Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cozmos Cappuccino Bar & Grill. Burnaby

The judges scores:

 4, 5, 6.

Dwight at 4/10 was sitting in as the East German judge with his low score, but then he had the BBQ sauce option on his burger and the sauce took over and decided to be the star of the show. He couldn't taste anything but the sauce.

Not that Dwight was missing all that much, let me break it down:

Cozmos is a nice neighbour joint with a good reputation for brunch and a ton of regulars. For lack of a better description its the kind of place were everyone knows your name. I wonder if my name will be mud after this posting. The food is typical cafe like with a Greek twist and Greek options.

Our burgers had a Greek twist to it. The patty was a classis keftedes style, Greek spices, onions, garlic, eggs, bread – please do not refer to this as meatloaf. In the burger the texture for me was a bit mushy in parts. But then this is where the Greek influence ends and Costco influence takes over. The triangular Costco bun! Regular readers will know that I’m a bit OCD about the burger bun thing. It’s not like I have a list of preferences mostly its just got to be fresh and tasty and fresh and fresh. Did I mention fresh? Here, not so fresh. Let me guess what happens: Mr. Cozmo goes to Costco for his weekly shop and picks up a couple bags of triangular buns. What is it, about 50 to a bag? Said buns sit in the kitchen and are slowly used over the course of the week. As the week progresses the buns get older and harder and staler. So I guess it depends what day of the week you order your burger as to how fresh the bun is going to be. Friday night mine was semi hard, it was placed on the grill but even the grilling couldn’t save it, just singed the top.

Mico give the burger a 5/10, I was a bit more generous with a 6, but this burger needs a re-think.

And it doesn't have to be more "authentic", round or less ethnic, it just has to be good.

In case you think I’m intolerant of triangular burgers check out one of the best burgers anywhere from The Edge in Sooke. Not round, certainly out of the box, and perhaps a bit Middle Eastern but in any case awesome.

So, Mr Cozmo, please just make a good Greek Burger, and please, use fresh bread.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dockside Grill, Sidney BC

The Dockside Grill is a little bistro in Sydney a bit out of town and out of the way but well worth the 3 minute effort from downtown to drive there. It has a great view of the marina, you are actually sitting right over the water, and more importantly it has a great burger.

The menu caught my eye: Fresh, Local Seasonal. Dockside supports local producers and they list them on there menu. Like. The emphasis on fresh local ingredients is a big deal to me when I eat out. It’s probably a bit more work then ordering from Sysco but then I think the quality and care translates to the plate

The Dockside burger was a pleasant surprise, easily 9/10.
This is a pure, simple burger. And simple can be outstanding. A flavourful patty, all the ingredients come together, nothing stands out, no specials sauce no fancy shmancy creativity just one of those, the sum is greater the parts type of great burgers.

I am usually not a fan of chibatta buns because if not super fresh in most cases the buns are hard and inedible.

Case in point the Gillnetter in POCO, I still have nightmares.

But here, no worries, perfectly fresh.

And since I mentioned a "bad chibatta burger" here's a good one you should check out at Molly’s Reach in Gibsons.

Fried Artichoke Appie

But I digress, back to the Dockside cafe,

So far the best Sydney burger I've had. Definitely check them out, a great location a great burger.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

West Coast Taphouse, Langdale, BC

From the menu:

Tap House Beef Burger

Our award winning beef burger is made in house combining a perfect mixture of ground sirloin, brisket, and veal to create a burger of exceptional flavour and consistency 13.95-

The conversation:Me: what award did your award winning burger win?
The Server: (smiling) oh I don't know. I've only been here for 5 months.
Me: so it hasn't won an award in the last 5 months?
The Server: ( now a nervous smile) ha ha your so funny! ( as she backs away and disappears into the darkness)
Hey wait a second stop; I was going to order the burger.
It was a simple question. Luckily she came back and I was able to order said award winner.

I have since learned from the Taphouse website that the award in question was: Top Three in Jack FM's Best Burger Competition.

Really? Award winner? The voters at Jack FM need to get out more.

The patty was a super cooked, yummy tasteless hockey puck.

OK, nice pretzel bun.

It was an ok burger a perfectly adequate pub burger, 7/10, but not in my mind an award winner.

