VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: burgers Page 1 of 7

Battle of the Burgers at Hard Rock Casino

This evening I was one of six food writers and reviewers invited down the “Hard Rock Vancouver” (which is actually located in Coquitlam) for their newest feature: “Battle of the Burgers”. This would be the first of many competitions to breathe some new interest into the casino’s food program. It first launched on May 1st, 2019; inviting guests in to try one of six creative, limited edition burgers. Six burgers dreamt up by “Hard Rock’s” in house chefs and staff, and our group had the job of judging them all. We were also the very first to learn about this competition and to try it for ourselves.

But you too can try these new burgers over the course of May (ends May 31st). And based on customer’s purchases and votes, the winning burger will find a permanent spot on the “Asylum’s Lounge’s” (within Hard Rock) menu. For every burger ordered a vote is placed, and the customer gets a ballot. The ballot enters them into a draw to win free burgers for a year. (One per day, 356 possible burgers in a year). Similarly, there too is an incentive for the chefs who has their burger chosen as the winner.

Each burger is created by one of the very multicultural members of the kitchen. It serves as a good way to get them engaged and allows them to showcase their food on a plate. Each burger is named after a song or artist, a fact that is included on the burger’s bio, along with where its creator was born, and their favourite singer/performer.

Our judging was based on presentation, taste, and creativity. I mainly focused on the latter. I was searching for a burger that didn’t taste like any of the many others I have had. What were the chefs doing to take this their own.

The “Viva Las Vegas Burger” showcased Chef Fernanda’s mixed heritage and the familiar flavours she grew up with. This is a beef burger with chimichurri mayo, onion salsa, Italian sausage, pineapple bacon jam, kale, tomato, and mozzarella cheese; all on an onion bun. The zesty sausage was the stand out for this. Its heated flavour was well balanced by the tangy mayo and the refreshing salsa. A favourite amongst the judges. And although the menu lists it, there actually wasn’t any kale in this burger, but instead plenty of peppery arugula.

The “We Jammin’ Spam Burger” was my favourite, spam isn’t new to the game, but all that topped it was new to me. Chef Krisken from the Philippines, was inspired by his love of Bob Marley and surfing in this one. This gave you every flavour from salty and sweet to umami and bitter. Fun for the mouth and a winner for spam enthusiasts. Grilled spam, grilled pineapple, jalapeño jam, Japanese mayo, yaki nori, and cheddar cheese, on a onion burger. The use of spam was a flashback to my childhood. Here, the salty meat product was paired with familiar flavours. It had a Japanese feel with the crispy seaweed and sweet and creamy mayo; and a tropical flair with the juicy grilled pineapple. Our judge’s panel agreed that this was great, but it would have been made better with a fried sunny side up egg.

With the “Guinness in the Jar” I was looking for more of that classic dark and stormy beer to come through. You certainly smelled it when it arrived; in the form of a warming, beefy stew. White cheddar, Guinness braised onion, butter lettuce, tomato, and Guinness aioli on a brioche bun. Our chef creator for this one was Mark from Ireland. And his stewed onions in Guinness was the focal point of this burger. There was plenty topping the tasty beef patty, finished with the classic pairing of cheddar. Overall, a hearty and warming burger, and probably the best to pair with a pint.

The “Black & Blue Beatles Burger” is for those that love blue cheese, and I do. Although I wish it gave me something new to enjoy with it. Like some grilled peaches for some sweetness, or even some hot wing sauce, to play off that popular combination. Blue cheese dressing, blue cheese crumble, cracked black pepper, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on beef patty, between a brioche bun. Here, the Chef Kulwinder did not fall on her background, but instead crafted a burger from what she liked and what she has found success in, in the past. Once again I did like the flavour and all the cheese, but tonight I was searching for something unique. Here, a mango chutney for sweetness and a nod to the Chef would have been nice. These were the creative twists that I was looking for. Next, I would suggest separating the battered and fried pickle spear that topped the burger, from the actual burger. Pickles and the blue cheese don’t jibe, both are very strong flavours that leave you craving something fresh and sweet to balance them out with. I learned the hard way and had a battle in my mouth.

The “Burger of the Stars” is by Chef Antonia from Venezuela. She tapped into her Mediterranean heritage for this, also pulling from Spanish and Latin cuisine. An olive tapenade mayo with smoked paprika, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on brioche bun. The roasted pepper was plentiful and most pronounced, where I wish I had more from the olive mayo, to give it more depth. A tasty burger, but there wasn’t anything to set this one apart.

“Burger for the Weekend” is the brain child of one of the casino’s promotions manager. He went for chicken as his protein and focused on building a healthier burger. Our judging table was surprised by how much we liked this, especially considering there wasn’t a chef behind its conception. Johnny D simply had something similar in Hawaii and wanted to recreate it for “Hard Rock”. I liked the use of chicken to better highlight the array of toppings. I just wished that it was charred and jerked in rub for more of a blackened chicken flavour. This would have gotten along even better with the sweet chilli and the creamy avocado standouts. Here, I also wanted more sweet chilli sauce, and a thicker consistency, like spread for a stickier texture. Grilled chicken in a sweet chilli sauce with mayo, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, avocado, and cheddar; all on a brioche bun.

