Tuesday, December 7, 2010

John's Place Update

Received this in the comments a few days back from someone who I assume is connected to John's, though the post was anonymous:

"We have completely transformed our two burgers. One is stuffed with blue cheese and the other is real cheddar."

I'd say the first transformation has potential. I'll check it out eventually.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pig Fatty Melt

WOW is this a belated review. I ate this literally months ago, which is why I'll only make two comments:

First: Holy shit, tone down the toast here Pig. I mean seriously, Tom Sawyer could have travelled down the Mississippi on these rafts. The sandwiches in a Fatty Melt need to be small, lest the beef get completely lost.

Second: Adding banana peppers to the grilled cheese is a stroke of genius. Magnificent twist Pig. Kudos.

Pluto's | 1150 Cook Street | 250.385.4747

Beef Burger
add $1 each for cheese and bacon

What we have here is an anomaly: a diner that proudly advertises a lean burger. And not just any lean burger: a burger so lean that, even with a little pink, it still manages to be drier than dreads. You see, generally, the advantage of a burger with a little pink in it is the juiciness factor. Here, however, no such luck.

Back in 2004 a Times Colonist tasting panel rated Pluto's burgers as third best in the city (falling in behind Fairfield Fish and Chips and Milestones). Pluto's also received an honorable mention in the reader's choice write-in poll. I'm not prepared to give it the same ranking. The bun is a nice, soft number, but that's where the joy ends. The charbroiled patty is of average quality taste-wise, and lacks the juiciness, or the good accompanying condiment which would overcome the ho-hummery (just a smattering of mayo adorns the bun here). Other elements such as bacon and cheese are not memorable enough to mention. Like so many other burgers in Victoria, this one just isn't worth talking much about.

VERDICT: Not top ten, not bottom ten, not notable.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Collision! Ed Sum From Two Hungry Blokes Tries the Pink Bicycle Poutine Burger

Editor's Note: Hello world. Today we have frequent burger blog contributor Ed Sum with us representing his very own blog Two Hungry Blokes. Pink Bicycle first introduced a poutine burger to their patrons somewhere between a year and a year and half ago. The most recent incarnation of the special features bison instead of beef. I meant to get this up while the special was still on, but I fucked up. Y'all got the background now? Y'all ready for a collision?


Imagine my surprise when I heard of Pink Bicycle's weekly special, a Poutine Bison Burger, on Facebook. I have to tip my hat to Darryl LeCraw for bringing me the news.

I immediately messaged my buddy Don from the Victoria Burger Blog and said we have to check this out. I called up James, and he had to work …

“Well, it’s your loss and our weight-gain,” I said.

Dining on gourmet style burgers is pricey, and it's not something I'd do regularly. But this time I had to bend the rules. And with locally grown bison from up island tasting better than what I've had before, I thought this meal wasn’t too bad. It wasn't perfect either, since true bovinae need huge fields to graze in, rather than the close confines of a space like Vancouver Island.

At least Island Bison is improving. What I tried before wasn’t all that good, and it’s only fair to keep on trying until the company gets it right. That holds true for Pink Bicycle too. I normally think of this place as over-rated, but after today I think they’re moving in the right direction—truffle fries as a regular menu item being one reason why.

The flavour is all in the oil, and if the fries weren’t well-done, I’d have said they’re a step above the norm. Hours later, the aftertaste I’m left burping is great!

As for the burger itself, the taste is in all in the warm swarthy gravy—it was slathered over the noodle-like fries. These fine strips were nicely done and the light crisp works over the soft patty that I nibbled on.

The bison itself did taste a bit on the dry side, and I wished it was bigger. For what Pink charges (including tip, I paid $20), one would hope they don’t skimp on patty size, but they do. I was left wondering where the rest of the bison meat roamed off to. They certainly weren't grazing outside, and what I had left were a few bite-size pieces of bun with traces of gravy.

At least the quality of the bread was top notch. It was nicely toasted to sandwich my meat. Curiously, they didn't give me a slice of tomato. Don got the all the luck and I snagged the sliver he set aside and placed it onto my burger. While he doesn't like tomato on his burgers, I savour them.

But when it was forgotten for my serving, to err is human. For any hamburger, I feel the staples (red onion, lettuce and tomato) must be there to bind it all together. I was expecting an artery clogging meal, and it barely made a dent. Well, maybe in my waist-line but that's nothing a good trek through the Western Nebraska Great Plains won't cure. Maybe there I'll find some real wild bison to satisfy my meat cravings.


Right, so I had a wonderfully witty bit of prose prepared for this posting, but sadly I pressed backspace and lost it. I'm much to lazy to attempt to recreate it, so I'll just make a couple of replies to Ed's critique.

Firstly: the thought that dining on burgers at Pink Bicyle is more expensive than the norm—it isn't. I believe the Bison Poutine Burger was $14+tax. This is actually cheaper than a lot of pubs, and is now around average for most restaurants. Recession's over, burgers are getting expensive. It's a cold world out there.

Second: the thought that the patty was too small. I think this was just your eyes playing tricks on you Ed. Normally I'm not too upset with the bun:burger ratio of Pink Bike's offerings, but on this trip it was readily apparent that there was too much bun. This isn't, however, because Pink Bike's patties are any smaller than normal. The patty looked small between the bun, but it was certainly bigger than some of the patties I've had at Pink Bike when it's the end of the day and they're running out of beef in the kitchen.

Finally a thought of my own:

Though my plea for a poutine burger, made via this blog, was to Pig, it was nice to see another restaurant step up to the plate. Was the Bison Poutine Burger all I'd hoped for? No, not really. If you're going for gluttonly, why not use real french fries instead of shoestring potatoes? As a friend once said, "Pink Bicycle is never quite as good as you want it to be."

VERDICT: If you're not lining up for the soup, there's little reason to be lining up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Palagio Pizza | Frnt-2637 Quadra Street | 250.920.5550


add $1 for cheese
50¢ for onion ring

In terms of burger deals, it doesn't get much better than this, pricewise, in Victoria. There's the $6 burger and beer at the UVIC Grad Lounge on Mondays, but that's about all that comes close to touching this Palagio deal. $2 burgers at the sports bar on Quadra are long gone, and the $1 burgers from the defunct shop I can't remember the name of that was on Langley Street, are now no more than whispers on the wind. Of course the measure of a deal is more than price alone, so lets get into the real metrics of this Palagio offering.

