VieAMaggi.com

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

Category: burgers Page 2 of 7

IT Char Burger

My partner has been meaning to bring me to “Royal Mall” for some time now. This strip mall in New Westminster” is an out door space with an inside courtyard and foodcourt. The latter would be our destination. Where the number of available tables and the age of their chairs speak to the traffic. This is the home of “IT burger”, a foodcourt stall offering a plethora of cuisines, and not just what its name suggests.

“IT Burger” is known for their burgers and according to my partner, they are the ones to get. But for those looking for variety, they do offer the world’s cuisine from fried fish and chips to Korean BBQ bulgogi, from chicken noodles fried in a pan to chilli cheese dogs and butter chicken. The menu is basically a collage of photos. A clever idea, seeing as a pictures speak a thousand words and coming across their booth, one might be weary of what they could get. Here the photos looked good, so you wanted to try them.

Based on my partner’s frequency, he believes the same man serving us today is also the shop owner. He has only seen the one guy behind the counter across a handful of visits. This one man working by himself six days in a row from 8am to 7pm, and Friday until 8:30pm. So it is commendable that his food is always consistent from start of the day to the end.

This mid afternoon, the plaza was considerably busier: the after school crowd and families shopping after work. We were the first to order, with four individual men following suite, sporadically after.

As my first time I went for their signature “IT Char Burger”. The ingredients weren’t listed, but the back lit photo of it was delicious looking enough. Two juicy char broiled burgers topped with a mound of caramelized onion and bacon bits.

The time the burger patty and its bottom bun spend on the stove top really sets it apart. The char gives it a different taste and texture. A nice crispness on the outside to parallel the crispy lettuce on the inside. There was a good ratio of bun and ingredients to burger patty, although most of the lettuce did fall out between bites; not that it felt like a lost. Overall a stand out regular burger. So tasty because it was so done well. And as satisfying for the wallet at around $10 or so.

My partner got his favourite, the “Teriyaki burger” with lettuce. It had one of the same patties that I had in my burger, heavily coated in a sweet and salty, syrupy teriyaki sauce. He too had the lettuce in his burger fall out due to gravity.

Almost as good as the burgers were the side of fries that accompanied them. Not just your regular thick cut potato sticks. But these fries had an extra coating and a second dip for some extra crunch. The larger sticks were my favourite, where its shell hid soften mashed potatoes within. A thick gravy would have been ideal here, although the traditional ketchup packet was no slouch.

Definitely a greasy meal that you wouldn’t have every day, but a great stop when you are craving a good burger. And if all the above was this good, I am curious to see his take on eggs and French toast, a grilled chicken wrap, or just more from his burger line: including chicken patties and burgers seasoned with Korean flavours.

 

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? – No.
Chances of you stumbling upon this on your own are slim. You have to know to make this your destination, taking the trouble to come here, just like we did. And it is worth it. Especially when you throw in supporting a local small business. Once again, we highly suspect that the owner is working in his kitchen six days a week. He gets patrons, but not enough to warrant more than him manning the cash register and the stove stop. Hopefully this changes. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

IT CHAR BURGER
29-800 McBride Blvd, New Westminster BC, V3L 2B8
604-521-8783
IT Char Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

20 Napkin Burger Challenge, Craft BeerMarket

This is one of those places I continue the recommend when dining with particular palettes, or when trying to cater to a larger group. Their expansive menu ensures there is plenty to choose from and even more to consider when deciding on what to have on tap.

I have been here before and blogged about it a handful of times, so to read a more compressive account, visit the link below.

CRAFT Beer Market, revisited

But this blog post is to highlight their uniquely messy “20 Napkin Burger”, a burger that I had enjoyed once or twice before, and what brought me back today. I wanted to challenge myself with finishing this extra large meal.

So to watch my vlog account of this journey, please visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei or click on the link below.

 

The “20 napkin burger” is aptly named given the number of napkins you find yourself reaching for in the process of trying to finish it. The way they figure it, it is a napkin for every ounce of meat. Not only is it a mouthful, but having to squish it down to get your lips around it, means something is bound to give. The result is the meat and cheese squeezing out between its toasted buns, and spilling over on to your hands. More than half of the filling ends this way, on its way down towards the table setting beneath.

This monster was centred by two beef patties, topped with 4oz. of pulled brisket, crispy bacon strips, a thick cheese sauce, and fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion. The finale is its mini slider crown. At $26.50 you get your money’s worth. This is one of the better large burgers I have challenged myself to finish. Mostly because it is tastier for longer, where as typically the reason why I give up on a challenge is because of how bored and nauseous of the flavour I get. I am made sick by the thought, sight, and smell of a repetitive taste. So for me to only have two more bites until fully eaten, is a great tell on the burger. As I mentioned, sadly, I did not finish it, but came close and I would continue to comeback and try again.

My guests had dishes more proportionate to their hunger.

The “Phillips Beer Can Chicken” was an interesting one. This is a half serving with the can on the side. I suspect a whole chicken would still have the can of grease within it, as it was baked. This is naturally raised chicken rubbed with their cajun spice blend, then slow roasted with a can of Phillips beer. Served with fries and seasonal vegetables. The can, filled with jus allows you to pour on some additional sauce/gravy over your piece of chicken, so should you need it. It is a deliciously tender and well herb-seasoned peace of meat.

And all their pastas are made in house. These raviolis are filled with roasted butternut squash, tossed in a Piri Piri emulsion, and then finished with toasted pumpkin seeds and squash chips. A delicious offering, we just wished there were a few more to a serving.