 

There you have it, six all new burgers eagerly awaiting your approval. So head down to “Hard Rock’s Asylum” to try them all, and vote for your favourite for a chance to win a black burger card and the ability to dine on burgers for a year! This is only around for the month of May so hurry down soon. And I suggest timing your visit for a weekend of live music, to fully enjoy the “Hard Rock” experience. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ASSYLM
HARD ROCK CASINO
2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam BC, V3K6W3
604-523-6888
hardrockcasinovancouver.com

Burgermania at Glowbal

Anything with “mania” in its title has my name written all over it. Therefore I made sure to visit “Glowbal” during its limited release run of “BurgerMania”. They have now launched a specialty menu which includes a burger with lobster, another with duck confit, and one of the better veggie burgers I have ever had.

Between March 11th to the 22nd diners can enjoy one of four full sized burgers or a slider trio, each with a unique side for $22. From Monday to Friday the following is available between 11-6pm, and during the weekends you can enjoy each between 2:30-6pm.

You can visit multiple times during the 12 day run to try them all ,or better yet, visit with a group and grab the whole shebang for $110. It is one attractive looking assembly. The following is my full review or each burger and its side, in the order from my favourite to the least.

When it comes to burgers, the more in between the buns the better, in my books; and “The Ultimate Burger” does just that. One beef patty, double smoked bacon, onion rings, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and truffle aioli. All this is then topped with two deep fried, white cheddar mac and cheese squares. It is everything I want in a burger: plenty of meat to chew through with crunchy bacon, crisp vegetables, and a runny saucy egg to tie it all together.

It comes with sea salt fries that are seasoned in a Cajun spice, giving it plenty of flavour to enjoy as is.

“The Veggie Nation” was a great burger, and an even better vegetarian option. Tempura battered portobello mushroom, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, chipotle aioli, and roasted eggplant. This was a substantial order with plenty of textures and tastes to keep each bite interesting. Crispy mushroom pieces, charred smokey eggplant slices, fresh and juicy raw vegetables, and hearty guacamole. A great option for meatless Monday and a tasty burger for any other day of the week.

It is served with truffle fries that have plenty of that salty truffle flavour you are looking for. Another crispy potato stick that doesn’t need ketchup or any other dip.

“The Mediterranean” ate like a meal. Lamb patty, hummus, tzatziki, fried halloumi, bell peppers, and slaw. There was a lot to unpack in this and plenty that you wouldn’t find in any other burger. The halloumi was grilled with a smokey char, the bell peppers sweet, and the hummus creamy. If only the lamb patty wasn’t over cooked and dry. I could have also liked more of the tangy tzatziki, or a dish of it to dip bites into.

This came with my favourite of all the side: sweet potato fries served with a truffle aioli dipping sauce.

I liked the creativity of “The Funky One”, beef patty, spicy duck confit, pickled cucumbers, chili lime aioli, and cotton candy. The burger earned its name thanks to its sides. The large chunks of duck set it a part, although I didn’t find it spicy; and together with the beef patty both came across as dry. Here sauce or a tangy cream would have been nice. I didn’t taste any of the lime aioli, and once again got no spice from it. The cotton candy tuft comes on the side, but in my opinion, it is best eaten with the burger. It sounds and seems weird, but it works. Salty and sweet without the sugary finish.

This is served with a fun twist on poutine: “tater tot poutine”. Crispy fried potato nuggets with gooey mozzarella and an oniony gravy. I would have liked a thicker more meatier gravy thought, something more peppery out of preference.

The “Slider Trio” is a great way to try a little bit of the above. It comes with three bites of “The Mediterranean” with its cheese-stuffed lamb patty, hummus, and bell peppers. And “The Funky One” with beef patty, spicy duck confit, pickled cucumbers, and chilli lime aioli.

But the reason you order this is for “The Surf & Turf”. A decadent slider with caramelized onions, braised short rib, tempura lobster, truffle sauce, and slaw. In my opinion, it is the best of this set of three, so if you are sharing grab this one first. However having these few bites aren’t enough to get a true taste of the chunks of tender beef and crispy fried lobster. I would have also preferred the lobster meat simply dipped in butter and not hidden under a coating of batter. Overall, I found this and that each slider left me wanting more. More dressing, more ingredients, more lobster.

All three is served with two sides, some cotton candy for the “Funky One” and “Tempura green beans”. I liked the look and the taste of the green beans, but could have used less tempura batter coating each one.

And as a bonus treat our meal ended with a crispy buttery shortbread for us each.

In conclusion “BurgerMania” is a great idea and a fun way to introduce something new and interesting to an ever evolving menu. There is no better way to get bodies into the restaurant than with a mound of delicious food. Great on its own, even better when it all comes together. Make sure you check each out between March 11th and 22nd, before they are gone.

 

GLOWBAL
590 West Georgia, TELUS Garden
Vancouver, BC V6E 1A3
604-602-0835
glowbalgroup.com/glowbal

Rumpus Room 2.0

This is the rebirth of Vancouver’s “Rumpus Room”. New locale, new decor, same menu and same vibe. Bright yellow on the outside with floral curtains hanging from every window that line the front. Each window served as a seat, and a way to enjoy the day, should the weather allow and the windows be opened.

