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Category: burgers Page 2 of 7

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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

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