Monday, February 21, 2011

Cactus Club, Coquitlam BC Canada

Oh oh, another corporate burger, sorry, this one at the Cactus Club in Coquitlam.
Does anybody know of a decent mom and pop burger joint in Coquitlam?
All I’ve ever had in this neck of the woods are an assortment of corporate burgers and a bad experience at the Gillnetter Pub.

The burger here at the Cactus Club is pretty good, a solid 8/10. It’s fresh, it’s big, it’s juicy, it’s beefy, and it’s good.

My problem is: Corporate/Marketing mumbo Jumbo.
I had: the burger Рaged cheddar cheese, cured bacon, saut̩ed mushrooms, red pepper relish.

Not just any burger ladies and gentlemen, I had “the burger”. And “the burger” is a Rob Fennie “Signature Item”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, “Cactus Club Cafe's culinary vision is led by Canada's only Iron Chef, Rob Feenie. Working alongside Chef Feenie, our talented team of over 20 Red Seal Chefs and over 50 apprentices are passionate about creating, innovating and educating to enhance your every experience. Cactus Club Cafe proudly sponsors the largest number of chef apprentices in Western Canada for the nationally recognized Red Seal Certification program”.

Now, doesn’t that make the $75 (tip included) I just spent on 2 burgers, 1 beer, 1 soda water and a shared appetizer worth every penny?


My server informed me that the patty was fresh not frozen but not formed in-house rather delivered preformed. I didn’t ask about the fries but I’m pretty sure they came out of a bag and were not cut in-house.
So my personal message to Mr. Iron chef Rob Fennie, is this how you would run your restaurant? Back in the day, I had your burger at the old Feenies and I can tell you quite honestly that it was the best (or at the very least one of the best) burger in the Lower-Mainland. Outstanding, thinking about it still brings a smile to my face. (The addition of braised short ribs and foie gras elevated this burger to Sainthood). Alas a thing of the past Mr Feenie, unless of course you take the plunge again and open your own establishment in which case I’ll be first in line for your burger.
At the Cactus Club I will gladly give up my spot in line to anyone that wants it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chef Big D's. Squamish BC Canada

Thanks Frank, that was excactly what I was looking for.

My buddy Frank, a Squamish local, suggested Chef Big D's, in response to a question I tend to ask a lot of people "so, where’s the best burger in town".

According to Frank, the Chef at Chef Big D was a hot shot chef working at a bunch of hi end places in Whistler who then decided to move out of the village and down the highway for a more laid back life. Being the non serious journalist that I am I haven't fact checked this little tidbit of information; I'll just take Franks word for it.

Chef Big D's is a fantastic place, a mom and pop feel on the old town strip in downtown Squamish.

The burger was huge, home cut fries, crispy hot nice. The server tells me everything is fresh, the patty hand formed a seasoned with herbs, garlic powder and egg for binder. The egg thing is kinda weird not what you usually see and I'd argue probably not required, but then I'm not a hot shot chef. You can't really knock the chef though, the patty had outstanding flavour, and maybe a bit too much in fact, I was burping up greasy garlic burger for the next 6 hours. Some would say this is a compliment to the quality of the burger, I say pass the Nexium.

I enjoyed this burger and the whole ambiance of the place, I've been eating at too many corporate chains lately and this is a refreshing change.

8.75/10, my only complaint is that the bun was cold, almost like it came out of the fridge and straight on to the plate. Come on guys throw it on the grill for a few seconds at least. Notice also from the photo that big chunk of un-melted cheese, just saying, I'm pretty sure it would taste better melted. And oh ya, as regular readers will know my usual complaint, stack the burger up, and forget about serving open face stuff.

The building blocks are there this could easily be a 10/10 burger with just a few little tweaks.

BTW this is an unlicensed establishment, in case you plan on heading over and having a nice cold one with your burger. Get a tap in guys, really!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Joey Coquitlam BC Canada

Once again, another chain restaurant, the result of yet another corporate lunch. It seems that Joey, Earls, Cactus Club, Milestones are your standard default choices. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except for the last burger I had a Milestones, these places usually do a pretty good job. I must admit the last Milestone’s experience has grown in bitterness. I originally gave the burger a 6.5/10, but the more I think back the more disgusted I get. It was just poor.

Joey did OK, I had the Hi-Rise Bacon Cheddar burger. It’s a great looking burger, a food stylists dream. It tastes OK, everything is fresh, but at the end of the day it has no soul. It’s impossible to describe what soul tastes like but when you bite into it you know. Perhaps something you would expect from Joey’s, perhaps they are applying their wait staff hiring practices to burger theory.

7.5/10, change your burger, give it some soul, but please don’t change your wait staff hiring practices ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Is a Burger a Burger?

It may surprise people that I try and eat healthy. I am after all the guy with the burger blog. I try and shop "around" the store, that is, I try and stay away from the processed crap in the middle isles.

Sure I'm a miserable failure sometimes but life requires some indulgence and I think the burger gets a bad rap, sort of. OK, so I'm not going to argue that burgers are health food, in fact, almost the opposite.

My confession: I eat McDonalds burgers, but only when I'm sick.

When I have a flu or a cold and can't stomach real food I have a huge hankering for Big Macs and Fillet a Fish sandwiches. It's weird, but it’s like my body knows it not real food and craves it. Believe me I have never once had a craving for Big Macs when I wasn't sick.
Since I'm usually feverish during these episodes I readily succumb to my cravings.

And predictably it takes less then a few minutes after devouring these two sandwiches that I feel physically regretful. I'm an idiot I know but really I was in a weakened state to start off.

And no I do not anticipate that this video will have any effect next time I'm ill. Although, to be honest the fries thing kind of freaks me out. Gotta, love that good old fashion chemistry.

But, now let's talk about a fresh, chemistry free, in house ground AAA chuck, with fresh, even possibly organic vegies, real cheese, and an organically home baked bun. Not necessary healthy for you but a perhaps a healthy indulgence. Made even better with a frosty draft beer or better yet, only because of it's cardiovascular benefits, a big thick Zin :)

Ladies and gentleman, two ends of the burger spectrum. It try and keep as close as possible to the real deal. Where are you?

Unionville Arms Pub and Grill,

Unionville Arms Pub and Grill
BISTRO BURGER – caramelized onion, mushrooms, gorgonzola


 "Titillating and Succulent"

Nuff Said.