The challenge of Burger Love
by Andrew Sprague
Another Burger Love has come and gone. The 2017 edition featured a whopping 84 burgers at restaurants across the Island. It was a behemoth. Hundreds of cattle paid the ultimate price to ensure kitchens in more than a dozen communities kept pace with the roving masses of burger enthusiasts. The list of burger photos was nearly three feet across. If you added all the Facebook photos over the month it would probably stretch from East Point to North Cape and back, twice. It was a lot to take in and the sheer volume made it difficult to pick a burger on any given night.
Speaking of challenges, I’ve written about Burger Love for each of the last seven years. With a new format for the column focusing on favourite restaurant meals I had to put some thought into how to continue my own Burger Love tradition and remain true to the new focus. There was only one way to reconcile these opposing needs, pay a visit to the defending champion, who in April 2016 was home to the Island’s favourite restaurant meal, The Brick-inator at the Brickhouse in Charlottetown.
I play pool on a team on Tuesday nights at Dooly’s. The week before our annual playoffs seven of us got together for burgers, beer and billiards as a sort of team building exercise ahead of the penultimate weekend of competitive pool on Prince Edward Island. It was also a good excuse to drink beer and play pool. Brickhhouse was our starting destination. Five of us ordered the burger, one had onion rings, and the other had the strongest spicy reaction to the mildest curry I’ve ever encountered, but I digress.
This year’s entry was the Brick Deluxe; a seven-ounce Island beef patty, with savoury fancy sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, minced Spanish onion, deep fried cheesy pickle chips, maple-candied bacon, and a cheddar blend on a toasted sesame bun topped with more deep fried cheesy pickle chips and a cherry tomato. Like so many recent Burger Love entries, the Brick Deluxe goes absolutely over-the-top on the ingredients. This usually leads to one of two outcomes; a burger so sloppy half of it ends up on your plate or your clothes, or the always enjoyable pre-mature bun disintegration.
I split an order of onion rings on the side with one of my team mates. It was probably an unnecessary addition to what promised to be a gut busting burger. It did not disappoint in that sense. It wasn’t the biggest of Burger Love’s offerings, but it was a meal in itself by any standard. I always enjoy candied bacon, and this was no exception. I was also impressed with the pickle chips and the sauce. But the Deluxe exploded onto the plate, and the bun didn’t stand a chance. It achieved both of the classic outcomes of over-ambitious use of ingredients. There was also so much cheese I had to scrape some off with my finger, and I love cheese. My team mates all had the same issues. It was a burger with a lot of delicious ingredients that fell victim to its own over-indulgence.
I’ll let you know if our bonding session worked out and whether my team will be next year’s defending champ.
—What is your favourite Island restaurant meal? Each month, Andrew Sprague heads out to eat based on your recommendation. Post it using #TryThisAndrew on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.