Friday, December 12, 2008

Catrina's Grill—Mill Bay—170 2720 Mill Bay Road (Mill Bay Shopping Centre)—250-743-7277

Avalanche Burger

Mill Bay! Home of the hottest little teenage fast-food vixens this side of Salmon Arm! But we're not going for fast food today, instead we're going to a glorified Greyhound Bus Stop Cafe.

If you've ever been unfortunate enough to have to take a Greyhound up island, you know there is a nice clean parking lot that Mill Bay-ites get dumped at before the bus moseys it's way on to Nanaimo and parts unknown. Inside the highway-side strip mall is Catrina's Grill, and its Avalanche Burger. If you ordered a burger making kit online; the final product would probably taste like this burger.

Like so many other burgers in the area we've got ourselves a relatively blahzay, pre-formed patty sitting underneath an "avalanche" of mushrooms, bacon, and caramelized onions. The flavour of the sauteed mushrooms gets lost in the mix, and the caramelized onions are pretty damn sweet in this package. If this burger was served at a folksy southern cafe they probably would have thrown in some carrot shavings and called it "The Kitchen Sink Burger".

Not much else to say about this burger. There are a million restaurants out there that copy the Boston Pizza/Kelsey's family fare style, and Catrina's Grill is just slightly better than the rest of the imitators. The Avalanche Burger does have a great bun, but a bun alone is not worth the drive to Mill Bay.


"5-10 centimeters of snow is expected to fall..."-Weather Men.

With the prospect of making snow angels on the horizon, we hopped into my parents SUV and drove up island to avoid another disappointing lack of snow in Victoria. Of course the weather forecast was wrong, and our Snow Day 2008 was a failure. In fact, on the way to a Shawnigan Lake Pub to do a burger review, we noticed candles glowing in all of the houses off of Shawnigan Lake road. Apparently a trace of wet snow and 30 kilometer winds is enough to knock out power for 5,000 households on Vancouver Island.

So we left the darkness and ended up in downtown Mill Bay and stopped at the first pub style restaurant we could find: Catrina's Grill: the burger was average. The cheese and bacon was nice, and it wasn't dry, so it wasn't a failure, but the beef was tasteless and soggy. Making the burger even soggier was the pool of caramelized onions and dripping wet mushrooms. Luckily, the bun was fantastic; probably the best aspect of this burger. It was soft and delicious, holding the wet little package together. But the best part of this burger experience was making eye contact with the severely under aged girl making sandwiches at the Subway next door. I give this burger a C+.


For a "healthy" burger, the Avalanche Burger is not too bad, and bigger than the average chain store version. There is no secret ingredient comprised of sugars and liquid imitation grill taste that is added to this burger, and the fries are tastier since there's a crunch in every bite.
For the burger itself; it does not live up top its namesake. There's no overwhelming mountain of mushrooms, onions, lettuce or tomatoes—and I've consumed designer burgers where I can pile on as many condiments as I want (that is when they once existed in Victoria... remember Fuddruckers?).

While I consumed the burger expecting a flood of flavours to overwhelm my taste buds, it was more like a flood of feeling somewhat filled afterwards. This burger is approximately 1.5 times the size of the usual fast food take out places. I average two burgers per sitting, so you get the idea: this "meal" was like lunch for me.

VERDICT: If you're looking for an alternative to playing in the snow... this ain't it.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I tried the Stilton Burger at the Six Mile Pub. My mouth said yuuuummm. The back bacon is thin and basically just serves as regular bacon. But the 'signature' mayo, a tasty (not nasty) blue cheese, and the apple chutney creates something I have never tasted in a burger. The beef is fresh, cooked perfectly and tastes great, just like a cow should taste.

For your burger blog it's a must try- even if you just hate the damn thing I think you'll have plenty to say regardless of your opinion.