 

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.
No matter how many times I visit, I still deem them a stand out spot. And I see myself visiting again soon. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CRAFT BEER MARKET
85 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V5Y3K8
604-709-2337
craftbeermarket.ca

Burger Heaven

We were looking for a lunch spot in New Westminster, and I remembered that “Burger Heaven” had an eating challenge (I am slowly working my way through the city’s food challenges that pit your stomach against a large plate, with a limited time to finish it.) Theirs was a burger stacked with beef patties, that I had originally planned to take on; so when looking for a meal today, I decided to suss out the place before hand. And good thing too, as after this visit, I no longer have the will to return for anymore. It was hard for me to finish my one burger with its one patty, let alone many patties in one oversized handful.

This is definitely one of those places you would consider a “dive”. A little cozy, a lot run down, and a favourite hang out for the neighbourhood. As first timers we didn’t know what to expect walking into the restaurant with the rusted iron gate surrounding it. A twist of black metal bent with purpose, each angle and each curve covered with a fine layer of mildew and dust from the age of the place and the elements. The artistic intent of this didn’t really resemble anything, and the full enclosure made you feel like you were in a prison. We grabbed a seat here, in the covered patio, given the nicer weather. Had we gone inside for a table we would have been greeted by their declaration of having the “best burgers in town”, followed by the eye catching wall of photos running down the length of the restaurant. Many faded and many more dog eared over the years. There were also colourful cartoon murals depicting the restaurant and its clientele with a humourous, sunday morning comic spin.

The menu is a long sheet, listing their varieties of burgers and sandwiches, each with a defining ingredient and a name to match. The “Greek God Burger” had black olives, tzatziki, and feta cheese over their beef patty. The “chicken cordon bleu burger” had its breaded chicken filet topped with ham and melted mozzarella. And they even had one called the “insanity burger”, which is a beef patty with cheese and bacon, between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

We liked the international burger idea so had two of our own. My partner had the “Hawaiian burger”. A teriyaki sauced burger topped with ham, a pineapple ring, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mozzarella. It is served with a side of wedge potatoes for a full meal. The teriyaki sauce was on the saltier side, whereas I would have liked it stickier and thick with more honey, the kind you get at cheap Japanese sushi restaurants. It would have complimented the soggy pineapple better. Although I would have liked a nice charring of the fruit over the grill. This could have done lots to improve the burger’s overall taste. That, and if you trade the drier patty and replaced it with a juicer chicken breast.

I had the “Thai beef burger” with crunchy peanut butter, bacon, green onion, and sweet Thai chilli sauce. I upgraded my fries in exchange for onion rings, which got soggy fast. I was hopeful for the peanut butter as I like savoury with a sweet nut butter. But I didn’t get much of it, or any of the promised Thai flavours that came with the title. Although for more “Thai”, I could have used green papaya in a slaw, in exchange of the lettuce. This would have also helped with the sour tang that I was missing. The beef patty was also very dry in this burger as well, here some ketchup would have done wonders. I managed to track down a bottle inside, after asking for some from our server and having to remind her again.

 

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.
We came in excited and left disappointed. We deemed the food overpriced for what we had and cannot see ourselves returning. This isn’t my idea of heaven. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BURGER HEAVEN
77 10th Street, New Westminster, BC V3M 1C4
604-522-8339
burgerheaven.ca
Burger Heaven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fatburger, North Burnaby

My partner is a frequenter of the burger chain, especially as they now have their: smaller size big taste options that range between $9.99-$10.99 for a whole meal. It comes with a smaller burger and less fries for less. Where as a regular burger is $9.99 and to make it a combo with drink and fries you are looking at $4.99 more.

Each location is a little different. The one in Burnaby, by our place included breakfast until 4pm, a specialty touch screen soda machine, and small television screens at the counter facing the window. We you eventually sit and wait for our meal at the latter.

Like any fast food joint you line up at the single till and order from their pictorial menu hanging above. They offered various poutine, wings, and salads along with their burgers. But considering “burger” was in their name, you’d figure that’s what you ought to get. This was my first time visiting any location, and having one of these burgers. And given the praise others have given it, I went in optimistic; yet still cautious in ordering the more regular bacon cheddar burger. The menu doesn’t actually list what goes into it, and you can only guess so much by the pictures. Like how the “California” came with guacamole due to the green mushy layer in its photo, or the ultimate BBQ burger came with onion rings that were shown as thick crispy breading. Luckily the clerks know to warn you of all the toppings and condiments in each and confirm it is what you indeed want. After all one of their advertised promises is that they make you “a burger you can’t refuse”. Along with them being “big, juicy, tasty. (Now that is a fat burger)”.

You pay at the counter and are given a table number with the warning that “patience. (Is needed as) Perfection takes time”. There is a necessary wait as everything is prepared to order and made fresh in their fry kitchen, made visible right behind the check out counter. And apparently what comes out is good enough to come back for as they have a stamp card for frequent diners. After your purchase 7 full size burgers you get any meal up to $7.99 for free

We spent this elongated wait time battling with the less than optimal soda machine. It was a struggle to select what you wanted from its touch screen, without spraining a thumb. You find yourselves poking is several times, increasing the line during a rush. We eventually gave up and my partner went for cherry Fanta when he wanted fruit punch. And I had lemonade when I wanted peach ice tea from it.

When our burgers came, my partner’s Cajun chicken that he ordered was not seasoned in the orange hue it should have been. When I brought it up to the clerk attention that our order was wrong, she denied responsibility. I reminded her of our exchange how both he and I asked for the Cajun burger. My partner ordered for himself, but after realizing the clerk had trouble understanding him due to his accent, I reiterated “Cajun” a couple of more times to be sure. The clerk’s excuse was that she listed chicken when she ran through the burger toppings and we didn’t say anything when she did (whereas if she meant Cajun, she would have said, “Cajun Chicken”). In my mind, why would I split hairs when she mentioned chicken? It was a chicken burger after all? So after the back and forth and my unwillingness to take no for an answer she accepted the basket with the burger and fries back. I sat down only to question what is it they would do to rectify the situation and would it just be her suggestion of sprinkling Cajun spices over the chicken fillet and adding yellow cheese?

