Sunday, October 17, 2010

Moderne Burger, Vancouver BC Canada

Moderne Burger is often mentioned as one of Vancouver’s best burger establishments. It’s taken me a while but I finally had a chance to check them out. I really like the feel of this place, simple art deco interior, muted pastels, stainless steel, and sort of a dinner-esc look. Super clean, this place is the antithesis of Burger Heaven in New Westminster. Not to be mean to Burger Heaven because their burgers are quite good and sometimes the best places are the dive hole in the wall, but there is just something sterile about Moderne Burger.

I had the cheddar, bacon and grilled onion burger. It was fantastic 9/10. Great flavour and most certainly the drippiest burger I’ve had in a long time a 5 napkiner, most outstanding. Nice touch on the black olive toothpick on top of the burger. It’s funny how little touches like that elevate things to a whole different level. It’s a garnish, I know, but to me it shows they care. Although, if they really really cared they would get a liquor licence and serve great tap beer. The cherry coke was nice but a beer with this burger would be super nice and probably elevate the burger to a 10/10. Yes, my ratings can be influenced with alcohol.

And by the way, this little strip along Broadway and Trafalgar is the winner of best burger by density in Vancouver, from east to west, Moderne Burger, DB Bistro and right across Trafalgar the Sunshine Diner. Great burgers at all locations, check them out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Acme Food Company. Nanaimo, BC, Canada

There is something about a cool neon sign. I don’t know why but for some reason a neon sign makes restaurants more appealing. I haven’t conducted a scientific trial but I can guess with some certainly that if there were two restaurants side by side, both serving similar fair and looking pretty much the same on the inside with the only difference being one catchy neon sign, the one with the neon sign wins. Neon sign equals huge eat here restaurant magnet but for me the name, ACME, also draws me in given that childhood memoires of Will E Coyote still bring a smile to may face.

Were the hell is everyone? Perhaps I’ve made a mistake? Midweek 6:30 PM, it should be the dinner rush or so you would think and there is no one in the restaurant. Bad sign! Well, good sign on the outside, bad sign on the inside. What the hell, looks like a nice place, even empty. Plus, look around; there are a whole bunch of framed award certificates attesting to the quality of the restaurant. My favourite: “Best Place to Socialize” in Nanaimo. I wonder who won? Maybe they trade of nights? Maybe everyone’s hanging out with the winner tonight?

Tonight I will be socializing with my burger. I had the bacon cheddar and sautéed onion burger. Pretty good a solid 7/10, a passable restaurant burger from an establishment that obviously doesn’t really care about making awesome food. Enough said. If the neon ever draws me back in the future I’ll order something besides the burger. I’ll need to call ahead make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Burger Heaven, New Westminster, BC Canada

The vine covered patio in the front speaks volumes. I’m fairly certain that in a previous incarnation the building that houses Burger Heaven used to be a tacky Greek Restaurant. The restaurant can be comfortably filled under “Dive” and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just ask my good friend Guy Fieri of Food Networks, “Dinners Drive-ins and Dives”. The place is a throw back, pre 50’s wooden construction, dingy, dark interior. The walls are plastered with snapshots of clientele enjoying their burgers. Newspaper reviews and reward certificates also compete for wall space. I have to agree with the awards, Burger Heaven makes a pretty dam good burger, although I stayed away for the 10 stacker, something called Ernie’s Mile High, this baby has it all!! Two and a half pounds of meat, 8 patties high topped with THE WORKS! Cheddar, mozzarella, mushrooms, bacon and our special sauce.

I had the BBQ Bacon Cheese Burger a solid 8/10. Everything in this burger works together to a better than the sum of its parts type of thing. The soft white Keizer bun was supremely good and the BBQ sauce added a smoky sweet something something. The weakest link in the burger was the patty itself, thin and overcooked. Everything else stepped up to the plate and made up for the patty but just imagine if the patty was a perfectly grilled pink in the middle 8 plus ounces of triple A certified Canadian beef! This is just my humble advice, free of charge. Maybe I should become a burger consultant, hmm.

This little burger dive, at the foot of 10th St in New Westminster, makes a really good burger, definitely check them out.

The Bard and Banker. Victoria BC Canada

Its 7 PM, I’m hungry and walking aimlessly through downtown Victoria. The Pig BBQ Joint closed at 6:30PM. What the? I’ve heard many good things about the Pig and I was looking forward to some BBQ or perhaps one of their elusive burgers. Now I’m in a funk. Where to eat? Victoria, being a tourist type town has no shortage of crappy restaurants. Every chain you can think of is here, Milestones, Earls, Browns, Cactus Club. No, not tonight, I’m going to take a risk on the unknown. Tonight it’s the Bard and the Banker an upscale Scottish Pub on Government St. that screams tourist. What the heck, I’m in Victoria on business so technically speaking; I suppose I’m a tourist as well.

The bard is a great looking bar, multileveled, terraced layout and it boasts a huge tap beer selection. I’m always amazed at places like this. The amount of investment that must have gone into this place, not to mention the overhead and the revenue required to keep this place open. Now, does the food match up?

I sat at the bar ordered a beer and a lamb burger. I was told by the bartender that the lamb burger is the house specialty, the thing on the menu that they are known for. It turns out this is a very average burger. Maybe they are known for being average? Who knows? Everything was tasty just nothing too special, accept perhaps the arugula which added a nice tasty bit of bitter extra something something. This is all a bit disappointing if you believe the menu claims….

“Our food is made fresh daily using many local and seasonal products. As often as possible, our produce, meat, poultry and fish come from farms and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability”.

But the bar has a nice feel and I would definitely be back for a drink. Maybe next time I’ll order the wings. The people next to me at the bar had the wings and during idle bar chit chat asked me how my burger was. I told them it was “OK, just kinda average”. They shook their heads in agreement, leading me to believe that they nod with experience. I was indeed advised by this group to go with the wings next time because “It’s really hard to screw up wings”. What an endorsement! Ok, so next time it’s definitely wings even though in the back of my mind I’m thinking “I’ve had screwed up wings before”.

Screw it, live dangerously.