Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Royal Roads Cafe | 1949 Sooke Road | 250•474•3628

Super Burger
(Saturday Special)

I'll stand by Royal Roads' baked spaghetti 'til death, but I can't get behind this burger. For something that labels itself "super"; this is a pretty bland-o-rama affair. Assorted field peppers, onion, mushrooms, and brittle bacon all combine to form one heck of a cruddy burger climate. The beef (a supplier patty) isn't exactly teeming with tastiness either. In fact the only flavour that sticks its neck out is that of the campus cafeteria style chipotle mayo used in this package. It's not exactly delicious, but at least it's noticeable.

If not for a decent bun, this burger would be a total loss. Thankfully the bun is a pleasant, slightly squishy, number that offers a good bun:burger ratio. The housing strategy here still doesn't stop this burger from being a total bore though. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have been more exciting (and more satisfying).

VERDICT: Order the baked spaghetti above all else.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Harvey's | 2400 Millstream Road/Home Hardware | Langford, B.C. | 250•474•4406 |


Harvey's: the Subway of the burger world. Personally I'd rather they just load up the condiments as they see fit, rather then get me to instruct them on what I'd like. If I want to choose my own condiments—I'll make my burger at home. If you can't figure out a good condiment mix on your own... well why are you in the game at all?

I understand giving customers control; but if you're going to give customers control, give them FULL control. Lay out a nice condiment bar where customers can choose exactly what they want. Throw some crazy shit in there like carrot and beet shavings and people will not only revel in the control given them, they'll also enjoy the "exotic" experience.

Maybe I'm being a little bit hard on Harvey's, but having to give superflous instructions while ordering a burger kind of seems like a chore to me. Give me real, ultimate control, or give me no control at all. If I want extra mayo, I'll ask.

Right; so enough of the railing against condiment practices at Harvey's. How does the actual burger taste? I'll tell you. It tastes like a minduck. What we have here is one of those oh-so confusing patties that tastes more like sausage than beef, but is not nearly as delicious as an actual sausage patty. The bun here is good, but the sickly sweet relish and twilight-zone patty are pretty off-putting. I have no idea how this place became so popular in Ontario (a province that actually has decent regional burger chains). As far as island fast food burgers go, I'd say Harvey's is close to the bottom.

VERDICT: It'll cost you more, but you'll be happier if you just go down the road to The Loghouse Pub.

ps. This Sunday Harvey's is celebrating its 50th anniversary by giving away free burgers. Check their website for further details.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Please enjoy these striking images from the burger blog's Globe and Mail photoshoot.

All photos are © 2009 Deddeda Stemler

Deddeda's online portfolio can be found at

Weddings make her puke, but she's totally down if you ever need pictures of the buffalo mozarella production process.

Photo By Deddeda

Photo By Deddeda

Photo By Deddeda

Photo By Deddeda

Photo By Deddeda

Photo By Deddeda

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Goodburger | New York City, New York | 870 Broadway | 212•529•9100 |

Editor's note: Intrepid east-coast reporter Helen Kennedy was recently in New York. Please enjoy this review of her trip to goodburger.

I was reminded today as I ate a pizza sub from Peter’s Food Market that I have yet to write my review of goodburger in New York City. As a quick aside, I have to say that if this were the search for the perfect sub sandwich, then one trip to Peter’s would put an end to the quest. But that’s beside the point; I had a goodburger a month ago and it’s time for the review. And so, (without further ado) I give you: the goodburger.

The goodburger of New York claims to be the ‘best burger in NYC’ and backs up that claim with reviews painted on the wall. Normally such an overtly self-centered restaurant that brings up memories of the 1997 movie “Good Burger” and its catchphrase “welcome to the Good Burger, home of the good burger, can I take your order” would turn me off; however, the goodburger redeems itself immediately by using two types of REAL cheese that are both all melty and delicious. None of this sweaty processed crap that adorns other burgers.

Customers at the goodburger get a choice of medium, medium-well, and well-done (I chose well-done) and the patty comes enveloped in a perfectly squishy bun that is well toasted and slathered with a near perfect mixture of condiments.

