Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fairfield Fish and Chips REDUX

Cheeseburger (w/o fries)

Back about five or six years ago a list was compiled: a list of the so-called best burgers in Victoria. Fairfield Fish and Chips was at the top of that list.

The title (given by a Times Colonist tasting panel) was slightly tarnished by the list's other honourees. Screaming in at second and third on this best burger list were Milestone's and Pluto's. This is why I started this blog: no one, not even the would-be experts, have a fucking clue where to get a good burger in Victoria.

The burger at Fairfield continues to be a fairly decent diner number, but it's far from the best in the city. The fresh beef patty continues to be undermined by a grill-cook who commits the cardinal sin of pressing patties multiple times on the grill. Add that to the real cheddar cheese that feels slightly out of place, and you have a burger that doesn't quite live up to the hype.

Criticising real cheese may seem a little odd, but in a package like this I really feel American Cheese provides a more comforting flavour (something you'd expect from a small mom-and-pop style place like this). Even a mixture of cheddar and swiss (such as what is offered at Willow's Galley) would taste better than the thick, under-melted slice of cheese on display at Fairfield.

A light, fluffy bun, and the personal touch of a red pepper sliver to every burger still warm the cockles of my heart, but they don't stop this burger from being over-rated.


This is one of the better burgers in the area because they use a big patty with lots of flavor. They also use like half an inch of real cheddar cheese which will probably blow a few of you away. Some in a slightly negative way, such as myself. I think more mayo would have been better than that much cheese, but there is no doubt that this burger is in the upper tier of Victoria burgers if you ask them to fully melt the cheese.

VERDICT: It's good, but it could be significantly better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nanaimo Preschool Fundraiser (Featuring Burgers!)

A burger night is happening this Saturday from 5-9pm at the Wellington Pub in Nanaimo. The event is a fundraiser for a local preschool. Burger and beer for ten bucks is the deal, could be worth checking out if you're up-island.

Anyone know if burgers at the Wellington are any good?

Little Piggy Weighs in on Pink Bike

Check out the review here.

They tried the Buffalo Burger and the Swine Burger.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Robvious Burger Shack Update

The man behind the Robvious blog is still looking at opening a shack-style burger joint on the island.

Here is his latest update:

"I’m still working on my plans for a burger joint –the balance between pricing and quality is the eternal line one must walk –not easy when transportation costs seem a lot higher here on the island. Some say a restaraunt in a major recession may not be a great idea but I think that while discresionary buying may be down there is always a market for items on the low end of cost. People still want to go out to eat and enjoy life –they’re just looking for deals a little more."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sally Bun—1030 Fort Street—250-384-1899

Mozza/Dill Burger
Salsa/Cheese Burger

$4 each

You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to get a burger from Sally Bun. Well maybe not that early, but you do generally have to be there before noon. When I rolled in around eleven o'clock there was only one mozza/dill burger left. So what's the deal? Why the draw? Is a Sally Bun burger really worth getting up before noon?

First let me confirm that these are indeed burgers, and not Piroshki, or some other non-burger item. Yes we are dealing with a stuffed bun, but the patty and other ingredients have clearly defined compartments within that bun. Given the lack of free-form mixing of the beef and other elements, the Sally Bun Burger does in fact qualify as a burger.

Alright, so it's a burger—but is it any good? Both the burgers I sampled had the same bun, and it is an excellent one. Unfortunately, especially in the case of the salsa/cheese burger; the bun is completely sabotaged by its innards.

You know the feeling of picking a Purdy's chocolate out of the box, and you bite into it and it's a fucking ginger? You pick off the chocolate coating, and curse yourself for not consulting the map. You wonder why the sweet milk chocolate has been violated by the vile ginger. In short: you feel cheated.

That's what it's like eating a burger from Sally Bun. You bite into a soft, chewy, fresh and flavourful bun only to find a goddamn pre-fab patty inside. I can't fully describe how shocked and appalled I was to find a sausagey supplier patty hiding inside both these burgers. In the case of the mozza/dill burger, I was able to focus on the bun and push the feeble patty out of my mind to some degree. The same can't be said for the salsa burger though.

