looks just a little impersonal. As lazy looking as the package at Jasmine's is, it still manages to be significantly more enjoyable than some of its peers.
The supplier patty used here is much juicier than a lot of other similar patties, and it is housed by a type of bun that is slowly encroaching on a special corner of my heart. The Charlie Brown's head-shaped Portugese bun (the same as what is used at Gathering Place) is squishier than a stress ball, and offers a similar level of comfort as yours hands clamp around it.
The Thousand Islandish dressing smeared across the bun gives this burger a distinctive A&W Mozza Burger feel, and is offered up in appreciated abundance. As you can see in the picture above, the American cheese is not melted properly, but it melts enough once the two bun halves are smooshed together that I can't complain much. This burger might not be a revelation, but it's fairly enjoyable for what it is.
VERDICT: Above average family restaurant lazy burger.
Monday, September 14, 2009
(add 75¢ for cheese)
Perhaps as part of Victoria's never-ending quest to co-opt as many ideas from Portland as possible, a permanent food-cart settlement has recently been set up adjacent to the Cook Street Village Food Court. Some would say we'd be better off taking Portland's "ban vagrants from downtown" idea, or their "put bacon on donuts" idea, but sometimes you have to start with baby-steps.
Jesse's is currently the go-to spot in our local conglomeration of carts if you're looking for a burger. I'm feeling the need to make some sort of douche-chill inducing Rick Sprinfield related joke, but I think I'll just move straight into the review instead.
As should be the case with most burgers, the flavour of the patty at Jesse's is immediately identifiable within its unit. Jesse's serves beef that is ground at Pepper's Foods in Cadboro Bay, aged 21 days (the average for supermarket beef is around 7) and then sent to the Cook Street Cart. The flame-grilled patties at Jesse's have a very distinct honey-like flavour. I couldn't really determine if this was a by-product of the aging process, or the flavour of caramelized onions being infused with the meat. I think this flavour probably would have balanced out decently if I had ordered bacon as a topping, but with just cheese and the regular fix-ins (choose ketchup, mustard, or relish from the fix-it-yourself table) it feels a little sweet to my tastebuds.
Otherwise there's not much to say about this one—sort of just a slightly upscale festival-fundraiser style burger.
VERDICT: It's okay, but certainly not my favourite cheapskate burger in the city.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
(add .50 cents for cheese)
You'd think spending nearly a decade in the restaurant industry would teach you to avoid serving re-heated refrigerator burgers at all costs, but such is not the case at Good and Yummies. G&Y's is one of a select few number of convenience store lunch counters in the Greater Victoria area (at last count there were approximately three). The place, located inside Craigflower Foods, is focused on comfort foods and operates with a bare-bones kitchen, which has caused all convential burger-making wisdom to be thrown out the window.
As it says on the sign; the burgers are homemade, but the patty is so dry by the time it reaches your plate, that it might as well be a frozen, supplier number. The patties, after being pre-made in the morning I suppose, are brought back to life bachelor-style on a Hamilton Beach Grill. The whole point behind these grills is to suck out as much juice from the patty, making them "healthy". Using this method to reheat meat means you end up with a patty even more dried mud cookieish than usual. That's just the beginning of the meat-reheating misadventure at Good and Yummie's though.
Order some American cheese with this little burger bummer and expect your patty to end up being zapped in the microwave for about 30 seconds. By this time what was probably at one time a pretty palatable patty has now become almost completely devoid of flavour—it's like eating bread held together with clay. The other elements are fine (relatively fresh veges, regular mayo, mustard and ketchup optional, all on a white kaiser) but man is the patty horrible. Ever stuck an Ultimate Burger in the microwave? That's pretty much what Good and Yummies' offering tastes like. I'm sorry to say this one is all rough and no diamonds.
VERDICT: Worth checking out for big bags of cheap mini-donuts, but avoid this burger at all costs.
