Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Splitz Grill Vancouver, BC Canada

I'm going to have to give Splitz Grill an absolute WOW. I've been meaning to try Splitz Grill for sometime now. This place is constantly being mentioned as one of Vancouver’s best. What the hell took me so long and I totally concur.

If you are looking at opening a burger joint take note. This place has thought this shit through. They do burgers, and a few other thinks like dogs, but generally burgers and they set up the place with that single objective in mind. From ordering to building the burger to seating it all screams casual burger joint. They use a backward Subway (the sandwich place) ordering system. Order your burger and extras like patty, cheese, bacon, fries and drinks then pay, then slide on over to the burger building area. Here instruct your burger artist (sorry I couldn’t resist) to build your burger your way with your choice of condiments.

Baba ganoush, are you kidding me, who has baba galosh as a condiment? How about one that serves a totally perfect local Salt Spring Island lamb burger. Along with the baba ganoush I added grilled onions, tomatoes pickles mayo. I got totally excited and missed the tzatziki. That would have gone great with the lamb. This burger came together with great flavour. Everything melted together perfectly. The lamb patty was pink perfection the grilled onions and eggplant added just the right amount of sweetness. This is a memorable burger a 10/10 for sure. I don’t think it gets any better then this. Maybe different but not better. Next time I might have to add some mustard and tzatziki, even a 10/10 can be improved upon.

I have to mention the fries, home cut, dark, crispy, glistening hot straight out of the fat and totally addictive. I couldn't stop eating them. In think I polished off three quarters of them before I even touched my burger.

You get the idea, I like this place.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bridge Bar and Eatery. Heathrow Airport Terminal 1 London England

The menu says "made from the finest beef". Really? An airport burger made from the finest beef? Is that even possible? I supposed they couldn't call it the "finest mad cow burger". I asked the waitress what this "finest meat" thing means and I got this kind of dull silence and a look that tells me that she thinks I'm an idiot. I will go on a limb and guess she knows very little of this "finest beef" claim, although she does tell me that it is indeed a fresh patty, not frozen. A "finest beef" burger it is, with cheese and bacon.

I'm tired and hungry; I’ve been on 2 planes and on the go for 9 hrs, a 6 hr lay over here and then a 10 hr flight home. If there was ever a need for a good burger, this is it. Luckily this is not a bad burger at all, a solid 6.5/10. The patty indeed looked like it could be fresh, nice and thick, though expectantly overcooked and low on the flavour scale. (You wouldn't want to give someone e-Coli at an international airport).
Better be tasteless then to cause an international incident. English bacon means back-bacon, nice change from the North American version. Also a nice touch was having Coleman’s Hot English mustard at the table to add a bit of heat. The only  spotty thing on this burger was the bun, a white chemically mess with something akin to a powdered flour dusting. God, I hate airports but if you are at Heathrow Terminal 1 and want a decent burger check out Bridge, the whole burger wasn't bad, or maybe I was just tired but I think you could definitely do worst.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Anthony Bourdain and a Name Change

For all of you burger lovers out there, I urge you to read chapter 9, titled "Meat", in Anthony Bourdain's new book Medium Raw.

It starts off with:

I believe that the great American Hamburger is a thing of beauty, it's simple noble charms, pristine. The basic recipe - ground beef, salt and pepper, formed into a patty, grilled or seared on a griddle, then nestled between two half's of a bun, usually but necessarily accompanied by lettuce, a tomato slice, and some ketchup - is, to my mind, un-improvable by man or God.

From there, the shit hits the pan, literally. Tony writes about the constant risk of E-Coli contamination. The way in which the multi national food industry, in an effort to make ever increasing profits produces ever increasing crap in place of food, bleached meat anyone? It's disgusting and while on the topic please read:

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser and Ominivors Delema. Micheal Pollan.

This is my sermon; the modern industrial food complex shamelessly abuses animals, constantly poisons the public and reaps profits on the backs of uninformed manipulated consumers. Cargil is the largest privately held company in the America, $116 billion in yearly revenue, would it be too much to ask Cargil and companies like them to have some honour, to have some soul, to show some honesty in what they do.

And yet here I am writing a burger blog and there is my dilemma. I like food, I like to eat, I like to eat meat and I like burgers. Becoming a vegetarian myself is outside the realm of possibility, My DNA is too strongly coded to the taste of meat. I agree with Tony and Micheal Pollan, there are options. There are ethical ways to treat animals, before you of course kill them, but there are ethical ways to kill as well. Don’t get me started on shooting cows full of hormones and antibiotics. Antibiotics required by the way to protect cows from disease caused by the way they are being treated. This is kind of like beating someone over the head with a baseball bat and then offering them a Tylenol.

So what do I do? I stop eating burgers from places that can not guarantee that their meat was fresh ground, preferably on premises, preferably natural. I do not trust frozen, even organic frozen. Guess who owns all the big name organic labels out there? Yup, the same ones that feed us other crap. I'm not entirely sure, but pretty sure that as my good friend Bill once wrote: a rose by any other name is still a rose. In this case, organic or not it's still shit.

From now on, no more crap burgers, I’ll try, and by try I mean I may like any addict slip up once in awhile, but I will try to focus exclusively on places that source their meat from small local producers that treat their animals and their livelihood with honour.

I will be changing the name of my blog. A couple of reasons; One, few people are able to figure out what 2abpsslcpooassb means. So just for the record, it’s a burger blog people, remember the Big Mac….that’s as close as I get to spilling the beans. Anyway, given my born again beef outlook, the association with MD’s has to end.

And BTW Chapter 10 is pretty funny as well, it's about Tony's daughter and MD.

So the new name, for the millions of you out there following this blog (anonymously) is:

“Handsome Burger”.

Why Handsome burger? I don’t know. I kink of like the way it sounds.

Set our browsers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cevapi. Split Croatia

People are giving me strange looks. Who the hell is this idiot taking a picture of a half eaten cevapi sandwich? I’m standing on the Riva in Split Croatia, facing Diocletian’s, Palace, holding a cevapi sandwich (let's call it a Croatian burger) with one hand, up high, with the other trying to frame a photo with my camera. This is more difficult then you might think. I can't get the camera to focus on both the cevapi and the palace at the same time. Oh well, I'll post two photos and between the two you get the idea.


Although not technically a burger, it sort of looks like one and it's easy to call this a Croatian burger. Cevapi are small sausage shaped, kabab like, mixtures of ground meat, usually a mixture of beef pork and or lamb and spices but depending on who's making it the ratios can vary and of course the taste. The cevapi are served in a "ljepina' which is pretty much a giant burger bun, but in terms of flavour sort of a cross between your typical bun and a chewy ciabatta bun like texture with some sour dough thrown in. Normally, I'd be screaming about too much bun smothering the flavour of the burger but in this case it works, there is a lot of flavour in this thing. Traditionally served with onions and ajvar (a local condiment, red pepper spread) this is a classic. Huge flavour from the little cevapi smothered in a smooth red pepper sauce and the crunch and sweetness of the onions wow. You can grab a cevapi sandwich at many of the small takeout windows dotted around the Split Riva or almost anywhere in Croatia.

This is my first meal in Croatia this year. Ah, it's good to be back.