Unless I have business at the Sheraton I’ll have my burgers elsewhere.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hawksworth at the Georgia Hotel

Fancy place, Hawksworth at the newly renovated Georgia Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

A fancy shmancy gourmet burger awaits. And by the way when I say fancy gourmet burger I don't actually want to insinuate that this burger is instantly better the some fantastic hole in the wall or casual eatery burgers around town. Rather fancy is a function of 3 things:

1. Price. Its going to be expensive, in this case $18. After all have you seen this restaurant, huge overhead, they have to pay for fancy space, perfectly quaft pretty people and spotless designer uniforms.

Check, everyone and everything looks stylishly perfect.

2. A Celebrity chef. Check again, David Hackworth gained fame through many award winning restaurants, Vancouver Chef of the year in 2008 and currently parlays this into guest judging appearances on Top Chef Canada.

3. The Show. Your food does not just arrive but is presented to you in a beautifully choreographed dance and once placed before you is entirely camera ready. Check once again, this is a purdy looking burger.

So is the burger any good or is it just hype and ambiance? I think a little of both. My friend Deb and I both had the burger and we were both in agreement that this was a perfectly tasty burger a solid 8.5/10.

Here's' the breakdown:

The server asked "how would you like your burger done"? Music to my ears exactly what I want to hear when I order a burger, unfortunately 98% of the time its " would you like fries or salad"... really? Like there's any option anyway.

Speaking of fries the advertised frites were not. Instead, they were big thick beams of potatoes stacked appropriately enough, depending at how you look at things, in a square resembling a log cabin. Hmm I had the same thing at Hackworth’s previous Restaurant West. Not impressed, just deliver some really good frits please, its hard to improve on a classic.

The flavour of the burger was better than good, but not great, coming predominantly from the bbq sauce and oven roasted tomatoes. I also expected a much juicier burger especially from one cooked medium rare. The bun fell apart, which usually happens in my humble experience when it's not fresh. Dare I say that Hawksorth served a burger on a day old bun?

This is all sounding a bit harsh but really in the end a good burger. But then, I think Hackworth’s is more about the experience and not necessarily about the burger.

By the way we had a few appies that were absolutely outstanding.

The highlights:

Baised ShortRibs

48 hr beef shortrib black pepper jam, honeydew, green papaya, peanut, thai basil.

yellowfin tuna carpaccio avocado, cucumber, yuzu, puffed rice

(the puffed rice didn’t work but the tuna rocked)

Pork Dumplings

Chocolate Desert
I’m definitely coming back for dinner.

Tuna Carpaccio

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hog Shack Cookhouse

I’m a bit disgusted with myself. No, actually, I’m totally discussed at myself. I ordered the Flatline Burger at the Hog Shack Cookhouse. Two patties, gobs of cheese stuffed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. What the hell was I thinking? I don’t usually go for the gimmicky Man v. Food type of its free if you can finish it in 5 min type of burger. And on a side note, do you really think Adam Richman is going to make it to his 40th b-day (currently 37) without a massive coronary? But I digress.

OK, so I was curious, I’ve never had a grill cheese burger before and what the heck. Now I can honestly say, “Never again” and, in case you are wondering, no, I did not finish it.

This thing is not really a real burger, it’s a marketing piece, it gets people talking but really you should never order one, it’s the futuristic concept car at the auto shows that will never be produced commercially. Sadly, Flatliiner has been released to the public.

Just not enjoyable, you can’t really eat this like a burger it’s just too thick, it falls apart and then you end up doing the unimaginable, using a knife and fork on a burger. The patty’s were well seasoned, bordering on a meatloaf feel and cooked through just like a meatloaf. Nice tomatoes, tons of cheese, this thing is a mess. I’m not going to rate it.

BTW just to maintain that gimmicky marketing feel, the Hog Shack should place an emergency defibrillator by the front door with a sign “in case of Flatliner Emergency”. Just trying to help Although, the grill cheese buns are made with whole wheat bread, so maybe the defibrillator is not needed ;)

My dining companion, Paula, was much smarter than me; she ordered the Classic, 6 oz burger. And she liked it. A solid 7.5/10 apparently not juicy enough to completely rave, but it had sufficient flavor. Yes, the patty was a cooked dry disk; same as my two but it looks like we have some decent potential here for a good burger just don’t flatline. Unless of course you can eat it in 5 minutes because then it’s free.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Glo. Victoria, BC

My brain was still buzzing with latent flavour endorphins from my last glorious lamb burger at Smithy’s Oyster House in Gibson’s so I was curious how the Glo lamb burger would compare. Not so bad but not quite there, a solid burger 8/10. The tsatziki was flavourful and generously applied but in the end it hid the lamb patty flavour and I thought that perhaps the patty was also a bit too small.