The taste of the patty in this unit is hard to pick out upon first bite, but the texture sure isn't. What we have here is a sort of Frankenstein's monster, or maybe some other modern monster, I don't know, pick your favourite—it probably applies. What I mean to say is the texture and flavour is an odd hybrid of Harvey's and Chinese-Canadian burger styles: a little sausagey, a little gelatinous. I can't say it's all that appealing, but the flavour is so buried under everything else that it hardly matters in a burger this cheap.

The toasted white kaiser was surprisingly fresh, and certainly much appreciated. Adornments were your standard burger fare: shredded lettuce, tomato, burger pickles and mayo. The onion ring I added gave the burger a pleasant crunch, and probably saved it from being a little too drab. Overall a little weird, but not totally terrible.

VERDICT: They sure do give you a lot of fries. The burger, however, is not tasty enough to make this the incredible deal it would appear to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Blog Theme Song

I promise I'll post a new review again soon. Until then, here's some classic hillbilly music from Columbia Records.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JACK FM Burger Poll Results

Here they are:

3rd Place: West Coast Taphouse - "The Chophouse Chilli Tomatillo Cheese Burger"
2nd Place: Canoe Club - "Canoe JACK FM Burger"
1st Place: Loghouse Pub - "The Yukon JACK Attack Burger"

Can't be too mad at this. Spinnaker's probably deserved a spot in the winner's circle though.

Dear Pig BBQ Joint:

Pulled Pork Poutine Burger. Think about it.

Thank you for contemplating my request.



Habitat Cafe | Grant Building | Royal Roads University | Colwood

Hatley Park Burger

Uggh. I'm so tired of burgers like this. Why do I even bother anymore? Why can every little league concession stand in the CRD pump out enjoyable burgers from cheap, pre-fab patties, yet no one else can? Also why does nearly every earthy-dearthy greeno-beano restaurant insist on using whole wheat buns. You're not fooling anyone anymore. There's nothing inherently earth-friendly about whole wheat buns. Also they are dry as fuck at least 95% of the time.

By now you can likely tell I wasn't sent into space by this burger. The bun:burger ratio is a boondoggle, as most of the other burger flavours are usurped by bready banality. Are there actually mushrooms on this thing? Could have fooled me, because you sure as hell can't taste them, and that's not because this is an expertly balanced product. The bacon? It has a texture akin to melted marbles. The patty itself is a below average pre-fab that is not particularly salty or sausagey (which most similar patties are). Salty and sausagey are not necessarily great qualities, but in patties such as these, they are often necessary, because without them there isn't much else.

This wasn't an inedible burger, and it wasn't among the ranks of the worst I've had; it was just lazy and boring. I've had some mediocre post-secondary cafe burgers, and this one from Royal Roads doesn't exactly buck the trend.

VERDICT: Higher learning=lesser food. It's a sad fact we intellectuals face.

ps. Apologies for the lack of updates lately. I've been a combination of busy/lazy, and that has resulted in the slow down. Also the only potentially interesting burgers left in town are lunch burgers, which I don't always have time to get to. I do hope to try Willie's Bakery and Mole soon. Also expect a review of the Palagio Pizza cheap-skate burger coming soon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

JACK FM Burger Poll.

Just noticed this via the Good Food Blog. Stomping on Black Press territory; JACK has teamed with a bunch of, mostly pub-style, restaurants to set up a best-of-our-catchment-area burger poll.

Here's the list of contestants:

I haven't been to half of these places (Ric's, OJ's, Taphouse, Station House), but I think I can say with confidence that the best burger in the CRD isn't on this list. There are some good joints listed here though: namely Loghouse (I have faith, even though it's been two years since I last visited) and Spinnakers.

This is just round one, however, which hopefully means new challengers will appear in subsequent rounds (though I expect round two is more likely to be the round one list parred down).

The JACK site seems to be set up so only members of their fan club can vote in this poll. Judging by replies on their Facebook site; JACK listeners know zip zero about island burgers. Seriously, the first two replies mention the A&W vege burger and the Famous Shameless at Redd's Pub. Don't be surprised if McDonald's wins the poll as a write-in candidate.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kennedy Kitchen Lab

The Fatty Elvis

Some say gluttony is a sin, but I say the Fatty Melt is a gift from God. You might call your mom's mashed potatoes "heavenly", but nothing really gets you on the fast track to the afterlife like a sandwich containing enough calories to keep a rowing team going for a month. God wants to be close to us. He's lonely up there in that big ol' blue sky with Robin Williams whining everyday about his wife being in hell. THERE'S A PRICE FOR SUICIDE FUNNY MAN. What I'm trying to say is; God needs some new pals up there, that's why he gave us a sandwich that can kill.

As a creation of man, not God, there's no way the Fatty Elvis could ever be as good as the Fatty Melt. Perhaps it isn't a heavenly meal, but the FE is at least on a purgatory+ level.

The extreme awesomeness of peanut butter and beef together was established long ago. Even the idea of using Elvis' favourite sandwich fillings to accent a burger isn't a new idea. Dangerous Dan's in Toronto has been doing it for years, and closer to home; Pink Bike did a variation on the Elvis Burger back in summer.

What made my Fatty Elvis adventure good? The delicious, yet underutilized, coupling of beef and peanut butter for one. After that, it's the same things that make the Fatty Melt a triumph of biblical proportions: mostly the melty, gooey fun of the thing. However, whereas the Fatty Melt puts you on a heavenly plane which is generally unattainable from just eating a regular cheeseburger with no condiments or other accouterments; the Fatty Elvis does not. Although it's nice, a regular burger with peanut butter and fried banana would likely be more enjoyable.

There is one other thing the Fatty Melt does for you that the Fatty Elvis does not: make you tired. The Fatty Melt tends to put one in a blissful, sleepy stupor: as if there's nothing else worth staying cognizant for after eating one. The Fatty Elvis, though fun, just doesn't create that same enchanted numbness. A nice experiment, but still an imitator at heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Willows Galley Redux

Willows called and I answered. A couple weeks ago the new manager at Willows Galley, using the tantalizing information that supermarket quality beef had been kicked out the door, endeavoured to lure me back to this Estevan Village eatery. Yes beef from Slater's is now employed in this unit, but not in the way it should be.

I wasn't paying close attention to the kitchen, so I can't confirm my suspicions, but this patty was almost definitely pre-frozen. There's no other way to explain the texture and the confounding lack of dynamism. Pretty disappointing as I have enjoyed other burgers made with meat from Slater's.

