Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Found Burger Love

Yes, it's that time of year again, it's PEI Burger Love for the entire month of April. As if Islanders didn't already have enough reasons to celebrate the start of spring, we can now enjoy the sunshine, longer days and lack of snow while chowing down on monstrous burger creations from 31 restaurants across PEI.  Is it just me, or is 31 a little bit excessive? That's more burgers than there are days in the month! And yet, as I write this, I am certain that I have seen evidence on the Burger Love Facebook page that at least one crazy person (a guy, of course) has completed the burger marathon. 

I'm not going to lie, I was beyond excited about the debut of this year's burgers on April 2nd.  I even tried out for the role of Burger Blogger, which, sadly, I did not get! In retrospect, it was probably a good thing I didn't get chosen, as I'm not sure I could have written love letters (as per the blogger assignment) for most of the burgers I have tried thusfar. For those that are curious, here's a quick roundup of the Burger Love burgers I have tried:

Pilot House (Soul Mates) - In a word: meh.  I might have been slightly more enamoured with this burger if the gouda cheese stuffed into the burger hadn't burnt my tongue. Kind of hard to taste the burger once the taste buds have been singed, but I honestly don't think there were many flavours to be enjoyed anyways.

Daniel B. Brennan Brickhouse (Wall Street Heat) - Spicy and pretty damn good. This is my favorite of the Burger Love burgers I've tried so far. Again, however, my meal was almost ruined before it even began when I bit into the burger topper into my mouth. It was a piece of 'Fire and Ice' dipped in batter.  Ummm, yeah, so I think the name for this sausage comes from the fact that it lights your moth on fire and you have to fill your mouth with ice cubes afterwards. Luckily, I had only taken a small bite of the topper, so was able to salvage my tastebuds and thoroughly enjoyed the flavours of the burger itself.

Crosskeys (Senator Donair) - This is probably one of the most disappointing burgers I've ever eaten in my life...including fast food burgers.  The biggest problem with this burger was the patties themselves - they were extremely compressed, had a rubber texture, were dried out and had no taste. I only ate about a quarter of my burger.

Big Orange Lunchbox (The Ric Flair Donair) - A pretty decent effort by the BOLB. With 13 oz of meat in total, it was a bit over the top (I shared mine with someone else), but the tastes really mingled well together and the bun stayed together (woot!).  The only thing I found weird was that the donair meat was shaped into a patty, instead of shaved as one might expect.

Redwater Rustic Grille (The Butcher's Block) - This*could* have been 'The ONE' if only it had actually arrived at the table hot. Unfortunately, our table of 5 received five cold burgers. Four of us were so ravenously hungry that we just chowed the burgers down instead of sending them back to the kitchen. I enjoyed the chips on the burger and the braised rib meat stuffed into the middle. The flavours of the sauce were also really complementary. As noted above, however, the temperature of the burger made it a non-contender.

So that's been my official Burger Love experience so far. I've got three more dates lined up - The Lucy Maud Dining Room, Mavor's and The Olde Dublin Pub, but the truth is that yesterday I found myself not just one burger love, but two burgers loves. Neither of these true loves were part of the Burger Love campaign, which just goes to show that sometimes you've gotta search far and wide for a keeper.

And how did I come to find my True Love, or should I say Two Loves?

Well, it all started with a lunch date yesterday that was supposed to take place at Mavor's, but ended up being at the Young Folk & Kettle Black, a relatively new cafe on Water St (sidenote to my lunch partner - I checked and it seems that YF has only been in business since early 2012, as I suspected!).  It had been awhile since I'd been there, and there'd been some big changes. Most notably, Chef Robert Pendergast is now in the house!  Chef Pendergast was one of the wonderful chefs that contributed to the success (and deliciousness) of An Island MEAL by offering up his artisan bread for guests to enjoy. It looks like he's got a boulangerie set up at Young Folk, as well as a grill. 

Hamburger was on the menu, with a choice of Cheddar Onion or Jalapeno. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed. My lunch partner had insisted this burger was better than any Burger Love one, but how could that be, since it was basically just a cheese burger? My skepticism was short-lived.  The burger, served with a knife stabbed through the centre, was, quite simply, amazing. The burger itself was a magnificent hunk of juicy Island beef, filled with a flavour all on its own.  It was topped with cheddar and onion, along with a delectable homemade  ketchup that had a little zing to it, and mayo.  To top it off, the burger was encased in the most delicious burger bun ever - clearly an in-house Pendergast creation. I'd not normally rave about a bun, but this one deserves mention for its flavour, denseness and holdability.  This burger is goes above and beyond any expectations I might have had.  And it was $10 to boot (with a  lovely side that I can't quite describe).

My next burger love came only a few hours later. I know, crazy eh?  How could my stomach even manage another burger in the same day? I swear my digestive system's close to martyr status after a month of Burger Love and a dose of norovirus.  But back to my second burger love. As it happened, I'd decided that Wednesday would be 'try a new recipe' night and had my heart set on trying out a quinoa burger recipe. WTF is a quinoa burger you say? Well, it's a burger made with quinoa (basically a protein-rich seed that resembles rice when cooked), along with grated carrot, zuchini, mushrooms, garlic, eggs, cornstarch and cayenne pepper.   Anyways,  I was pretty excited about making the burgers, as I had received the nod of approval from Mr. Wonderful - he was willing to give them a try - a miracle in and of itself!

The burgers were super easy to make and I served them with sweet potato fries (baked, not fried, of course) and a simple green salad.  Charles topped his burger with mayo, and I topped mine with tahini sauce and a slice of tomato.  I was a little later sitting down to eat my meal, and was startled when I looked over at Charles' plate and it was completely clean. Holy shit, not only did he try the quinoa burger, he ate it all.  When I asked him if he liked it, he responded 'I liked it all!' Woot!!  I bit into my own quinoa creation and was delighted with the array of tastes and textures it provided. I'm not going to pretend it's anything like a beef burger, because it's not. That being said, not every burger need be beefy to be tasty.  I'm stoked to have added another delicious, healthy burger recipe to my dinner rotation. It's always a win, when I can stuff a serving or two of veggies into the main part of the meal! And, yeah, the leftover burgers held up well and served as lunch for both myself and Charles (solid evidence he actually did like them!).

For those of you that want to go beyond the beef burger, here's the quinoa burger recipe I used (I used two eggs, as I found just one was not enough to keep the mixture together). 

1 comment:

Raeanne said...

Sounds delish!