Inside, the setting is best described as an attic or club house. Kitschy and fun, like a place you’d want to come home to and unwind in; all wrapped together in a 70’s theme. Each wall is painted boldly or papered in patterns. Vintage stain glass lamp shades hung over tan upholstered chairs, orange crush velvet seats were paired with a blossoming orange and red sofa, and an assortment of figurines and commemorative plates offered up conversational starters.

There was so much to look at that it had your head spinning around, but if you wanted more to entertain yourself with, they offered you a shelf of board games to pick up and play. A way to pass the time, something to play with as you waited or ate. Although given how small each table was, you probably couldn’t do both at the same time. And during my summer time visit, I couldn’t see myself staying longer than I needed to. This visit coincided with the heat wave, and found my stay a quick one. Without air conditioning, and only a breeze from the window that I sat with my back towards, I couldn’t fully enjoy my meal or my time spent within. No one likes to sweat as they eat.

I started with a “Blood orange white wine spritzer” to help me beat the heat. I love a good blood orange anything, so this was a tasty and refreshing treat.

We started with a serving of their “Deep fried pickles”, presented like a bouquet in this spotted pail. They were seasoned with fresh dill salt and offered up with their pickle dip for symmetry. These were large salty pickle spears with a light breading that easily flaked off. A little overwhelming with briny pickle for my tastes, so I found it best to share with some one who also likes pickles as much as I do. I didn’t have more than 2 and they don’t really pack up well.

I remembered trying the “Peanut butter burger” once before, so wanted to relive that flavour now. I love peanut butter and the idea of pairing it with svaoury beef and their raspberry aioli for a nice pb&j combo that is both salty and sweet. All natural hormone free beef burger, bacon, cheddar, raspberry aioli, pickle, lettuce, tomato, and peanut butter on their house burger buns. But here, I took the menu’s offer of subbing waffles in place of buns, for an even more unique entree. The waffles were perfect, fluffy and light they offered a sweetness that paired well with the raspberry jelly, which I liked the look of its pepto bismol pink colouring. Though I could have used more peanut butter, and maybe some on the side as a dip.

For my side, I went for the house spring green salad, instead of fries; wanting some freshness after all the pickles before. It tasted like a deconstructed Tex-Mex taco salad with the peppers, crispy tortilla, and onions. All it needed was some beef, cheese, and maybe cucumber.

My guest got what would have been my second choice: “Chicken and waffles”. Two more of their fluffy waffles as a base to two pieces of their buttermilk marinated free range chicken; topped with black sesame seeds. I appreciated how the gravy and maple syrup was offered up on the side for you to smothered to your preference. The seasoning and crispiness of the chicken reminded my guest of Taiwanese popcorn chicken, the kind you get in small bite sized chunks at any bubble tea house. But, sadly the gravy was bland, it didn’t taste like it was made with chicken or beef as it’s base.

One of the most memorable features of the original “Rumpus Room” was their washroom. One that was themed like a Hawaiian vacation, the other lit in black light. Therefore I was excited to use their washroom here, now. Although sadly, it doesn’t look like the pervious theme carried forward the same. Although both single stalls were decorated here, it was not done so to the extent that I remembered fondly. The water closet I used did have a loose  tropical feel to it, with painted palm fronds against a blue sky streaked with white cloud, and a few artistic pieces to tie in the island vibe. Not as memorable as it once was though.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A unique spot that I wouldn’t necessarily come back for a full meal at, but they do make for a fun spot for drinks and games, just like your local club house would. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RUMPUS ROOM
2301, Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T 3E7
604-708-0881
rumpusroom.ca
Rumpus Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fable Diner

At my grandmother’s age she no longer likes eating Chinese food, so my family has introduced her to hamburgers, and she has taken to them it like fish in water. So to avoid another dinner at a chain restaurant serving her new favourite handheld, I suggested we try somewhere different. We all gathered at “Fable Diner”, where they too offer hamburgers.

“Fable” is what you would imagine a modern diner to be with laminate table tops, winter green upholstered booths chairs, round orbs of lights, and bleach wood finishings. The posted flyers and frosted plastic glasses gave things a casual feel. One that made us feel comfortable enough to linger amongst, well after our meal was completed and the bill had been paid.

When I think of diners I think of classic milkshakes made with ice cream and shaken in a metal cup, so when I saw their seasonal special printed on a chalkboard menu, I knew I had to give it a try. This is their “Winter nog shake” made with egg nog, vanilla ice cream, and a healthy drizzle of caramel. The chocolate spoon that topped the tuft of whipped cream was both functional and edible. And the candy cane crumb was a nice finish to balance out the sweetness with some minty freshness. It was so good that my mother took a sip from the extras serving in the metal cup and decided that she should finish the rest for me, to spare me the calories; all the while declaring how good it was.

For my entree I decided on something off their all day breakfast menu. The “Roast duck pancake” peaked my interest, as the most unique dish offered. This was you classic pancake topped with pulled duck meat and kimchi, topped with kewpie mayo, and a sprinkling of puffed rice and fried onion that they called “crispy business”. Naturally, to make it even more breakfast-y, I added an egg for $2. Sadly, all together, it looked better than it tasted. All the toppings were too salty and too tangy, with too much punchy flavour all together. The pickled kimchi was at battle with the spicy mayo. And the pancake absorbed all their run off juices like a sponge, it was soggy and lacked the fluffy sweetness that I wanted and expected from a pancake. And if there were two more rounds of it, they both would have provided the base that this meal needed for balance. Then there was the dry duck pieces that were over cooked and rough. At least my pricy sunny side up egg was good.

