77 10th Street
New Westminster, BC
East side, West side? What does it all matter when we all live a thug’s life.
Foodosophy reader Tee and I often joke about the reputation that certain places in the GVRD hold and New West is sometimes the target of our remarks about the madness that occupies some young people’s lives in their quest to get rich quick, and how sadly they end up living that lifestyle for only a very short time before they are “eliminated”.
Overcoming any “fears” we have of traveling out to this place via the sometimes sketchy Skytrain, we ended up at this mecca for burgers, otherwise known as Burger Heaven. With a long tradition of serving up this North American classic – I recall our server saying they’ve been at it for 26 years – we knew that it was worth checking out. Open at 11am daily, it was the early afternoon when we stepped inside and several tables were occupied.
If you can get over the initial shock to your eyes, as the interior is dimly lit and the overhanging paraphernalia and hanging plant decorations throughout contributes to the sense of claustrophobia, you soon realize the best way to describe it would be to say it has “character”. Or like a dingy basement decked out in wood paneling out of something like That 70’s Show. Or as Tee so succinctly put it, “dark like a steakhouse, leafy like a greenhouse”. The single dominating theme would be the customers however, as the walls and tables are adorned with what seems like hundreds of Polaroids and printed photos of diners over the years. The early-eighties looks of many of them brought a few smiles to our faces.
The stout menu booklet was loaded with various burger options. Headed by its Top 10 list, which highlighted the apparently most popular BBQ Cheddar & Bacon Burger, among others. Some “ethnic” twists with a Teriyaki, and even a “Mexican” burger. A listing of specialty burgers (e.g big, multi-patty) was also present, along with some really unique meats. I opted to go for something from this select sheet in the Buffalo Burger (w/jalapeno jack cheddar cheese, salsa, chipotle, sour cream). I tried to recall when I had this before, and I could only remember eating it out of some road side shack on the Enoch reservation just outside Edmonton almost twenty years ago as a child.
The patty was densely packed and given the low fat content of buffalo/bison, it did come across as dry. I did miss the juiciness and greater flavourful sensation from a beef burger. But it was not bad by any means, just different. And that was what I was after on this lunch, so nothing lost there. The loads of toppings ended up oozing out of the nice sesame seed covered bun and near the end, it was getting quite wet and messy.
Being able to split the side between the fries and a salad helped balance out the plate, but as you can see, it was still a lot of food. It took a lot of effort to finish this and hours later, I paid the price as I was still feeling stuffed and had no need for a dinner.
In a strange twist of fate as we tried to visit Burger Burger a few weeks after this meal at Burger Heaven, we discovered that on Sundays its closed and with not much else top of mind to check out, we returned here once again. This time, Tee took on the bold challenge of The Hulk Burger (w/a three-quarter pounds of beef, cheddar, mozzarella, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and special sauce). It was a clear case of Meat Vs. Man, and Meat won. Hands down. I don’t think he even got through a quarter of this. Sad, but true.
I will give him a way to cop out, as we did indulge in some very large milkshakes that did temper our hunger and capacity of our stomachs. These drinks were both plentiful and delicious by the way.
Perhaps learning my lesson from visit #1, I decided to go a bit lighter with the Chicken Marinara (w/grilled chicken breast, marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese). I enjoyed the tasty marinara sauce and doubled up with the slices of tomato, I certainly got my fill of this vegetable. The six ounces of chicken breast meat was tender, juicy and had a crispy golden exterior. Overall, a very good chicken burger. It was also much more manageable to eat than any of the burger patties. Call me a lightweight, but this volume was still more than enough for my eating needs. I wouldn’t even dare reach over to try on the Hulk. If I had, I know I probably would have ended up in Burger Hell…