Blu Burgers & Brew

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During the holidays, S and I made a short trip to Seattle for fun. Our first stop was to check out the Boeing Factory in Mukilteo near Everett. Since we arrived in the area during lunch time, we decided to go for lunch first. I did some Googling and there aren’t too many restaurants nearby. However, Blue Burgers & Brew had good ratings, so off we went.

 

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The restaurant is quite casual and you order and pay up front. You can then choose a seat and they will bring you your food. Of course, their menu consists mainly of burgers but there are some select sides you can choose from as well. They also have a selection of beers. Surprisingly, there were quite a lot of families with children here during lunch. I guess they are quite family friendly as well.

 

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Chicken Tenders

Given S does not fancy burgers, of course he went for the Chicken Tenders served with fries. For $6.50, this was decent with 3 strips and a decent amount of fries. S said the tenders could have been warmer in the center and that they were rather average. But then again, they are known for their burgers.

 

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Shroom ‘N Onion

For myself, I had the Shroom ‘N Onion which featured crimini mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and a house sauce. The burger stacked tall and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. My mushrooms were overflowing and that house sauce was bomb. The patty was also very moist and juicy. My only complaint is that for around $9USD, I’d expect it to come with fries which was an added cost. Definitely not cheap given the self-serve type of set up, but the quality of the burger is great.

Overall, a good stop if you are heading to the Boeing Factory or if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make a trip out here just for this.

Pros:
– Great execution of burgers

Cons:
– Slightly pricey given self-serve

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: N/A Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3

 

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Salmon n’ Bannock

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Just a block away from the office, Salmon n’ Bannock isn’t quite noticeable. E told me that it’s supposed to be Vancouver’s only restaurant that serves First Nations cuisine. Never tried the cuisine before, so I was curious what this was all about.

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The restaurant is fairly small, but it wasn’t too busy during the lunch hours. The inside is decorated with First Nations decor and gives a very homey feeling. Staff was very friendly, but the only issue I had was how slow the food came out. We waited over 30 minutes for our food, and with a one hour lunch break, there isn’t really much time to eat. Come here if you are not in a rush.

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Elk Burger

E tried their Elk Burger, which came with an elk patty, sauteed mushrooms, alder smoked bacon, tomato, smoked cheddar and organic greens. All the burgers also come with your choice of salad or sweet potato fries. E got the sweet potato fries and it came with a side of aioli. All burgers come with the bun as a bannock. I didn’t really know what bannock was, but it is the main staple in First Nations cuisine. It’s a flat quick bread and I thought it almost tasted like a scone, but less dense.

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Salmon n’ Bannock Burger

For myself, I went for the Salmon n’ Bannock Burger, since it seemed that the restaurant was named after this dish. It featured a 6oz wild sockeye salmon fillet with tartar sauce, red onions and fennel slaw. I also chose the sweet potato fries, which were cut fresh and topped with lots of herbs. However, I found that they were quite soggy. The seasoning was great, but the fries needed to be crispy. There was a large piece of salmon fillet and the salmon was cooked to moist. I found the red onions to be a bit too overpowering as there were too much of it, so it covered the salmon’s flavour. However, I really enjoyed the change from your typical burger bun. The bannock was fluffy and crispy on the outside. A very interesting texture and worth trying.

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The receipt came in a box with Aboriginal detailing, which I thought was a nice touch. Overall, Salmon n’ Bannock offer some pretty good burgers that are very different from your typical. It’s interesting to note that most of the meat they use are meats you wouldn’t normally see, such as bison and elk. Burgers range from $17-18 so not exactly the cheapest option. Still, it’s a cool place to check out if you’ve never tried First Nations food.

Salmon n' Bannock on Urbanspoon

Smokehouse Sandwich Co.

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It’s almost a ritual for N and I to take each other out for our birthdays and this year N suggested we try Smokehouse Sandwich Co. I’ve briefly heard about this spot, but I honestly had no idea where it was. Driving down Westminster Highway, I still could not picture where it was. Between No. 1 and No. 2, there is tiny little plaza and there hides these sandwich company. Such a hidden gem. We arrived early for lunch, but soon after, the place was absolutely packed!

