2015 Year in Review — The Food I Ate Part 6: Burgertime
Upon review, the year was made up of a lot of out of town burgers, a lot of Triple O’s and a lot of complaining about heartburn. There were also some great discoveries and some context-rich experiences. I hope you enjoy this blog half as much as I enjoy hamburgers!
43. Tim Horton’s (West End) — I ordered a grilled cheese but never got it. Instead, I paid for the grilled cheese combo, plus the pop and chili from the combo separately, plus a bagel and creamed cheese and chili for my friend, all told, the bill was 18.50, which made no sense, but the clerk just stared at me when I asked. She didn’t say a word. It was crumbelievable. Then she gave me my take out and it was this:
I guess I’m the fool for not double checking inside the bag but come on, man. This was worse than my five nugget exchange at Mcd’s.
42. Arby’s — Roast Beef Sandwich — About every five years I go to Arby’s cause I forget how sick it is. A wad of labial, shaved beef on a sweet bun. No sauce, no vegetables, just pure regret in handheld form.
41. Subway — Turkey Breast — Subway is almost the lowest of the low. If you gave me the choice between a 7–11 saran-wrapped deli sandwich and Subway, I’d have to check the price point to make my decision. If the 7–11 was even a dollar less, Subway would be in trouble.
40. Scott’s Motor Inn (Kamloops) — Buffalo Burger — I don’t know what’s buffalo about it. Just seemed like a frozen patty from Super store to me.
39. Mcdonald’s — Cheeseburger — The ratio of a regular cheeseburger from Mcdonald’s is made for the mouth of someone who doesn’t like too much red meat. If you don’t like too much red meat then you probably shouldn’t be at Mcdonald’s.
38. Mcdonalds — CBO Burger — Chicken with bacon and cripsy onion straws, sauce and little onions on top of the bun. Pretty good but, man, did it make me suffer later. A common thread throughout this food blog is my heartburn ailment. I used to get heartburn after a lot of food but this past year I went on to prescription proton pump inhibitors and I rarely get heartburn anymore, so when I do, it must mean something about the food’s content — usually it’s connected to extremely fatty or onion heavy foods, so I probably should’ve known better than getting a burg that had onion as one of its acronym letters. But it’s a little like a heavy night of drinking, afterwards you tell yourself you’ll never do it again but really you probably will. With the CBO, I think and hope I can keep my promise.
37. Earl’s — Bree and Fig Chicken Sandwich — Some people like a really sweet sandwich and that’s fine. I don’t mind the occasional turkey with cranberry variation myself. But this one lacked the savoury spice to balance out its sweet notes.
36. Burger Baron (Kelowna) — Hamburger — I remember Burger Baron being one of the best burgers in Kelowna for a long time but it was pretty disappointing this time out. The patty was thin and the red sauce was excessive. It was basically similiar to a DQ burger in its charbroiled taste but yet it was missing something that it formerly had that made it much more sad.
35. Subway — Sweet Onion Chicken — Pretty okay for a subway trash sandwich.
34. White Spot Triple O’s — Smokehouse Burger — Basically a fast food ripoff of something you’d get from Red Robin, it’s got onion ‘frizzles’ and some chipotle sauce. A good combo for heartburn, I’ll tell ya. Much more expensive than a reg burg and not better at all. Also, what’s the deal with Triple O’s vs White Spot? Am I right? It reminds me of the explanation in The Big Short (saw it in 2016 so stay tuned for that) of ‘synthetic CDOs — basically a speculation on a speculation; so Triple O’s is a White Spot restaurant that banks on the success of White Spot restaurants. Weird.
33. Nice Cafe — Cheeseburger — A very common burger. Still good. Fries were crispy. To be fair, Nice is aimed at brunchers so what did I really expect? I couldn’t even find a picture of their burger online.
32. Vera’s — Cheese Burger — Vera’s chaps my hide. I ordered cheese on the burger and it was $1.50 extra. For $1.75 I could’ve gotten a deluxe burger with bacon and cheese or some other special toppings. And they think it’s some big deal that their cheese is shredded instead of sliced, as though it saves you some chewing or something. I’ve always found Vera’s to be overrated despite their constant position at the top of Vancouver’s best burgers list.
31. The Noble Pig (Kamloops) — Cheesesteak — Massive chunks of beef make for a good burger. The heartburn hit though, it was hefty.
30. Bear Creek Convenience Store (Surrey) — Cheese burger — A strange burger, certainly, but still a good one. They don’t have a grill at the little shop (that always always closes at least an hour earlier than the sign advertises) so they deep fry the beef patty. It ends up having a little cloak of fried skin — sort of like a piece of KFC. Certainly not something you’d want frequently but it had an exotic taste. There’s a spice in it that I wasn’t too keen on either, sort of a paprika or cumin (I have no idea what either of those taste like, but this burger tasted how I imagine they taste). Worth trying but I didn’t go wild for it like the rest of my friends who ate with me.
29. DQ — Cheeseburger — These six dollar meal deals they have at DQ are great, you get a burger, fries, a drink, and a sundae. Even the lower-end fast food places can’t beat that. The burger itself is good and as my palate refines and mustard becomes less obnoxious, the more I like a DQ burger. They’re still so bottle-happy with that mustard though that it has to be a choice.
28. Cat’s Social House — Chicken Bacon Club — This one was way too Bacony for my delicate heartburn-prone constitution.
27. Camelot Diner (Prince George) — Mozza Burger — A classic diner with a good-old, rude-mama lady waitress. The burger was okay but nothing better than a regular A & W style mozza.
26. Quizno’s (Prince George) — Honey Bacon Club — I’ve had a lot of HBCs in my day but this one wasn’t up to par. It had less flavour.
25. The Noble Pig (Kamloops) — Barbecue Chicken Club — It comes on a weird little poppy seed bun. It’s a little more akin to pulled pork than chicken breast, which is not to my taste. I’ll never get anything with gravy from the Noble Pig again as they’ve pushed all-in on the sweet wine-tinged components that boil my blood.
24. Union — Banh Mi Fish Sandwich — A good sandwich that was sometimes too spicy, but the crusty bread was great and the flavours were nice.
23. Storm Crow — Grilled Cheese — Made on a sort of garlic bread, it’s pretty good and a bargain for 7 dollars with a side of fries. That’s about as cheap as you’re gonna get a sandwich at a pub.
22. Cafe Joy (Kamloops) — Yakisoba Burger — This joint in the Sahali Mall in Kamloops is very interesting. They specialize in Asian cuisine toppings on burgers. Lots of teriyaki sauce and noodles make for a good visit but you wouldn’t want to live here.
21. Wendy’s — Single Cheese — I used to work at Wendy’s and am familiar with their old pattern of using a four quarter press to spread the beef out. That means you drop the raw meat and immediately use your grill spatula to flatten each corner of the patty. It spreads the meat out into a thinner line and allows the beef to cook evenly and quickly. I don’t think they use this method at Wendy’s anymore. I’ve noticed that the patties are much thicker now than they used to be. To me, that’s a shame because it effects the formerly unique light taste that the single had. It’s ratio has actually become too beefy for me. When you use as maybe vegetables as Wendy’s does, it’s nice to emphasize that. Still a good burger though, just not as good as it used to be.
20. Cat’s Social House — Cheese Burger — Nothing special about it but it was good.
19. BX Pub (Prince George) — Beef Dip/Teriyaki Chicken wrap — Decent but nothing to write home about. The yam fries were crinkle cut which was awesome.
18. Five Guys — Cheeseburger — a pretty good fast food cheeseburger. Pretty piled on with toppings and really sloppy, I wish I could’ve kept it together a little more.
17. Lucy’s Diner — Chicken Bacon Wrap w/ Mushroom Cheddar Soup — I was a little turned off wraps in 2014 but right off the bat, Jan. 6, I gave ’em another go. It was a little messy but it was simple. The soup was great too, lots of mushroom (is that plural and singular? Like deer or beer?).
16. Frenchies — Smoked Meat Sandwich — The sandwich was very good. I think the first smoked meat sandwich from a restaurant that I’ve had (but I used to eat a lot of corned beef as a child — what a strange concept, corned beef), it was moister than I imagined it would be.
15. The Noble Pig (Kamloops) — Noble Burger — the burgers a little gamey (I think) but it’s got a nice bun and good overall quality.
14. Wendy’s (Grandview Highway) — Chicken Filet — Last year, I went to the Grandview Highway location and this same burger made it all the way up to number 4 on the burger list. I chased the dragon and it didn’t remotely stack up. That’s the trouble with fast food (well, one of the troubles), as much as they’re known for homogeneity, the quality of your burger is entirely dependant on how the high-school-kid-learning-to-work-a-real-job builds your food. Is there a rush at the drive-through? Then you’ll get some slapped together, middle-of-the-bun-missing-sauce monstrosity. Is Jerry on the grill? Uh-oh, you might get food poisoning. Every order is a game of roulette with an inflated cast of teenage cooks and varying levels of competence in management. Still, the recipe of the burger is always the same and even a poorly constructed chicken filet still has its merits.
13. White Spot Triple O’s — Bacon Cheddar Burger — Science World. I actually prefer the quality to the BC ferry’s version of this burg, but White Spot does a good job too and I get a discount there.
12. Mcdonalds — Mighty Angus — The Angus is a king amongst fast food burgers but they’ve really loused things up with all their specialty Angus’. The ‘mighty’ version has bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, ‘smoky’ sauce, and sauteed onions. It’s basically the CBO but with beef and cheese and less crispy onions. The other Angus option is ‘the classic’ which is sparse on veggies and heavy on bacon. I wish they’d offer up the angus deluxe again which, gasp, has a lettuce leaf on it without having to have some special bullshit too. I think I got lucky that it didn’t heartburn me this time (might’ve had to do with difference between crispy and sauteed onions too) but I’m kicking myself for basically breaking my promise to never go to the CBO again. I’ve been bamboozled!
11. Triple O’s (Pacific Coliseum) — Double Double — I wouldn’t normally go for a double burger these days but we had an ingenious idea to get a little more beef. Split it! That way you’re still getting the same amount of burger but you’re dealing with less bun. I don’t like Triple O’s relish but when you’re splitting a burg you can’t make alterations to the stock model unless you have full agreement from your copilot.
10. Joe’s Grill — Grilled Chicken Sandwich — This is a good buttery sandwich with tender chicken and melted cheese. There’s nothing wrong with it unless you don’t like butter.
9. White Spot Triple O’s — Spicy Ultimate Crunch Burger — I had it on high recommendation that this was one of the best spicy chicken burgers around. Now I’m not a spicy-guy and I usually prefer a regular filet but when someone recommends a burger, I gotta give it a go. It was very good with just the right amount of spice that it didn’t bother me, mix it up with some yam fries and that chipotle dip they got and you’re gonna have a good old burger time.
8. Carl’s Jr — Famous Star Burger — Pretty Great burger. Lots of sauce and good meat ration. Plus they use alot of vegetables which is appreciated. I also like the unique style of putting the veggies on the bottom of the burger instead of the top, a subtle difference in mouth-feel and taste ordering.
7. Mcdonald’s — Mcdouble — Not as good as the JBC but still a wonderful ratio of meat, cheese, and bun. It’s simplicity in your hand. I think I had 10 of them over the course of the year.
6. A and W — Teen Burger — These babies were well made. They were so good that my friend Nolan ate three of them. That might’ve been a little excessive. They were slightly toasted — I’m not sure why more restaurants don’t pursue toasted buns in their burgers, when your dad’s on the grill he always tosses the buns on the top shelf and you thank him for it — fast food and even pubs should go harder after this satisfaction. The cheese was melted to perfection as well.
5. The Noble Pig (Kamloops) — BBQ Chicken Burger — At the time, I thought it was strange that the burger was different, but now that I look back at my notes I see that one was a club and one was a burger. A subtle but vast difference. This one was much better, more cheesy and more bbq-y plus way less pulled porky. Haha, pulled porky. Yes, I went to the Noble Pig a lot. I spent a lot of time in Kamloops this year and, while not being perfect, it’s the go to place to get a beer and a burg.
4. Wendy’s — Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger — A classic, scientifically balanced burger that gives you the perfect ratio of tomato, lettuce, mayo, cheese, beef and bun per bite. It tops the Mcdouble with the freshness of ingredients as well as the addition of crisp vegetables and colour.
3. El Camino — Gambas Arepas — Very flavourful. The prawns were really really good and the sauce was saucy without overpowering the prawny taste. Funny how I love the taste of shrimp but hate things that are shrimp flavoured.
2. Tumbleweeds (Kamloops) — Deluxe Burger — A great burger. Good beef and nice special sauce. The bacon was thick and crispy to the point where, I couldn’t eat all the bacon (I’m not the biggest bacon fan), but I just pulled it off. Easy. A much better problem to have than not enough. I ordered a side of gravy too and it was just delicious, not wine-tinged at all! Plus the service was some of the best I’ve ever had, the waitress handling a table of ten with grace and a smile.
- Sliders — Meatloaf Slider, French Dip, and Chicken Slider — Sliders was my favourite discovery of 2015. It looks like a shitty chain on the outside but through the doors lies a hidden gem. It’s sort of fast food hybrid, someone brings your food to you and the atmosphere is a little nicer. The plating is classy and their side salad is as legit as anything you’d find at a good gastropub. The prices are great and the food is perfect in ratio, if you’re looking for a light lunch, grab a chicken slider. I’m worried that Sliders will close down because I never see anyone in there, so go check it out ASAP. Trust me on this one.