Glo is a nice place, down on the water in Victoria’s gorge area. There was some talk a few years ago about Glo having one of Victoria’s better burgers. They are good, check out the burger here, but not great.

Some of my favourite Victoria burgers:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver 2011

Vancouver Magazine: The Stackhouse burger. It's on my list, stay tuned.
Check out all the other great food and drink in Vancouver here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rhubarb. Heathrow Terminal 3, London UK

Rhubarb’s beef burger

Flame grilled burger, tomato, lettuce, dill pickles and crisp lettuce on a toasted brioche bun with chunky chips

I’m a bit surprised by the quality of airport burgers, at least at Heathrow. Last year it was the Bridge, Terminal 1, this year Rhubarb, Terminal 3. To be fair my expectations are not high. I’m usually beat from travel and on an extensive layover or in this case a 6 hour delay, so a burger and fries is just the feel good food that I need and as long as they don’t totally screw things up I’m happy.

And I was happy at Rhubarb easily a 6.5-7/10. I’ve had many worst burgers at establishments claiming “great burgers”. Sure the patty was overdone but it’s most likely pre-frozen and I guess you don’t want an international e-coli incident. Everything else was good burger 101. My flight delay was made just that much easier. The Spitfire helped as well.

BTW, nice plating with the fries, if I had a restaurant here in Vancouver, I’d defiantely borrow the idea. Just saying!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Craig St. Brew Pub. Duncan BC

The Craig Street Brew Pub is next door to Just Jakes on Craig St. in Duncan. How’s that for name creativity?

Both establishments are really the same place the same owners the same kitchen. I’ve had the Craig St. Burger last Xmas, it was good. This time I thought I’d try the

RED HOT & BLEU BURGER House made beef burger, basted in spicy red hot sauce and topped with crumbled bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo

Sadly, I did not like this burger, call this burger confusing. I’ve decided that spicy red hot sauce and blue cheese belongs on chicken wings not burgers. The red sauce was to acidic for the beef, the blue cheese both lost and over powering. Yes that makes sense.

This burger is as 4/10 brown bun disaster. It certainly did not live up to the “good choice” comment from the server when he placed the burger in front of me. He has bad taste or was just kissing my ass I can’t decide.

To be fair, given the quality of the Craig St. Burger I think this is just a matter of taste and not an indication of the overall quality of the establishment. A third visit down the road may be required to get a handle on that question.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stacked Modern Diner. South Surrey, BC

 Stacked Modern Diner is an interesting place. Interesting meaning that I can’t quite  figure this place out.

A small new diner with kitschy stuff placed around almost like set decoration. It doesn’t come off as natural for me it looks staged. Is it trying to hard to be something? Does it really know what it wants to be? But that’s just me and that’s just my first impression of the place.

At least they have the right idea with the advertized fresh food concept. The deluxe 7 oz. hand made burger was good, a solid 8/10. It had great gooey mozza for the cheese which is unique and a good twist. Everything was nice everything was fresh but somehow everything just didn’t make it to the next level. The burger is far better then most places but needs some sole to take it to the next level. Stacked is new maybe they will figure who they are and the type of place they want to be and evolve into something and maybe as the restaurant evolves so will the burger. I hope they do becouse the burger is off to a good start.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Smitty's Oyster House. Gibsons. Sunshine Coast

Sure it’s seafood joint but the server assured me that the lamb burger is the best burger on the sunshine coast.

LAMB BURGER ... 6oz Organic Peace Country Lamb Patty with Sautéed Wild Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Cilantro Lemongrass Dijon.

I agree. 10/10 wow.

Oyster Shells
As the Burger Blogger Boy I tend to eat more then a few average, mediocre and or crappy burgers. And there are many many out there and after awhile I almost forget why I do this. But then eureka a gem like this is placed before me. Whoever cooked this burger needs a raise. The lamb was perfect, flavourful, pink luscious. The Cilantro lemongrass dijion added some sweetness some totally off the wall-ness.