The only drawback to the goodburger was the extreme heat of the upstairs loft area where we ate. As my friend Ryan aptly put it, “I am sunburnt from sitting in this restaurant." From the loft, however, there’s a nice view of the burger-making process and it’s always nice to see the masters at work.

VERDICT: I think this burger has been reviewed to death and let me tell you: the reviews on the wall don’t lie.

James Russell reviews Canoe Club Aussie Pub Burger

Most of you have likely already noticed this, but here's a review Monday Magazine's James Russell did on the Canoe Club Aussie Pub Burger:
"One of the best things about Canoe’s menu is not simply that local meats, seafood and produce are emphasized, but, in the case of the burgers, the specific local farm that supplies the guaranteed hormone- and antibiotic-free beef is identified by name: Quist Farms of North Cowichan. Combine that with the inclusion of an Aussie pub burger on the menu ($16) and you’ve basically forced me into it. I happily dug into an 8-ounce hand-formed patty of fresh, local ground chuck topped with a fried egg, bacon, aged cheddar and, yes, sliced beets (or, in Aussie talk, beetroot). Even with the bacon, I thought the flavour could have been punched up a notch with more salt—because along with the beets (which fit quite naturally with the other ingredients) the runny egg yolk also adds a little sweetness. But really, I’m being picky. It was an excellent burger, with bountiful lettuce, tomato and a good, fresh kaiser."
I'm guessing that the Cowichan farm mentioned in the review is likely the same place that Pizza All-Nite gets its beef from (though I can't confirm that). Either way, it's further proof that providing an Island sourced burger in Victoria is far from impossible.

POW If You Don't Know About Me POW Better Ask Someone Quickly


The Burger Blog is profiled today in both the BC Section of the Globe and Mail, and the arts section of Monday Magazine (that article also profiles the Buffet Blog).

The Monday piece incorrectly quotes me as mentioning Milestone's as the chart-topper of an old Times Colonist best-burgers list. Fairfield Fish and Chips was the actual first prize winner in the old TC Showdown, with Pluto's coming in at second and Milestone's at third. Otherwise it's obviously the best thing to ever grace the pages of Monday: definitely a worthwhile read.

The Globe piece is a more literary affair that likens me and Guy to "Sancho and Don Quixote" (seriously, not even joking).

I'd like to thank both Jason Brown of Monday and Tom Hawthorn of the Globe for taking a chance on a smalltown boy with a big heart, and turning him into a star.

ps. I hope to post a few unused photos from the Globe photo shoot soon.
pps. Dear Jason Brown: Pizza All Nite is my favourite.
ppps. Dear TC: Now is the time to stop sleeping. Get us to do a burger review roundup already. Should we e-mail you a pitch?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fish on Fifth | 9812 Fifth Street | Sidney, B.C. | 250•656•4022

Bacon Cheeseburger

I've noticed a trend: red pepper on fish and chips burgers. At Fairfield Fish and Chips you get a nice round sliver, but at Fish on Fifth they do things a little differently. At this Sidney chippery the strategy is to blacken a big meaty chunk of red pepper on the grill. They then place it in their package along with some lettuce, red onion, and dill pickle. This particular plan of attack results in the pepper sliding out of the burger quite easily when you chomp down. I have to say I prefer the more subtle method employed by Fairfield.

As for the other elements at play: they're all fairly adequate. The patty has a very faint bubblegummy texture, but juices are there and the flavour is alright. The bun is soft and squishy, and provides a near perfect ratio to the meat. The burger balance is perhaps confused a little by the abundance of bacon and cheese competing with the veges, but it's not that alarming an askewment. This burger will fill a hole, but it's not likely to leave you hollering for more.

VERDICT: Fish and Chips are the smarter pick here (they truly are excellent)... but that was obvious right?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Skinny's Grille | Silver Creek, B.C. | 63810 Flood Hope Road | 604•869•5713 |

Bacon Cheeseburger

Best burgers in town? A man who used to live next to the proprietors of this restaurant seven years ago will be the judge of that! Yes it's true, my parents still live next to the owners/managers of Skinny's and make a point of eating at the Grille at least once a week. Marlene and Adriann were a welcome addition to the neighbourhood when they moved in next door to my parents about ten years ago. The previous homeowners were a crotchety old life-hating lady followed by some dudes running a grow-op. Having a family with a hot daughter living next door was a definite upgrade.