It's been over two years since I last visited Willows, but I can say with some certainty that the rest of the unit hasn't changed much. There is possibly a new bun supplier, but if there has been a change, it's minor. The main condiments are still burger relish and mayo, and they still work well in this unit. Unfortunately the beef remains the weak link. If they are indeed using frozen, a switch to fresh would instantly remedy this situation. Much like it was two years ago, this burger is just a step away from being an excellent take-out option.

VERDICT: If you're not a little league ballpark burger stand, you have no business using pre-frozen beef (or anything that tastes like it).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fat Phege's | 134-560 Johnson Street | 250.383.3435

Deluxe Burger

Editor's Note: Please enjoy this review from our sporadic correspondent Ed Sum of Two Hungry Blokes. I'm surprised this burger wasn't completely lambasted by Ed, as I'm fairly sure I've seen patties microwaved at Phege's before (though I can't confirm this practice 100%).

Standards have to be relaxed when buying any meal from a window. That's what I figured when I visited Portland, Oregon, and heard about Voodoo Doughnuts and its infamous red door. I assumed that's where one purchased the doughnuts, but that's not the case. It's just a landmark to identify where one can buy Voodoo's tasty treats. Through that red door lies the opportunity to peek into the kitchen and smell various sugary delights. And no, I didn't get a chance to try their famous doughnut burger. It wasn't on the menu that night, otherwise I would have OD'ed on sugar and protein.

But there are imitators too. Back in Terra Victoriana, Fat Phege's storefront from inside Market Square has a yellow awning and decor that is strikingly reminiscent of Voodoo Doughnuts. At Phege's, however, it's fudge not doughnuts that are the claim to fame. I gave this place a whirl because I was looking for a quick bite before a Fringe Festival show. I settled on the deluxe burger. All deluxe meant was slapping lettuce and tomato onto a bun and charging extra for it (editor's note: this is standard at a lot of lunch counter style eateries). It really wasn't worth the $4.50 they asked, and I wondered if this burger could be improved with some sugar too. Fudge and a hamburger definitely do not mix. Hot dog condiments and a burger do, and I found what I ate okay after treating this mooer more like an oinker.

While there's a distinctly grilled taste, the burger patty was by no means cooked fresh: it was ready within three minutes of ordering. Fast food comes really fast here, but what stood out for me was that I actually tasted something in the meat. It wasn't bland, and the added sauerkraut, spot of relish, and heap of white onion helped liven up what most would consider a dead burger. I just have to wonder if there's a market for hamburger being served with cabbage (editor's note: pickled cabbage is going to be the new tomato slice soon, mark my words)? That's a taste challenge I could handle, and there may well be more Central European style cravings begging to be discovered. Where they'll take me next will depend. Cabbage soup anyone?

-- "Dancing within the Cosmic Divide that is called Life."
Folklorist, Amateur Egyptologist and Freelance Writer

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Management at Willow's Galley

Received this message a couple days ago:

Hello burger bloggers,

I just wanted to take a second for a shameless plea to come try out the burger at Willows Galley in Estevan Villiage again. It`s been a while since you guys tried it out, we are under new management and I think things have improved since you were last here. The beef is from Slaters First class meats down the street and it is seasoned to perfection. We also use real cheese and no longer precook our burgers to be kept warm in a steam table for service.

Anyhoo,I know I`m not the first person to beg you for a visit it`s just that everytime I hear about your review I die a little inside. That`s all, no biggy.

Luke Roberts,
Manager - Willows Galley

I'll try and to a redux sometime in the next week or so.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bistro Cache | 7120 West Saanich Road | Brentwood Bay, BC | 250.652.5044 | http://bistrocache.ca/


Seniors: they want you off their lawns, they enjoy parking in intersections at the first sign of an ambulance, and they probably like this burger. As my dining partner Mr. Brendan Kergin suggested while we dined at Bistro Cache—only old people enjoy food this bland.

I was turned on to this 100-mile diet focused eatery a couple months ago by a blog reader who described this burger as, ". . . cooked perfectly, with a bit of pink in the middle, and soooo juicy." Such was not the case when I sampled it.

This is a smaller burger, probably in part because it shrinks a little during the flame-grilling process. That same process gives the patty its only strong flavour, and a slightly leathery exterior as well. The interior was about as juicy as your average burger in Victoria, which is to say not very. It certainly wasn't juicy enough to warrant spelling so with four o's. As for pinkness? Not even close: this one's all brown.

Taken as part of the overall package, the flavour of the patty was essentially unnoticeable. Even separately, this beef was strikingly lacking in boldness. I don't know if something in the aging process or style of grilling is to blame (I'm not sure what they grill with, but perhaps using Applewood or something similar would make a difference), but this is pretty boring beef. Certainly not what I expected from grass fed Cobble Hill steers. There is a subtle, clean taste that lingers within the patty, and is rather nice, but its impossible to find once it's slapped between a bun. You'd have better luck locating a duck in a dirt tunnel.

The crusty bun, however, is great if you nibble on it separate from the burger. It has a light, fresh feel that is rather pleasant. It would actually be a wonderful fit if their was a single taste bud tickler in this unit. The only thing that comes close to transforming this burger from food to meal is the saffron mayo.

When you are lucky enough to get a bite of this burger with a generous glob of the wonderful condiment, you really start to see some potential. The saffron mayo is like a kiss from Tinkerbell, and helps separate the flavour of the beef from the rest of the package. That separation allows for just enough dynamism to create a pleasant, albeit shy, burger. Unfortunately, the saffron mayo is used so sparingly that you rarely experience this sensation. Instead, the toasted bun acts like a sponge to a spill—removing any evidence to your tongue that the mayo ever existed as part of this package.

The overwhelming trend throughout our lunch was a feeling that we weren't tasting anything. As Kergin said, even the onion confit was indistinguishable within this burger. Maybe we caught Bistro Cache on a bad day, but I've had few other burgers that have had such a lack of affect, positive or negative, on my senses.

VERDICT: Not far from paper on the flavour excitement scale.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blue Fox Cafe | 919 Fort Street | 250.380.1683

Gourmet Beef Burger

Sometime around. . . ohhhhhh I don't know when, everyone and their dog (dogs barbecue A LOT) started using a BBQ sauce/chipotle mayo condiment mix on their burgers. When I say everyone, I mean an overwhelming number of local restaurants. This has, as many regular readers know, caused much kvetching from yours truly. That's why it's so nice to see a place finally get the mix right.