Friday, September 4, 2009
So who exactly is Melanie Moore? She's a UVIC Theatre grad currently performing as part of "Pretty Little Instincts" at this year's Victoria Fringe Festival. After finishing school in Victoria, she moved to Vancouver where she now affiliates herself with Itsazoo Productions. She also does some non-performing arts based work too. A while ago in the comments section of this very blog she wondered aloud, "if anyone in BC has had a decent burger before." It sounded like a challenge, so we took it.
Now on to the questionnaire...
My favourite burger in Victoria is at Aura (now that I've been there)!!
It's not so much about the patty but the delightful execution of it... and the toppings.
What is the best burger you've ever had?
The best burger is any burger from The Works in Ottawa, as long as it's an organic beef patty.
Name your best and worst ever burger experiences.
My best friend Jane and I had to kill some time at the Stansted airport in London before we went to Glasgow. We decided to split a burger at the Irish pub chain O'Neill's. I have no idea what that burger was, if it was even made from cow beef, what was on it... it was as if they slapped dog food on a patty and called it a burger. It was the worst burger of my life, possibly the worst food at any restaurant ever. If you find yourself in the UK, never eat there. But as a word to the wise: generally all burgers in the UK are nasty.
My favourite burger experiences are when you're surprised. I remember being shocked by the quality of the burger at this hole-in-the-wall pub called Penny Lane in East Vancouver. Any time I've ever eaten at the Works in Ottawa has been amazing.
Name another local kelebrity you wish you were.
I love Celine and Treena Stubel. They are incredibly inspiring actors and movers and just overall beautiful women. My good friend Sarah Pelzer (actor/singer) has a fantastic soprano voice that I wouldn't mind trying on for size.
What is the best burger-centric movie of all time: Hamburger America, Fast Food, Hamburger: The Motion Picture, or "Other"?
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. No other movie accurately depicts what some of us will go through to satisfy our cravings.
Editor's Note: There you have it! Another skeptic skewered by the Burger Blog! If you'd like to see Melanie and some of her friends naked, you can catch her performing in Pretty Little Instincts (review here) Sept 5-6 7:30pm, and Sept 9-11 7:00pm at Point Ellice Heritage House.
If you are a local or traveling kelebrity who would like to be a part of Kelebrity Korner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
(add 30 cents for cheese)
First things first: Germans did not invent the hamburger. Yes, most of our readers know this, but I have to throw that out as a little FYI for those who don't. This is important to know, because it takes the hamburger as menu item at a German restaurant out of the realm of "a dish created to show national culinary superiority" to "just another stock lunch option". Although its undeniable Americanness means the hamburger may not be the spotlighted centrepiece of a German restaurant menu, it doesn't mean Germans don't know how to make a good burger.
Somehow the Rathskeller manages to take a sausagey patty, something I often find off-putting, and turn it into part of a very satisfying burger. A quick side note: what is it that makes burger patties sometimes taste like McDonald's sausage patties? I offer the following three theories: a mixture of garlic salt/onion salt, water, and sugar added to the mix; inherent griddle flavour becoming infused with the meat; or its just cheap, preservative filled meat.
How does the Rathskeller make this sausagey little darling work? A big part of the equation is butter: the bun that houses the patty is absolutely slathered and toasted to perfection. The rim of the bun is so saturated that its taste ends up resembling that of the crispy butter you sometimes pull out of a pan when cooking pancakes. The comforting buttery crispness of the bun goes a long way to killing any discomfort that may come from eating beef that tastes like sausage.
The other reason this package works is the fact it is constructed almost more like a sandwich than a burger. For condiments you have an aioli and some cheap dijonaise. In addition to the standard toppings (pickle, onions, lettuce, tomato) you also get cucumber. The cucumber really ties the unit together, and totally balances out the salty, sausagey flavour of the patty. Top it off with some Swiss cheese, and you've got a real winner.
One last little note about this burger and German culinary convention: I was very surprised to see that the offering at the Rathskeller is made of ground meat, and not chopped steak. Though the Germans did not invent the hamburger, they are, of course, responsible for hamburg (ie chopped) steak. Going to a German restaurant and not getting a burger patty made with chopped steak seemed a little strange to me, but I can't say it actually effected my enjoyment of the Rathskeller's offering: this one's a keeper.