So I headed back and on my second trip up, I dipped behind the counter and was able to address, who I assume was the manager as she spoke with knowledge and a better understanding of customer service. She explained how the burger is made and what she would be doing to salvage it. I told her that I would let my partner try it and if it didn’t measure up I would be back. He comes often and this is his regular order, so he has an expectation in mind and expects it to match all the other Cajun chicken burgers he has had with them in the past. When he finally took a bite, it obviously wasn’t as expected. But he isn’t the type to make a fuss, so kept it. I took a bite and not knowing what to expect found it either bland or overwhelming with spice, due to the uneven peppering of the Cajun spices. But at this point my partner was too hungry and didn’t want to have wait another 10 minutes for them to actually make us a burger that we “couldn’t refuse”.

The kitchen (manager) later sent a server to come check in on us and how the burger was. When asked, my partner was honest, it isn’t what a Cajun burger should taste like, but he was unwilling to wait. She took the feedback away and later came back with a voucher for a free burger to make up for the disappointment and the experience, I assume. This was a good way to salvage the interaction.

As for my bacon cheddar burger, for what it was it was good. The patty was a touch on the dry side but the healthy mix of ketchup, mustard, and relish over top, it was easily masked. The candied bacon was the highlight with its thicker strips. And fries were also really nice and crisp too, but this is no wonder considering they also make their fries fresh too order with their burgers.

 

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 am not upset about their being a mistake made and them not wanting to waste food by trying to “fix” the burger above. What I am upset about was the clerk arguing with me on what I said and asserting that this was what I wanted. Especially as I had to repeat “Cajun” a few times, and if she didn’t understand it is up to her to clarify, not for me to accept what she understood to be true. I know it may seem like a small thing, but when you choose to dine out, it is not only for the food, but you also take into consideration the atmosphere and the experience. And given the hype of this better burger chain and as it was my first time here, I unfortunately didn’t get that right away. Although I will not be writing them off for this fact, but instead because I have tried similar burgers, set at similar prices, also catering to that market of a step up from the burger of fast food chains; this just doesn’t measure up to my favourites in the category. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FATBURGER
4461 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby BC, V5C 3Z2
604-568-5179
fatburgercanada.com
Fatburger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive Bar

I came here on a recommendation. A rock restaurant serving heavy metal and comfort classics in skillets.

“Our friend sold it to us as full bbq place, but it wasnt a full bbq place they had other things on the menu. I got the ribs and beef brisket. The meat was good, mash potatoes were bland, and the hard veggies, I was not a big fan of them. (I would late concur with this accessment.) Cool place though, you should go.”

For those of you who don’t know, a “jackalope” is, it is a a mythical, North American woodland creature. A jackrabbit with the antlers of an antelope. This mascot and namesake found its silhouette used as a sandwich board upfront, its likeness on their banner wafting above the entrance, and its head mounted up on one of the walls inside.

Like this viscous, yet cute folklore, the bar mixes cutesy and hardcore throughout its decor. On the walls that wrapped about the booths were black velvet portraits of ghostly characters, thick lined tattoo prints, rock band names and their logos, and portraits done in soothing water colour. By the kitchen was a shelf housing a collection of antique salt and pepper shakers, as well as some well used coffee mugs. The former included porcelain puppies in baskets, turkeys, snowpeople with scarves and top hats, toy teddy bears, grinning clowns, and mushrooms with polka dots. Majority of the latter had their paint faded, worn down from the years of being held in warming grips.

We were seated all the way at the back, with the entirety of the restaurant before us. Its all black walls and its all black ceiling, hung with cast iron chandeliers. It was a gloomier sight, but made visible with high beam spotlights. On the wall behind us was a pinned up velvet kitten blanket. Six balls of fluff, ironically sitting on a similar blanket as the one they were pictured on.

It was all on the kitschier side, though it all worked. Cumulatively, it gave the place a basement vibe. An ambience that matched with the hard rock music and drums pounding overhead. It reminded me of “your parents’ basement”. A storing ground for the family’s knick knacks, that as a child you seek refuge in. And in an attempt to carve out your own space and to make the room more homey, rock and punk memorabilia are used to claim stake.

To start we had a couple of their Wisers special blend rye shots, followed by two very unique chases: the “Beef and pickle back”. The purpose is to mask the sting of alcohol using something that was as strong, a more easier to swallow flavour. In this case a shot of savoury beef au jus and pickle juice. The latter is a more common practice, but the former is an original concept coined by the bar. Both worked, offering a stronger flavour to effectively “chase” away the flavour of the shot before it. Hot gravy and a cooling, tangy brine.

To eat I ordered the “Blacken salmon sandwich with roasted root vegetable”. It was a seared wild Pacific salmon fillet seasoned in a Cajun spice rub; sandwiched between a toasted brioche bun with remoulade, avocado, greens, tomato, and coconut bacon. The fish was tender and flaky, you got the flavour of the Cajun spices right away. It was cooled by the creamy avocado, and accented by the coconut bacon’s flavour and crunch. However the side of roasted potatoes were so salty that they were left behind. Although at the same time, I found them bland enough to ask for a side of ketchup to dip them into.

My guest had the “Skillet fried chicken with mashed potatoes”. Tenderized chicken breast marinated in seasoned buttermilk, lightly battered and skillet fried. Served with a white, thick cut, bacon gravy. The chicken was tender and juicy with a crunchy and even breading. With the crispy and gritty sweet corn bread and the porridge-like lumpy gravy, this was some fine comfort food.

