Foodosophy of Pink Burgers in Vancouver, BC


“I’m sorry sir, it is illegal to serve medium-rare burgers in this city.”

I can’t really fault my waitress for uttering this common misconception. Like many, I used to think that it is illegal to serve hamburgers that are raw in the middle. It is not. The health authorities do not have such a law in the books. What is stopping most restaurants from giving you the option of ordering a rare or medium-rare burger has nothing to do with the legality of the act, but from their own distrust of their source of ground beef. Most burger joints will not take chances as they get their ground meat from large factory operations whose quality control is beyond their reach.

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The Pink Bicycle – Victoria, BC


The Pink Bicycle Gourmet Burger Joint
1008 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC
(250) 384-1008

One of our regular dining spots when we are at Victoria is The Pink Bicycle – a “hole in the wall” known for its gourmet burgers. Over the years, I have come to accept that the phrase “gourmet burgers” (in nearly all practical terms) is an oxymoron. Way too many places are using this label to differentiate themselves from the rest…and nearly all of them fall flat. The Pink Bicycle, though not flawless in its execution, is one of the rare places that succeeds.

All their burgers are made with naturally raised and/or organic meat. Their beef burger is made from naturally pastured Hereford cows sourced from a local producer on the Island. This type of beef is often much leaner than the typical grain or corn fed beef. The resultant burger tends to be “drier” in texture. This burger isn’t any different – it is indeed dry, but it had a good intensely “beefy” flavour that most burgers these days lack. The texture is also a bit different than usual. The cooks here “flatten” their burgers on their flattop griddle..resulting in a squished, slightly dense and shredded texture.

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Bernie’s Balkan Kitchen – Burnaby, BC


Bernie’s Balkan Kitchen
7340 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
(604) 526-6580

In a somewhat frightening twist, my lunch time visit to Bernie’s Balkan Kitchen was followed by this incident just hours later in the parking lot directly behind the building.  I’ve heard of doing anything for food, but getting shot is certainly not one of them… at least for me.  With the treacherous, violent history of the Balkans, part of me wondered if this modern day bit of warfare so close to a business with its geographic namesake, was sadly, no small coincidence…

I recalled this post as I drove by looking for a place to get a quick meal.  I’d originally planned to just get something to go as I was in a rush, but ended up taking a seat and eating inside, partly due to the wait to get my food.  Based on that blogger post’s impressions, I decided not to order the apparently popular beef or cheese burek (homemade filo pastry pie) in part due to the reported lack of flavor as well as the big size (it would be too much for me to eat on this day).  There was one slice left of the beef burek in the warming station, as well as one full, uncut cheese one (which later got purchased by one of the diners as a to-go item).

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Burger Burger – New Westminster, BC


Burger Burger
340 – 6th Street
New Westminster, BC
(604) 525-4229

May 2010 re-visit post here

Original post below:

Another sojourn into New West.  I’ve been expanding my food hunting journeys to the “far east”, as frankly for me its a largely unexplored area and the Vancouver coverage of eateries and restaurants is seemingly getting more saturated and repetitive – especially in light of the start of “the event” next week in town.  So I thought, what a better way to really get off the beaten path of reviews on those standard superstar places that are appearing in cyberspace and print media, than a return to a classic mom-and-pop joint.

Interestingly enough, despite its very generic sounding name, Burger Burger gets top billing on the commercial signage that stands at this complex along sixth street.  It totally reminded me of my high school years, where my buddies and I would always congregate at our town’s favourite hole-in-the-wall burger spot – which ironically stood across the street from a McDonald’s.  Even the yellow signage was identical, as well as the open facing flat top cooking area and fantastically priced burger-fries-drink combos.  Over a decade later, I am bewildered to see that a place like Burger Burger has prices that I am most familiar with when I was a cash-starved but always hungry teenager over a decade ago.

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Mission Burger by Mission Street Food – San Francisco, CA


Mission Burger (by Mission Street Food)
inside Duc Loi Supermarket
2200 Mission St (between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Sat-Wed, noon-3pm

Food and cooking knowledge can come from a variety of sources. Being a detail-oriented person, I really enjoy shows that explain why, not just what. Aside from Alton Brown, who has really started turning me off with his over the top corny humour, one show that I really enjoy is the BBC classic “In Search of Perfection” with Michelin 3 star chef Heston Blumenthal from the Fat Duck. He really caught my attention with his episode on steak (it really works btw), and I’ve enjoyed the knowledge, and the hilarity of his exploits.

In his cookbook Further Adventures In Search of Perfection, Heston Blumenthal reinvents the burger to deliver what he feels is the perfect burger. While in principal, his ideas are fantastic, in practice, they are often so time consuming, and difficult to source the ingredients, that it just isn’t feasible for us “normal” people. I remember duplicating his steak recipe, and the total time required before i could put fork to mouth was almost 48 hours. His burger recipe, as tested by the dedicated hamburger folks at aht (serious eats), took over 30 hours. For a hamburger.

Enter Mission Burger, brought to you by Mission Street Food – a not for profit organization that donates their proceeds to charity. In the entire lunch counter revival I was discussing in the Villa Mexico post, they’ve set up a burger counter inside the Duc Loi Supermarket in the Mission.

There are a few very notable things about Mission Burger.
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Minetta Tavern – New York City, NY


Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal St., at Minetta Ln.
New York, NY
(212) 475-3850

I recently went on a quest to find the best burger in New York City. For the rest of this week, you’ll have my breakdown of what I discovered. This is post #5 of 5 related to trying out some of the best that New York has to offer. The last review, Walt Street Pub, is available here. Hope you enjoy the series.

Exclusivity. It’s a real pain for us common folks who love food – as some restaurants that sound like they would be an experience of a lifetime, are just extremely difficult to get a reservation at. El Bulli, French Laundry, the list goes on. While Minetta Tavern doesn’t quite fall under this category, mostly due to their generous dining hours (menu served till 1am), it is still near impossible to get in at a prime time. Normally I wouldn’t bother, but I heard they had the best hamburger in NYC. We decided to eat at 11pm.

Guarded by a “doorman”, the blinds are drawn, and there is no way of seeing inside. Many places try to generate interest – seating people near windows – to make it seem like a place you want to eat at. Minetta Tavern feels like they are trying to keep you out – they are busy enough as it is. This is by no fault of the staff – both the doorman, and the hostess, were incredibly friendly and accommodating – it’s just by virtue of their job to keep walk-ins away when the restaurant is already (likely) overbooked.

Once your reservation is confirmed with the doorman, you’re allowed into the sanctuary. An overly crowded bar, with hordes of people waiting to be seated. I’ve never been seated on time – there is always a delay – even at 11pm. Based on the celebrities who visit Minetta Tavern, I can understand all of the above inconveniences. I don’t have to like it, but I understand.

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Walt Street Pub – Red Bank, NJ


Walt Street Pub
180 Monmouth St
Red Bank, NJ
(732) 741-5936

I recently went on a quest to find the best burger in New York City. For the rest of this week, you’ll have my breakdown of what I discovered. This is post #4 of 5 related to trying out some of the best that New York has to offer. The last review, Peter Luger,  is available here . Hope you enjoy the series.

I remember one of the first food bloggers i ever read. This was really before blogging was all that popular. In one of his posts, he discussed the Walt Street Pub – a small pub in Red Bank, that served up some amazing burgers.

I’ve had images of that burger burning in my head ever since, and had to include the Walt Street Pub when exploring New York’s best burger.

Located on the idyllic south shore, Red Bank looks nothing like a foodie haven. More like a speed bump on the commuter highway to NYC. The drive out from the city took quite a while – and upon exiting the car, I knew the experience would be completely different from the any of the establishments in the city.

The pub itself has a homey sports bar feel. There was a friendly bartender, and a friendly server. The place was near empty.

The Walt Street Pub is famous for their wings – mild, hot or “killer death”. These wings were voted the “best in town” – by whom, I have no idea. And in terms of Red Bank, maybe not the biggest town. They were, however, quite tasty. Basted in very hot sauce, the wings were amply sized, and fried to a crispy exterior. I’m definitely in the wing camp that prefers a drier wing to a soaked, wet wing. The wings themselves were very juicy, with a nice crunch to them. The heat was a bottled hot sauce type of vibe, but I enjoyed these a lot.

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