As planned, my grandmother got her burger, both she and my mother had the “Reno burger” with grass fed beef, pickles, tomato, iceberg lettuce, and their fable sauce. All their burgers are prepared medium well with your choice of sides between salad, fries, or soup. My grandmother got a side salad that lack dressing. As for the burger it was pretty standard, not the best that she has had, but good enough to finish without the addition of any condiments.

My father got the FD burger, which is basically the same as above, but with two beef patties instead of one. But the first wasn’t that good that you craved another. He had the fries as his side and wished they had an additional dip in the fryer, to give their soft centres some crispness.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I would come back for a milkshake, especially if they continue to offer up seasonal creations, but as for everything else, this was enough of a taste to not have me coming back for another. Especially when there are so many other restaurants offering all day breakfast and burgers in town, just as good or better. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FABLE DINER
151 East Broadway, Vancouver BC, V5T 1W2
604-563-3463
fablekitchen.ca
Fable Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Popeyes Chicken

My partner is a fan of fried chicken, he eats chicken almost every day, and has it deep fried 2-3 times a week. Therefore when “Popeyes”, the Louisiana style chicken and fast food restaurant opened up, he wanted to see if he found a new place to enjoy his favourite protein, his favourite way. And to see how well this new edition to Port Coquitlam stacked stacked up against his favourites.

With it just recently opening, and online food publications doing a great job to promote this import from across the border, the restaurant was busy. It was 8:30pm on a Tuesday and the line wrapped around itself. Despite how many employees were behind the counter and how fast they worked, people continue to join the back of the line, thus it didn’t look like it was actually moving. And seeing as there wasn’t a drive through window, despite patrons taking their chicken home in boxes and styrofoam wrapped in paper and bagged in plastic, it was still tightly packed within.

But once you ordered and pay, your entire meal comes out pretty quick. But then there is the challenge of wanting to eat in and there not being enough tables for the high surge of people wanting to dine in too. This made our turn to sit and dine less enjoyable with groups hovering around, in order to be the first to sit after we get up.

We decided to try a variety of things to get a full assessment of this popular chain, for our very first taste. Three combos with our choice of three sides to go with it. The side options we didn’t choose were mashed potatoes, coleslaw, herbed beans and rice, corn on the cob, and cajun poutine.

I considered the cajun poutine, which would have cost me more as an “upgraded” side, only to learn that it is just cajun seasonings over your standard gravy and cheese over fries. Although it would have been nice to try their gravy as it is only available as part of the above or over mashed potatoes. They didn’t offer cups of it on the side for dipping, or maybe I just missed out the opportunity to get it as such.

Just as well, the fries were nice enough that you wanted to taste them. They didn’t stay crispy for long, nor were they the kind that you go back for more of. They simply had their own flavour with their special mix of cajun spices, and offered up nice breaks from everything else. Especially when enjoyed with some tangy ketchup, to help change the taste of your palate.

The fries were the side to their “Deluxe chicken sandwich”. Creole, cajun, or deluxe were your burger options. It was so loud that we couldn’t hear our clerk behind the counter when she explained to us the differences. The sandwich was centred around their breaded white meat chicken breast, a garlicky aioli, lettuce, and tomato, all on a chewy Portuguese bun. The chicken was was crunchy, you could taste the quality of the meat being used, with some lingering spice to it.

We had more of their chicken as is in their “3 piece combo”. All dark meat. The thigh, drum, and wing, each still steaming hot through and through. But whereas the thigh was good and the drum juicy, the wing sad and small. The seasoning doesn’t taste like any other, and again they used great quality chicken here too. Juicy meat hiding under a robe of crunchy goodness. I considered it good fried chicken, but not something I could only get from them. There are other fried chicken options out there, similar in quality, that I couldn’t get else where, more conveniently. The seasoning in the batter didn’t stand out enough to crave again, and just as well, as I wouldn’t travel the distance for it any how.

For its side we had some onion rings. They were crispy with a good amount of batter. Better than many other fast food restaurant’s attempts.

Sadly, I didn’t know that each combo comes with a biscuit, so I ordered one additional. They were buttery, you bit in and it flaked under the pressure. Cheesy and cakey, best enjoyed warm.

For our last combo we had their popcorn shrimp, because no other fast food chain offers such a thing on their menu. Sadly what I imagined, wasn’t the reality. The shrimp were tiny. So little meat that you get a 1:1 ratio of breading and shrimp, whereas you wanted more juiciness from a thick curl of shrimp. It was like eating bits of deep fried batter. No real taste on its own, luckily you get your choice of dips to accompany it. Tartar, buttermilk ranch, blackened ranch, Mardi Gras mustard, Sweet heat, barbecue, bayou BBQ, or cocktail sauce. I got the mustard and was surprised by how strong it was, enough had me feeling it’s zestiness in my nasal passages.