Grab the ferry to Gibson, head to Smitty’s Oyster House, sit at the bar, have some oysters but do not forget the lamb burger.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Croatian Hamburger

Lepinje is a Croatian yeast raised flatbread. Not just Croatian but, Serbian Bosnian and generally Balkan. Think Pita bread but soft and chewy ciabatta like on the inside. Lepine are most often served with Cevapi, onions and ajvar, which in my humble opinion if done well is worthy of a world heritage designation.

So how do you make a Croatian Hamburger? Use lepinje as the bun of course. This particular version came from a little hole in the wall place on the Split Riva literally in the wall of Diocletians Palace. The lepinje is crazy good so if you could fill this thing with quality burger like ingredients you would have something spectacular. Here something gets lost in the translation; you have a bottom basement burger patty, Cro ketchup, kind of interesting tasting actually, a tomato slice and some lettuce. Totally edible but only because you are on the Riva in Split.

Recommendation: definitely get the Cevapi. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dubh Linn Gate Old Irish Pub. Whistler BC Canada

Markus, downhiller biker extraordinaire and German tourist is today’s guest reviewer. I figure we are in safe hands after all the Germans named a whole city after the lovely hamburger so I figure they should know a few things on this subject.

On the menu:

Buffalo Burger: Free range bison burger, with alder smoked Cheddar, crisp iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mayonnaise.

Sounds good, free range and all but unfortunately Markus was not impressed a 5/10. I was leaning more in the 6-6.5 direction but the more I eat the more I have to agree with Markus.

Chances are that a free Range Bison patty is factory packed and frozen. Free range good, frozen bad, overcooked to a piece of cardboard even worst. Everything else was overly mediocre.

This is only the second burger I’ve had in Whistler but so far I’m totally unimpressed.

Please, suggestions accepted.

On a side note, The Dubh Linn Gate had in my humble opinion the best wings in Whistler. The jerk wings were phenomenal and worth the drive from Vancouver. Sadly they no longer exist on the menu. There are wings just not “the” wings. Sometimes restaurants make bonehead moves. So sad to say but for me the only reason to continue going to the Linn is the draft. My Blue Buck, the best beer in BC, was very nice thank-you. But then, if I think about it, there are other bars in Whistler.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Red Robin, Bellingham, Washington. Natural beef burgers

Honest to Goodness. Our natural ground beef contains no preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Really, when the hell did this happened and why didn’t I get the memo? I have to check in Canada maybe this is just a US Red Robin thing. This is absolutely outstanding. Natural beef just catapults Red Robin to the top of the chain restaurant list. Sure you’ve got to get past the plastic faux Disney cartoonish shtick of the restaurant design but once you do its well worth it.

I had the Burnin’ Love Burger, crispy fried jalapeños, salsa, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo all nicely wrapped in a burger diaper and brought to the table photo ready. This is how you serve a burger given that 90 % of our taste buds are in our eyes and the set basket design on all Red Robin burgers is outstanding.

Nice burger 8.5 – 9/10. It’s natural and it’s pink in the middle and it’s juicy and tasty, but in the back of my mind there’s that nagging feeling that it’s still a fast food burger. I think it’s the bun. You know the type; the wonder bread bun like thing that you know has way too many chemicals in the mix. Still a damn fine burger and now that I know that the beef is natural my go to burger chain joint.

Mmm beer

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fiamma Burger. Bellingham, Washington. US

Let me be clear, this is not my type of burger. I’m more of a thick patty, pink in the middle type of guy. The Fiamma burger is a thin 4 ½ oz burger patty. Not that that’s a bad thing it’s just not my thing. Fiamma makes a great burger, Bellingham’s best apparently and I’m not going to argue with that. The meat is natural, the ingredients fresh, the bun phenomenal, the burger comes rapped in a burger diaper (I love that) it’s all good and an easy 8.5 – 9 /10.

Best of Bellingham
On the other hand, a home run 10/10 if they made the same burger with an 8 oz pink in the middle patty, but that’s just my preference. And to be fair I only had the single patty burger. I don’t know what I was thinking I must have had a brain fart; I should have doubled it up. I think that alone would probably have improved my score.