Sadly we dug in only to realize that there was a Sunday special that we much rather prefer, and wished we had known of. It was a great deal at $10. However there was no mention of it by our sever, even when we struggled to order and had asked for her recommendations. We only discovered the possibility while reaching for the table condiments.

Of note was the confusing sight of the washrooms. There were magazine ads, news paper clippings, and photos of people plastered all over its four walls. However each person’s human face was replaced by one belonging to either a cat or dog. A few had their eyes scratched off.

 

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.
There was nothing wrong with the place, yet nothing about it left me with a lasting impression. I wouldn’t avoid it, nor would I make an effort to get back to it. I have neutral feelings for this one. But if you like rock music as you drink and eat, and hearty meals severed in skillets, this would be the one for you. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

JACKALOPE’S
2257 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5L 1V3
604-568-6674
jackalopesdive.com
Jackalope's Neighborhood Dive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Upstairs At Campagnolo

How a $50 burger the size of my fist was worth every penny that I spent on it.

 

Both Diana of “Foodology” and myself read the same article by Ken Tsui for “Scout Magazine”. In it he speaks of the best burger in town being Robert Belcham’s famous Dirty Burger from Campagnolo. That was enough of an endorsement for us to visit, and for me to film our experience with the one of the “best cheap eats in all of Vancouver”, as ranked by the readers of “Scout”.

To skip the reading, watch the video of our encounter with the “Gang bang burger” here.

This attic bar is part of Campagnolo, literally named “Upstairs at Campagnolo” and physically up a flight of stairs to the right of its entrance. The room is dark with mystery and interesting with artifacts. Most iconic is the red and yellow neon dragon lighting your way as you ascend up the stairs.

The room centres around the bar, which we chose to be seated at, due to its preferred lighting. Behind it, the room’s bartender and sever stood at the ready. Here, you go to him o order and pay, an understanding their patrons had, along with the fact that the “dirty burger” was the one to get. Without the possibility of reservations, others like us came early, right at 6pm when they opened their doors, to ensure our desired meal. They often run out of their burgers early. They service and serve until late, but the burgers sell out well before, typically by 8:30pm. And this evening, with 10 people being served, and each ordering a dirty burger, some with multiple patties (like mine), they were already half way through their stock tonight, and it was only 7pm, an hour into service.

Their food menu didn’t list any of the ingredients for any of their limited menu. So the list below is taken off of Ken Tsui’s well written article.

Foodology ordered the the classic “ Dirty Burger”. “The Dirty Burger” is a 4oz, 40-day dry-aged beef patty topped with fresh tomato, lettuce, house-made pickles, a slice of American cheese, and their signature secret sauce. All inside a Scotch bap bun baked downstairs. I can see why it is so popular. It is all in the well seasoned and well pressed burger patty, the butter lettuce and equally buttery bun helped as well.

From here there are customizable options for your burger. An ingredient or two added on for more, and a more elaborate burger. According to some, in order to get these customizable options, you need to know their codes names. But in reality, although fun, it is unnecessary.

Our third, Mr Foodology had the “In the Sun”. The same “dirty burger”, but with the addition of a perfectly yolky sunny side up egg. I grew up with a South East Asian diet, so often find sandwiches lacking when they don’t feature a fried egg. Here, it not only gave the burger flavour, but that distinct runny gooey-ness I love as well.

Asking for a “Foghorn, Leghorn” got you a layer of fried chicken skin within your burger. An addition so delicious sounding, that we decided to get an appetizer plate of just chicken skins to share. It is served with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce that really helps it to pop, along with the fresh chopped chives. The sheet of skin was like a chicken chip in texture, and delicious taste. It was great served warm, yet still stood up after a day in the fridge. I would go back just for more of this.

“The Protester” added a 80g of rich, pan-seared foie gras to the dirty burger base. But being the greedy person that I am, I went ahead and got the whole bang, with the “Gangbang”. This was all the add ons and double the patty count. Two of their perfected beef patties, a sunny side egg, crispy chicken skin, pimento cheese, and 80g of foie gras.

In reality my burger was delivered to Mr. Foodology. I guess the assumption was a girl wouldn’t order such a decadent and calorie ridden burger, for a price tag of $50. I was such a woman. And not only did I want it, I finished it, and had no regrets with my meal. It isn’t an every day expenditure, but I truly enjoyed it, and still think back to it fondly. Though I think the dirty burger with one party, pimento cheese, and egg with a side of chicken skin would be the ideal order for me.

The burger was stacked tall and hard to take an initial bite into. More of it landed on my plate, joining the quickly growing pool of oil and grease that was collecting. It didn’t deter me as I even ended up licking the plate with oily mouth and sticky hands. The cheese was noticeable for its salty flavour, the foie gras missed, and the chicken skin an improvement for its crunch giving texture.

And a tidbit from the “Foodologys” is that this is only place that they know of that serves Mexican coke. Apparently their Coca Cola is sweetened with plain cane sugar, meaning you don’t get that high fructose corn syrup taste as you do with regular coke. Nothing I have noticed before, but am now aware of is an issue. I would like to return to try this as well.

 

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.
I have already expressed intentions of bringing my partner here. They offer a really good burger worth having an early bird dinner for. One for the purists who love an clean build, and options for the adventurous who want a little more meat between the buns. A little small in my books, but it does satisfy with a thicker patty. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CAMP UPSTAIRS
1020 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-484-6018
campagnolorestaurant.ca
Upstairs At Campagnolo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

“The Beast” at Cannibal Cafe

Ever since I started my YouTube channel: “MaggiMei”, I have been looking for ways to test my love of food with friends. Today this was through a burger eating challenge.

