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.