The green apple BBQ sauce and smoky chipotle mayo in this package cavort together in a way I never knew possible. These condiments compliment each other superbly, and never overwhelm the rest of the unit, as other BBQ sauce/chipotle mixes so often do. The placement of the BBQ sauce is key here, as it is lovingly tucked underneath a blanket of smokehouse bacon, and cheddar and Monterrey jack cheeses. The cheeses are melted to the point where they almost look baked, and their placement helps keep things in check. Apple and cheese flavours go together better than apple and bun: this BBQ sauce wouldn't have the same impact if it was just lingering on the sidelines.

As for the stumpy cracked wheat bun—it's not nearly as atrocious a match for a burger as you'd expect it to be. It may be a little small for the patty that busts out from beneath it, but at least it's fresh and chewy.

The patty itself has a texture and taste that suggest Blue Fox ain't shy with the salt. The strands of beef are not visible as individuals here, but instead form a tight unit that emanates sausagey flavour undertones. The patty does not lean strongly to the flavour of any one seasoning though. Instead it is supported by the comforting, greasy flavour all burgers should have. It's no juice-bomb, but the obvious glut of salt doesn't desertify this lean beef either.

As the flavours and textures intertwine, what you get at Blue Fox is an interesting amalgamation of both pub and hippie styles. Essentially the cafe has tinkered with pub-style just enough to create a burger that overcomes the banality of that genre, without getting too daisies in the barrel about it. Good job.

VERDICT: Blue Fox has single-handedly proven the BBQ sauce/chipotle mayo trend worthwhile. It takes a pretty good burger to do that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

White Spot Giveaway

Message to White Spot PR: Don't send promotional material via Purolator. I would have used this giveaway to help you promote Pirate Pak Day, which helps support Zajac Ranch, but I didn't get your package until today.

Purolator only makes ONE delivery attempt. Couriers deliver during the day, when normal people are either working, at school, or sleeping. I miss courier deliveries 100% of the time, and going to pick up packages in person is a pain in the ass. At least UPS lets you sign a little note saying, "Just leave that package in the bushes mang, I'll find it."

So yah, I wasn't able to pick up this exciting White Spot giveaway package until today, but I have it now, and you dear reader could benefit!

Here's what you have to do in order to win a $25 gift certificate and two coupons for free Pirate Paks: send me a picture depicting burger history in Victoria, or proof that you have donated to a B.C. charity in the last three months (vicburgers@gmail.com). Most impressive example of one, or both of these things, wins the whole shebang, which will be sent to you via some method other than Purolator.

Get to it Prize Pigs! Picture or proof gets you free White Spot! Exclamation marks!

ps. Despite the frustration in not getting this in time to promote Pirate Pak Day, I would like to thank White Spot for providing the blog with this prize.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Burgers of Our Lives: Archival Material From the Times Colonist

I've made reference to the Times Colonist's best island burger article before, but now, having searched Canadian Newstand, I have the full thing.

So now, from May 5, 2004, I give you the Times Colonist Readers' Choice picks for best burger on the island:

1. J & L Drive-In, 4422 Gertrude St., Port Alberni

2. George's Food Bar, 540 Comox Rd., Courtenay

3. Shakie's Drive-In, West Coast Rd., Jordan River

4. White Spot (multiple Island location)

5. Dockside Cafe, 453 Head St., Victoria

Notables: Dutch Bakery, Victoria; Spitfire Grill, Sidney; Willow's Galley, Victoria; John's Place, Victoria; Ferris' Oyster Bar and Grill, Victoria; Monkey Tree Pub, Victoria; "The Stand" at the ferry terminal on Pender Island; Blue Fox Cafe, Victoria; Genoa Bay Cafe, Genoa Bay; Pluto's, Victoria.

I believe Shakie's and Dockside are both gone now. Genoa Bay Cafe exists, although in a different incarnation. I'm sad to say White Spot is the only place I've sampled in the top five. As for the notables; the Pender Island stand, and the Blue Fox are both good picks. It's hard to criticize this list much, because I wasn't familiar with many of the burgers back then. Also, most of my current favourites didn't exist in 2004.

It is, however, quite easy to blast the tasting panel results that accompanied this article. The burgers for that list seem to have been picked essentially at random. Eric Akis, the writer of the article, says he thought it would be interesting to allow the panel to compare, ". . . a chain restaurant; a diner where you would expect to get a good burger; and a fish and chip shop, where burgers are not the focus."

Here are the results:

1. Fairfield Fish and Chips, 1275 Fairfield Rd., Victoria

2. Milestone's, 812 Wharf St., Victoria

3. Pluto's, 1150 Cook St., Victoria

The article makes it clear that the tasting panel (consisting of Akis, Chef William Haysom, and Laura Agnew—a caterer, and the creator of "As you like it" brand sauces) only went to Milestones, Pluto's, and Fairfield Fish and Chips in their quest to find the best burger on the island. I get that the TC has a budget, and that means they aren't going to go to a dozen places to find a winner, but it would be nice to know that some thought went into narrowing the tasting panel field down to these three choices. Why Milestone's, which isn't a burger chain, and not Red Robin? Why Pluto's over any other diner? In fact Fairfield is the only place Akis gives a reason for picking, saying people have told him it's the burger be-all and end-all for years.

I realise it's kind of fucking lame to be critcising a list that's over half a decade old. I mean who cares right? I pretty much only succeed in looking like some sort of dickhead burger curmudgeon. This is a part of our city's burger history though, and I think it makes sense for this blog to comment on it now, seeing as we weren't around six years ago. Also I'm a dickhead burger curmudgeon.

And I mean seriously, how do you name Milestone's the number two burger in the city, after Haysom says the patty looks like it was mixed in a machine. This doesn't exactly lend integrity to your list.

This quote probably sums up the uselessness of the tasting panel list the best though, and is a telling comment on the nature of burger expectations in Victoria at the time, "Unlike the other burgers we tried, Fairfield Fish and Chips meat patties were also juicy and tender and would have been delicious all on their own." There you have it: a list of the best burgers in Victoria, and only one is juicy. Fucking unbelievable.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pig BBQ Joint: Get in My Belly Burger

Get in My Belly Burger

The latest in a parade of great burgers to step out of the Pig kitchen; the GIMBB isn't the best I've had here, but it's still wonderful.

This burger appears to be a slight variation of the pork belly and egg burger Pig served as a special in July. The GIMBB is egg-free, but it keeps the pork belly and rests everything on a raft of beets and bread and butter pickles. This combo allows it to function as a sort of bizarro-world Aussie burger.

In place of the dijonaise that adorns many of Pig's burgers, the GIMBB has a sort of thin cheese sauce accented with creaaaaaaaaaammmy chunks of . . . I ate it so fast I wasn't even able to pinpoint the variety of cheese.