VERDICT: Might not taste like beef, but it's still pretty damn good.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I now present (a month after its original air-date) the Shaw Daily piece on blogging featuring yours truly (I come in about halfway through). There's barely any mention of burgers in this piece, but if you're into finding out what our kelebrity friend Jeremy Baker looks like with bed-head... this is your kinda television!
Thanks to Dan Kahan and Shaw for giving us our big TV break.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Editor's Note: Please enjoy this, the latest review from our Fraser Valley/Interior/Mainland Burger Blog correspondent Miles Bissky. You can find his last review here.
There were a few Chinese Canadian style places, but they usually have sub par burger offerings. After feeling slightly let down that I wouldn't find the perfect place, I decided to go to the Belaire Restaurant. My wife and I had been there last summer but I think we only had Jalapeno Poppers and a sandwich, which have now been removed from the menu. We walked inside and the interior of the Belaire felt akin to an ABC (or any other generic family-style place). It has a clean, but incredibly bland, beige interior. I thought I was going to have to make do with a frozen patty with a leaf of dry romaine lettuce to accompany it. Fortunately though, as I got the menu, I read the words “home made patty". Of course this doesn't mean that it's going to be great, but at least more interesting than a grilled western family ice puck.
I ordered the Combo Burger: mushrooms, cheese, bacon with the usual suspects from a deluxe burger (I added raw onion). They also had an Applewood Smoked Cheddar option which I considered, but I was feeling more like a classic. The burger arrived and the patty was extremely asymmetric for some reason, I guess they wanted to boldly announce it's home made origins. The patty was quite salty, although not too salty and gelatinous—similar in theme to the 'Chinese style' burgers that DK has mentioned before, but not to that extreme. In fact I really enjoyed the patty even though it was slightly unusual.
The burger's structural integrity was a bit difficult to maintain due to the oddly shaped patty, and stiff and angular bacon. The burger also came across as a tiny bit greasy—probably due to about 30% too much mayo. However the bun was up to the task, and the fact that it was toasted nicely helped it stand up to the burger. All in all this burger was extremely satisfying and was a surprise given the surroundings. I would have expected this burger from a place with cigarette burns in the arborite. The french fries as well were quite good, they did suffer from what my dad believes is a lazy fry cutter, that is the little nubs of potato get tossed in the french fry press without much care and strange 1-2cm fries mixed in amongst the normal length fries are the result.
VERDICT: If you are in Princeton and need a burger I would definitely recommend the Belaire: just wear a jean jacket and roll up in a 1983 Mustang to compensate for its too clean style.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Bartholomew's Bar and Rockefeller Grille | 777 Douglas Street | 250•388•5111 | www.executivehouse.com/barts.html
(add $1 for cheese)
This'll be short and sweet, because this burger didn't leave much of an impression on me.
A number of our Facebook friends have fingered Bartholomew's as the home of the most underrated burger in town: I can't say I agree. I'll give this downtown grille the benefit of the doubt, and assume the "Executive Burger" is a cut above the rest, but the "Bart's Burger" is definitely a pal of some of the more pedestrian offerings in town.
The menu states this burger is homemade, but the leathery texture of the patty is more akin to a frozen pre-fab number. As the rest of the package is constructed in standard pub fashion; there is really nothing that makes it stand-out, or rise above its peers. I'm disappointed to say—this one's a bit of a bore.
VERDICT: My assessment may change after trying their other offering, but until then Bartholomew's is a solid bleh on the burger-meter.
Monday, August 17, 2009
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a burger at Pink Bicycle with Kevin Wu of 604 Foodtography. Kevin has been covering Vancouver edibles since February, and recently stole my heart by posting a Screamer review earlier this month. The following is a sampling of Kevin's review of the Pink Bike Cheese Burger as it originally appeared on his blog:
"Since the big blogger dinner I attended at Alvin Garden I was okay with the idea of meeting a complete stranger for a meal. After all, if there is something in common to talk about, it should be no problem getting along. My friends, however, didn’t know what to expect, and so probably expected a really awkward and strange dinner.
