Friday, August 28, 2009

Shaw Daily Blogging Piece

I now present (a month after its original air-date) the Shaw Daily piece on blogging featuring yours truly (I come in about halfway through). There's barely any mention of burgers in this piece, but if you're into finding out what our kelebrity friend Jeremy Baker looks like with bed-head... this is your kinda television!

Thanks to Dan Kahan and Shaw for giving us our big TV break.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Belaire Restaurant | 151 Vermilion Street | Princeton, B.C. | 250•295•7711

Combo Burger

Editor's Note: Please enjoy this, the latest review from our Fraser Valley/Interior/Mainland Burger Blog correspondent Miles Bissky. You can find his last review here.

On a recent trip home from the Okanagan I had a hankering for a classic diner style burger. I was just approaching Hedley and thought I would have better odds in Princeton (although I did notice a diner at the gas station in Hedley which could have a decent burger—maybe next time). Anyways, I arrived in Princeton just before noon and ignored the A&W and drove down the main street.

There were a few Chinese Canadian style places, but they usually have sub par burger offerings. After feeling slightly let down that I wouldn't find the perfect place, I decided to go to the Belaire Restaurant. My wife and I had been there last summer but I think we only had Jalapeno Poppers and a sandwich, which have now been removed from the menu. We walked inside and the interior of the Belaire felt akin to an ABC (or any other generic family-style place). It has a clean, but incredibly bland, beige interior. I thought I was going to have to make do with a frozen patty with a leaf of dry romaine lettuce to accompany it. Fortunately though, as I got the menu, I read the words “home made patty". Of course this doesn't mean that it's going to be great, but at least more interesting than a grilled western family ice puck.

I ordered the Combo Burger: mushrooms, cheese, bacon with the usual suspects from a deluxe burger (I added raw onion). They also had an Applewood Smoked Cheddar option which I considered, but I was feeling more like a classic. The burger arrived and the patty was extremely asymmetric for some reason, I guess they wanted to boldly announce it's home made origins. The patty was quite salty, although not too salty and gelatinous—similar in theme to the 'Chinese style' burgers that DK has mentioned before, but not to that extreme. In fact I really enjoyed the patty even though it was slightly unusual.

The bacon was nice and crispy and they went with a green relish, where I usually go for a red, but the green worked well in this setup (they also had shredded iceberg lettuce and pickle). As a side note: many of my favorite burger joints which have gone downhill over the years used to use shredded iceberg, but now often opt for a whole leaf of either leaf lettuce, or romaine—which pails in comparison to iceberg. This burger actually reminded me quite a bit of the Home Restaurant burgers pre-1996, as it had similar characteristics (including being charbroiled).

The burger's structural integrity was a bit difficult to maintain due to the oddly shaped patty, and stiff and angular bacon. The burger also came across as a tiny bit greasy—probably due to about 30% too much mayo. However the bun was up to the task, and the fact that it was toasted nicely helped it stand up to the burger. All in all this burger was extremely satisfying and was a surprise given the surroundings. I would have expected this burger from a place with cigarette burns in the arborite. The french fries as well were quite good, they did suffer from what my dad believes is a lazy fry cutter, that is the little nubs of potato get tossed in the french fry press without much care and strange 1-2cm fries mixed in amongst the normal length fries are the result.

VERDICT: If you are in Princeton and need a burger I would definitely recommend the Belaire: just wear a jean jacket and roll up in a 1983 Mustang to compensate for its too clean style.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bartholomew's Bar and Rockefeller Grille | 777 Douglas Street | 250•388•5111 |

Bart's Burger
(add $1 for cheese)

This'll be short and sweet, because this burger didn't leave much of an impression on me.

A number of our Facebook friends have fingered Bartholomew's as the home of the most underrated burger in town: I can't say I agree. I'll give this downtown grille the benefit of the doubt, and assume the "Executive Burger" is a cut above the rest, but the "Bart's Burger" is definitely a pal of some of the more pedestrian offerings in town.

The menu states this burger is homemade, but the leathery texture of the patty is more akin to a frozen pre-fab number. As the rest of the package is constructed in standard pub fashion; there is really nothing that makes it stand-out, or rise above its peers. I'm disappointed to say—this one's a bit of a bore.

VERDICT: My assessment may change after trying their other offering, but until then Bartholomew's is a solid bleh on the burger-meter.

Monday, August 17, 2009


A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a burger at Pink Bicycle with Kevin Wu of 604 Foodtography. Kevin has been covering Vancouver edibles since February, and recently stole my heart by posting a Screamer review earlier this month. The following is a sampling of Kevin's review of the Pink Bike Cheese Burger as it originally appeared on his blog:

"Since the big blogger dinner I attended at Alvin Garden I was okay with the idea of meeting a complete stranger for a meal. After all, if there is something in common to talk about, it should be no problem getting along. My friends, however, didn’t know what to expect, and so probably expected a really awkward and strange dinner.

There was a little mix up with our burgers—I had gotten Darren’s Chicken Burger while he had my Cheese Burger. No worries, we just switched the sides since I had salad and he had soup.

The bun is chewy, the patty was oozing, and the melted cheese on top was delicious. I must say, I could barely finish my burger and I was struggling to finish the salad. It was really filling! Oh yea, the salad was also great, baby greens with a light vinaigrette, walnuts and freshly grated cheese on top. I can’t understand how Donald and his friend ate the regular plate (burger w/ side) AND more food!

The conversation was easy going, (wow this sounds like a date), simple chit chat about our blogs, why he only does burgers, what there is to do in Victoria, etc. Overall, a good dinner is second only to good company, and both were had that night.

If I were ever going to Victoria for any reason, I would try my best to make time to drop by for a burger. If you look on their site carefully, you can even find a coupon."

While Kevin was chowin' down on Pink Bike's signature dish, I got acquainted with the Blue Flame Burger. Here is my review:

Blue Flame Beef Burger

I'm not sure what to make of Pink Bike anymore: I used to place it a solid second place on my list, but now I'm not so sure. The last time I dined at Pink Bike the default serving style for their beef burgers appeared to be medium-rare—not so on my more recent trip with Kevin. This time around I was greeted with a patty that was almost definitely thinner than the norm, a dry medium-well, and seasoned to a point where fears that Pink Bike could be regressing to the early days of over-managing its beef may not be completely misplaced.

Despite these disapointments, it would be a lie to say Pink Bike isn't one of the better burger joints in town—or that the Blue Flame Burger is a poor addition to the menu. The Bike continues to use high quality ingredients that, for the most part, mask the inconsistencies in the style their beef patties are served day-to-day. Though far from causing pregnancy-scare sweat levels; the hot chili mayo here does have a kick to it, and it melds well with the bold blue cheese. More attention needs to be given to ensuring uniformity in the product they provide, but by no means is Pink Bike serving boring, or bad burgers. The feeling that you're being short changed by dining later in the day (getting a smaller patty, smaller portion sizes for some sides) is infuriating though—I suppose this is still around my top five in the city, but I don't think I can feel confident in calling it number two anymore.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Part 1: Jeremy Baker at Cabin 12

The Victoria Burger Blog is very pleased to bring you Kelebrity Korner: Part 1! Kelebrity Korner is a new segment in which we go out for a burger with a local kelebrity, we ask them a few stock questions, and then said kelebrity reviews the burger we enjoyed together. Part 1 of this exciting new venture features Jeremy Baker! Jeremy Baker is the afternoon show host over at the Zone. He was recently catapulted to super-stardom when he appeared alongside yours truly in a recent Shaw Daily piece on blogging.

Baker hates burgers with too much condiment action, and loves being left with a little superfluous bun at the end of an outing (he generally passes along the extra bun to his baby girl). Lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle are all must-have items for the Dean of the Afternoon Drive—anything less and he's leaving.

What else do you need to know about the man they call Jeremy? Let's head to the question and answer portion of our affair shall we?

Where is your favourite burger in Victoria?

The Canoe Burger with the slab of prime rib on top and the blue cheese is a savage beast that MUST be tamed!

What is the best burger you've ever had?
Mmm Vera Burger, Downtown West End of Vancouver, summer time, just a taste of the marijuana = good times.

Name your best and worst ever burger experiences.
I've had a lot of best, but the worst is almost always on BC Ferries. Save-On Foods Memorial Centre is a close second.

Name another local kelebrity you wish you were.
Jamie Oliver... oh local? Darryl Lloyd- Victoria Salmon Kings

What is the best burger-centric movie of all time: Hamburger America, Fast Food, Hamburger: The Motion Picture, or "Other"?
Hamburger Hill? Wait that is a Vietnam movie. Super Troopers where the kid spits in the burger... good times. Fast Times at Ridgemont High... all good. Waiting is not about "burgers" but is about a restaurant and all the shenanigans that go with that.

Review Time!
Cabin 12
607 Pandora Avenue

Yesterday I met up with Victoria Burger Blog Dude Donald Kennedy to mow down on a burger, and to add to his outstanding list of Victoria burger reviews.

I wanted to hit Cabin 12 on Pandora Street. Last week, I met up with Robin Farrell of Kool FM for a bite, and we ventured to Cabin 12. I was mighty impressed with the service, cost, and quality of the meal. Robin and I rocked wraps: Donald and I would be trying the burger.

Donald ordered some creation with a fried egg, bacon, and cheese on top: pretty much a breakfast AND lunch combo thing. I went with their classic, Cabin 12 burger.

What to say about it? I loved that it wasn’t too saucy—an overly saucy burger makes me want to drag net the ocean bottom. The burger came open faced on a hearty whole wheat bun and came with all the standard fixings.

Right away, the burger could do no worse than par.

The patty tasted like some kind of homemade creation from a picnic long past. It had that “mom” feel about it and some surprises as you bit in. Red and Green peppers? Sure—I hope that is what it was. Donald and I had a hard time deciding if this was good or not. The Dude mentioned that the burger was very similar to the Floyd’s Burger (something about the owner being a former employee?).

For the $9 I paid, and the funky vibe of the joint, I’ll give this burger a firm recommend, and it will become a new favourite diner for me. I’ll need to drag Coral down sometime for a breakfast. Ha, maybe this morning when I wake up before work. Friday is pay day!

Editor's note: Thanks to Guy Alaimo for the Kelebrity Korner logo design. The official Victoria Burger Blog review of Cabin 12 will appear sometime in the coming weeks. If you are a local (or travelling) kelebrity and you'd like to be featured in "Kelebrity Korner", you can contact me by e-mail:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Media Domination Update: Impromptu Zone Invu

Had a very quick chat on the Zone today with Jeremy Baker. You can listen to the interview here. More Jeremy-related content will be coming to the blog soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beacon Hill Drive-In | 126 Douglas Street | 250•385•7521


This is not the worst burger in Victoria. Despite what Victoria Burger Blog Facebook Group Members may say; this doesn't even come close to some of the other burger shit-storms swirling around various south-island kitchens.

I will agree this burger is boring. There is no denying the fact that this burger holds nothing in the way of pleasing flavour, and goes nowhere towards killing cravings. This is not enough to make it the worst burger in Victoria though. There is a difference between boring and blindingly, infuriatingly bad. I will concede that, unlike in other units, the mustard/onion and American cheese mix can't save the Beacon Hill Burger from its descent into a maelstrom of meh—but its blandness doesn't inspire vegetarianism, or anything similarly terrifying.

Consider yourself lucky if this is the worst burger you've ever had in Victoria.

VERDICT: Yah it sucks, but you could do a lot worse.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"A" News Burger Blog Piece

I now present to you here for the first time on the internet: the finest 2 and a half minutes of local television ever created in the last week and a half! Thanks to Erick Thompson for covering us, Mark Planiden for mentioning us to Erick, and to the cameraman who lost his windsock in my basement.

FYI: I am currently working on acquiring a copy of the Burger Blog piece that ran on Shaw last month. It will eventually be uploaded here if I am given permission.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Media Domination Continues

A-News was hanging out in my basement today. Black Press the only local media outlet we're still waiting on? CFAX? They covered the Buffet Blog, so we can call them dominated right? Total media domination isn't far off!

FYI: Burger Blog teaser piece will be on at 6:25 tonight, full piece tomorrow at 6:00.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heron Rock Bistro | #4-435 Simcoe Street | 250•383•1545 |

Fat Buoy Burger $12 (add $1.50 each for Bacon and Cheese)

The linguistic history of Hope, BC is—tragically—rather undocumented. From "cleveland ducats" to "giver giver Fraser River"; some of my favourite slang has been bred out of the Gateway to Rainbow Country. There is, however, one term that stands above all others as the best word to ever originate from Hope: "chutter". Coined circa 2001 by local linguist Katie Henderson, the term refers to the act of pilfering street signs, lawn gnomes, election campaign signs, or other various public and private property that does not require breaking and entering to acquire (this can include anything from two-by-fours liberated from park benches to wooden water-slide name placards).

Dave Chutter
is a Nicola Valley-based rancher who ran in the Yale-Lillooet riding during the 2001 provincial election campaign. During the campaign over two-hundred Chutter campaign signs were lifted from lawns across Hope. It was perhaps the single greatest act of mischief of its kind in local history; and thus the verb "to chutter" was born. Dave Chutter went on to represent the Yale-Lillooet riding for a single term, doing us proud by serving as chair of the Committee of Development of the Provincial Noxious Weed Strategy. Meanwhile teenagers from Hope, Silver Creek, and Kawkawa Lake continue to commit multiple acts of "chuttering" every year throughout the Fraser Valley.

What in the world does this heart-warming bit of Hope history have to do with the Heron Rock Bistro? Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you! Heron Rock has the meat for its burgers supplied by Slaters Meats, who in turn gets its beef from 1999 B.C. SPCA Farmer of the Year Dave Chutter! SMALL WORLD YAH?

The beef has a soft texture, a light flavour, and is served in a package that is cooked somewhere between medium-rare and medium at Heron Rock. Housing the burger is an extremely soft and chewy (almost doughy) house-made bun, which is also served as an appetizer at the restaurant. The bun is sprinkled with the same rock salt/herb mix you may find on a very simple focaccia. I'm not entirely convinced that the texture and flavour of this bun matches the burger patty as well as another bun would, but I'll give it points for being a little different.

The bacon offered at Heron Rock comes from Hertel's Meats; a forty-year-old family run business that operates out of Port Alberni. I like the idea of using local (sort-of) products, but in this case it doesn't really add much flavour-wise. I've definitely had significantly better bacon at other local restaurants: honestly I found the price at Heron Rock a little high for what I found to be fairly average tasting bacon.

Though the bacon is underwhelming, the house relish that adorns this burger is a perfect match for the subtle beefy tones that emanate from the patty below. Coupled with the house relish is a dollop of mayo and that's it. It's a nice simple mix that really compliments the package well. Finally a note on the cheese: tasty and melted well. The kitchen has obviously spent some time developing this burger over the last few years (the bun is a change from before, as are some other elements I believe) and it shows: Heron Rock has done the Chutter name proud.

VERDICT: Nice to see a restaurant like this pay attention to a dish which is often treated as an afterthought at other similar venues: one of the better burgers in the city.