Here, we paired it with the most bland Mac and cheese I have ever had, based on its unappealing taste, I think they use American cheese that has no sharpness to it. The noodles were also cover-cooked, to the point that the elbow macaroni was swollen and too soft. The creaminess of it was nice, and at least it was helpful as a neutral base. A scoop with the spork to have in between bites of deep fry and salt.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Glad to have tried the buzz, and glad we got enough of the menu to give it a fair assessment. So in conclusion I can confidently say “Popeyes” did not make it on to my list of favourite fast food joints, nor it is one I would go out of my way to visit again, even if they opened a location closer to me. Don’t deny your cravings.

POPEYES
110–2190 Hawkins Street, Port Coquitlam BC, V3B 0G6
778-941-3681
popeyeschicken.ca

Two Rivers Specialty Meats

“Two Rivers” is a butcher shop best known for supplying their exceptional meat products to many local lower mainland restaurants. Therefore, I was very excited to be trying their said meat from out of their actual shop, today. Not only do they offer beautiful cuts of beef, chicken, pork, etc; seasoned and bare for sale, but the same space also doubles as a full sit down restaurant. Here you seat your meat, surrounded by meat, with other meat lovers.

They have been up and running for over a year now, and I can’t believe it took me this long to get down to North Vancouver to give them a try. We were invited in to taste their fall/winter dishes made with ethical and sustainable meats. Animal products from local BC and Alberta farms that have been hand chosen to ensure that the framers that tend to this land care about their animals, are working with those who care about food. The result is quality meats from animals raised on spacious parcels of land, without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

I was in awe walking up to their expansive complex. A strong wooden awning marked with their name in bold white. Inside, it was just as nice, enough to have me turning my head serval rotations at a time. Modern and sleek in more white. White tiled walls that also covered the counters of the deli and the kitchen bar in the dining area. Under foot was their logo in brown over a glossy white floor. We would order at the counter before finding any available seating, and marking our territory with coats and bags on stools.

After you pay are given a number to mark your order. It is is clipped to a heavy piece of bone, making this a very practical place setting that speaks to their brand and what they have available.

If the day had been nicer we would have found ourselves on the patio overlooking their industrial street. However, inside you get to take in the butchery surrounding your table as your wait and ate. In fact, with its glass windows and transparent facade you could see their skilled butchers preparing all the meat below. Fine cuts that would soon become our brunch, as well as everything showcased raw for taking home to cook yourself.

They have 5 well-lit showcases of the latter to peruse through. Although like the menu, making your decision will be tough. They had a showcase dedicated to each animal. For beef there was skirt steak, chuck pot roast, dry aged cross rib, tri tip, and even chunks perfect for stew; hit to name a few. For pork you had the chop, ribs, loin, and butt to choose from. There was a Frenched rack of lambs and a lamb belly roast.

There were even various house made sausages utilizing all sorts of meat and combinations. Bratwursts, turkey and sage, apple and pork, and venison and lamb sausages by the link. For those interested in trying them all, they offer a sausage sampler platter if you dine in.

There were also precooked sides like brussel sprouts, pork and beans, and a carrot and beet slaw to round out your take home meal with. And if you want that meal to be quick, bring home the premartinated chicken breasts and skewers in flavours like cordon bleu, chipotle lime, Jamaican jerk, and maui barbecue.

Or make things even easier for yourself by not cooking and just creating your own charcuterie board by picking and choosing what cured meats you want sliced up to go. This too is all made in house. Then all you need is to stop for some fine cheeses and better wine.

I can go on and on about what they offer, like their spice rubs and vacuum sealed packs of bacon, but I digress; back to my meal at hand and what I actually tried.

They have a regular menu and a feature sheet, and together this is one of the few menus I wanted everything on it. Nothing sounded bad, even their daily bone broth side felt like it was worth trying. I thought the sausage platter would be a great solution to parties and potlucks, and was tempted by their sides to share. Beef tartare, crispy bbq pork bites, and Korean style drumsticks.

They even have a section on their menu dedicated to less meaty items including ramen and salads. I was tempted by their “two rivers ramen bowl” with soft poached egg, bean sprouts, noodle, charred garlic chilli oil, spiced nori, green onion, and crispy pork. Although it felt like a waste not to take advantage of the meat they are known for, for my first visit.

I finally made my decision based on meaty classics that I could compare my meal to, and their most popular plates.

We ordered the “Butcher Selected steak” off the feature sheet. This was a 7oz flat iron steak, served with smoked chanterelle mushrooms (as they were in season and procured fresh on this day), fried tallow (a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat), and herbed butter. The steak was cooked beautifully and cutting into it was like a hot knife in butter. The butter added a change of taste, but it was the mushrooms that gave the dish its pop of flavour, with its tangy Cajun-like rub. At $22 it was definitely worth it, you got quality and taste.

The “65 day dry aged beef burger” was recommend to us by the cheery clerk behind the counter. This juicy burger is house ground, round, and aged before it hits the grill and is seared to order. It is prepared with an aged cheddar, charred tomato, zucchini pickles, iceberg lettuce, and a white barbecue sauce; all on a brioche bun. And of course I added on some bacon, and if you get it, you should too. Splurge on spending $2 more for two thick and chewy pieces. I suggest eating the burger quick. Its juices does pool, and the result is a bottom bun soggy and oily to the touch. I found myself finishing it off with fork and knife. Overall, a well balance burger with classic toppings and condiments. No complaints.

They also had a rotisserie we had to exploit, by ordering their free range half chicken with jalapeño aioli and bbq sauce. And we were so happy we did, as this was one of the juiciest chickens my partner has ever had. I don’t like the chicken breast because it is typically dry, but theirs had the white meat as moist as the dark. So tender that it practically fell off in strands when I went to poke my fork into it. I honestly can’t go back to grocery store rotisserie chicken after this, I would sooner drive out to “Two Rivers” if I get the craving. The chicken comes with two different sauces, not that you need it, as the chicken and it’s skin is well seasoned throughout. Although the sauces are worth trying. The creamy white sauce is garlicky with a bit of spice, perfect for any burger. And the sweet barbecue sauce makes for a great dip for any meat.

 

We had to end on their bone marrow and tallow chocolate chip cookie, because where else can you get a sweet and meat cookie? It only looks hard and dry. But the crispy and crumbly texture suits it perfectly. You don’t taste the marrow or tallow, as it is used in place of butter, but you do get a savoury feel from this treat, and the salt on it makes such a difference, highlighting the savoury notes and the sweetness of the chocolate.

As for drinks they offer a small selection of beers, wines, and soda. My partner got a bottle of their “Phillips craft soda made from craft cola, root beer, orange cream, and ginger ale”. It tasted like an orange creamsicle.

Their beer list is all local, so I got a pint of “Bridge brewing’s” bourbon blood orange. Crisp wheat ale, zesty and floral with a clean citrus flavour. A smooth beverage to pair with all our tasty meat forward dishes.

And to snack on in between or with drinks, you can help yourself to a seasoned bucket of popcorn.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Hands down, my new favourite meat focused restaurant in the city. A must visit and a recommend of any carnivore or omnivore. They even have salads, if you need to tow your vegan friend along. Visit, it is worth it and when there, don’t deny your cravings.

 

TWO RIVERS
80 Donaghy Avenue, North Vancouver BC, V7P 2L5
604-990-5288
tworiversmeats.ca

Burger 55

During all our visits to Penticton (across 8 years), we have almost consistently visited the same taco shop for at least one of our visiting meals. It shares the same parking lot with a burger joint, across the way. We have often thought about it, but have never actually tried their offerings, until today. We just really haven’t heard too much about this place, not even from the locals that live here. But it is always so busy when we pass by, that it was worth considering today.

The patio was pretty enticing despite the smoke that engulfed it, (smoke and cloud from the fires along the countryside, when we visited. Hence the discolouration in my photos). Yet the red golf umbrellas and the restaurant’s bright orange exterior stands out. Its sign is painted in a bold blue that matches the blue of the patio’s picnic tables. Each table is set with a napkin dispenser and a ketchup bottle. We bared the poor air quality and sat outside. I preferred it to the cold factory-like setting within. This burger joint felt like a Costco concession stand, specifically the one that is located under Rogers Arena in Vancouver, with concrete floors and dim yellow bulbs. They even have a Canucks jersey hanging on display. A quick and easy spot for cheap food, served hot. Except here they boast that they “don’t make fast food, they make good food”, a promise scrawled on their one of their exhaust ducts, visible from the dining area.

If you have never visited them before, figuring out just how to order may be a challenge. There is a blackboard spelling it out, but it’s towards the back in a fairly dim warehouse. And if there is a party seated at the table in front of it, reading the how to’s become even more challenging.

So here it is in short form. You take a menu from off of the wall by the front door. Each is a laminated page, attached to a clipboard with a wax pencil. With it you check off boxes of what you want. The options down the left column are their specials, burgers they have crafted with their favourite combinations. But its your ability to make a burger your own that they promote. You can customize a burger with over 14 patties to chose from including lamb, bison, ahi tuna, and vegan options. The patty sets the price, with a number of sauces and ingredients included in said price, but many more available at an additional cost. These were premium ingredients like Mac and cheese, fried pickles, and/or a grilled peach.

You start by choosing between 7 different bun options including flour tortilla and a whole wheat version 10 different cheeses like crumbled feta and jalapeño harvarti. You can choose how many of their sauces you want in the included price, or go for premium stuff for 75 cents more a squeeze. With toppings you had your choice of 4 between 18, but chances are you will probably choose lettuce, tomato, and then go a little wild with others like roasted garlic, pico de gallo, and/or banana peppers.

They were too many unknown variables for me to dare to customize and pay more for pretty unique ingredients. So I thought to play it safe for my first taste of “Burger 55”. I decided to simply try one of their burgers as how they intended it. Although I liked the idea of making a completely zany burger, choosing what I thought was the most wild option of each category. For example: a bison burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches in place of actual hamburger buns with bleu cheese and their house made dill pickle sauce, a curry sauce, and a fig jam spread, potato chips, and beet strings… the possibilities are endless.

Once you have spent the 10 minutes customizing and are ready to take your imagination into reality, you proceed to the counter to pay. They didn’t ask to clarify our order, simply taking the check on the card for granted. However I insisted on clarification, as both my partner and I wanted amendments on our burgers. My partner can’t have onions, nor is he a fan of mustard, where as I didn’t want the spinach in my burger.

