Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clive's Classic Lounge (Chateau Victoria) | 740 Burdett Avenue | 250.382.4221 |

Clive's Everything Burger

$12 (burger only)
(choice of any three toppings included: bacon, cheddar, brie, avocado, mushrooms, fried egg)

The world-wide Kobe Beef fad of apx. seven years ago never really got a foothold in our fair city. While over in New York, Halifax, Portland (and parts in-between) people treated their taste buds to the by-product of cows who had revelled in the pleasure of having sake mashed into their muscles, we on the island stayed happily behind the curve of burger progress.

Well now Clive's is on the scene with a Kobe burger offering. I didn't have great expectations going into this one (based on the banality encountered on a recent trip to Chateau Victoria's other restaurant, and the ho-humness of a previous Kobe experience), and I have to admit Clive's didn't do much to blow me away.

The flavour of the beef is the obvious stand-out in this package. Though I prefer AAA Alberta, the Kobe burger patty is certainly better than your average mid-level or pub patty. Mostly it stands out here because there just isn't really a flavour for it to play off of. The cheddar Clive's employs is melted well, but is really a little bland. The fried egg is runny, but not enough so as to make you forget that there is an incredibly infinitesimal condiment offering in this unit: if there is, in fact, anything there at all. This burger could really benefit from some sort of dijon aioli, but instead it appears to be brushed with butter which renders the lettuce saturated to maximum sog levels.

Despite these issues and others (wilted onions whose taste is impossible to pick out in this package) this is not a bad burger. The bun is soft, and wraps itself around the patty quite well, and the bacon is of the lovely fried grease and salt variety that melts in your mouth like a fizzy candy centre. The texture and flavour of this unit is fairly pleasing, but it could be so much better if they just put some sort of fucking condiment on it and maybe some caramelized onions. Mayo isn't rocket science.

And now for your reading pleasure... MOWGLI FROM JUNGLE BOOK CHIMES IN!!!!!!!!

I knew we'd be in for a surprise attack from some overpriced food item on the menu the moment we stepped into this fancy extension of a hotel.

At $12, the Everything Burger comes at quite a bargain. The catch here is the monumental $3 you must splash out for a side order of salad. WTF $3 for a salad??? I knew this shit was gonna happen!

Taste-wise, the fried egg is a beautiful addition to the burger. While Donald wished the egg could have been runnier, I like it just the way it is: dry and crispy (perfect complement to the juicy mushroom and patty). With that said, the mushrooms could and should have been cooked a little longer to really bring out the sweetness in it. The lack of sauces is a blatant way of telling the eater to savour the taste of the ingredients alone. This would be great if the ingredients themselves were actually THAT tasty. Instead the encounter with this burger reminded me more of that skinny bitch in high school who stresses out over gaining half a gram in body weight and drinks Diet Coke over the actual goodie. The plating for this burger is also like all the skimpy clothes skinny bitch wears to impress the boys: shiny and minimal.

If they had focused less on presentation (style) and more on taste (substance), then perhaps I'd actually take skinny bitch to this place again for a nice candle-lit dinner, but for that night I had to settle with staring at Kennedy's sideburns.

VERDICT: Kobe Beef is still a little overrated, and Clive's itself is lacking in some very key areas.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Burger Supremacy...

...has risen from the dead just in time for Halloween. Now that we're done with the hacky intro—feel free to follow this link to their review of the Cactus Club. Sure would be nice if they'd start reviewing some lesser known spots, but oh well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Burger 55 | 85 Westminster Avenue East | Penticton B.C. | 778.476.5529 |

Build-Your-Own Burgers
(add $1 for cheese)
(add $1.55 for drunken caramalized onions)

Editor's Note: This Penticton burger report comes to us from Tim Bissky (some photo credit to Wendy Bissky). Tim is a former restaurateur, long-time foodie, maker of (along with his wife) some killer chili dill pickles, and a man that knows how to throw one hell of an Ukrainian Christmas dinner party. He also happens to be the father of our Lower Mainland/Interior burger correspondent Miles Bissky. Thanks to Tim and Wendy for filing this report. Now let's enjoy it together shall we?

A vintage tire shop has been transformed into a happening burger place. It is designed mainly for take-out but you can fax your order in and it will be ready in about twenty minutes.
There are a few seats inside where you can eat at the counter and there are picnic tables outside.

I admit it. I am a serious foodie. I've been going and looking at what has been going on at this place for a few weeks now, ever since I heard that there was going to be a burger joint at this location. I cruised by at about 5:30 last Sunday night and screeched the car to a halt when I saw the open sign. My wife and I entered through the front door which had been recently decorated with an explosion of colorful bubbles and an orange gum ball with the number 55 painted on it.

(According to Steve and Chris, they had spent many hours driving back from Vegas and they began to interview inanimate objects! One of the objects interviewed was an orange gum ball and the idea for Burger 55 was hatched. You know what happened next. )

A chalkboard directs you to a wall section where there are about a dozen clip boards hanging. Take one and begin to create your own vision/version of the perfect burger. You begin with a classic white hamburger bun, cracked wheat, Bun 55( cheese, herbs and onions), sausage dog bun and whole wheat tortilla and those are your choices for buns! It goes on from there through the choices of cheeses, sauces etc...

Our salad was an interesting mix of market fresh greens. It also included roasted red peppers, shreds of beets, shreds of carrot, Bermuda onion (purple) and a homemade vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil. It needed a bit more vinegar, for my taste, but they qualified it by saying “that their dressing recipe is being fine tuned”.

For the meat we both chose a patty of custom ground Alberta grain fed Black Angus chuck. We chose one traditional deluxe cheese burger with a toasted fresh white bread hamburger bun, aged cheddar, 5.5 oz. of fresh perfectly cooked beef, Hellman's mayonnaise, Bick's sliced dill pickle, lettuce, tomato. I thought the burger was delicious and I remarked on how good the onions were. They told us, “To make the caramelized drunken onions we use a heavy beef stock, fresh rosemary, thyme and sauteed yellow onions all marinated in a good Okanagan Merlot.” Our other choice of burger was a Mexicanized one with roasted corn and hot sauce in a warm tortilla wrap. Awesome! For an interesting and retro cool side dish we ordered deep fried onion rings that were finished with a homemade whiskey glaze

The total cost of the burgers, fried onion rings, salad, and wrap came to $23.57 plus tip. We even splurged on a Burger 55 T-shirt ($20.00 even) for the son of a burger lover.

VERDICT: It was good food and a fun time—check it out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crossroads Bar and Grill | Colwood, B.C. | 1889 Island Highway | 250.478.1311 |

Beer Cheese Burger
Stout Onions add $1.50
Bacon add $2

Let's put beer in everything cause beer is good and then we'll be unique: thus seems to be the philosophy at Crossroads. Although they appear to be trying to rise out of the pit of mediocrity that is CRD pub food, this burger is pretty banal.

Although not as bad as the Lilliputian wrapped in the fist of Gulliver style bun:burger ratio at Bo's; there are still some problems here. Whole wheat buns generally suck balls, and such is the case at Crossroads. The bun in this package is dry, boring, and adds nothing to this package. The flame-grilled patty (seasoned with garlic, pepper, and diced sweet onions) is alright, but there just really isn't anything in this package to properly support it.

The Beacon IPA Beer Cheese, and the Farmhand Ale BBQ Sauce are alright, but aren't anything to write home about. More importantly, they really don't go very far towards enhancing the overall cohesion and flavour of the unit. As for the stout onions and bacon... they pretty much just get lost under that crappy bun, effectively muting their impact on the package. Snooooooozeeeeeeefest.

VERDICT: Crossroads appears to at least be trying to look like they are doing something interesting, but the reality is this one's a bit of a bore.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Victoria Food Blog

Some dude named Kyle just started a new Victoria-centric food review blog titled "Grub Ahoy!". Looks good, could possibly benefit from more in depth analysis, but no need for me to play the role of critical asshole when he's only one post in. Thanks for linking to us Kyle, and I look forward to seeing where you end up. Everyone at the Burger Blog wishes you good luck and good food. HEEEEEYUCKKKKKK!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Open Invitation to Kelly Clarkson

Hi Kelly,

So you're coming to Victoria next month... wanna grab a cheeseburger? I'm really trying to kick this Kelebrity Korner thing into high gear, and I could totally use your help. Tell Reba's hubby it's totally cool for him to tag along and bring friends.


Donald Kennedy
Founder Victoria Burger Blog

Adieu Burger Supremacy?

Nearly three months since the last update over at Burger Supremacy. Safe to say we've seen yet another Vancouver burger blog die a premature death? I hope not.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Smith's Pub | 777 Courtney Street | 250.360.2544 |

Smith Burger
(add $1.50 for cheese)

The tag-line on the Smith's Pub website reads "Pub classics made in house with a foreign service twist". Translation: "We've got booths with a Union Jack weaved into the upholstery, and we serve fish and chips." The claim of "Great British Food" may be an oxymoron (this is a nation that considers mushy pees an essential side dish) but thankfully I was here for that pinnacle of American cuisine: the cheeseburger.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) Smith's doesn't offer any sort of crazy Brit-style topping options—like say black pudding—but they keep the British theme going by at least making cheddar the default cheese option. The Brit motif (at least burger-wise) seems to end with the cheddar though, as the burger is housed with a foccacia bun. Surprisingly the bun actually balances fairly well with the excellent grainy mustard mayo and the flame grilled patty.

The burger patty itself is of medium quality at best (judging by taste I would say it's no better than AA) but flame-grilling and good seasoning saves it from being a total disappointment. This could probably be a very well balanced, decent tasting burger, if the patty was slightly thinner and more house mayo was used. Also, not that there's anything wrong with Alberta beef (or whatever it is Smith's uses) but if they really are serious about committing to the whole "British Pub" thing—they should probably be using the same Hereford Beef that the Pink Bicycle uses (from Springford Farm in Nanoose Bay).

I've heard lots of people sing the praises of the Smith Burger, but it feels like a lot of style over substance to me.

VERDICT: Smith's at least remains authentic in the sense that it does little to dispel the myth that British people can't make a standout burger.