So not as good as the Beale Street Bully, or the Scramburglar, but still a worthy addition to the Pig stable. I ate this burger on Thursday, and it should be noted that the following day they also had a burger special (the Bacon and Blue Cheese). Two Pig burgers in one week?????????? EXCITING TIMES PEOPLE!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

EdGe Restaurant, Sooke, 6686 Sooke Road, 778.425.3343, www.edgerestaurant.ca


(Lunch Only)

Never has an island burger been sought after with more eager anticipation than this offering from Edge Restaurant in Sooke. I first heard of it just over a year ago, and have been aggravatingly close to making the trip to Sooke countless times since then. So you can imagine the wave of boyish glee that came over me when a former bakery baroness from my past offered me a ride to EdGe, along with her shadowy real-estate photographer friend.

Now is where I'd try to place this burger review in some sort of hackneyed murder-mysteryesque plot line if I had any energy, but I don't, so I'm just going to review this thing and you can make up your own story (involve Perry Mason if you can).

If nothing else, Chef Edward Tuson, formerly of Sooke Harbour House, is an innovator in the realm of burger geometry. With this offering from EdGe, he's created the first one of triangular shape I've ever encountered (a friend who is a sheet metal worker gave him the mould). Aside from being interesting to look at, I'm not sure the triangle shape lends much to this package.

If anything, the need for the patty to be elongated in order to fit the bun from 6-Mile Bakery may hurt this unit. The combination of toppings, along with the thin patty, make this package behave more like a sandwich than a burger. Shredded lettuce, unmelted swiss cheese, and housemade pickles and salami (housemade bacon would usually adorn this unit, but I suppose Tuson's pigs are still growing) are the main culprits in creating the confusion. I suppose it's good to be challenged by a burger every once in a while, but I really went in expecting instant gratification, and that's not what came.

What appeared to my tongue to be a cumin-heavy, Indian inspired spice blend in the patty dominated the flavour of the burger as a whole. In this sense, it was actually somewhat similar in taste to what Sauce offer. The spicing of the patty made the beef behave a little like large crumbs bonded together by just a little fat. It was fine, but I was expecting something with a bolder impact.

Though I wasn't bowled over by this burger, its construction easily showcased Tuson's skill as a chef. Pull a pickle out of this package and eat it separately and you'll notice an intense sweet, vinegary flavour. When mingling with the other ingredients though, the pickles surprisingly lack dominance. This is an obvious example of the chef's ability to balance strong flavours.

Maybe I was just so worked up about this one that I couldn't appreciate it properly. A second date could prove to be a different experience, but on first pass this one wasn't worth the sleepless nights. I expected at least one person in our group to scream out, "THIS IS THE BEST BURGER I'VE EVER HAD!" and that never happened. Oh well, at least the soup was great.

VERDICT: A really nice sandwich, but only manages to be good as a burger. Good works elsewhere, but a chef such as Tuson is capable of better.

Pig is All

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, but I was lucky enough to sample the Beale Street Bully Burger at Pig yesterday. It was an absolute triumph: topped with fried bologna, Pig onion "rings", and coleslaw. I don't want to be too reactionary, but even with the bun breaking apart like an arctic ice flow, this is a serious contender for #1 burger in Victoria. I'm so sorry I couldn't capture it on film, but maybe a cellphone pic will eventually appear on Pig's twitter feed.

Speaking of the twitter feed, this special was not mentioned on it yesterday. Perhaps this is an indication that their fabulous burgers are about to become even more elusive. Fridays and Saturdays seem to be usual burger days, so keep that in mind if you're making a trip to Colwood anytime soon.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Random Roadtrip Burger Notes

A few places spotted while on vacation a couple weeks ago:

Beachside Burger in Greenwood, BC

A shack parked alongside highway 3, didn't actually get a close look at it. Didn't appear to be anywhere even remotely close to a beach.

3 and 93 Dairy Bar

At the junction of highway 3 and highway 93. Boasted "BC's Best Burgers". Somehow I find that hard to believe, but maybe I'll be back there someday to check it out.

Kokanee Cove Neighbourhood Pub (aka Moyie Pub in Moyie, BC)

For $10 you can get a burger made from steak trimmings ground in house. I tried to order one, but they were out. Lot's of old booze bottles scattered around the place as ornamentation. Pretty cool place really.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pig BBQ Joint | Colwood | #304 - 1913 Sooke Rd Colwood Corners Plaza | 250.590.8034 | www.pigbbqjoint.com


The peacocking of the kitchen crew sent my heart a flutter, "I think this is the best burger we've made." With those words I knew I had picked the right date to finally catch up with a Pig burger special. Yes, I'd tried before, but this was the first time I wasn't late to meet the little lady (and the first time I chose not to rely on a driver to bring me here).

Although I reached Pig little more than an hour after the tweet went live, I was fraught with anxiety. You see Pig burgers have a reputation. They sell out VERY QUICKLY (as Brendan will tell you later). I decided to order immediately, and I attacked this one with gusto—my meal being long finished before Brendan even arrived for our rendezvous.

I don't know how anything can be better than a Fatty Melt, but I imagine the kitchen was damn close to the mark when they made their boastful comments about the Scramburglar. This treasure is topped with scrambled eggs (with cheddar and banana peppers), onion straws, and Pig's signature sauce. The bottom bun is swamped in bread and butter pickles and a sort of dijon aioli (and not swamped in a bad way).

The patty is good quality meat that is not over-seasoned, but definitely has a flavour unique to Pig (mostly black pepper and . . . maybe a little paprika or something similar?). Not overly juicy, but enough juices are present to enhance the experience. Do the juices and all that sauce make the onion straws soppier than a used bathing suit? NOPE! The architect has done a good job here, 'cause they hold up nicely.

We were also lucky enough on this day to sample the new buns on show at Pig (supplied by Rising Star). These are WAYYYYYYY better than the weak-links they previously employed—we're talking chewy buns here people. Thank god they finally made this change, because it was long overdue. I expect the enjoyment of pulled pork sandwiches to improve by 47%.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: there is no other restaurant in Victoria pushing forward our burger culture the way Pig does. Not bad for a place that refuses to make burgers a regular menu item.


Nodding awake around noon today meant I could basically run right off to Pig today to meet Don. Pig had only been open a little over 2 hours, but he was certain the new Scramburgler would be a hot star on the menu, and with a limited amount, the cook shack might sell out before afternoon tea.