To skip the reading, watch the video here.

THE BEAST burger challenge at Cannibal Cafe is 6 x 6 oz Patties, 6 x Double Cheddar Slices, and 6 x Double Bacon Strips. The goal is to eat it in 30 minutes to win a T-Shirt, get your photo on their Wall of Fame, and the $39.95 burger is free.

I have been to the “Cannibal Cafe” on Granville before. Reading over the menu the first time around, it was love at first sight with “The Beast”. Seeing a photo of this tower of meat and cheese between vegetable and bun. I wanted to order and try “the beast” then, however the challenge requires 24 hour advance notice, and the proper preparation if you have any hope of succeeding.

So I found three other willing participants and together we set the date. Going into it we each had different strategies on how to succeed. There were different times when we stopped eating in anticipation of our 6pm challenge, for one of us this would be the first meal of the day. We walked in confident and after seeing the burger, were even more enthusiastic over the possibility of finishing. Boy were we wrong.

But before we got into gorging, there was a waiver to read and sign. In it we reassured our age and our health. Signing to make them not liable, should something unfortunate happen to us during or after this challenge.

The form stated that we could only attempt “The Beast” once every 6 months. It made sense considering if you can do it once, what’s stopping you from doing it again and again, and getting a free meal each time? Next, you are unable to get up, leave the table, or use the washroom during the challenge and 10 minutes after the burger is done, should you be able to complete it. This was to prevent everyone from cheating by concealing food or throwing up.

img_8278img_8273

We each had our photo taken as a “before”. Incase we finished, this would be the photo they used for their “wall” of winners, a television screen with a healthy rotation of photos of successful participants past. Only one of us would gain the honour and a few other perks.

We were each given a spare plate and a glass of water to start. Our first five minutes were actually spent getting our set up in order, to maximize our planned eating strategy. We all knew to minimize our drinking for fear of filling our bellies with water. And to save the bun for last, lest it expanded and filled. Our server would check in on us regularly, and an egg timer sat at the end of the table cheering us on.

img_8283img_8284

Each burger came to us one by one, barely holding it upright was the skewer that pierced it. In fact we had to hold it up ourselves for our “before” photos. Our four garnered a lot of attention from the other diners, enough to have a man at one of our neighbouring tables request to try it himself. He would finish with 2 minutes to spare and with much more class than any of us did. I felt bad for the other diners hearing us moan and groan. And even worse for the kitchen hearing us complain about the burger itself. We went from our first bites being delicious to how gross each bite was 10 minutes in.

Evan is allergic to cheese and Mandy dislikes tomato and onions, so both got more lettuce as a replacement for them. The restaurant accommodated, but still required you to finish an “x” amount of food.

I went in to the challenge planning to change taste and texture with different ingredients each bite. Like lettuce and tomato with one of the patties, cheese and bacon on another, one as is, one with pickles, and another that used the red onion as a palate cleanser in between. However, it was not meant to be for me. I tapped out early, only 3 patties deep with all the bacon finished. I am a textural diner and as the burger became drier, I had less and less desire to put any of it in my mouth. I was forced to tap out when I gagged on the crumbly texture a few times and could taste what I manage to get down come back up. I eventually was able to swallow what I had in my mouth and keep it down, but dared not to go back again for more. Each of us had that moment, the pause, and the need to focus on keeping things down. Which was followed by relief when we were successful.

img_8312img_8342

We chatted as we ate, although I doubt our unison complaints helped propel one another towards the finish line. Each of my guests impressed me with their a ability to suppress vomit, and cut through the pain to finish as much they did. Mady was just shy of completing by half a burger. Had she been given more time to eat it in, she would have absolutely finished. She just needed 10 minutes more. Similarly, I was impressed by Richard’s ability to pack food in. Given his slender stature, it was surprising the amount he was able to take in. It was to the point that he had a “food baby” and it incredibly easy to feel all that he consumed through his stomach.

As Evan was the only of us four to finish, for his efforts we had a $0 bill to pay. He also earned the pride and accomplishment of winning, that he deemed well worth the pain. And literally 30 minutes after, he was well digested and ready to eat again. As was the case with me, I wasn’t full, I just couldn’t eat anymore thanks to the taste and texture.

img_8288img_8297

However it was down to the wire with Evan and he was close to not winning. The bun held him back, his tactic of dipping it in water didn’t help. It only made the texture worse, not lubricating the bite like he wanted. Instead, he was left with a glass of murky water and the need to use something to wash it down. He was struggling to take the last puff of bread when the timer beeped. Our server came just in time to see him holding his clenched fist against his pursed mouth, with us reassuring him. “You got this Evan”. But where we failed, he came out on top. And after sitting the required 10 minutes after finishing the burger, he was rewarded a tee shirt. It was an outlined drawing of “The Beast” burger on the front, and bold words declaring “I took down The Beast” on the back. His photo would also be uploaded on to their “wall of fame”.

img_8298img_8345

Once again, I found it interesting that when we began, we did so by praising the burger. However, we ended our meal we did so with hatred for it, and all the other burgers in our near future. Not only did the taste become redundant, but the texture left a lot to be desired as well. The patties were over cooked and the beef dry at its centre. The side of ketchup and hot sauce we requested didn’t help to give moisture or provide flavour, it just better highlighted how flat the seasonings were. Had the burger been made with six different proteins, or at least seasoned differently six ways, I believe we all would have come closer to, if not finishing. Or at least enjoying trying do a lot more.

