Burger Baron Rules

An Edmonton Original

Okay, this here is one of my favourite places in the city for quality diner fare – Burger Baron!

This my lifelong favorite – the Double Mushroom with cheese.

It’s a chain (albeit, a small one) and you can find several locations here in town; but my go-to stop has always been the landmark 82 ave spot, just a little east of 75th street, in its iconic A-frame building.

I can remember my dad taking the family there starting back in… well, since just about as far back as I can remember (I was born in ’64, and apparently the first BB opened up in 1963). It was always a real treat, and I swear ta gawd, it still is!

So when you inevitably find yourself in Edmonton, seriously, go out of your way to get to the BB, and order the Double Mushroom with cheese. They’ve got other ones too, of course – you won’t go wrong with a Rudy’s special for example, but if you want my two bits worth, double mushroom avec cheese.

The ‘shrooms are fried on the spot, the beef is good quality and the bun is the crowning touch – a nice, fresh one toasted to perfection!

This is a proper drive-through or dine-in hamburger, right here my friends; and it isn’t overpriced and it isn’t pretentious and it isn’t cluttered.

 

Just look at this and you’ll know right away you want one.

I want another one right now; and here’s the thing: you patronize the Baron and you’re doing business with a really good, likeable hometown team that deserves your dollars and earns it, one burger at a time!

Can’t recommend them highly enough! Eat here. Check out their Yelp reviews.

Good Lovin’

Like all good, decent people, I’m a big pizza fan, and here’s place that deserves some word of mouth. Nice people, a good location with free parking in the strip-mall lot (which is a real plus the downtown area), and most importantly, very good pizza made well and with quality ingredients. Prices are reasonable as well.

Here’s a couple photos, including my go-to choice, the “Meatatarian”, but check out their full menu online here. Oh, and their FB page, too.

Customers can watch their pie being assembled at the order counter, and run through the nifty transport oven; then have it boxed up for takeaway or eat it on site – which is what I recommend. Nice ambience during the lunchtime rush, and bottles of olive oil on the table (both regular and spicy).

Relatively new to the Edmonton scene, Love Pizza now has two locations in our fine town. I’ve eaten at the downtown location a couple of times now (10196 109st in the Canterra strip plaza), and highly recommend them.

Viphalay Restaurant

Pad Thai at Viphalay, downtown.

I can’t think of any sort of rhyming punditry for the restaurant’s name (I almost went with ‘Viphalay A-OK’, but then I remembered the sophisticated audience I serve, here on the world’s finest website and realized no way would my readers tolerate that), so instead just have a look at this over on the right:

This is a lunch I had at Viphalay (the downtown one, they have two locations) with my classmates from MicroBusiness Training Center. It’s a wildly popular lunch spot downtown, specializing in Laotian/Thai influenced food, and it rocks!

I recommend the Pad Thai, but the selection of curries that a number of my Microbusiness alumni ordered also looked and smelled worthy of consideration.

The fare isn’t cheap, but it isn’t wildly high-priced, either (everybody’s entree came in at under $20, not including tip).

Reservations are a must, particularly for the lunch crowd, and it is a great spot in an interesting repurposed older house for a sit-down meal that doesn’t disappoint.

Pasta Brioni

I love this place, and have been coming here since it was called ‘Shecky’s’ way back in the day.

There it is, my friends: the Chicken Gigi

It’s Pasta Brioni now, but the menu and format are still very much the same – really good Italian food in nice yet unpretentious setting.

I’ve mostly been there for the lunch session (they are open evenings as well, for a more ‘fine dining’ experience) and every time I go I have but one thing on my mind: Chicken Gigi!

They’ve got other selections too, of course, sandwiches, salads – all of it good – but I consider the chicken-in-a-vodka sauce (with penne noodles) the establishment’s signature dish; and highly recommend it.

Excellent buns, too.

Boned: a horror story

u.n.c.c

Dateline: last night @ 9:30-ish!

Here’s me, fixing to bone me some chicken breasts I scored (because what I have learned is that if you want boneless breasts with the skin still on, you have to Bone Your Own). So to speak.

Learned how to do it from some Youtube videos, and I am all set to bone, but wouldn’t you know, the instant me knife touches the first one,  the work-phone goes off.

“Hooray!” I screamed at the filthy thing as it vibrated around on the counter (the phone, not the chicken, which was quite still), but I am obligated to answer it, as I am the on-call IT Jerk this weekend.

Long story short, server problem, couldn’t log into and fix it via VPN because of what we refer to in the business of IT Jerkery as:

“F*ckin shit’s f*ckin f*cked, man”. So to speak.

Thus, I hastily put all my raw chicken back in the fridge and drove into the office, singing all the way…

“… if you want boneless breasts with the skin still on, you have to Bone Your Own..”.

When I finally stumbled back home at 12:30 I ate some pita chips and went to bed.

But now, my friends, in the bold light of a new day; it’s Chicken Bonin’ Time! So to speak.

Hold my calls.

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The end result: A magnificent deboned chicken breast, with skin on, accompanied by basmati rice with shallots, celery and thyme. Shot with my cool new iPod Touch, and is all blurry because the scene was lit with a lightbulb.

The Heart Attack Burger

(Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) Ah, Test Fest 2012! I rolled in early and I blew out late, in a Land Rover LR4.

The annual showdown of the finalists for Canadian Car of the Year was on the menu. I’m a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada – though not a very powerful or influential one – and I and all my little media-weasel friends were there to sample the goods; down here in lake and wine country.

Because I arrived the day before the car-tests were to begin, I had some time to drive around, and just across the highway and down the road from my hotel – in the shadow of GM’s parts plant in St. Catherines, Ontario, I found the Good Eats Diner.

I stopped in for a late breakfast, as I was fresh off an overnighter and had basically hopped off a plane in Toronto and driven down to the region in my LR4.

It’s my kind of place: an unpretentious little roadside stop offering good food at reasonable rates, and I had a plate of ham and eggs with a side of buttermilk pancakes in an atmosphere full of friendly staff and happy regulars.

The food was good – and I will draw your attention now to that oft-overlooked side dish, “home-fries”, which are excellent here.

Must have something to do with the potatoes used, or the grapeseed oil I assume they are cooked in, from the amount of grapeseed oil bottles I saw around; but what caught my attention was the mention on their sign out front, of something called the Heart Attack Burger.

They weren’t making them the first day I stopped in, but I knew right then that I had to have one. It happened that I finished up the last day of Test Fest drives way early on the final Friday of the test-fest (because hey bubba, I am just that good) and immediately struck out from the Niagara airport (staging ground for the CCOTY contest for the past several years now) for my new favorite diner.

Once again, I draw your attention to them fries.

The star of our show – the mighty HAB

As you might imagine, the Heart Attack Burger is a giant oversize novelty sandwich guaranteed to fill you up real good with everything that is, technically, bad for your weight-loss aspirations.

The ‘buns’ are two grilled cheese sandwiches (with bacon!) bookending a big meat patty and the usual fillings; tomato, onion, lettuce. It comes to the table stuck through with a knife to hold the thing together, as it towers above your plate.

It’s magnificent, of course, but I hesitate to recommend it – I couldn’t finish mine – the HAB is something you order once, just to say you’ve done it. I’ll go back, of course, next year’s Test Fest is already on the horizon; but next time I’ll get a normal one. And more of those excellent fries.

I survived a Heart Attack burger, and so will you, but now I am in Burger Rehab and on the road to full Burger Recovery.

The diner is run by a right-on bro named Paolo Miele (here’s the deets! follow his Tweets!); make sure you hit the Good Eats Diner if/when you find yourself in the St. Catherines area.

Wade Ozeroff © 2012

Cup-O-Meat, To Go!

My usual food scientists, E & R, weren’t available for a trek to Smokehouse Barbecue in Leduc. He was away discovering a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and she was having a shower with a bunch of other women, which I was not allowed to attend or watch.

“Drat the luck”, said I, but sallied forth anyway, powering down the highway in my 2012 Dodge Charger, this week’s test vehicle (AWD with Pentastar engine).

The food was great; a three-meat combination of pulled pork, St. Louis ribs and an extra-succulent beef brisket that I will totally go back for again, with the usual barbecue sides: cornbread, slaw and beans.

I couldn’t eat it all, for I am a dainty little fellow of restrained appetites, but I couldn’t leave it there, either. I had a lot more driving to do that afternoon in the Charger, and carting a styro-container full of meat in the car on a hot day didn’t seem like a good thing to do; when the idea hit me:  the tester is equipped with cupholders that are both heated and cooled.

I asked the server for a take-out coffee cup with a lid to use as a container – once I explained what I was planning, she stopped staring at me like I’d left my shirt open and my parasitic twin was hanging out – and filled it with the remaining meats.

Possibly the cleverest thing I’ve done all day, so far, and an excellent showcase for this unusual Chrysler feature; which I’m sure is exactly what they intended when they built it.