Well, Dons a burger prophet. Mine was the 6th or 7th one left. Yes; by 2:30 in the afternoon this creation would officially be deemed extinct (meaning it actually sold out closer to between 1:30 and 2:00). Luckily, that's just around my breakfast time.

Ok, so this burger is all over the place (in a good way). The bun is just big enough to hold everything in place at first, and it's not a small bun. The scrambled eggs with cheese are definitely my highlight here, as the headlining flavour. Falling all over the place like spongey goo; it might not be the prettiest thing, but I orally vacuumed this: the eyes weren't on it for too long.

The Scramburglar is balanced nicely with the pickles, tomato and sauce all adding a bit of sweet to the salty. The bun and patty are good, but they're taking a back seat in this one, while the onion straws add texture as pieces sneak out. Though it's a little steep for me price-wise—it's still got lotsa bang for its buck.

VERDICT: We have a winner.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Keg Steakhouse | 3940 Quadra Street | 250.479.1651

Mini Burgers
$10 (?)

Basically Veneto with none of the personality or flair. You can survive without flair, but not without personality. You get three burgers here—just to clarify for those with counting problems (we'll cure numericus perplexicus someday!). One is draped in Swiss cheese, another in blue cheese sauce, and the last in BBQ splork.

Keg wins points for at least serving what appears to be house-made patties in their minis (and using higher quality beef than you usually find at a chain restaurant). Even the ciabatta bun used to house each mini is not nearly as detrimental to enjoyment as a ciabatta usually is—here the buns are soft and the patties have been formed into ovals to allow for better symmetry.

So with two major factors going pretty well for The Keg, why do these minis remain so banal? Well just look at them: they're lazy. Lazy is often fine if it just means sticking to the generally accepted burger blueprint (lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo etc.), but even that requires some thought.

Swiss cheese is like any given awards show performer: you better sexy up the stage around her, 'cause she don't sing sultry enough on her own. And BBQ sauce—don't even get me started. The blue cheese sauce is more-or-less good enough to stand on its own, and thankfully rises a little above the blahness of its brethren. The other two really are little more than works in progress though, and that's a shame.

VERDICT: Veneto is well worth the extra cash.

2abpsslcpooassb Reviews Glendale Gardens Nourish Cafe

2abpsslcpooassb just posted a review of a place I've been meaning to go to ever since Christabel of The Little Piggy mentioned it at the Burger Bash (one of her former employees co-runs the place). Unfortunately 2abpsslcpooassb was decidely more underwhelmed by the Glendale Gardens offering than Christabel was. I agree that using a focaccia loaf for a burger bun is just about one of the dumbest decisions you can ever make, but I trust a recommendation from Christabel so I'll give this one a try eventually.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Burger Cart in Qualicum

I don't know Qualicum Bay very well—so I'm not sure exactly where it is—but a new cart called "Bugaboo Burgers" has just opened up. It's location is 6010 West Island Highway, and Google Maps doesn't appear to show much there other than a couple of motels and rv parks. Qualicum Bay Resort is in the area too, so I suppose it might be safe to assume that this place is operating somewhere in the campground. Whatever, and wherever, it is, it's only open seasonly. Send pictures and info if you've got 'em!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Desperately Seeking Sooke

The Edge Restaurant in Sooke recently updated its website, and it now includes a picture of this infamous burger that I have yet to try.

Photo © Andrei Federov (taken from Edge Website)

Fucking homemade bacon—comes with fries, salad, or soup and is ONLY $9. Somebody drive me to Sooke already, it's driving me insane that I haven't tried this yet.

Best of the City 2010

Editor's Note: Thanks to Pedro for the quick response to my call for info on this.

Not much to report here—as the list is almost exactly the same as the 2009 version—but we'll give'er a run through anyhoo. Here's the Black Press list of best burgers in Victoria for 2010:

1) The Pink Bicycle
2) Red Robin
3) White Spot

So White Spot and Red Robin switch spots, and otherwise the list is exactly the same. It says a lot about burger culture in this city when our residents can only name one local business when trying to determine Victoria's top burger spot. The Pink Bicycle is essentially the only "burger joint" in town. Because, as a whole, other restaurants don't make burgers marquee menu items; The Bike is the first place to come to the mind of most residents.

This is to take nothing away from The Pink Bicycle, which on a good day makes one of the best burgers in town, it's just unfortunate they don't stand in better company on this list. I like Red Robin and White Spot as much as the next guy, and I'll admit Red Robin helps burger culture evolve, but there are better local restaurants.

I'm not sure it's fair at this point to list my picks for the best burgers in Victoria (because there are a number I have been alerted to recently that I haven't tried yet, and they could be top 5 contenders), but I can offer a couple of more specific lists. Here they are:

Restaurants that have made the best contributions to burger culture in Victoria
(in no particular order):

Pink Bicycle: As essentially the only dedicated "burger joint" in Victoria, they have upped the profile of this ubiquitous menu item in the Garden City. Their commitment to using island meats—and introducing exotic specials (kangaroo burgers... although maybe those don't quite fit the traditional definition of a burger)—has helped Victoria begin to catch up to other cities.

Pig BBQ Joint: The only place in the area to have ever served a Fatty Melt (to the best of my knowledge), and thus the only local venue keeping track of the more gluttonous side of burger culture.

• Hecklers Bar and Grill: As much as I hate monster burgers; they are a big part of burger culture. Before the Challenge Burger (or Matt's Burger) there wasn't one in Victoria. I can't stand burgers with buns the size of Galapagos turtle shells, but I have to give Heckler's credit for its contribution.

My current favourite burger bites:

Aura: Point Burger
Veneto: Mini Burgers
La Belle Patate: La Belle Burger
Pizza AllNite (our sponsor!): Burger with just about any pizza topping you desire

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

La Belle Patate Grill Takeover

Just paling around with Nathieau Lott

Quite some time ago now I was graciously invited by the proprietor of La Belle Patate to sashay on over and make a burger or two on his grill. I got distracted by going on vacation, and the plan got put on the back burner. Then a few weeks ago I popped in for lunch, and was immediately told to get behind the counter and have some fun.

Dazed and confused.

My only previous experience on a restaurant grill was approximately ten years ago when I enjoyed a brief stint with A&W. Thus I was a little out of my element, and very worried about getting in the way.

First attempt.

I decided I'd try my hand at making a smashburger/slider of sorts. Step one: place some onions on the grill. Step two: smash a ball of meat into the onions. Finally wait a few minutes and assemble the remaining parts. In my haste to get off the grill quickly and out of the way, I completely forgot to pepper the patty, or sprinkle some salt on the patty while it was grilling. This oversight was compensated for slightly by adding Belle Sauce and mayo. I have described Belle Sauce quite poorly here in the past, so let me take another stab at it.

Nathieu listed the ingredients to me in rapid fire (running through all the ingredients in about two seconds) and I think I remember about four elements: French Dressing, Catalina Dressing, garlic, chilis. The sauce works magnificently when packaged with bacon, mushrooms, and great globs of grease in the infamous La Belle Burger.

Rubbing Belle Sauce into my second burger.

The first burger was good, but I knew I could do a little better. For my second attempt, as per the suggestion of grill-cook Oliver, I rubbed some Belle Sauce into the uncooked patty. I then used a similar smash technique, but this time using diced onions instead of sliced. The slightly sweeter diced onions where definitely a better match.

Grillin' like a villain.

Next time you order a burger at La Belle, I highly recommend you try and convince them to steam your bun instead of toast it. Nathieu threw the bun for my second burger in the steamer, and the result was a pillowy soft housing unit that was just 100% comfort.

After going with a Belle Sauce/mayo blend again in the second burger, I can safely say I would probably have ended up with a more pleasing burger if I used mustard instead of Belle Sauce as a core condiment. Belle Sauce is an absolute triumph when coupled with bacon, but doesn't reach its full potential without it. Nonetheless, this was still an incredibly juicy, pleasant burger.

I did alright here, but Nathieu, Oliver, and the rest of the staff are pros, and easily do a better job with the tools in their kitchen than I do. The La Belle Burger might be nothing out of the ordinary, but it remains one of my favourite burgers to eat in town. I'd like to thank Nathieu and the rest of the staff at La Belle Patate for giving me the opportunity to experiment at one my favourite eateries, and I hope to do so again.

FYI: Oliver of La Belle Patate recommends Blue Fox's lunch burger.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheeseburger Doritos on the Island

Apparently Esquimalt Grocers has Cheeseburger Doritos now. I actually have no clue where exactly Esquimalt Grocers is. All my information is coming from Facebook; someone help me out here.

*edit*: They have BIG bags at Shoppers Drug Mart downtown. Cheeseburger Doritos Canadian Invasion!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kettle Valley Station Pub | Ramada Inn, Penticton | 1070 Eckhardt Avenue, West | 250.493.3388 | www.kettlevalleystation.com

Cheeseburger in Paradise


You guys like the show Mythbusters right? Well I hope you do, because I am about to confirm a WHOPPER! This is going to get scientific, but follow along closely and you'll be sure to learn a lesson that will stick with you for a lifetime (or at least until bedtime). Victoria is on an island. Amongst other vegetation, there is a lot of grass on this rock. Separating Victoria from mainland Canada is the Salish Sea (or the Georgia Strait... IF YOU'RE RACIST!). On the other side of the sea/strait there is also a lot of grass. Well I have been to the other side, and I can say the grass is greener. MYTH CONFIRMED!

...well confirmed at least as far as fast-food and gambling are considered. Seriously; I swear every town in BC aside from Victoria has a KFC/Taco Bell. You know how people are always bullshitting about how their wedding day was the best day of their life? Try going to Penticton, tossing some chips around at a LAKESIDE casino, and blowing your winnings on Crunchwrap Supremes. By the end of the day, you won't even remember you're married.

For all the sybaritic pleasures of Penticton, there are some disappointments as well, and this burger is one of them. I'll give this to the Kettle Valley Station Pub though: they are masters at writing deceptive menu copy. Usually a size of over 6oz means the patty is homemade, but such is not the case here. This half-pounder is an insult to the Tiger Blue that adorns it.

Aside from Blossom's Blue, I'm not sure there's a better blue cheese in Canada, and it deserves more than a supplier patty and a dry, whole-wheat kaiser. Also, how was this cheese not melted AT ALL? There hasn't been an easier thing to melt in the history of the world since the hearts of 1940's moviegoers were subjected to Bambi. Is the integrity of the cheese hurt by melting it? No. Is enjoying melted cheese on a burger some sort of bizarre personal preference? Maybe in crazy land, but not in level-headed logical land where I live.

So in summary dear readers: the grass is greener on the other side. Unfortunately, however, this means there's always greener grass just around the corner. Do you have any idea how much I wish Burger 55 had a television with the World Cup on (so I could have dined there instead)? Of course you don't: you were stuck in an agricultural zone where nectarines aren't in season yet, while I was pining for burgers from an old tire shop. You haven't been as close to paradise as I was, but here's hoping, when you get there, you eat a better cheeseburger.

VERDICT: Supposedly the top dog at this pub really knows his Scotch... sadly the same can't be said about his kitchen's burger knowledge.

ps. If you really want a drink in town though—you should go get hyphy with the dudes at Villa Rosa. Place is swimmin' in Yukon Jack! R.I.P. Mac Dre y'all.

pps. I was trying to wedge in a comment about how women in Salmon Arm are better looking than women in Penticton, but I couldn't figure out how. At least you have this informative footnote though!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Clifton Ranch

If you're ever on your way through Keremeos, this place looks like a stop worth making. I passed by Clifton Ranch on my way to Penticton this weekend with my dad, and am now sort of regretting passing this place by. Ground beef at $3.50/lb seems like a pretty dope deal straight at the gate.

Internet research shows these dudes do good work: The Countryside Canada Stewardship Recognition Program gave the ranch an award in 2004 for its work maintaining and restoring natural grasslands and associated habitat in the South Okanagan. Check out their website for more information on feeding practices, and the history of the ranch.

ps. I'll have a couple of travel burger reviews up soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Toronto Burger Round-Up

From glitz and glam to dirt and dram; Toronto has it all! On one magical night of revere I saw a homeless guy's dick AND Miley Cyrus. Yes it's all there for you to explore in Toronto, and explore I did! You can't get as close to the stars in TO as you can in Victoria, but you can sure get close to some great burgers!

So sit back, relax, and enjoy not only the triumphant return of Guy Alaimo to the blog, but also not a single review of a place you guys recommended in the comments section (thanks nonetheless). Here we go in no particular order...

Craft Burger
Craft Spicy
add $1.25 for Blue Cheese

Craft Burger shows up on a lot of Toronto best-of lists, and not without good reason. There really isn't much in the way of a weak link in this messy little dish. The Craft Spicy is in fact one of those rare burgers that is probably better WITHOUT cheese and other add-ons.