 

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.
At this point, I am still scared off burgers for the foreseeable future. However, in six months time, I would not be apposed to giving it another go. Knowing what I am getting myself into, I think I would have better luck. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CANNIBAL CAFE
433 Granville Street, Vancouver BC
604-620-3212
cannibalcafe.ca

Woody’s Pub

img_4422img_4459

With all the hoopla going on in the American presidential election, it was only a matter of time before more of that came up north, and only a matter of time before someone thought to take advantage of it.

And this is why we came to “Woody’s” today. They had a special menu to help you solidify your candidate choice via burger. Both are basically the same, one was full of baloney and puns, and the other spam and its own saucy play on words. We would soon get a taste of both.

img_4458img_4449

I only heard about the pub because of this promotion. So driving to it, I was surprised at how busy it was on a Thursday, and how many laps I had to take around the lot to find a spot. In fact when came out after our meal, a few drivers saw it fit to make their own stalls, parking where no lines existed. It wasn’t until we entered did I realize the additional buzz was due to the New England Patriots game, along with other sporting matches playing across all their wall to wall television screens.

The setting was your run of the mill bar across three rooms. A stage for live music, a waxed wood floor for any dancing, and plenty of cushiony booth seats. We were made to feel comfortable, which was nice considering the need to wait and the feeling that they were short staffed. It was a busy night, furthered by a prize draw every 30 minutes.

img_4428img_4457

We were each give a raffle ticket, two were dropped off at our table without an explanation. In the main room, an announcer spoke and called names and number. We really had no context, but after the three rounds of prizing, our number was actually called and we had won. Our prize was a cooler, a ball cap, and a tee shirt. None of it we need, it was just more fun that we had won. Especially as we were planning to leave, but me not being able to find my keys delayed us. Proof in my belief that everything happens for a reason, good or bad.

As I mentioned earlier, it felt like there weren’t enough servers. We were left waiting after our hostess gave us our menus. So when we were finally noticed, we made sure to ask all our questions and order everything we wanted, all at once. A server passing by was kind enough to take our order. She explained that our intended server was now slammed and that she would be taking care of us going forward. And she did a good job of that, clearing our empty plates and completing circuits of check ins.

What impressed me most about our destination was the variety of people they brought in, and the variety their menu offered to them all. Burly men in leather, a couple of elderly Korean couples out on double date night, sports enthusiasts in jerseys, and women in visibility vests looking for an after work drinking hole, and a large group of business professionals in power suits and tie. And here we were looking for a comfy place to eat at in our sweats and faded jeans.

The menu was an extensive read, but it gave you confidence, just as the exterior of the restaurant did. They have been “serving the community since 1934”, and proud to have that on signs and as the header of the menu. They prided themselves on “making their food with love” and “serving (it) with pride”, for those who love “homemade comfort food.”

They had your regular and run-of-the-mill bar cuisine with comfort eats like tacos, chicken tenders, calamari, and potato skins. Perfect appetizers for some more dressed up burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and wraps. There was a shrimp caesar, some lamb lollipops, “steak Neptune” with beef and shrimp, a pan seared salmon wrap, and “epic” burgers with an over easy egg or blue cheese.

img_4426img_4427

We definitely had to take advantage of the 30 cent wings, available all day Monday to Thursday (we came on the right day), with the same deal also available at various times during the weekend. But only you order any drink. It was a bar, so we got 20oz beer and a cider at $6 a sleeve. It was nice that each came in their own specialty glass.

The menu claimed that their wings were famous, and that was worth seeing for ourselves. They sounded impressive, but looked on the smaller side when they arrived. But I guess I can’t expect much when paying $3 for 10. The minimum order for each flavour was 10. You choose between either five sauces or four seasonings, and either one of two dips. Reading the menu, I was confused at first. I thought we could stack flavours, choosing one sauce and one seasoning. That wasn’t the case, but they were willing to toss one in the other for 50 cents extra.

img_4429img_4430

My guest choose the lemon pepper, which was a dry rub; and I the honey garlic, which was a lot more saucier. The lemon flavour was strong with a tart and salty finish, and a granulated crunch from a thorough tossing and steep deep fry.

img_4431img_4433

Honey garlic is always a safe bet, and a good comparison point. It made the over cooked wings that much more juicier with its thick and sticky sauce. I was interested in taking a batch home, but was told it wouldn’t be at the 30 cent price. I would have to pay the full price which was $1 per wing at 12 for $12. The wings were good considering how much you had to pay, but they weren’t good enough to pay full price for.

They forgot the blue cheese dipping sauce we had ask for, but at least we weren’t charged for it. Though I could have used it to help change the taste, or better yet: blue cheese with a couple of sticks of vegetables. But once again at $3 a plate, I shouldn’t ask for more.

The “Woody’s presidential election burger” asked you to choose your side for $15 each. It was Trump versus Hilary. We got one of each burger and both were served with their classic thick cut fries. These were some of the nicest, chewy potato fries that I have ever had.

You can’t help but to discuss politics when ordering either of these burgers. It had us speculating over the future of the states and the possibility of a civil war, as predicted by baba vanga, a mystic who has have some of her other predictions come to light. (A really interesting Wikipedia search, I suggest reading it when/if you get the chance.)

