Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Uli’s Restaurant White Rock. BC. Canada

Paula is our guest reviewer today. It’s always nice to have guests and to get a new perspective on my burger ratings system. Not that I really have a burger rating system, per say, it’s pretty much totally subjective on how I feel that day. On the other hand, I know what I like and what I don’t like and regular readers to the Handsome Burger Blog will definitely pick up on my likes, dislikes and little quirks.

Today we find ourselves at Uli's Restaurant on Marine drive in White Rock. Marine drive in White Rock is a restaurant strip, extraordinaire, packed with tourists in the summer but depressingly vacant this time of year. Still a great view, albeit pouring down rain, looking over the bay at the Washington coast in the distance. Hello America.

Surrey Now picked Uli's as the best burger in the Faser Valley. Is it worthy? Paula and I are here to find out. We both had the Uli Burger ~ challah bun, burnt onion relish, smoked cheddar, I added pancetta, Paula added back bacon. Just a note, the description of the Uli Burger in Surrey Now is quite different to the burgers we were served.

The patty is 7 ounces of dry aged beef, hand made in house, nice and thick. The patty is tasty but could use a little something something and it also could have been just a bit pinker in the middle. Nit picky perhaps, but both Paula and I thought it was missing some unidentifiable ingredient. Just a little something to give it that added zing. I’m going on a limb to suggest that it probably just needed a bit more salt.

Paula thought the whole was too big, something about the burger hitting her in the nose because of its enormous size (the burger not her nose). And on that tangent nobody has ever accused me of having a small shnoz and I didn't have a collision problem, so take that for whatever its worth. Plus a big burger is almost never a bad thing.

Other considerations: great challah bun, not enough aoli and subsequently not enough drippy goodness falling from the burger when you bite into it.

I haven't had a better burger in the Fraser Valley so I suppose that for the time being I must concur with Surrey Now, Uli's is indeed the best burger in the Frazer Valley. But as usual, more research will definitely be required to substantiate this claim in the future.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Simon Holt. Nanaimo. BC Canada

Nanaimo, you have a winner.

The kick Ass Burger at Simon Holt, stacked high with barbeque pulled pork, crispy bacon, aged white cheddar and chipotle aioli.


But first let me bitch a little. I'm not a fan of the open face burger display/concept or whatever its called. The skeptical bastard in me can't help thinking that the restaurant is just trying to fill up the plate, less fries, ha.
And it's not that I'm lazy as an objection to personally having to take the cold side of the dastardly presentation with the tomatoes and pickles and lettuce and place it on the hot side of the burger. But really can the kitchen not do this? I thing the burger cools off too quickly leaving it open face, plus I like a the juice to meld a bit, get acquainted so to speak. Anyone remember the failed McDLT experience? Get over it, just put the damn burger together for me please. Now, the reason I'm on this tangent is that Simon Holts takes this lunacy one step further. Granted they put the bun on the burger, but they put all of the veg, the pickles, the onions, the tomatoes and the lettuce on the plate next to the burger. Really? What the hell is up with that? Now I have to take my burger apart and rebuild it myself? I'm sure someone is already working on the de-constructed burger concept. "We bring you all the pieces of a burger, separately, on the plate and you put it together".

Luckily for Simon Holt they make, with my assistance at the table, a pretty damn outstanding burger.

This Kick Ass Burger is combination of two favorites, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches. To be fair, I think the burger is more about the pulled pork then the beef. I would love to see this burger with a bit of slaw instead of the regular tomatoes pickles and lettuce; that would be out of bounds. Just put the slaw in the burger not the plate ;)
Everything works here; the bun, perfectly chewy and soft. Mega juicy interior, drippings galore.
I've never heard of Simon Holt before a friend recommended it to me for the burgers. I don't think it’s a chain but it certainly looks to me like a chain wanna be. Which, if they keep the quality of the burgers up wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mrs Riches. Nanaimo BC Canada

After many many mediocre, read crappy burgers in Nanaimo, I've been referred to Mrs. Riches by some of my local friends. I'm told it's the best burger in Nanaimo, a claim by the way that is also confirmed on the Mrs Riches menu. They don’t reference the best burger claim, I guess its like all of those best pizza joints you see around town. I'm also worried because this is the place of the K2 mountain burger a 2 pound behemoth that is just waiting to be featured on Man v food.

I'm not even temped. I don't need my Polaroid on the wall of fame. I'm worried because I'm thinking this place is all about quantity over quality. If your claim to fame is the monster burger how much attention are you going to give the lonely sautéed onion bacon cheeseburger, a mere 6 once patty.

My first impression, really good. This is a nice looking burger even with the Costco fries ruining the frame. The taste, well, let's call this the coulda burger. The onions coulda been juicier and better sautéed. The onion rings coulda made an impact. (I didn't even taste them) The cheese coulda been melted (shredded yet not melted- I hate that). The patty coulda been juicier and bigger, you really have to go with 8 once for a burger this size. The bun coulda been fresher (it broke up and crumbled while eating). There you have it the coulda burger. And yet this coulda burger was still pretty good above average 8/10. Not bad for Nanaimo.

Is it the best burger in Nanaimo? I'm not so sure or at least I hope not. Readers please let me know.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Just Jakes. Duncan BC Canada

Downtown Duncan on a cold December night is a scene right out of Norman Rockwell, 1950's small town America. Love it.

Duncan gets a lot flack for its image as a mill town, strip mall dive. Did you know about the small old town charm? The uniqueness of the small shops and the family businesses and the hometown feeling that sadly doesn't exist in many places anymore. Maybe it’s the Christmas lights or the decorations, no matter, I am now officially full into the Christmas spirit. And if you are like me and work too much and can't even think of Christmas before say the 24th of December, head for Duncan and get into the spirit.

Fa la la la la la la la la.

Nice old town but it’s also nice to see local restaurants stepping up and setting up modern trendy eateries.

Just Jakes is the restaurant side of a brew pub experience. The place is trendy, it wouldn't be out of place in any major city.

Nice atmosphere and happily nice burgers.

I had the CRAIG STREET BURGER Topped with crispy fried onion rings, aged white cheddar, lettuce and tomato on a chipotle aioli dressed Kaiser

A solid 8/10. Great flavor from the home made patty, smokiness from the jalapeño sauce. The onion rings tasted good and crispy on their own but in the burger they just sort of get lost. This was the case with my last couple of burgers with onion rings. I have yet to find a burger were the onion rings stay crispy. Obviously more investigation is required. When I have issues with burgers most often than not it’s about the bun and unfortunately here it’s the same beef, a not so fresh, whole wheat Kaiser Bun. I don't know which to bitch about more the fact that the bun could have been fresher or that it was whole wheat. Regular readers of handsome burger know my thoughts on whole wheat buns. Burgers are not and should not be light, diet, fat reduced or have a whole wheat bun. What's the point?

And one other nit picky thing that applies to other establishments as well: When you serve breaded fries it just makes people think they are eating at Costco or KFC. Just saying!

But that's just me. Still a pretty good burger all and all and a really nice home brewed beer.