How a place that manages to maintain such a high standard with the rest of its items managed to pump out this garbage is beyond me. Seriously Sally Bun, what's the deal with your salsa burger? It tastes like you just dumped a bunch of Que Pasa and shredded cheese into it. Why are you doing this to yourself? I feel like I should call up your friends and mount an intervention. You're really hurting yourself and I'm worried. It's like you've invented this incredible bun, and now you feel some sort of sick need to punish yourself for it. I know it's a sin to be proud, but it's not a sin to make a good burger. Stop fucking around with these low quality ingredients: it's below you.

VERDICT: Surprisingly disappointing. A good bun ruined by the sort of lazy burger making practices that are all too prevalent in Victoria.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rashed's Convenience Lunch Counter—18 Grafton Street—Charlottetown, PEI—902-892-6565

Deluxe Cheeseburger

Editor's Note: Please enjoy this special east coast burger report from casual burger blog contributor Helen Kennedy. Hopefully this is the first of many maritime reports!

Last year at this time, Rashed’s Convenience and Lunch-Counter was being fined for selling cigarettes to under-age buyers; fortunately for lunch-counter enthusiasts, Rashed seems to be focusing more on burgers and less on siphoning the allowance money of 12-year-old smokers these days. It’s also incredibly fortunate that Rashed doesn’t appear to be making the customers pay for his $250 fine: the first day we went the lunch special was either 2 cheeseburgers for $4.32 or a cheeseburger and fries for the same price. On day two, the special was a deluxe (2 patties with cheese, fries, coleslaw, and some veggies) burger platter for $6.29.

For a west-coaster whose brother founded a burger blog, the biggest thing Rashed’s Convenience has going for it is that eating a burger that’s been freshly made right in front of your eyes on a stool in a convenience store is awesome. After you order and while you’re perusing the store for a drink and maybe that toothpaste you forgot to buy yesterday while you were running errands, Rashed throws a ball of ground beef on the grill, mashes it down, and starts cooking.

The burger itself is delicious because it’s a novelty, the bun is soft, and the bun to burger ratio is good. However, this is a place to review and not to rave about every burger you’ve ever eaten; in which case, there are a couple things I have to take issue with: the cheese isn’t left on long enough to properly melt (although it was better with the deluxe burger), lettuce doesn’t come standard (you have to ask for it), and there’s no mayo (which is a personal condiment favourite). However, the service was good and we were eating in a convenience store.

VERDICT: Although not the best burger I’ve ever eaten, it was reminiscent of a backyard barbeque and you just can’t beat eating at a lunch-counter while the owner shows off pictures of his new baby.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My parents gave me ten pounds of grass-fed Fraser Valley beef for my birthday, so I've been making the odd burger.

Friday, February 13, 2009

UVIC Campus Centre Cafe

Bacon Cheeseburger

Not much to mention here, as this is no better or worse than your average cheap cafeteria fare. The patties are pre-cooked and held in a tub of water; left to steam away on the grill. They are then tossed onto the grill for a few minutes where they are topped with cheese and a slice of mediocre bacon. The taste of this patty is so insignificant that the bun ends up being the only thing you really notice in this package. Sure it's cheap, but so are batteries at the dollar store—and you know those are useless.

VERDICT: Why bother.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My-Chosen Cafe—4492 Happy Valley Road—250-474-2333

Workman Burger

Ever ate at a restaurant with a petting zoo in its backyard? Ever wished you could go chase a duck after knocking back a half-pound burger? Well My-Chosen Cafe is the place for you!

Go to a barbecue in Victoria and you'll find a bunch of assholes standing around eating zucchini kabobs and listening to fucking Hot Chip. Go to a barbecue in Metchosin and you'll find much more contented human beings eating a burger that is probably rather similar to what is on the menu at My-Chosen Cafe.

In what I can only assume is a very calculated move, My-Chosen actually punishes people who order the smaller burger on their menu. Order the combo burger and you get a 4oz pre-fab patty. Opt for the Workman and you get a healthy half-pound home-made patty. The patty manages to maintain flavour and a touch of juiciness, and is exactly what you would expect from a road-house restaurant like this.