In the end it doesn’t really matter, Fiamma makes great burgers. Or maybe it does? Maybe Fiamma can add a new burger to the mix call it the “Fat Fiamma” or something like that. When they do, let me know, I’ll be right there.

Garlic Cheese Fries

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hamilton St Grill. Vancouver. A backyard burger.

The Hamilton Street Burger house-ground Certified Angus Beef®, house-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, Kennebec frites, truffle mayonnaise
Sounds good but this is really a backyard burger. Here’s the recipe: Go to Safeway, pick up some ground beef, lettuce tomatoes some bacon, (you don’t have to make your own) while you’re there grab some Portuguese buns from the bakery and head over to your friends backyard or deck. Form meat into patties and place on grill, cook until there is nothing absolutely nothing alive in the burnt patty, meanwhile place the Portuguese bun in the oven and bake until it’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside so it will crunch and flake and fall apart once you stat digging in. Now, while the burger is on the BBQ, cut the tomatoes onions and lettuce and place them in the hot sun so that they wilt prior to adding to the burger. Put it all together, call your friends over and see if they will fork out $16 for this work of backyard art.
The Hamilton Street Grill came with such high expectations such big buzz from Foodosophy. They house grind their own meat and are therefore one of the few places in town that will allegedly cook your burger pink in the middle.

Maybe I was expecting something exceptional and maybe I just got something average. My friend also had the burger and together we agreed no more then a 6.5/10, alas it wasn’t just me.
I was hoping for so much more.

Still, I must vent.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Hamilton Street Grill:
It’s nice that your house ground your beef, awesome, but why kill it on the grill? And, why Angus Beef? You realise Angus Beef is a feel good brand? Last time I checked McDonalds and Burger King were serving Angus burgers. Check out Angus beef website, they produce 1.8 million pounds of hormone and steroid injected meat every single day. How about some natural organic beef?
Loose the Portuguese bun, it makes a good sandwich not a good burger. Try making your own bun. Just a thought
Put the tomatoes, onions and lettuce in the burger not on a hot plate. That way they won’t wilt by the time it comes to the table.
Yours Truly
Mister Handsome Burger
PS: the Fondue was really good.

I feel much better now :)

Apple Pie with Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

Gorgonzola Fondue

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red Wagon Cafe, Vancouver, BC

I’ve heard some great buzz about the Red Wagon Restaurant, a greasy spoon serving great comfort food and using ethical products wherever possible. I’ve heard you have to try the pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels maple syrup. In fact when you walk into the restaurant barbequed pork fills the air and instantly makes you happy. Well, it makes me happy. It was a difficult decision not to get the pancakes, available all day, the smell was unbelievably enticing but then I have this burger blog and the Red Wagon burger uses organic beef and they make it in house and they didn’t freak out when I asked if they could cook the patty medium rare. Oh well the pancakes will have to wait for next time.

The burger was great; it was cooked and delivered a beautiful pink in the middle. Great flavour, everything inside of the buns was great, but then the bun, not fresh, crumbly, totally disappointing. It’s like giving my wife diamond earrings wrapped in newspaper and without the blue Birks box. It’s like taking a Ferrari engine and putting it into a mini van. It’s, it’s, it’s like great and flavourful ingredients in a crappy bun!

In the end it’s nice but…..9/10. So close.

You know what you have to do.

Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar, Vancouver Canada – cooked to 160 F

I came about the Rogue burger purely by chance. A working dinner a new place never before visited a burger on the menu and a pleasant surprise.

The 9.2 oz ROGUE burger

ultra juicy, two napkin, house ground sirloin burger cooked to 160 F, sesame brioche bun, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle, sweet relish, mayo

Phenomenal burger! 10/10. Everything is spot on. Huge luscious patty, ground and formed in-house cooked pink and juicy. All the accoutrements work in perfect harmony.

Sorry about the photo, my crappy Blackberry camera does not do this burger justice.

I recently wrote about “pink in the middle” burgers. There is no law against pink there are only excuses. Rogue makes no excuses.

Still on my agenda the Hamilton Street Grill and La Brasserie two other Vancouver establishments that I understand will also make no excuses.

