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Getting an oil change at Burger 55

The burgers are grilled, so most of the oil actually came from the onion rings, but who could resist a tempting pun like that when writing about a burger joint in a converted garage? Eh? I ask yez.

Burger 55 by Alex MacRae

Burger 55 by Alex MacRae

Full disclosure: Burger 55 in Penticton, BC, is one of the most successful self-employment clients of my old friend Lori Dunn. They applied for a training and support program for small businesses in Penticton and Lori approved them and has been one of their most loyal customers ever since. Since then they’ve won so many Best Burger and Small Business awards they’re about to run out of wall space to display them. Mind you, with about 300 square feet total there never was that much wall to begin with.

That's the entire kitchen, folks.

That’s the entire kitchen, folks.

Their website has a Cult page. That should give you a hint.

Peter Navin burger and donation box

Peter Navin burger and donation box

Having gotten their start thanks to a community initiative, they are still community-minded. Peter Navin was the friend who originally found them their unique location; for the past several years, Navin battled brain cancer and ultimately lost the fight. Burger 55 created a commemorative Peter Navin burger for $7, and proceeds are donated to his family.

There are only three stools inside and a handful of picnic tables outside. In the heat of the Sonora Desert summer it’s best to sit on the side towards the creek, where you can get partial shade and a refreshing breeze. In the winter, it’s best to just get take out and eat it in the car facing the lake while having an emotional conversation while playing old rock ballads.

They also deliver, provided you order $15 or so worth of food and bev, which isn’t hard once you get into the premium add-ons and side orders.

Burger 55 custom bacon cheese burger

Burger 55 custom bacon cheese burger

Their deal at Burger 55 is custom made burgers: that doesn’t make them unique, but the paperwork does.

Paperwork?

Burger 55 menuboard instructions

Burger 55 menuboard instructions

Well, it’s a very Canadian burger joint, you know? You walk in, you stop for a second and goggle at it just because it’s so dinky, then you reach to your right and pick up a clipboard and one of those mini-pencils you never find outside of voting booths or esoteric burger garages in Canuckistan, and you go through an extensive, small print checklist of what you want and what you don’t want. Salad style? Tortilla? Gluten free (of COURSE they have gluten free buns)? What kind of cheese, if any? Which sauces? And every section is a densely populated box and a tough decision, especially the free extra toppings which extend to roasted peppers and corn, beet strings, and the like. You want it, you put a checkmark beside it. You want double? Two checkmarks. Simple once you get the hang of it. There are eight cheese options alone.

The meat is all excellent quality, and they can do turkey burgers, beef, salmon, portobello mushroom, or lamb. On a low carb diet? Go for salad style for $3 extra, but it’s not a snotload of extra salad, I warn you. The esoteric selection of premium toppings includes a grilled local peach. The sides are: Fries, Fries with Curry Sauce, Side Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, and Onion Rings. The fries are all good but the onion rings, it must be said, are greasy. Tasty, but greasy. Onion rings, I remain convinced, require a different frying temperature than potatoes, and a darn good draining. Still, they are the superior side order (that is my past as an A&W fetishist catching up to me). Fries are for plebes, and for hangovers. #Truefax

If you can’t decide, the three standards (Hot, Burger 55 Signature, and The Other One I Forget Oh Wait It’s a Cheeseburger) don’t do it for you, and the Special of the Month isn’t your cup of protein (this month it’s Chicken and Waffle), you can ask them to freestyle, and they will make a unique mystery combo for you. I’ve noticed that freestyle burgers lean towards the saltier, so if that’s not something you want, say so for a demi-freestyle.

I had a AAA Beef burger on a cracked wheat bun with shredded beet strings, lettuce, roasted sweetcorn, homemade pickles, pickle relish, aged shredded cheddar (I forgot that aged cheddar doesn’t melt unless you put mushrooms on it while it’s melting), Burger 55 BBQ sauce, and some really good bacon strips. And it was perfect. They use local ingredients as far as possible, and make their own sauces. The sauces, particularly the Buddha Asian BBQ sauce, got so popular that they decided to bottle and sell them: Curry, BBQ, and Buddha sauces, plus their spice mix.

My friend Alex had a beef burger grilled on the flattop right next to my bacon, which flavoured it somewhat, with a cheese skirt, ie hanging over the side; they put a dome over it so the cheese melts all around in approved classic burger style. I haven’t seen that since I was at the old lunch counter at Save On Meats where they cooked a burger that was a full pound of meat, two half-pound patties that were so thick you HAD to put a dome over them or they wouldn’t cook through.

And if my headline left you thinking this would be an article about getting your pipes cleaned, well, if that’s your goal I’d just advise you to stick to salad style. Don’t nobody enjoy that process after a burger the size of your head.

 

Created with flickr slideshow.

French Trim Rib Roast of Beef

French Trim Rib Roast of Beef

Few people hold French cuisine in higher esteem than I do, and yet I have to confess that I’ve never really understood the purpose of French trimming a beef rib roast. I think it’s supposed to be about presentation, a line of thinking that says that having the rib bones exposed makes it look better. (Image above courtesy of Country Valley Foods.)

I don’t see it. To my mind, few things look as good as a traditional English, standing rib roast, brought to the table, browned and dripping juices, looking like the most delicious and primal food imaginable. The rib roast is like a roast turkey, it’s one of those festive, presentation dishes that needs little to make it work other than a sure hand in the kitchen, someone who knows how to season properly, and how to get the timing right.

The point of roast meat, be it a leg of lamb, a turkey, a suckling pig, or a rib roast, is that simple, honest presentation reflects good-tasting, wholesome food.. Good meat is one of those things that speaks for itself, in terms of deliciousness and looks. Don’t tart your roast pig like a fancy lad, just Score his skin, put an apple in the mouth, and roast him to golden brown perfection.

This is one area where English butchers have it all over their French counterparts. No fancy French tricks can compare to the Roast Beef of England.

140-character Restaurant Reviews

This one thanks to Celebrity Chef and Gourmet Ginger Bobby Flay.

Had an amazing dinner last night at Girl and the Goat in ChiTown.Gorgeous place, amazing food. Pork shank was off the chain.
@bflay
Bobby Flay

He’s a New Yorker, in case you couldn’t tell.

20th Century review: “Piquant, with lingering notes of…”

21st Century review: “Off the chain.”

Sunday Food Porn: John Hammburger

John Hamm

John Hamm

Enjoy your Sunday food porn, this time with added celebrity goodness. Remember, always use a condiment!

In related news, to support the Heiltsiuk people and schoolchildren of Bella Bella in their protest of the Enbridge pipeline project, I’m going on a hunger strike for 48 hours, starting at 4pm today. Wish me luck; when I did the green smoothie cleanse, I lasted 36 hours, and that was drinking my own body weight in pureed spinach every day.

The students and staff of Bella Bella Community School stand together in opposition to the proposed Enbridge Pipeline that would bring supertankers filled with oil along the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest, jeopardizing the environment upon which we rely for sustenance, both physical and spiritual. We will be engaged in a 48-hour hunger strike from April 1st at 4 pm to April 3rd at 4 pm. This coincides with the Enbridge hearings in our community. We hope to open a dialogue with other concerned students and communicate through video conferencing during our hunger strike. We invite your school or community to join us in our strike and help make a statement that can’t be ignored.

You do not have to fast for the full 48 hours! If you have health concerns or are unable, for whatever reason, to fast with us, join us anyway. Help volunteer on the evening of the 1st or 2nd, fast for only a day, or half a day, or simply send out the invitation to as many people as you can think of. Every little bit counts. Please sign up and pass it on!

Enbridge Protest

Enbridge Protest

Oh Little Lard of Bethlehem

OH Little Lard of Bethlehem

OH Little Lard of Bethlehem

That’s not kosher!

Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich – This is a Great Sandwich

We were flipping through the channels the other day, which means mostly looking at the Food Network, Comedy Central, and wishing there was a Booze Network. We came across this show hosted by the Sandwich King, as he styles himself, Jeff Mauro.

He was doing two sandwiches on this show, the Greek Taco, which I have yet to try, and what he called a Chicago Steakhouse Sandwich. This sandwich turned out to be awesome. The first time I made it, I used his exact recipe, but did three things wrong, or weakly. First, I forgot the bleu cheese in the dressing, I used too little red pepper in the spinach (and I had thought I used a lot) and I did not get the garlic chips as crispy as I needed to.

The second time I made the recipe I used LOTS of red pepper, remembered the bleu cheese, but I used a nice grilled, lightly marinated tri-tip. This was less greasy, but still had great flavor and the sandwich was AWESOME. The only thing I would have done differently is maybe cooked up the spinach just a little closer to serving the sandwich, instead of 10 minutes before. It was just a bit too done. Should have done it closer to the serving time and also just a little less.

So, here is just a great sandwich recipe. Easy, quick and super tasty. Try it, you will not be disappointed. Kudo’s to the Sandwich King. And here is the link to his recipe, while below is almost exactly the same with just the recommendation of the tri-tip and a couple of small things like a much more generous amount of mustard.

CHICAGO STEAKHOUSE SANDWICH

What you need:

Meat:

2-1/2 to 3 lb. tri-tip, trimmed. Marinate for about 2 hours in a plastic bag with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup good soy sauce (not low sodium) and some crushed garlic)

Garlic Spinach:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 lbs. baby spinach
Salt and Pepper

Buttermilk Bleu Cheese Dressing:

1 tablespoon crumbled bleu cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
black pepper as desired.

Bread:

2 French baguettes, cut in 10 inch lengths, buttered and grilled.

Directions

Get grill very hot. Sear meat 5 minutes per side, then cook at medium heat turning often until it reaches desired doneness. I prefer medium well, but many would like it much rarer. Let meat rest for 5 minutes, tented in foil, before slicing in quarter inch slices.

For the sauteed spinach: Heat the oil and sliced garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is golden brown and crispy. Remove the garlic put in paper towel. Add the crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until the spinach is wilted but still bright in color, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.

For the buttermilk blue cheese dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, buttermilk, blue cheese, dill, mustard and pepper together in a bowl and set aside. This can be mixed well in advance for flavors to mix. If you do it well in advance, keep it refrigerated.

To make the sandwich, layer meat, followed by spinach. Place garlic chips evenly about the sandwich and pour dressing on the sandwich. Eat and marvel at how tasty it is.

Finally, I encourage you to follow Jeff Mauro, Sandwich King on the Food Network. His show is great. Check your local listings for times.

Rack On!

In related news, I've got a lovely decolletage for dinner

In related news, I've got a lovely decolletage for dinner

That is what I’d call a beautiful cut.

And yes, it’s real. Order it on Etsy. Order one for me while you’re at it!

via the always awesome MissManifesto

Bacon: the universal language

Warning: the following post is not suitable for vegetarians or for those who disapprove of pet torture. Contains scenes of dog teasing, anthropomorphism, and lip synching.

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