But what does this trip down memory lane have to do with current state of their restaurant and it's burger? Well nothing at all actually. Sometimes it's just nice to add a bit of personal history to a review. Makes us all feel connected, yah? Like we're friends and you can trust me because I share my personal life with you right? This is our little scam. Eventually we'll reveal personal family medical history and the trust created will catapult our clout beyond the blog's wildest dreams!

But for now, here's a review:

It's been a long time since I ate burgers in the Hope area on a regular basis, so I can't really comment on whether or not Skinny's offers the best in town. My favourite in town used to be the monster burger at the Home Restaurant, but I hear that place has gone waaayyy down hill. Like we're talking almost bottom of the hill.

As for the Skinny's Burger; it's a pretty decent effort. The home-made bun (hand-crafted by local pie legend "Di") is super fresh and has a slightly sour scone-like flavour. Thankfully the bun is nice and thin so it's strong flavour doesn't overwhelm this unit.

The patty is described as "chopped steak", but has the appearance and flavour of your regular ol' adequate enough pre-fab number. The cook in the kitchen knows what he/she is doing though, as the burger is adorned with one of what I feel are the only two condiment and topping mixes appropriate for this type of patty. Skinny's uses a red relish/onion mixture on the bottom and your general mayo/tomato/lettuce mix on top (mustard and onion on the bottom is the other acceptable mix).

As for the other items here: the bacon is crispy and delicious, the cheese a little sweaty, and the veges fresh. Overall this burger won't blow you away, but the personal touch of a home-made bun does put it well above similar packages.

Helen Kennedy Chime In Pending!!!!

VERDICT: If you can't wait until you get to Hungry Herbie's in Cache Creek; this may be the burger for you.

Discouraging News From the Robvious Blog

"The burger plan is on the far back burner –at least until we have a bigger nest egg and more time."

On a positive note he now appears to be considering the possibility of opening up a donut shop. As a big fan of Voodoo Doughnut in Portland and Top Pot in Seattle, I've always lamented the fact Victoria doesn't have an independent donutery. Also donuts go great with beef.

Here's my unsolicited advice to Robvious: Open up a burger/donut shop called "Sugar Shak" (spelling "shack" wrong makes it sound cute and homey). Serve your own variation of the Fat Kreme, and make sure you've got Creamsicle milkshakes to wash that shit down. If that doesn't work, then throw pink sprinkles on everything and start marketing to the wedding/baby shower crowd.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pizza All Nite Redux!

$6 (Carry-Out)
$8 (Delivery)

Some small changes have been made to this burger since the last time I reviewed it, but it's still probably the best burger deal in town. The D'Italiano style bun has been swapped for a simple white number (I'm not sure I'm completely on-board with the switch, but it has definitely provided a better bun-to-burger ratio). This time around I tried a couple extra add-ons with the burger. The toppings I tried this go-round were pepperoni, bacon, cheddar, edam, dill pickle and onion. Condiments are mustard and mayo. I really love the thick spicy pepperoni patties that Pizza All-Nite uses, but next go round I'll likely leave pepperoni off my burger. Although the pepperoni is delicious, the balance of the burger was thrown off a little by making that particular topping choice.

Choosing toppings that don't compete with the beef is key at Pizza All Nite, as they use pretty damn good beef for a pizza joint. P.A.N. is one of the very few places in Victoria that employs island raised beef in its burgers. The comely cow used for the patties is brought up on a Duncan area farm, and supplied by the Halal Butcher in Quadra Village. The patty is well spiced and has the same unique flavour that is found throughout the menu at this superior pizza joint. This burger remains pretty close to my top five in the city, and it is a must try if you're in the Quadra Village area.

VERDICT: Multiple topping add-ons and island raised beef for just six bucks? This burger is a steal.

ps. In the interests of full disclosure, it should be noted that I received a free ten dollar gift certificate following my purchase of this burger at Pizza All Nite. This was an unsolicitated gift given in appreciation of our previous review, and should in no way be perceived as "blogola".