As for who would get which burger, we decided the best course of action was to not get too political, and to share both servings splitting both down the middle.

img_4437img_4442

“The Trump Burger” was full of baloney, Russian dressing, and a small pickle. They were clever with their ingredients and jokes. I would have preferred the baloney and pickle as part of the burger filling, instead of them just being toppings that skewered it. The patty for both burgers were fairly thick, and the need for a thorough cook had both on the drier side. Luckily both their sauces were as plentiful as they were humorous.

img_4451

The Russian dressing in this was similar to a tangy thousand island. But it just made the lettuce soggy and the tomato slip and slide under the pressure of your grip around the crunchy brioche bun.

img_4440img_4444

“The Hillary Burger” came with a slice of spam, Lewinsky sauce, and a sour pickle. I was curious about the sauce, and could only imagine it being white, thick, and unappetizing. So when I saw a dollop of it on the top, and more of it oozing out the side I couldn’t help but chuckle.

img_4455

It tasted like a watered down ranch dressing, but overall pretty unnoticeable. It was the spam that stole the show for me. Like with the burger above, I wished the toppings were on the inside, rather than just garnish on top. It’s party was also dry and it also proved difficult to maintain between two steady hands.

 

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? – No.
There aren’t too many destination dining spots in my area, so it’s nice to get such a place with such a breath of variety within a 20 minute drive. They are a clean and chill bar spot, with an extensive menu guaranteed to satisfy a great variety of diners. They also have some pretty generous drink and food specials worth coming back more for. And the occasional event and activities with prizes are a nice bonus. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

WOODY’S
935 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam BC, V3K 1C8
604-526-1718
woodyspub.com
Woody's Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cannibal Cafe

img_3081img_3084

My guest invited me to here to try their burger of the month. Her brother was a chef, and the creator of this particular burger at the “Cannibal Cafe” downtown. I was hesitant at first, still remembering the overcooked and dry burger during my first and only visit to their Commercial Drive location. But today’s lunch and this September special have redeemed the chain for me.

The burger is only available at their Granville location, so we made this our destination; despite both our closer proximities to the Commercial branch. Just as well, as this one was a lot newer and a lot nicer with vaulted ceiling and plenty of space in between diners and their tables.

img_3083img_3125

Their all glass exterior advertises their burgers and brews, as well as a few specials in decals. A few patio umbrellas were pitched, and despite the lovely weather, everyone was satisfied claiming a seat indoors, ourselves included. I don’t consider deep fried sides and messy burgers, patio food. Patio foods are snacks and things you eat with pointer and thumb. Not food that makes you sicker in the heat, and gluttonous to those walking.

So a seat in one of their booths was perfect for us. Majority of the empty wall was covered in black and white posters printed on neon paper. Band adverts and pop culture references as colourful as they looked. The entire right wall was plastered with this collage, and it continued to creep all the way to the single stall washrooms to the left.

img_3123img_3124

Although busy in pattern, it went well with the clean lines of the furniture, and the more punk rock dressed staffed. It gave the place character, an edge you’d expect by naming your establishment “cannibal”.

I liked and wanted one of their tee shirts, especially after seeing it modelled on our server who converted it into a tank. One tee had their logo: a burger with cross bones and a clever slicing through it; another helped to promote their free milkshake Monday’s with a pink cartoon version of it, and plenty of whipped cream with a cherry crowning the glass. And my favourite featured their “beast burger”. This was a burger befitting its name. So intense that it came with a challenge.

img_3082img_3086

It is a $39.99, 7lb. burger; that if you manage to finish it in 30 minutes, it is free. You also get your photo on their wall of fame and one of their tee shirts for free. All that was enough incentive to try, however in order to compete you need to call them in advance, a 24 hour commitment so that they can prepare. Also, the menu warned of ridicule and a steep price to pay for failure. It wasn’t likely that I could finish six 6oz patties, six double cheddar cheese slices, and six double bacon strips, so I passed today. But it is on my bucket list of things to try: a food eating contest, so I may very well return to conquer it.

img_3087img_3085

This month’s burger, the one we were here for, was the “Pineapple Express”. It was advertised on chalkboards with a pineapple dawning some sunglasses. Its commercial worked, because before I knew what it was, and that it was what my guest was in here for, I wanted it myself.

img_3090img_3121

This was a 3oz beef patty burger with braised short ribs, a beer battered pineapple ring, pickled onion, cilantro, and a pineapple teriyaki garlic mayo. This was an exciting burger to eat from first bite to last. There was plenty of like and contrasting flavour to keep your mouth entertained. It had all the textures and all the flavours. It was crunchy from the deep fry, had a crispness from the pickles, and a tender chew from the pulled rib meat. It also had a savouriness with the meats, sweetness from the pineapple, a tangy brine from the pickled onions, and an herby freshness from the cilantro. I actually don’t like the cilantro and often will never touch the stuff, but because the burger was so well crafted that it only tasted better with the specific herb. And I am not just saying all this for the sake of my guest and her relative. I truly do like this burger and hope it makes it on to their regular menu, because this is one I recommend and would go back for.

img_3096img_3120

By comparison, the “La belle province” burger was less exciting. It too had double the meet, but none of the same balanced flavours. Though I am biased as I don’t like smoke meat sandwiches, and I too find those boring. So I guess, the burger was a very accurate to its name and inspiration. This is a 6oz patty topped with Montreal smoked meat, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, cannibal sauce, and a Dijon tarragon mayo. I wanted a stronger sauerkraut, or a juicy pickle. But settled on ketchup for tang. The burger just needed some acid to balance out all the meat and salted cheese. Looking at it, it wasn’t as salty as I expected, and the patty was surprisingly alot more juicy, given its throughly browned centre.

img_3114img_3117

We did get the tang we were missing from the side of “Deep fried pickles”, that we added on. They came with a dip of tarragon mayo, but I would have preferred a creamy dill instead. Either did/would help balance out the acidity of the pickle and the oil from its deep frying.

img_3115img_3116

We also ordered a side of their “Crispy onion rings”. I would have preferred the slices of onion cut thinner, but that’s because I like the taste of onion rings, but not the texture of the actual onion hiding between the thick blanket of crispy batter. It came with a side of smokey red pepper mayo, but I preferred to dip each ring into ketchup instead.