The flame-grilled patty is wonderfully textured; endless strands of beef intertwined like lover's limbs on a warm, moist night. The subtle flavour is mixed expertly with a low-medium level spicy chipotle mayo which is piled on in great globs. Unlike many other chipotle mayos, this one is far from middling (and it actually has the desired affect of tweaking pleasure zones).

The sesame seed kaiser is a perfect match for this classically styled burger too. Much like the rest of this unit, it is designed with nothing but comfort in mind.

As alluded to, there is, however, one weak link in this burger. The caramelized onions have fine flavour, but are unfortunately burdened with just a slightly mushy (as opposed to soft) texture. It's not a factor that is overtly noticeable, but it did stop the burger from reaching perfection for me.

My last thought on this one: the cheese is great, but totally unecesary here; this burger stands alone.

The Deliciously Slimming Guy Alaimo Chimes In!!!!!!!!!

Delicious. Worth the money. Every bite was like being seen standing beside good looking people that you don't know, but the people who see you think you chill with them, so they respect you more (which is awesome). Being inside Craft Burger made me feel more important. It made me feel like my existence meant something. How can you disagree with that? Craft Burger fucking delivers. The burger was probably a little more moist than I would've liked, but that could have been easily solved by putting the onions and sauce on separate sides of the bun.

Old York Bar and Grill
add $1 for Cheese

What does a HGTV Restaurant Makeover get you? Well I can tell you what it doesn't get you: a lock on the men's bathroom door. At least there are "funky" street signs accenting the indoor dining area, and stools with no-doubt carefully ripped vinyl seats at the bar. If those street signs said "Cadillac Ave." and "Blackhawks Boulevard" you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Old York and your uncle's basement.

The episode of Restaurant Makeover (which just reran on the Food Network on the 15th) that features the Old York still remains unseen by my eyes, but it's clear that the team at least did enough to the menu here to keep the place open (the show originally aired over 4 years ago I believe).

The rest of the menu aside, this burger is certainly nothing worth immortalizing on the small screen. This is just a flat-out average affair. Guy said it best as we were dining, "This is the type of burger that people who don't know better would rave about." He couldn't have hit the nail on the head any better—this is an offering for the much more casual burger connoisseur.

Yes the beef is of good quality, but whatever advances it could have made were stopped dead by a bad bun:burger ratio. You know that Dizzee Rascal song where he's doing the back and forth with the girl and she says, "You were with that girl." and he says, "She was just any girl."? Well I was with this burger, and it was just any burger.

A Man With a Stunning New Asian Haircut Chimes In Lamb-Style!!!!!!!!!!!

Fuck this burger. I paid $14.95 to taste lamb. Hey guys; I know what lamb tastes like. But you're so proud of yourselves for selling a burger made out of ACTUAL lamb, that you forgot to put condiments on it. Just because you use fresh garden greens with the red spiky stuff in it doesn't mean you can get away with serving anything you fucking want to. Bottom line is this: the Old York Pub Lamb Burger is "baaaaaaah; baaaaaaah". I AM NOT A SHEEP. I am a trend-setter. I AM AN INDIVIDUAL. But I still wish I could look as good as the bartender with the V-neck hemp sweater, pendulum necklace, tight black jeans, and awesome neck beard. Never going to happen—I know.

UFO Restaurant/3 Star Food & Groceries
Bacon Cheeseburger

Now here we have something really special. As I've said before on this blog; convenience store/lunch counters are a dime-a-dozen on the east coast, but not so much here in Victoria. In fact I only know of two, and neither is much of a gem. It's a much different story at UFO though.

You can be hard-pressed sometimes to find a pub in Victoria that serves a decent homemade patty, let alone a lunch counter. Amazingly, UFO actually gives you the option of homemade or pre-fab. I don't know why you would ever choose pre-fab, because the homemade option here is an insanely generous size for this type of establishment. If I didn't know better I'd assume the restaurant takes it name from the appearance of this saucer-like patty.

The flavour and texture of the patty is a mix of Chinese-Canadian and pub-style (verrrrrrrrry slight jelly feel, but mostly just big and beefy). When you mix everything in the package together it strays from the pub-style to a more ballpark flavour (brought on by the condiment mix of ketchup/mustard/relish). This may not be some other-worldy burger triumph (uggh what a horrible pun), but you couldn't hope for anything better from a place like this. A fun burger in a gem of place, served with loving care by an old Greek woman and a dude that looks like Manny Pacqiauo with a softer face. I wish I could eat here ever day.

Guy Alaimo Chimes In Part Three!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Being a cheap-ass, I opted to go for the regular burger which is 75 cents cheaper then the homemade patty. But when I saw the Greek grandmother unwrap Don's homemade patty, I opted to change my decision. This left me with 3 dollars to my name instead of 3.75; good enough for a single ride on the TTC, and another example of my incredible budgeting skills. The patty was very big and home-madey. The fact I was eating this thing in a convenience store while watching the world cup on a grease stained 13-inch Samsung, gave me a bulging erection. You can't really argue with a great price, a great burger, or a grade 8 erection, so why not give this place a try?

Lee Restaurant
Chef Susur Lee's Famous Cheeseburger Spring Roll
$5 (1 ticket at Luminato Festival)

Wowzers! It's like six degrees of mahfuckin Restaurant Makeover separation in this blog post! First Old York, and now a creation from frequent star of the Makeover program: Chef Susur Lee! RUNNIN' WITH THE BIG DOGS IN TO YO!

I don't believe Mr. Lee is the inventor of the Cheeseburger Spring Roll (I think that title goes to chef Doron Wong of New York), but wherever it came from it's a winner. Think upscale 7-11 taquito—a late-night snack for the lovelies. There is just enough of an Asian spice mix in this roll for it to emerge as comfort food with class. Now normally this would be a negative thing. Adding an air of distinction to parking-lot cuisine is generally incredibly pretentious, and overwhelmingly unecessary. For instance: who'd want a grilled cheese on focacia with fucking organic pesto and mead glazed, farmyard-massaged ham (oh wait, I basically just described a panini didn't I? FUCK PANINIS!).

Thankfully Lee's Spring Roll maintains a fine balance. Is the spicy mayo an essential element? Maybe not, but it does help enforce the cheeseburger theme. This would be a perfect late-night nosh if it were a little cheaper. Heck, even at this price it's a good buy. Perhaps not the original cheeseburger spring roll, but maybe the best?

OVERALL TO VERDICT: Beat a G20 protester and grab a burger! Consider a Toronto vacation today!