There was a little mix up with our burgers—I had gotten Darren’s Chicken Burger while he had my Cheese Burger. No worries, we just switched the sides since I had salad and he had soup.
The bun is chewy, the patty was oozing, and the melted cheese on top was delicious. I must say, I could barely finish my burger and I was struggling to finish the salad. It was really filling! Oh yea, the salad was also great, baby greens with a light vinaigrette, walnuts and freshly grated cheese on top. I can’t understand how Donald and his friend ate the regular plate (burger w/ side) AND more food!
The conversation was easy going, (wow this sounds like a date), simple chit chat about our blogs, why he only does burgers, what there is to do in Victoria, etc. Overall, a good dinner is second only to good company, and both were had that night.
If I were ever going to Victoria for any reason, I would try my best to make time to drop by for a burger. If you look on their site carefully, you can even find a coupon."
While Kevin was chowin' down on Pink Bike's signature dish, I got acquainted with the Blue Flame Burger. Here is my review:
Despite these disapointments, it would be a lie to say Pink Bike isn't one of the better burger joints in town—or that the Blue Flame Burger is a poor addition to the menu. The Bike continues to use high quality ingredients that, for the most part, mask the inconsistencies in the style their beef patties are served day-to-day. Though far from causing pregnancy-scare sweat levels; the hot chili mayo here does have a kick to it, and it melds well with the bold blue cheese. More attention needs to be given to ensuring uniformity in the product they provide, but by no means is Pink Bike serving boring, or bad burgers. The feeling that you're being short changed by dining later in the day (getting a smaller patty, smaller portion sizes for some sides) is infuriating though—I suppose this is still around my top five in the city, but I don't think I can feel confident in calling it number two anymore.
Friday, August 14, 2009
The Victoria Burger Blog is very pleased to bring you Kelebrity Korner: Part 1! Kelebrity Korner is a new segment in which we go out for a burger with a local kelebrity, we ask them a few stock questions, and then said kelebrity reviews the burger we enjoyed together. Part 1 of this exciting new venture features Jeremy Baker! Jeremy Baker is the afternoon show host over at the Zone. He was recently catapulted to super-stardom when he appeared alongside yours truly in a recent Shaw Daily piece on blogging.
Baker hates burgers with too much condiment action, and loves being left with a little superfluous bun at the end of an outing (he generally passes along the extra bun to his baby girl). Lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle are all must-have items for the Dean of the Afternoon Drive—anything less and he's leaving.
What else do you need to know about the man they call Jeremy? Let's head to the question and answer portion of our affair shall we?
Where is your favourite burger in Victoria?
The Canoe Burger with the slab of prime rib on top and the blue cheese is a savage beast that MUST be tamed!
What is the best burger you've ever had?
Mmm Vera Burger, Downtown West End of Vancouver, summer time, just a taste of the marijuana = good times.
Name your best and worst ever burger experiences.
I've had a lot of best, but the worst is almost always on BC Ferries. Save-On Foods Memorial Centre is a close second.
Name another local kelebrity you wish you were.
Jamie Oliver... oh local? Darryl Lloyd- Victoria Salmon Kings
What is the best burger-centric movie of all time: Hamburger America, Fast Food, Hamburger: The Motion Picture, or "Other"?
Hamburger Hill? Wait that is a Vietnam movie. Super Troopers where the kid spits in the burger... good times. Fast Times at Ridgemont High... all good. Waiting is not about "burgers" but is about a restaurant and all the shenanigans that go with that.
607 Pandora Avenue
Yesterday I met up with Victoria Burger Blog Dude Donald Kennedy to mow down on a burger, and to add to his outstanding list of Victoria burger reviews.
I wanted to hit Cabin 12 on Pandora Street. Last week, I met up with Robin Farrell of Kool FM for a bite, and we ventured to Cabin 12. I was mighty impressed with the service, cost, and quality of the meal. Robin and I rocked wraps: Donald and I would be trying the burger.
Donald ordered some creation with a fried egg, bacon, and cheese on top: pretty much a breakfast AND lunch combo thing. I went with their classic, Cabin 12 burger.
What to say about it? I loved that it wasn’t too saucy—an overly saucy burger makes me want to drag net the ocean bottom. The burger came open faced on a hearty whole wheat bun and came with all the standard fixings.
Right away, the burger could do no worse than par.
The patty tasted like some kind of homemade creation from a picnic long past. It had that “mom” feel about it and some surprises as you bit in. Red and Green peppers? Sure—I hope that is what it was. Donald and I had a hard time deciding if this was good or not. The Dude mentioned that the burger was very similar to the Floyd’s Burger (something about the owner being a former employee?).
For the $9 I paid, and the funky vibe of the joint, I’ll give this burger a firm recommend, and it will become a new favourite diner for me. I’ll need to drag Coral down sometime for a breakfast. Ha, maybe this morning when I wake up before work. Friday is pay day!
Editor's note: Thanks to Guy Alaimo for the Kelebrity Korner logo design. The official Victoria Burger Blog review of Cabin 12 will appear sometime in the coming weeks. If you are a local (or travelling) kelebrity and you'd like to be featured in "Kelebrity Korner", you can contact me by e-mail: email@example.com
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This is not the worst burger in Victoria. Despite what Victoria Burger Blog Facebook Group Members may say; this doesn't even come close to some of the other burger shit-storms swirling around various south-island kitchens.
I will agree this burger is boring. There is no denying the fact that this burger holds nothing in the way of pleasing flavour, and goes nowhere towards killing cravings. This is not enough to make it the worst burger in Victoria though. There is a difference between boring and blindingly, infuriatingly bad. I will concede that, unlike in other units, the mustard/onion and American cheese mix can't save the Beacon Hill Burger from its descent into a maelstrom of meh—but its blandness doesn't inspire vegetarianism, or anything similarly terrifying.
Consider yourself lucky if this is the worst burger you've ever had in Victoria.
VERDICT: Yah it sucks, but you could do a lot worse.
Monday, August 10, 2009
FYI: I am currently working on acquiring a copy of the Burger Blog piece that ran on Shaw last month. It will eventually be uploaded here if I am given permission.
Friday, August 7, 2009
FYI: Burger Blog teaser piece will be on at 6:25 tonight, full piece tomorrow at 6:00.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The linguistic history of Hope, BC is—tragically—rather undocumented. From "cleveland ducats" to "giver giver Fraser River"; some of my favourite slang has been bred out of the Gateway to Rainbow Country. There is, however, one term that stands above all others as the best word to ever originate from Hope: "chutter". Coined circa 2001 by local linguist Katie Henderson, the term refers to the act of pilfering street signs, lawn gnomes, election campaign signs, or other various public and private property that does not require breaking and entering to acquire (this can include anything from two-by-fours liberated from park benches to wooden water-slide name placards).
Dave Chutter is a Nicola Valley-based rancher who ran in the Yale-Lillooet riding during the 2001 provincial election campaign. During the campaign over two-hundred Chutter campaign signs were lifted from lawns across Hope. It was perhaps the single greatest act of mischief of its kind in local history; and thus the verb "to chutter" was born. Dave Chutter went on to represent the Yale-Lillooet riding for a single term, doing us proud by serving as chair of the Committee of Development of the Provincial Noxious Weed Strategy. Meanwhile teenagers from Hope, Silver Creek, and Kawkawa Lake continue to commit multiple acts of "chuttering" every year throughout the Fraser Valley.
What in the world does this heart-warming bit of Hope history have to do with the Heron Rock Bistro? Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you! Heron Rock has the meat for its burgers supplied by Slaters Meats, who in turn gets its beef from 1999 B.C. SPCA Farmer of the Year Dave Chutter! SMALL WORLD YAH?
The beef has a soft texture, a light flavour, and is served in a package that is cooked somewhere between medium-rare and medium at Heron Rock. Housing the burger is an extremely soft and chewy (almost doughy) house-made bun, which is also served as an appetizer at the restaurant. The bun is sprinkled with the same rock salt/herb mix you may find on a very simple focaccia. I'm not entirely convinced that the texture and flavour of this bun matches the burger patty as well as another bun would, but I'll give it points for being a little different.
The bacon offered at Heron Rock comes from Hertel's Meats; a forty-year-old family run business that operates out of Port Alberni. I like the idea of using local (sort-of) products, but in this case it doesn't really add much flavour-wise. I've definitely had significantly better bacon at other local restaurants: honestly I found the price at Heron Rock a little high for what I found to be fairly average tasting bacon.
Though the bacon is underwhelming, the house relish that adorns this burger is a perfect match for the subtle beefy tones that emanate from the patty below. Coupled with the house relish is a dollop of mayo and that's it. It's a nice simple mix that really compliments the package well. Finally a note on the cheese: tasty and melted well. The kitchen has obviously spent some time developing this burger over the last few years (the bun is a change from before, as are some other elements I believe) and it shows: Heron Rock has done the Chutter name proud.
VERDICT: Nice to see a restaurant like this pay attention to a dish which is often treated as an afterthought at other similar venues: one of the better burgers in the city.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VICTORIA, BC JULY 30, 2009—At approximately 6:45PM Pacific Standard Time I was alerted to a sad fact. It was at that time when the proprietor of the Victoria Buffet Blog, Guy Alaimo, let me know he had made the decision to "indefinitely quit buffets". Over the last year I have had the joy of accompanying Alaimo on a number of buffet-related journeys and jaunts. It is with a heavy heart that I must acknowledge today that I may never make another one of those trips again.
Though I will miss our buffet trips, I would be remiss to ignore the bravery of my colleague’s decision to step away from the buffet line, and into a healthier lifestyle. It became apparent to the family and friends of Mr. Alaimo fairly early on that the Buffet Blog was having a negative effect on his health. It is not without a certain level of guilt that we now must reflect upon his retirement; perhaps more intervention from myself and others could have prevented Mr. Alaimo’s extreme weight gain and subsequent health problems.
Mr. Alaimo has not yet indicated whether or not he wishes to remain a contributing writer for the Victoria Burger Blog. As the head of said blog I wish to let Mr. Alaimo know that we have valued his service greatly ever since we launched. It is the genuine hope of myself that the already strong relationship that exists between himself and the Victoria Burger Blog continue to grow. At the same time we wish to encourage him to return to burger reviewing only if his health allows it.
The Victoria Burger Blog wishes to thank Mr. Alaimo for his contributions to the local food-writing community, and to extend our support to him in this time of great change. We look forward to working with him again in the future.
Head Writer/Founder: Victoria Burger Blog
Contributing Writer: Victoria Buffet Blog
Media Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
ps. if you're famous and you'd like to go for a burger with me, please get in touch (whether you're local or just passing through town, or even if you have questionable famousness... we're still interested in your views of the burger world)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Here's your quick bit of Podium background: it used to be a Greek restaurant, it's owned by the Gorge Point Pub dudes and the guy behind Lighthouse Brewing, and hanging on the wall upstairs is a print of an Andy Warhol painting that makes Wayne Gretzky look like a child in a bubblegum swamp. Now that you have this stunning information culled from extensive journalistic research, howzabout we move on to the review?
Does it not seem a little strange to name your signature burger after a guy that didn't exactly leave the Blue Jays on the best of terms, and never made his career there to begin with? Sure Frank Thomas is one of the better hitters of our era, but aside from one decent year in Toronto—he really hasn't given Canadian fans much. Wouldn't "Boomer Burger" have been a more obvious and appropriate name for this package? Not only did David Wells help the Jays to their first World Series; he was also a notorious over-eater.
No matter what the name though, this burger is a pretty glorious journey into gluttony. The seven-ounce BBQ-sauce (house-made) basted patty is topped with a big glop of pulled pork, and a jalapeno-cheddar infused smokie that is too hefty to fit all of itself under the bun. A steak knife is thrust through the middle of the bun—providing a rather ostentatious symbol to the people around you that you've ordered a MAN'S MEAL. My own eating prowess was in fact questioned by the waitress who exclaimed "YOU'RE GOING TO EAT ALLLLLLLL THATTTTTTTT?" when she dropped the burger on the table. The answer to her question was of course, "yah I'm going to fucking eat it all! Unlike your waify ass, I don't feel soul-crushing guilt if I consume more than a radicchio/radish salad for dinner."
I am generally not in the camp that feels polygameatous situations are to be avoided in a burger because the beef flavour gets lost in the mix. Maybe the beef does take a backseat in the Big Hurt Burger, but so fucking be it. Hot dogs are a classic burger topping, and pulled pork just makes this package all the more comforting. The textural and taste adventure that comes from sailing through pulled pork, and then piercing the greasy skin of a smokie en route to a beefy pub patty is about as good as sinful eating gets.
Rounding out the Big Hurt Burger unit is a healthy dose of house mayo, a sesame kaiser, and some burger pickles. The pickles are quite an interesting flavour addition, as they are the only part of the package that is not meaty or greasy. The little blast of flavour that the pickles provide allows this burger to keep your taste buds interested instead of simply overwhelming them with salty, greasy flavours. The Big Hurt isn't the type of burger you savour and then rave about to friends, but it is a great bit of comfort food that is bound to put a smile on your face.
VERDICT: It's a whole bunch of meat between a bun... has that formula ever failed?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
$14 for 3
The old Douglas Hotel was a place where memories were born. For many it was venue in which they witnessed a shanking for the first time. For me, it was the first place in which a lonely, toothless man from Newfoundland ever asked me if I would come back to his room for a couple hundred bucks. Alas, the "Dougie" has now been transformed into a boutique hotel—complete with tres chic tapas style dining lounge—and the only option for those looking to take in a good knife fight nowadays is to head on down to Tillicum Mall and wait about five minutes. So is the switch to the Rialto a trade-up situation, or are we looking at Tuuka Rask/Andrew Raycroft level downgrade?
I never ate anything other than roasted nuts from a machine at the old Dougie, but I can guarantee the food at Veneto is about a thousand times better than what was offered by its predecessor. Each Veneto slider is made with AAA Canadian (likely Alberta bred) Strip Loin which is chopped in house to make the burger patties. There is a slight peppery kick to these wonderfully textured little morsels, all of which which are housed by an untoasted bun from a local (factory I think) bakery called Mary's.
Your three topping choices at Veneto are: grilled jumbo prawn and ancho hollandaise; pancetta, smoked applewood cheddar, and onion straws; and portabella mushroom ragout with brie. Each topping mixture offers quite a strong flavour melange which does play a bit of a tug-of-war with the little chopped-meat patties. Although the balance in each of these units isn't exactly perfect—the flavour is pretty damn good.
The pancetta in particular brings to mind the flavour of a salty bead of sweat liberated by lip-lock from the nape of a young woman's neck. The other options are pleasant too, but the pancetta, applewood, onion strings mix is by far the best: applewood is a commonly used burger cheese for a good reason, and the onion straws are delightfully light and airy. The ancho hollandaise on the jumbo prawn option is pretty mild chili-wise, but still "slides" (HA) in at a very respectable second place. The mushroom ragout, however, is a rather overpowering topping mix which prevents the slider from being a true triumph. On the whole though, any one of these burgers blown up to regular size could quite easily compete with some of the better burgers in Victoria: definitely a great addition to the city's ever-growing burger landscape.
VERDICT: Looking for a late-night burger fix? You won't find many better options than this.