Look for my new tag “pink in the middle”

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pink in the Middle

I like my burgers pink in the middle. People think I'm crazy. I'm sure to be infected with E-Coli and die an agonizingly slow and painful death. At restaurants when I ask for a medium rare burger I often get a pained expression and, in Canada anyway, the standard reply, "sorry but it is illegal to serve burgers medium rare. We have to cook the burgers through and well done". They tend to leave out the obvious, "sorry your burger is required to be dry, tasteless and crappy".

What restaurants are really saying and what they are really worried about is that they don't trust their ground beef source. I can't say I blame them, with the size and scope and questionable practices of the industrial meat industry it's hard to trust the quality of commercially produced ground beef.

Here's a novel idea: grind your own meat! Is there a kitchen and facilities in this restaurant?

I have long suspected that there is no such law. Just think about it for a second, it's illegal to serve a burger medium rare but perfectly legal to serve beef tartar. Or perhaps beef Carpaccio anyone?

From a link on Vic Burger I came across this posting at Foodosophy. They argue that there is no law on the books preventing restaurants from serving medium rare burgers.

Alleluia! Vindication!

This is a food quality issue period. The article goes on to identify 3 Vancouver restaurants that grind their own meat and offer burgers medium rare:

Refeul Burger

1. Refuel

2. Hamilton Street Grill

3. La Brasserrie.

I can certainly attest to Refuel the burger flavour and quality is off the charts and is definitely one of my favourites in Vancouver for sure.

Guess were my next two Vancouver burgers, and subsequent posts, are coming from?

Stay tuned.

A special thanks to Vic Burgers and Foodosophy for the heads up.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Flying Canoe West Coast Pub, Courtenay, BC Canada

Maybe it was a latent sub conscious response to not being able to order the Bison burger during a recent trip to the Yukon that made me order the Bison Burger at the Flying Canoe West Coast Pub in Courtenay.

It also reads pretty good: Vancouver Island Bison Burger Hand formed spiced patty, Okanagan merlot cheddar, purple dijon mayo

So the hand made in house claim from the menu and enthusiastic "it's great" comment from the bars thespian/waitress sealed the deal.

BTW, whenever the server responds with a "it's great" to a question about something on the menu your next question to them should be" OK, what on your menu is crap"? The honest servers usually have an answer and should be trusted. The thespians get confused and tow the company line with "nothing everything is really good". These people should not be trusted, there is a high probability of a very mediocre burger (or anything else you've ordered for that matter) coming your way.

My server unfortunately falls in the latter category. Not that my "in house made Bison Burger" was bad. OK maybe it was a bit bad, a 5/10, a crumbly bunness of small non flavoured patty "greatness".

Ho hum, at least the Canucks won game 2.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Deck, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Location: Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories. Objective: find a really good burger. My friends and I asked around town for the best burger and we were told enthusiastically that The Deck had a killer Bison burger. Right O, we are totally there because, first reaction, Bison sounds so Yukonish until you give it some thought and consider that Bison is probably not local, more of a plains/prairies like creature, we should be looking for Moose or Elk burgers instead. We fall for it anyway but as it turns out when we got to the Deck they are sold out of the Bison and we had to settle for a regular beef patty.

It's OK, it's a beautiful sunny evening sitting out on the deck with a local Bear beer draft and it's all good. (It's the end of May and 22° C up here. 17º in Vancouver...crap, who new you had to fly 2 hrs north to find descent spring weather)

This is burger 101, standard, bacon cheese and sautéed onions, stacked with fresh tomatoes, onions and pickles all enveloped into a soft and warm bun.

It was way over expectations, although nothing special ingredients wise everything came together beautifully for a solid 8.5 - 9/10. My friend Ron also had the burger and as guest reviewer concurred on the taste but wouldn't commit to an actual score. He did comment that he would have preferred more juice. As in juiciness. I can’t argue with that, more juice is always good.

Now Fran is another story, I post this picture of the vegetarian Portobello mushroom burger she had and raved about. A 10/10 she stated with great enthusiasm and then went on and on about how good it was. Sorry Fran, I'm sure it tasted great but no way that this thing is a burger. Where is the bun, the MEAT, the GREASE? You ate it with a knife a fork. I double dare you to try and pick that thing up hold it in your hands and eat it like a REAL burger. Menu marketing is a wonderful thing.

I'm sure I'll be hearing about this for sometime to come. Maybe we continue the debate next time on another patio somewhere with another beer another burger and another great evening.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Airport Chalet, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

A quick Google search of "the best burger in Whitehorse Yukon" comes up with The Airport Chalet as the first 7 choices. OK, so 4 of them are on trip adviser, the other 3 random ad sites. The Airport Chalet does not have their own website but trip adviser and yelp seem to think highly of this establishment.

Situated directly across for from the airport, surprise, The Airport Chalet is straight out of the 40's or 50's roadside hotel /diner. The sign reminds me of old Vegas before all the neon. Inside, it’s dark and dingy which is somewhat bewildering because it's sunny outside and there are big windows on the front of the restaurant. It seems that light is forbidden entry into this throwback tavern. The walls are covered in old wallpaper, muted pink flowers with pastel green stems. The height of fashion in the 40's, I think I saw Sarah Richardson on the Home and Garden Network, do a retro cottage in similar colours. A small but beautiful cowboy bar sits alone in the corner. I can imagine the beat up gold miners sitting have a whiskey and dreaming about riches to come.

The waitress calls me Hon and brings me a standard looking pub burger. The patty is homemade but needs some seasoning. Everything else is fresh tasty and perfectly average. This is a workmanlike burger, for the workman like local crowd.

At 6.5/10 it was ok an experience but I don't need to go back for the burger. I would however go back in a minute to sit at the bar and have a few drinks and soak up the local ambiance.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Haro's Restaurant and Bar, Sidney BC Canada

Sadly the burger at Haro’s Restaurant and Bar was pretty much exactly what I expected. In corporate performance appraisal speak the Haro’s burger met expectations but sadly at 8/10 it did not exceed expectations.

Haros is the restaurant attached to the Pier Hotel in Sidney. The Pier is "the" high end Sidney hotel, on the waterfront, very new very modern very metropolitan very clean very antiseptic if you know what I mean. So, from the restaurant I was expecting a gourmet burger using top end ingredients delivering a very good burger. And sadly, again, it's pretty much what I got.

haro’s burger: courtenay cheddar, smoked bacon, house bbq sauce on house made brioche bun

The cheddar was tasty and perfectly melted. The bacon had extraordinary flavour the house baked bun also extraordinary. But then the patty was a letdown, made fresh in house, which is good but then overcooked and tasteless. In the end you get a good burger with some extraordinary components but much like the property a bit antiseptic.

I'd have it again, at least the Blue Buck on tap was cold and tasty, it was a ho hum good burger and certainly better then monstrosity of a burger across the street at the Beacon Landing Pub and Restaurant.

But then again there are many more burgers along the Sidney waterfront to explore.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good Dog Bar and Restaurant, Philadelphia PA, USA

My first Triple D burger. I’m very excited. I love this show there are some drop dead, brain numbingling, greasy, salivating good looking burgers featured. The Good Dog Bar in downtown Philadelphia is my first experience, my first test to see if the food eye candy from the TV screen translates to the palate.

I'm happy to report the Good Dog burger rocks. First off when I ordered they asked me how I would like the burger done. “Yes please, I'll have the Good Dog Burger and I'd like it medium rare, pink and juicy in the middle”. And that's how it arrived pink and beautiful and thick and blue and cheese stuffed and exploding with beefy blue cheese sauce. The patty was stacked with a heaping mound of sweet sautéed onions and the whole thing was nestled in a soft fresh bun. How can I not give this thing a 10/10? Maybe I'm biased by the euphoria of following Guy Fieri to this place but this burger was excellent.

Yet sadly I can not go 10 for 10 overall on account of the fries. They were served combination style with potatoes and yam fries all tossed together. The potatoes were great, especially when that gooey blue cheesy sauce dripped out of the burger and ran on to the fries. But the yam fries were chewy like leather and the chipotle sauce that often comes with yam fries was so watered down it was like drinking orange yogurt. So a 1 point deduction for yam fries gives this lovely creation a 9/10. Oh… if only I just got regular fries...

Check out this place it looks great for other stuff as well (excluding the yam fries). A. Trendy, taverny type of place with thousands of dog portraits on the wall, eclectic music, sex pistols a 80's bubble gum pop, setting the mood.

I'm looking forward to my next Triple D experience?