Words: Stephanie Yuen (Chinese blog: http://taiyangbao.ca/food/359591/
The receipt of Vanfoodster Richard Wolak’s invitation to one of his recent Tasting Plates events to spend one afternoon with numerous burgers prompted two reactions. Henry’s was “Awesome, let’s do it!” Mine was “Huh? Burgers”?
Anyone could tell I am not too enthusiastic about burgers, for simple reasons: Ground meat is off-beat and boring. Burgers is so uniformed. My hands are too small to hold and eat burgers without making a big mess.
Good old Richard assured me these were sliders (mini-burgers) with special touches. In another word, they would all be gourmet burgers. Why mini burgers are called sliders is beyond me, may be they are small enough to ‘slide’ into the mouth? Nevertheless, I had to admit, this afternoon of burger adventure proved to be quite an eye-opener.
We started late and due to the participating eateries spreading from Gastown to Denman, we only had enough time to taste 4 burgers. This worked to our advantage – it gave my stomach a break in between burgers and gave Henry a refreshed palate for the next pint of beer.
First stop: Milstones Robson.
The “Stacked Burger” was a classic: The cute skewer of cherry tomato and pickle added vivid colour to the stack. Moist and fluffy were the juicy patties with perfect thickness. I felt in love with the crunchy Tuna Taco which was definitely a pleasant surprise. Bravo to the chef who went out of the way to create something unique and so tasty!
Henry loved the King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen from How Sound Brewery. “Perfect drink for burgers and tacos!” was his cheerful comment.
Next up was Yagger’s Downtown (Pender Street)
We had the choice of: Yagger’s Famous Cowburger OR Housemade Chorizo Burger. Since there were two of us, we naturally ordered one of each. The existence of both organic beef & pork in one patty in the cowburger was not unusual, but interesting. The double smoked bacon and aged white cheddar would be forever enticing; with chipotle peppers and peppercorn mayo, the burger scored even higher. The “kick” inside the ground chorizo & beef patty was very engaging and was an excellent partner with cold beer. Once again, my palate loved the side dish “Mac & Not So Blue Cheese” white cheddar& gorgonzola cream sauce on jumbo mac noodles and smartly garnished with fresh bruschetta.
3rd Stop: The Bismarck Bar
Bismarck Chorizo Prawn Slider applied top ingredients generously, that included using brioche buns, combined to offer layers of flavour and a truly gourmet profile. Being close to Roger’s Stadium, the Crunchy and extremely flavourful Stadium Fries that came with the slider were the first to disappear.
Last stop: Buckstop Denman
Henry and I both agreed, their Venison burgers stuffed with blue cheese, mushrooms and horseradish aioli was a show stopper. Two slices of tender loins of venison, not ground, told me 1/ Not all burger meats are minced. 2/ Burgers can be as tasty as any other well-prepared dish. Who knew blue cheese and venison loins are merry couples? The bowl of warm and crispy house-made potato chips was all so seductive, I had to warm myself 8 times to pull to a full stop! Oh, the running-out meter helped too!
Our sincere apology to the ones that we missed:
Kobob Burger – Mini Bulgogi (Marinated pork with veggies) rice burger, served with a piece of Korean pancake and Kimchi.
DeeBee’s Organics at Whole Foods that offered choices of one of the flavoured Teapops: Berries and Cherries, Minty Mint, Southern Iced Tea, Tropical Mango and Toasted Coconut.