You then claim any available seat and wait for them to call out your name when your order is up. I saw some folks enjoying their burgers on a wooden plank with fries. I was hoping of that set up when we got our meal, but ours were wrapped up in foil ready to go. I suspect that we walked in during a busier time of day, as orders made were being unclaimed, and majority of the tables needed a good wipe down. My partner felt the Costco concession was a lot cleaner, and that is telling considering their increased foot traffic. But as soon as the crowd died the manager was out on the floor scrubbing down menus and tables, whilst chatting up his guests.

My partner got the most basic of their prebuilt burgers. “The 55 cheeseburger”, AAA Angus beef on a brioche bun with ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and aged cheddar. (It normally includes onion and deli mustard too). The bun was cold and definitely not fresh. The patty was thick, but lacking in terms of a beef to bun ratio. The patty round was half the size of the actual bun, therefore you ate the meat and was left with soggy bun and smeared sauces. The seasonings on the beef was at least good, but as part of a whole, the whole need some ketchup.

I got the next step up, “The signature burger” for $1 more. AAA Angus beef on a onion bun with their 55 signature spread, 55 Buddha sauce, Dijon mustard, vinaigrette, tomato, sprouts, roasted corn, spinach, and Parmesan. I made a point to say “no” to the spinach, but still got some anyways. I ended up removing each and every leaf from between the bun halves, along with all the sauces that separated bread and greens. All said sauces made the spinach wilted with a texture I cannot stand. And all this was just as well, as I didn’t end up liking one of the sauces, but was it the “signature spread” or the “Buddha sauce”? The menu didn’t explain much, nor did I think to ask the clerk behind the counter. Therefore, I cannot be sure of which one of these sauces I would suggest omitting, if you were to order this for yourself. But it was the one with a very overwhelming horseradish flavour. So much so that my first few bites had me steaming from the nostrils, I felt that tell-a-tale wasabi fizz in my face. I ended up also adding ketchup to my burger, something to mask everything that I didn’t like about this burger. Sadly, it didn’t work and I eventually just gave up on eating. Although I must say, it had so much promise and already wins with the inclusion of sprouts, and corn. I would suggest loosing the spicy sauces and instead, add in mashed avocado and an egg for a better balanced burger. I did also like the use of the onion bun, but could tell it wasn’t fresh by its dry texture, a thorough toasting could have helped in this regard.

We shared a regular poutine as a side. The poutine was far too salty, there was too much gravy. Besides salt it doesn’t have much of any other flavour. Although if you are eating it in conjunction with my burger above, the poutine has enough punch to compete and offer up its service as a bite between bites, a way to rejuvenate and change the taste of your food between bites.

By comparison their milkshake of the month was the best thing I got. This was a Penticton peach fest Melba shake with berry coulis. The peach part tasted like pie filling with nutmeg and cinnamon in cream, and the coulis gave it sweetness and some depth once swirled in half way. A nice drink that transitions towards dessert.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Now that I know what they are about, I feel I would be able to make myself a better burger. Although will not be in a hurry to return, it is very seldom that you see my not finishing my meal, or at least packing it to go. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BURGER 55
52 Front Street, Penticton BC
778-476-5529
burger55.com
Burger 55 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sencha Tea Lounge

Today Vancouver Foodster’s Ice Tea Challenge brought me down to “Sencha”, a bubble tea house on West Broadway, also offering small bites.

On this warm day, the doors and front of the cafe was opened wide and inviting. It had a stone bar that crept up the wall, we would grab a couple of the wooden chairs by it, adjacent to the mirror on the wall.

Their menu showed the struggle they had trying to identify themselves. From nachos and onion rings, to Thai salad and marinated pork belly. I didn’t understand their theme, if any. What did they specialize in and what would they be better known for: pasta or rice bowls? When I asked our server this thoughts, he admitted that they were trying hard to cater to the neighbourhood. Predicting what their customers wanted and providing it for them on this accordion folded sheet.

Seeing as their ice tea was a classic bubble tea, I thought it best we’d pair it with some Taiwanese snacks. I won’t be reviewing the ice tea challenge contestants here, you’ll have to wait for the contest to end in order to read my take on each, as I don’t want to ruin the surprise. This is the “Honey Camellia milk tea” that tasted floral, like jasmine. It is one of the milk teas that comes regularly on their menu, a drink that they felt was worth featuring in this competition.

The fried chicken pieces were delicious. Fried to a crisp that lasted, heavily coating the juicy nuggets of dark meat chicken.

I was surprised and delighted by their baos. They weren’t the regular white dough buns, but baos flavoured in black sesame with a grey and black speckled exterior. We tried two flavours and both came with a side salad of green drizzled in a miso dressing.

The “Classic Pork” bun was their most popular bun and my favourite of the two. It was fatty pork belly baked crispy in a sweet sauce, with fresh cabbage and cucumber, all dressed in a thick crunchy peanut sauce that ties it altogether.

