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.