My old nemesis barbecue sauce does rear its ugly head on this burger, but at least given the size of the patty its somewhat appropriate (the size being more akin to a small steak than a burger). The BBQ sauce is mixed with a red relish that is similar to what you would find at White Spot, and the top bun is smattered with mayo. The bun itself is perfectly proportioned to the burger, as opposed to being uneccessarily large. Aside from that, the bacon is crisp and the cheese is plentiful: overall a pleasant package.

Guy Alaimo Chimes In!!!!

Hey, I have a great idea. Lets go to Burger King and eat more food than any being that ever lived should ever eat, and then go eat another full meal RIGHT AFTER! This is what we did, and though regrettable, which was evident 2 hours later when I was laboring on my toilet for half-an-hour, it was truly the right move.

From now on we’ll skip Burger King on the way to this quaint village deep in the heart of Metchosin, and sample more of the menu at the My Chosen CafĂ©. The atmosphere was great. The waitress even flirted with me. Wearing a NIN shirt sometimes pays off, all right. She asked me if I went to the concert. She didn’t ask anybody else at the table what they were doing with their lives.

The burger was a thick, homemade patty, not too juicy, but settled with a nice layer of cheese and strips of crisp bacon. The barbeque sauce sent the burger in a bit of a separate direction taste wise, but there was just enough mayo to bring you back down to earth. The bun was soft and fantastic, not to big and not to small, but overall, the taste wasn’t out of this world. It’s just a damn big burger, for a great price.

VERDICT: No games being played here, just a filling, satisfying burger.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Burger Blog Anthem

I'm making this the burger blog's un-official theme song. You can download the song, if you so wish, by following this link.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pink Bicycle Redux

Pink Bike Cheese Burger
(add $2 for bacon and $1 for caramelized onions)

Time changes everything doesn't it? Well it doesn't change the fact that everytime I go to a party I come home alone and drunkenly listen to sad cowboy songs, but time does change burgers. It's been just over two months since we first stepped foot in the Pink Bicycle, and I am happy to say they have improved pretty much everything we criticized in our earlier review.

The patty of this burger, once rather over-seasoned and dry, is now seasoned lightly to highlight its rich, beefy flavour. The patty also appeared to be slightly thinner than the last time we were here, making it noticeably more juicy throughout. I am also pleased to say Pink Bike no longer skimps on the sauce. In their early days Pink Bike was obviously still working out the quantity of supplies they needed to get through the day. With that issue figured out, the burger is no longer timidly tapped with the sauce spoon; it is now dripping with delicious special mayo.

Poutine and onion ring portions are also much larger than before: both portions were easily twice as big as they were on our last trip here. Prices, another thing I complained out in the past, have been adjusted as well. Bacon is now a dollar cheaper than before, as is an onion ring side-dish substitution. As for new items I tried today; the caramelized onions had a wonderfully subtle sweetness that tasted great and didn't throw the the burger balance out of whack. The yam soup I had as a side was also excellent, and the portion very fare.

The only element of Pink Bike that has declined is their onion rings. Easily the best in town when they first opened, they were pretty soggy today. A small price to pay though when everything else was so good. The last time something improved this much it was Tom Cochrane going from Hang on to Your Resistance to Red Rider's Don't Fight It.

ps. I have to quickly give kudos to the Pink Bicycle for having a bison burger on its menu that is actually made from Vancouver Island Bison (I assume from the farm near Courtney). It's not easy to find burgers made from local meat. It's nice to see Pink Bike offer local patties at their place.

Guy Alaimo Chimes In!!!

I have to say: being recognized as the burger blog guys is a double edged sword. On one side, I felt strange eating at the Pink Bike today. There was an aura of discomfort and awkwardness that went beyond my natural bunglesome ways. On the flip side, almost everything I complained about during my first visit here, was fixed.

I think Donald says it all above, but for me, the best part was the addition of more sweet mayo. The burger as a whole was also juicier, and actually reminded me of a poor-mans Aura burger. Good job Pink Bike

VERDICT: Absolutely incredible turnaround from its early days. Probably the number two burger in Victoria now (not bad for something from a cook that used to work at "Local")