This was some messy eating. Luckily they had a caddy of utensils and napkins at every table. Especially helpful when the burger falls apart and you need fork and knife to pick the rest a part. And when you have to wipe your mouth of sauce after each full faced bite.

The staff were very attentive, checking in on bites and confirming that we were happy with everything.

 

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.
I reached my grease tolerance today, but will not hesitate to return one Monday where I can get a free shake with any burger. And that burger might very well be the “beast burger”, so that I can cross it off my foodie bucket list. As for what you will be having, I strongly suggest that you try their seasonal burger, which is only around for the month of September. Where else can you find a battered and fried pineapple ring? Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CANNIBAL CAFE
433 Granville Street, Vancouver BC
604-620-3212
cannibalcafe.ca
The Cannibal Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

White Spot’s Pirate Pak Day

IMG_0633IMG_0630

Pirate Pak Day at White Spot, Wednesday August 10th, 2016

 

This would be my first time enjoying the well known promotion. Once a year adults gather to relive a bit of their childhood with “White Spot’s” “Pirate Pak” meals. This “Pak” is their equivalent of a happy meal, usually only reserved for kids under 10. It comes with a main, side, drink, and dessert all wrapped up in a colourful package. In this case a card board pirate ship with bow and stern, portholes, and even a sail, held up by your drink straw mast. You get a choice of burger and drink, with fries, ice cream, and a gold foiled chocolate coin.

And the best part is not only being an adult and able to order said kids meal, but each one you do order on this day is to support the “Zajac Ranch for Children”. The “Zajac Ranch” is a BC based summer camp that brings a little fun to children and young adults with serious medical conditions. You pay an extra dollar for your meal and “White Spot” meets it with another, with a total of two dollars from every “Pirate Pak” going towards this great cause.

Given the obvious steady traffic of the day we decided to have our lunch later at 2:30pm, but we were still greeted with a hefty wait for a table at our local “White Spot” chapter. 25 minutes plus just for a table and then another 30 minutes plus for our meal to be made and presented.

Therefore we decided to try another option for the first time: drive in. “White Spot” is one of the original restaurants offering this service and still does. Drive ins are where you dine in your car, instead of battling for a table or leaving the comfort of your vehicle. It makes the service faster and is ideal for lazy people like myself. The down side, the mess you create and then have to clean up eating in your own vehicle, whereas no one dining in really minds making a mess at a restaurant they don’t have to tidy afterwards.

To begin you start by pulling into one of their designated stalls in the parking lot, behind the building. “Drive in service only”. Facing the restaurant you are in clear view of their back door and the staff working out of it. A sign instructs you to turn on your hazard lights for service. It also lists the certain times when this option is available.

The menu is also on the side of the building, but only the burger and fries fast food options are available. I think anything else is a bit more problematic to have in your car.

IMG_0643IMG_0647

But we were here strictly for the “Pirate Pak”, and only had a few options for our burger mains. The veggie, chicken, bacon cheddar, or their “legendary burger”. But be warned the “legendary burger” actually only comes with a patty and sauces. No lettuce, tomatoes, or any other fixings. After asking and hearing that we switched our orders from that least inexpensive option at $12.49, for something more substantial at $14.99.

Then you sit and wait with whatever music you want, in what ever climate you toggle the car’s cockpit to. The meal is brought out balancing on a slim retractable tray. The tray’s spokes insert into the window’s ledge when you wind it all the way down. Our server was very skilled in bringing this out with one hand, then fitting it into place with the passenger’s help. Though this had us eating at our armpits, at an uncomfortable height. My partner later struggled to modify the tray closer to our lap level for better ease of eating. He did so by dangerously lowering the tray to rest on the arm rest on each driver and passenger side door.

IMG_0641IMG_0657

He had the bacon cheddar burger with 7-up that was flat. The beef patty was very juicy, bring it together with plenty of mayo and a watery tomato, and this was a messy burger. Everything ended up spilling out of the two buns. This was a little too messy for comfort eating in the car. This was the kind of burger you get all over your mouth and have to wipe it up with a moisten towelette.

IMG_0646IMG_0656

I had the Mediterranean chicken burger with ice tea, and my beverage of choice still tasted good even if it was flat. The burger was like Greek salad between two buns and lettuce. It came with red peppers, cucumber, tomato, and plenty of tzaziki sauce. This too was messy with a generous helping of the white dill flavoured dip. But it was necessary, given how very dry the herbed chicken breast was. The sauce helped to keep things moist.

IMG_0645IMG_0642

As for the act of eating, there was a constant fear of making a mess. Spilling drinks that eventually ended up in the car’s cup holder. And catching crumbs with our laps, that ended up being shaken off or picked up an dropped out the open window. The worst was trying to have fries with your burger. Both came stacked in trays one over the other. And the only way to have both at the same time was to displace one tray, and there weren’t many options to rest it on. The rest of the cardboard ship was built to hold a sauce container of ice cream, all your needed utensils and extra condiments in a zip lock bag, and the gold coin. We eventually rested our burgers on the side where our beverages use to sat. Overall a great novelty, but one that I wouldn’t prefer to do again, unless I am just having chicken nuggets and fries.

 

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.
My ranking above is just for the day and the event, not for every day dining. (See my previous post on “White Spot” for that assessment.)
Pirate Pak day is a favourite for many, so I advise planning out your day and expecting a wait. The drive-in option is a good solution for those who are not prepared to queue, but be warned, it comes with a struggle. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

WHITE SPOT (Gilmore)
4129 Lougheed Hwy, Burnaby BC, V5C 3Y6
604-299-4423
whitespot.ca
White Spot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Page 2 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén