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.