The “Kimchi Beef” was spicy coleslaw, barbecue sauce, and pickles. The meat was chewy and plenty saucy, with a good amount of hot spice, and a nice texture.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This is just a little too far to go for okay food. I would recommend it for those who like “bao-wiches”, given the unique flavouring of theirs. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SENCHA
3468 W Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6R 2B3
604-779-2918
www.senchatealounge.com

A&W New Beyond Meat (vegan) Burger review

On Monday, July 9th, 2018 A&W launched the newest burger to make it on to their permanent menu: a meat-less alternative that features a patty made by LA company, “Beyond Meat”. They are well known for their plant based patties that uses beat juice to make the “meat” “bleed”, just like beef would? Each party is made from a mixture of rice, potatoaes, apples, red beets, coconut oil, yellow peas, pomegranate, and mung beans. The whole lot gives you 16 grams of plant protein in one patty round. But keep in mind although the party may be vegan, they are prepared on the same grill as all the restaurant’s beef burgers and eggs, without a cleaning of the griddle in between. Then the green patty does go into a burger with mayo and their uncle sauce, which both are made with animal products. So unless you make a special request and do some modifying this is a vegetarian sandwich.

“Beyond Meat” patties are typically available at natural food stores, sold in packs of two. However, I have yet to find them in the frozen food section of any specialty Canadian grocer. So on the date of this post, if you want to try them, they are exclusive to A&W for us Vancouverites. Where they will be made to order from any of their fast food franchise locations, across Canada.

Today I was here to try them for myself. Although I wish I had the opportunity to taste them for the very first time, as they were intended (as described above): in small batches. As apposed to this mass produced, fast food quality we got here. Because given its pedigree, I found it fell short on the hype.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent vegan patty in a fast food sandwich. And amongst all others and its fast food competition, it does stand out. But as is the case with any fast food burger, you can’t help but wonder how much better it would be with a fresh patty.

As for the taste test, I found that these frozen to grill patties didn’t bleed, beet juice or not. The patty was dry and easy to crumble. As is, I thought it lack seasoning, it didn’t have much of any flavour. But as a part to a whole, with enough sauce, the burger all together was tasty enough.

 

To watch the vlog version of my taste test, visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei, for my latest video. Let’s just say, I get pretty creative towards the end.

BC Kitchen, at Parq

We started off our day at the “Parq” at “BC Kitchen”, a bar with a laid back atmosphere. Located on the main casino floor, you could hear the bells and chimes of all their slot machines in the distance, as the music echoes from up high.

For the vlog version of this meal, and the rest of our 24 hour stay at “The Douglas” and “Parq” visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei for all the fun.

 

The space is divided between the bar and their dining area, we opted for the latter considering its large windows and the view therein. Between the two spaces is a wood and pipe shelf, on it a collection of vintage sports equipments and paraphernalia. Wooden hockey sticks, a square tennis racket, pool balls in a glass cookie jar, leather lace up skates, a worn out baseball bat, a bull horn, and a collection of rusted trophies in varying sizes.

We arrived in time for happy hour between 2:30 to 5:30pm. (It is also available from 9:30pm to 12am) and therefore took advantage by enjoying a few of their starters at 50% off.

My order of the “Buffalo cauliflower” was well received by our server, she whole hearted agreed with these crispy battered cauliflower florets with capers and a creamy blue cheese dipping sauce. The first bite was the best, immediately I could tell how great of a morsel this was. I liked the firm texture and the gentle spice that coated it, plus the cooling tangy dip to balance it all out. Although after the third and fourth floret, it became a bit of a one note taste. I think it would be, best as aside to a burger instead of fries.

I liked the “Dirty Mac and cheese” as a filler as well. The spirally cavatappi noodles was topped generously with bbq pork, bread crumbs and a mix of three cheeses. This too I thought would make a better side, as I didn’t find it tasty enough on its own. I wish the sauce was thicker, and I could have used a little more salt and a lot more punchier cheeses to give it enough flavour to carry its own as a main. Though I did like the crunch of the toasted breadcrumb and crispy cheese topping it.

The “Pigs in a blanket” were fun. A dozen little smokies covered in puff pastry, served with ketchup and mustard. They had a great chewy texture to them, and popped when you bit them in half. With the pastry they had a great salty and crispy texture that was ideal with any and many of their beers in cans and on tap. I especially loved the presentation and the cute squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard that they came with. However, having 12 was a little too much for one or even two people, so maybe order a round to share, planning to enjoying one and two yourself.

For drinks I indulged, combining my booze with my dessert. The “Flight of floats” immediately caught my eye. This was a trio of all their floats in flight glasses, so you don’t have to choose between the three from their “float bar”. The “Classic root beer float” came with vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream for $5.95. The “Guinness float” was with salted caramel ice cream for $6.95. And the “Baileys float” with coffee ice cream and chocolate whipped cream ran at $7.95. But all together in these miniature sizes you paid $13.95 to taste all three. They came with a dish of honey roasted peanuts for you to top or munch on as you please. As for taste, they are exactly as you expect when combining ice cream with alcohol.

My partner had the “BBQ pulled pork burger” it came with apple slaw, butter pickles, and lemon pepper fries on the side. The side were all great accompaniments to the tasty meat in buttery bun. The pork was surprisingly good, it tasted like it came from the smoker.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Overall, a great option for causal bar food within the “Parq” casino. Beers, burgers, and barbecue, plus plenty of dressed up bar favourites as well. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BC KITCHEN
39 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC V6B 1C1
778-370-8300
parqvancouver.com/restaurants/bc-kitchen
BC Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Page 1 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén