Monday, July 18, 2011

Red Robin, Bellingham, Washington. Natural beef burgers

Honest to Goodness. Our natural ground beef contains no preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Really, when the hell did this happened and why didn’t I get the memo? I have to check in Canada maybe this is just a US Red Robin thing. This is absolutely outstanding. Natural beef just catapults Red Robin to the top of the chain restaurant list. Sure you’ve got to get past the plastic faux Disney cartoonish shtick of the restaurant design but once you do its well worth it.

I had the Burnin’ Love Burger, crispy fried jalapeƱos, salsa, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo all nicely wrapped in a burger diaper and brought to the table photo ready. This is how you serve a burger given that 90 % of our taste buds are in our eyes and the set basket design on all Red Robin burgers is outstanding.

Nice burger 8.5 – 9/10. It’s natural and it’s pink in the middle and it’s juicy and tasty, but in the back of my mind there’s that nagging feeling that it’s still a fast food burger. I think it’s the bun. You know the type; the wonder bread bun like thing that you know has way too many chemicals in the mix. Still a damn fine burger and now that I know that the beef is natural my go to burger chain joint.

Mmm beer

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fiamma Burger. Bellingham, Washington. US

Let me be clear, this is not my type of burger. I’m more of a thick patty, pink in the middle type of guy. The Fiamma burger is a thin 4 ½ oz burger patty. Not that that’s a bad thing it’s just not my thing. Fiamma makes a great burger, Bellingham’s best apparently and I’m not going to argue with that. The meat is natural, the ingredients fresh, the bun phenomenal, the burger comes rapped in a burger diaper (I love that) it’s all good and an easy 8.5 – 9 /10.

Best of Bellingham
On the other hand, a home run 10/10 if they made the same burger with an 8 oz pink in the middle patty, but that’s just my preference. And to be fair I only had the single patty burger. I don’t know what I was thinking I must have had a brain fart; I should have doubled it up. I think that alone would probably have improved my score.

In the end it doesn’t really matter, Fiamma makes great burgers. Or maybe it does? Maybe Fiamma can add a new burger to the mix call it the “Fat Fiamma” or something like that. When they do, let me know, I’ll be right there.

Garlic Cheese Fries

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hamilton St Grill. Vancouver. A backyard burger.

The Hamilton Street Burger house-ground Certified Angus Beef®, house-smoked bacon, aged cheddar, Kennebec frites, truffle mayonnaise
Sounds good but this is really a backyard burger. Here’s the recipe: Go to Safeway, pick up some ground beef, lettuce tomatoes some bacon, (you don’t have to make your own) while you’re there grab some Portuguese buns from the bakery and head over to your friends backyard or deck. Form meat into patties and place on grill, cook until there is nothing absolutely nothing alive in the burnt patty, meanwhile place the Portuguese bun in the oven and bake until it’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside so it will crunch and flake and fall apart once you stat digging in. Now, while the burger is on the BBQ, cut the tomatoes onions and lettuce and place them in the hot sun so that they wilt prior to adding to the burger. Put it all together, call your friends over and see if they will fork out $16 for this work of backyard art.
The Hamilton Street Grill came with such high expectations such big buzz from Foodosophy. They house grind their own meat and are therefore one of the few places in town that will allegedly cook your burger pink in the middle.

Maybe I was expecting something exceptional and maybe I just got something average. My friend also had the burger and together we agreed no more then a 6.5/10, alas it wasn’t just me.
I was hoping for so much more.

Still, I must vent.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Hamilton Street Grill:
It’s nice that your house ground your beef, awesome, but why kill it on the grill? And, why Angus Beef? You realise Angus Beef is a feel good brand? Last time I checked McDonalds and Burger King were serving Angus burgers. Check out Angus beef website, they produce 1.8 million pounds of hormone and steroid injected meat every single day. How about some natural organic beef?
Loose the Portuguese bun, it makes a good sandwich not a good burger. Try making your own bun. Just a thought
Put the tomatoes, onions and lettuce in the burger not on a hot plate. That way they won’t wilt by the time it comes to the table.
Yours Truly
Mister Handsome Burger
PS: the Fondue was really good.

I feel much better now :)

Apple Pie with Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

Gorgonzola Fondue

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red Wagon Cafe, Vancouver, BC

I’ve heard some great buzz about the Red Wagon Restaurant, a greasy spoon serving great comfort food and using ethical products wherever possible. I’ve heard you have to try the pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels maple syrup. In fact when you walk into the restaurant barbequed pork fills the air and instantly makes you happy. Well, it makes me happy. It was a difficult decision not to get the pancakes, available all day, the smell was unbelievably enticing but then I have this burger blog and the Red Wagon burger uses organic beef and they make it in house and they didn’t freak out when I asked if they could cook the patty medium rare. Oh well the pancakes will have to wait for next time.

The burger was great; it was cooked and delivered a beautiful pink in the middle. Great flavour, everything inside of the buns was great, but then the bun, not fresh, crumbly, totally disappointing. It’s like giving my wife diamond earrings wrapped in newspaper and without the blue Birks box. It’s like taking a Ferrari engine and putting it into a mini van. It’s, it’s, it’s like great and flavourful ingredients in a crappy bun!

In the end it’s nice but…..9/10. So close.

You know what you have to do.

Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar, Vancouver Canada – cooked to 160 F

I came about the Rogue burger purely by chance. A working dinner a new place never before visited a burger on the menu and a pleasant surprise.

The 9.2 oz ROGUE burger

ultra juicy, two napkin, house ground sirloin burger cooked to 160 F, sesame brioche bun, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle, sweet relish, mayo

Phenomenal burger! 10/10. Everything is spot on. Huge luscious patty, ground and formed in-house cooked pink and juicy. All the accoutrements work in perfect harmony.

Sorry about the photo, my crappy Blackberry camera does not do this burger justice.

I recently wrote about “pink in the middle” burgers. There is no law against pink there are only excuses. Rogue makes no excuses.

Still on my agenda the Hamilton Street Grill and La Brasserie two other Vancouver establishments that I understand will also make no excuses.

Look for my new tag “pink in the middle”