Saturday, January 31, 2009

La Belle Patate—1215 Esquimalt Road—250•220•8427

Cheeseburger w/Bacon

Once upon a time a Quebecois dude moved to Victoria and couldn't find a good smoked meat sandwich. He opened a restaurant in Esquimalt so that people could eat good smoked meat sandwiches and other Quebecois cuisine too. Skip forward about two years and the fairy tale continues as I, Donald Kennedy, went to said restaurant to eat a cheeseburger.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I chomped down on this burger (as I lounged care-free in Esquimalt's memorial park). When you order this package "all dressed" you get mustard, green relish, onion, tomato, and what tastes like 'slaw. The 'slaw flavour was so different from what I am used to, that I had to pause for a second while mangeing. It took about two shakes before I realised this interesting addition was in fact making my lunch experience fun, as opposed to uncomfortable and weird. The 'slaw flavour mixes in pretty well with the mustard, providing a condiment mix that is well balanced and refreshingly unique.

The beef patty isn't exactly dripping in juices, but it tastes pretty decent. It is also formed just a teeny bit loose, allowing its flavour to mingle nicely in your mouth with the other burger elements. The bacon and American cheese are placed on the bottom bun (a la Fatburger) and both have that wonderfully comforting flavour that is oh-so common among superior diner burgers. The bun is soft, and ever-so-slightly chewy. As for the size, it is in perfect ratio to the burger, and holds everything together in supreme fashion. Imagine Fairfield Fish and Chips, but better.

VERDICT: Unique, satisfying, changes internal weather patterns.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wharfside Eatery—1208 Wharf Street—250-360-1808—

Ultimate Burger

Ho Hum, here we go again with another boring ass burger. The menu on their website says it's "hand-formed", but this sure looks and tastes like a sausagey supplier patty to me. The bun here is a little gummy, but not particularly bad. The special mayo is quite strong, and would probably overpower the entire unit if there was any more it. As it stands the top bun of this burger is completely dry. The bacon is salty and crisp; managing to balance out the underwhelming flavour and texture of the patty, but it can't save this unit alone. As far as obligatory menu burgers go, this one isn't exactly bad—it's just boring. In general burger terms this is a fairly crap burger though. Honestly I'm getting pretty fucking sick of reviewing burgers like this. No originality. No reason to bother with it as a menu item.

ps. This burger also comes with mushrooms. Not that it matters.

VERDICT: Whoooooo fucking cares about this boring burger. Dear Wharfside: your wait-staff (which is actually wonderful) deserve to serve a better product.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Romeo's Place—1581 Hillside Avenue—250•595•0212—

It's a new year and a new local review! This is in fact the blog's fiftieth burger review! We thank our readers, all the people who gave us rides to burger joints, guest reviewers, and anyone else who has helped the blog since our first review so long ago.

Deluxe 1/3 Pound Burger

You would not believe the amount of seniors at this place for lunch on weekdays. Apple tree is just across the street, but for some reason (maybe because there's that health at home place down the street) Romeo's was teeming with forgotten relatives today. The clientiele juxtaposed nicely with the greeter, whose concealer made her look like she'd fallen face first into a bowl of chick pea flower. Alright, so now that I've finished making fun of people in order to feel better about myself, howsabout a burger review?

This burger is the sort of toss-off menu item you'd expect from a family-style Italian restaurant. The taste of the supplier patty is somewhere between festival food cart and backyard barbeque. The condiments are minimal (mayo, relish), but the style of burger suites the minimalism. The bacon is thick and crispy (possibly the best part of the unit), but a hefty bun makes any achievements within this package hard to enjoy. As an obligatory menu item this burger is adequate, but by no means do I feel like I've sniffed out a real truffle here.

VERDICT: If a restaurant has baked spaghetti on the menu, you might as well forget everything else.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mike Green: Star Defenceman/Bun Retard

Eventually I'll get around to posting a fresh Victoria Burger review, but until then here's a video of Mike Green, Eric Fehr, and Donald Brashear going head to head to head in a burger making contest. Notice Brashear's poor grilling technique and Green's unorthodox bun placement.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Spadina Free House, 608 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon,SK - - (306) 668-1000

Free House Burger
(add $1 for Cheese, $1.50 for bacon)

"At the Freehouse, our goal is to consistently provide quality food and service in a self-expressive and creative atmosphere. People are our greatest asset. The Freehouse is community-driven and encourages people to "Think Globally, Act Locally". The Freehouse creates a spontaneous and dynamic environment, where a sense of freedom is welcomed. Social interaction is encouraged and embraced. The Freehouse appeals to any age, gender, status or cultural background.  The Freehouse is about a way of thinking."

(Photo credits to Josh Thompson of the Martlet)

I would have felt more at home if I had dreaded my hair and smoked a fatty, but it still amazes me how at home I felt after I walked into the Spadina Free House, between seminars during the 71st Annual Canadian University Press Conference in Saskatoon this past week. Located just next door to the beautiful Sheraton Cavalier Hotel, where I was staying during the conference, the Free House first caught my attention when the "free thinking" CUP organizer announced to the masses that he would be giving away coupons worth $2 off any pizza sold at the restaurant. So, myself, along with another Nexus writer and two Martlet delegates, walked into the restaurant, and quickly realized we would not be spending fourteen dollars on a small pizza just to get $2 off. I have to admit, the stone cooked, thin crust, paltry topping route did maintain my interests for a few split seconds until I noticed a burger on the menu, and decided to plant some Victoria Burger Blog seeds in the town of a thousand bridges.

Here you have a nicely toasted bun, with an oily crispness that would have been perfect if the patty had been a tad bigger, or the bun had been a tad smaller. The simple topping combination of mayo on the top bun, and a dollop of mustard on the bottom, give this charbroiled patty a backyard barbeque feel, as the thick strips of bacon draped the burger, and helped this unit hold together. The beef patty alone was a little dry, and could have used some seasoning, but the char on the patty did give it a tad bit of sweetness which was quite pleasant, and very reminiscent of Jiggers Grill's famous beef burger in Campbell River, B.C. Having said that, the Free House cannot justify charging almost 14 dollars, after taxes and adding bacon+cheese, for a simpleton burger that is enjoyable but not mid-teen dollar worthy, like the Aura or Glo Burgers for instance.

Verdict: I heard there was a Fuddruckers in Saskatoon!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Year In Review

Everyone else is making lists, so I figured I might as well make one too.

Here (in no particular order) are the top five burgers I ate this year:


Honourable Mention:

Pizza All Nite
Rose's Burger Bus

Worst Burgers I ate in 2008:

Haultain Fish and Chips

Mrs. Riches
Sidney Pier Bistro
Shark Club

What were the best (and worst) burgers you ate in 2008?