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They have a fairly simple menu board with sandwiches, sides, and drinks. I love how each sandwich has a name to it. You order at the front and they call you when it’s ready. You can then choose a seat to enjoy your meal.

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The interior is rustic and cozy. Tall chairs against wooden tables, with sofas, books, brick walls and rugs. It almost feels like you’re at someones home.

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Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea

We decided to try their only two drinks. Both drinks come as hot versions as well. They are definitely following the current Mason jar trends here. Most of the ingredients have sunk to the bottom, so we were told to shake it well before drinking.

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Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea

N got the Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, which was surprisingly full of ginger flavour. Almost a little too spicy for me! I can imagine the hot version to be perfect if you have a cold. For myself, I had the Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea. Mine was more bland than N’s, but still had a good amount of strawberry flavour. Very refreshing!

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Samson

N got the Samson, which came with coffee crusted strawberry glazed beef brisket, butter leaf lettuce, red bell peppers, and aioli. She said it was delicious! It definitely looked really good! Tons of beef brisket for sure.

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Billie

For myself, I went for the Billie. First, the bun itself is toasted perfectly! It’s crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside. I also liked how none of the ingerdients made the sandwich soggy. Inside the Billie, it was filled with salt-cured pork belly, butter leaf lettuce, tomato salsa and aioli. Something about that tomato salsa and aioli made this sandwich absolutely delicious! The flavours just worked so well together. A little spicy, but not overwhelming. The pork belly also had a good ratio of fat and meat. A must try!

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Crisps

We decided to share a side of Crisps, which are basically like potato chips. They are thin cut potatoes fried in olive oil, so I guess it’s more healthy? The potatoes are so thinly cut! It’s so airy and light. They are already lightly salted, but we were told to try it with their two hot sauces if we like a bit of spice. The red one is made with chilis, smoked garlic, onions, red peppers, and vinegars. I don’t remember what was in the green sauce, but it was definitely much more spicy! Super addicting!

Overall, we were extremely satisfied with the sandwiches we had. The service was also extremely friendly. I loved how the lady asked us what we thought afterwards. It’s always a good sign when restaurants value customer opinions. A hidden gem!

Smokehouse Sandwich Co. on Urbanspoon

White Spot (Ackroyd)

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August 13th was Pirate Pak Day at White Spot, so of course we had to go check it out! I haven’t had a Pirate Pak in ages, and today was the day you could relive the past and order an adult sized pirate pak! We decided to go to the one at No. 3 and Ackroyd, hoping there would be less people. A 20 minute wait or so, and we were seated. It was quite busy in there, with families, young adults and teenagers all ready to relive their childhood.

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Provolone Veggie Burger

K got the Provolone Veggie Burger, which is the vegetarian option. It came with loads of mushrooms and provolone cheese, which melted perfectly. The bun was also whole wheat, so much more healthy! All pirate paks come with a side of coleslaw, fries, soft drink, and ice cream.

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Bacon Cheddar Bigger Burger

J got the Bacon Cheddar Bigger Burger, which came with a beef patty, but also bacon and cheddar. Looked really yummy!

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Legendary Burger

For myself, I got the Legendary Burger and added the cheddar cheese. It looked quite messy, but the special O sauce was so delicious! It was a mix of ketchup and mayo. The patty was moist and cooked nicely.

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The coleslaw that came with the pak however, was really gross. It was all dried up and the slaw wasn’t fresh. I also disliked the sauce they used. Barely finished that.

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Chocolate Ice Cream

As for the ice cream, it was also quite a disappointment. It came already scooped into a container and was your typical superstore ice cream. You could select from strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla.

Overall, it’s nice to relive your childhood once a year on Pirate Pak Day. However, I wouldn’t say it’s anything special, especially when the adult pirate paks are twice the price. You can actually order children pirate paks online and get take out instead. I’m leaning towards that since they have more varieties in food choices other than burgers!

 

Burger Bar – Amsterdam

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After a month staying in Barcelona with no out of the country traveling, (which surprisingly felt really good), off I went to Amsterdam! Traveling really gets to you, especially when you’re traveling on budget airlines and having to wake up to rush to the airport after really 4 hours of sleep. We had a huge group in Amsterdam, but we came by different airlines and times, hence we had some fun trying to meet up, especially when we had no data. Finally, we took a train from the Amsterdam airport and arrived in the city center. We were around 30 minutes late, but we luckily found our friends who had taken an earlier flight from BCN as well. Amsterdam is full of canals and the city is quite walkable. You’ll find bikes everywhere as well. The first thing I noticed that was quite different were their houses. They seem to be really wide, or the houses are continuously attached like townhouses. Building up doesn’t seem to be popular, as in apartments, and you’ll find tons of windows on these buildings. Lots of squares and rectangles, contrary to circular shapes.

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K also met up with his friend who had been backpacking around Europe the last couple of months. It was his last day here in Amsterdam, and he took us to Burger Bar, which he claimed was really good. At first, I was a little hesitant because I mean, how good can burgers be. But Burger Bar actually surpassed by expectations. The quality of their beef was extremely good, and I love how they make the beef patties right on spot as you order. You first line up at the cash register to order, and there are three types of beef. Irish beef, Black Angus, and Wagyu Beef. They go up by price as Wagyu beef is usually prized as one of the best beef. Each patty also has a choice of either 200 grams or 270 grams. There’s also chicken and portobello mushroom patties for non-beef eaters. Then you let them know which toppings you want to add, which will cost you extra. You can also complete the meal with Belgian fries and a drink.

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200 Gram Irish Beef with Cheddar Cheese

I chose the 200 gram Irish Beef Burger. The beef patties are handmade and are 100% beef grilled medium well unless you tell them otherwise. Each burger has lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and a homemade burger sauce. I chose to add cheddar cheese for an extra 0,90 euros. You can also choose to add fries, but I shared the fries with U. The bun was toasted to a crisp at the top and the beef was extremely fresh and juicy! There was beef juice dripping everywhere as I took the bite. Their homemade sauce was also really good. Well worth it for around under 6 euros and I was completely full. I also added a half pint of Heineken beer, since I was in Amsterdam! Of course, go for the Heineken when in Amsterdam! The food did take quite a while to be ready, but I guess it’s because they are freshly made. They give you a number and they call on you when your burger is ready. There are quite a few seats in the bar, and accommodated our large group. Pretty happy with the food!

Vancuver Food Cart Festival 2013

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Ever since I left for Europe, I have been traveling so much or so busy with school that I have totally neglected this blog. I feel terrible and now that I have finally settled down and won’t be traveling as frequently, I am going to promise that I post at least once a week or more frequently! I am already more than a month behind, hence I am still posting about Vancouver food I ate before I left…

Anyways, in August, I finally went to the Vancouver Food Cart Festival by Olympic Village. I had wanted to go the previous year, but because they only operate on Sundays from around end of June to end of August, I never was able to attend due to my work schedule on Sundays. Every Sunday, over 20 food cart vendors meet at this area along with other craft food, art, and community vendors. There’s music and also kids activities, so perfect for some family fun. I was here, obviously because of food! There were many that I could find right in the hot spots of downtown, but also some that I had never heard of.

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Mogu Japanese Street Eats

First up, we decided to try Mogu Japanese Street Eats. I always see this when I go shopping in downtown, but have never came to try it. They are also featured at the Richmond Summer Night Market this year, so it is actually quite easy to try it. I did find that the pricing is quite high for a burger, but to be honest, most of the food trucks price their food relatively high.

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Pork Miso Katsu – breaded deep fried pork cutlet, housemade red miso sauce, Asian hot mustard coleslaw

We got the Pork Miso Katsu Menu, so it also came with two pieces of Chicken Karage and a small drink. People have raved that Mogu has one of the best Chicken Karage, and I did enjoy it a lot. It is sweet and spicy because it comes with a house made sweet chili sauce. Definitely enjoyed it and I would put it as one of my top favourites for chicken karage.

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This was the Pork Miso Katsu Burger, and the pork was cooked tender and moist. The bread was also soft and the sauce really made the burger stand out. I didn’t necessarily taste much miso flavour, but you could get the Asian feel to the burger.

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PazzaRella

Next, we tried PazzaRella which is famous for the Napoletana Wood Fired Pizza. It takes a little while since they actually make the pizza on spot and fire it in the oven. Pretty cool and one pizza will fill you up. So it’s best to share it with a friend if you want to try other food at the festival.

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Prosciutto Pizza

We got 2 Prosciutto Pizzas to share between four, and it was more than enough. They are around $11 each, so you can imagine they are quite large. Extremely thin crust and easy to bite and topped with fresh tomato sauce, arugula and prosciutto. I did find that they burnt the edges a bit, so it was a little bitter tasting at the edges, but other than that, it was fine.

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Dougie Dog Diner

Dougie Dog Diner seemed to be a crowd pleaser, so E decided to try it as well. They are famous for their innovative hot dogs and they also have their own root beer. Apparently they were on Dragon’s Den, so I thought that was pretty neat.

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Charlie Mac Dog – bacon, Mac and cheese, melted cheddar

E got the Charlie Mac Dog which is loaded with mac and cheese and topped with more cheese. He thought that it was alright, but definitely not worth the price though. It’s something you can make at home if you really want to.

Overall, the Vancouver Food Cart Festival is pretty nice  if you want to have a collection of food cart vendors in one area. However, to be honest, it’s hard to try every food cart because each item on the menu is fairly large. It’s basically one whole meal, and it’s also quite hard to share the food. There was also an entrance fee, but you got a discount if you went in a large family. Cool place to check out, but probably just once a year. Parking was also extremely difficult to find, and was mostly paid parking.

Mogu Japanese Street Eats on Urbanspoon

PazzaRella Auto Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Dougie Dog Diner Truck on Urbanspoon

Tera V Burger

Barbecue Tempeh Burger – Organic tempeh, smokey barbecue sauce, fresh veggies and cheese on a whole wheat bun

Barbecue Tofu Wrap – Organic smoked tofu, fresh veggies, cheese, and smoky barbecue sauce in a whole wheat tortilla

Adventure time with K and J! We were originally supposed to try some vegan lasagna at a cafe, but unfortunately it was closed for good when we arrived. We were around the Broadway neighbourhood, so we decided to walk around to find a different place. Problem was, we weren’t exactly in the restaurant populated area of Broadway. We kept walking and started to get hungry and we spotted Tera V Burger. We checked out the menu and learned that it was a vegetarian so we thought it would be perfect. The place is supposed to be like a fast food burger chain and their mission is to try and make a movement for people to start eating vegetarian meals. You order your food first at the counter, and then you take a seat and they will serve it to you on a tray.

Both K and J got the Barbecue Tempeh Burger, which they said was quite delicious. Lots of veggies and an overload of barbecue sauce. For myself, I got the Barbecue Tofu Wrap since I wanted a small snack. It was actually quite filling and I was very full by the end. There were lots of tofu, and again, lots of barbecue sauce. Although the sauce was needed since the tofu was pretty much bland, I thought that it was almost too much, since it got really salty.

Not a bad place to go for some vegetarian burgers and wraps. The place was pretty empty, but I guess it’s pretty new. They also offer a variety of salads, sandwiches, and drinks.

Tera V Burger on Urbanspoon

Red Robin

5 Alarm Burger with Yam Fries – Pepper-Jack cheese, jalapeños, fresh tangy salsa layered on a juicy beef burger and topped with crisp lettuce, tomatoes and chipotle mayo

Calamarvelous – lightly seasoned tender calamari fresh-fried golden, topped with red onions and served with tzatziki

I haven’t had Red Robin in quite some time now, so we decided to make a stop for a quick snack while shopping downtown. Red Robin always seems to have people eating no matter what time. I decided to get the Calamarvelous since I was craving some calamari. I thought it was just decent though. The batter wasn’t that amazing, and wasn’t as fluffy as I would have liked it to be. I’ve definitely had better calamari before. I never got a chance to try the burger, but it looked pretty delicious.

Red Robin (Robson) on Urbanspoon