October 9, 2014

Pub Chat: Episode 70 - Black Oak Nut Brown Ale

Apps - iPhone or Android it doesn't matter

This episode we’re joined by Kieran Moolchan, drinking Black Oak’s Nut Brown Ale, and talking about apps. We’re looking at apps we use every day, innovative apps we’ve tried and some utterly useless apps as well.

Download here. Or subscribe in iTunes here.

Show Notes

00:00 – Intro
00:55 – Black Oak Nut Brown Ale
03:30 – Tasting the beer
05:45 – Music apps
14:30 – Sleep Cycle
17:25 – Pocket
20:05 – Jukio
22:00 – Inside
24:00 – Comixology
26:15 – Skype and Microsoft Office deal
27:25 – Functional hairstyles
29:30 – More apps, games, and owning domains
37:50 – Ticketmaster and Path
41:10 – Skip the Dishes
42:30 – Google Plus
46:20 – Wrapping up

October 2, 2014

Pub Chat: Episode 69 - Guilty Please Beer

We are not ashamed

This episode is all about the things we enjoy that we don’t always want to share with people. We covered our guilty-beers, restaurants, TV shows and so much more. Our regular music aficionado Chris Rohling joined us to share his take on the subject and drink his own Minnesota guilty beer.

Download here. Or subscribe in iTunes here.

Show Notes

00:00 – Intro
00:50 – Guilty pleasure beers and blind tasting
11:00 – Guilty pleasure foods
19:35 – Bad TV shows
34:40 – Guilty pleasure hangouts and shops
45:35 – Guilty pleasure music
56:50 – Return to teen TV dramas
58:00 – Wrapping it up

September 29, 2014

Winnipeg For Lunch

Figuring it all out

So I have struggled with trying to figure out what to do next for my blog. It has developed quite a bit from burgers to beer to recipes to a little bit of everything, and I'm trying to do this whole blogging thing again after taking the summer off. I definitely needed the break.

As of now my goal is one post a month that is NOT a Pub Chat episode - because that is too easy. I have a new idea, which I will now present to you, Winnipeg For Lunch.

A little explanation is needed for sure.

My job takes me on the roads of Winnipeg a lot and I eat out a bit more than I probably should, especially for lunch now. So instead of tracking down boozeless burger joints to keep The Great Burger Hunt alive I am going to start reviewing places for lunch - with no focus on burgers.

Send me your suggestions. I will add them to my "to eat" list. I've been craving fried chicken so I am making that a priority for the first post likely.

For now, I am aiming to rate the restaurants based on service (speed and accuracy), as service is huge at lunch time when some people only have one hour to eat. I will also rate the quality of food and the price. Likely I will do the reviews out of five like I did with The Great Burger Hunt but I hate number rankings, as I feel it has to change every time you eat at someplace new and you compare them.

Then again adding the numbers to The Great Burger Hunt was what everyone wanted, so likely I will keep the number ratings going, but I won't be happy about it.

The lunch stops will likely be booze free places, so I don't conflict with any future people I may do business with.

On top of Winnipeg For Lunch I am going to ressurect The Great Burger Hunt - with an aim of doing one every two months instead of one. And more of a focus on the greasy burger joints (again avoiding booze filled restaurants).

This is going to be a work in progress too. Still a bit skeptical on the idea. But gonna roll forward with it and figure out later if I want to keep it up, just like the Bi-Weekly Beer Reviews. Shoot first and aim later. The current motto of this blog.

September 22, 2014

The Great Burger Hunt - By The Numbers

Excel spreadsheets are cool

So I have been keeping track of all the burger hunt stops since day one of The Great Burger Hunt.

Here are some fun facts. If you are curious.

45 - Burgers "hunted" (or devoured - however you feel it should read)
7 - 5 Star ratings to burgers
14 - 5 Star ratings for fries
15 - 5 Star ratings for menu selection
2 - 5 Star ratings for price
0 - 5 Star ratings for overall
3 - Local institutions missing from "the hunt"
2 - Big burger chains from the USA that found their way to Winnipeg after I started "the hunt"
1 - Jobs got because of The Great Burger Hunt
1 - Jobs lost because of The Great Burger Hunt
5 - Burger places that start with the word "The"
9 - Burger places with "burger" (or a variation) in the name
3 - Burger places with "bistro" in the name
4 - Burger places where the review was a lucky/unlucky day and they are normally awesome/shitty
9 - Out of the city reviews
6 - Out of the province reviews
1.5 - Lowest review overall
4.75 - Highest review overall
3.62 - Average rating
5 - Places I will never return to get the burger
4 - Places I am always craving their burgers
3 - Places I will never return to get the fries
2 - Places I am always craving their fries
3 - Places I really want to review
3 - Places I can't review
3 - Places you should assume my review is the two lines above
2 - Places fries weren't an option
2 - Vegetarian burgers eaten
1 - Place telling me to take down my review
2 - Places thanking me for constructive criticism
5 - Restaurants that knew who I was before I ordered
1 - Restaurant trying to give me my burger for free (they had no need they were one of the best)
0 - Zero free burgers taken
0 - Warnings given to restaurants that I was coming to review them
17 - Different friends who joined me on "the hunt"
2 - Places closed for business
45 - Beers drank while eating burgers (ballpark number)
17 - Of those beers that were drank at JL Beers, Yellow Dog, or Lo Pub (ballpark number)
1 - "Beer machine," which wasn't working
1031 - Number of times James pestered me to go for a burger (probably low balling this one)
At least half - Number of times I complained about a bun being neglected

*The tiebreaker for these were overall rating (minus the overall rating - which has no tiebreaker)

Top 5 Overall Rating - Boon Burger, The Grove, White Star Diner, Steve's Bistro, JL Beers/VJ's (tied)
Top 5 Burger Rating - Boon Burger, White Star Diner, VJs, The Burger Place, Five Guys
Top 5 Fries Rating - Boon Burger, White Star Diner, The Grove, Steve's Bistro, Buffalo Bistro
Top 5 Menu Selection Rating - Boon Burger, The Grove, Market Burger, VJs, Original Joes
Top 5 Price Value Rating - JL Beers, The Burger Place, Boon Burger, The Grove, Original Joes

September 15, 2014

Oh Doughnuts!

You are making me so happy

I don't know if you know this about me but I love doughnuts. 

I'm not a sweets type of person and for the most part I don't ever have dessert, and candy is even more rare for me to consume. Yet when it comes to doughnuts I'm such a sucker for them. Now let me be clear. What Tim Hortons serves is not doughnuts. It's some sort of fast food abomination of something delicious. 

Glazed and lemon curd.
If you've had a real doughnut you'll understand. And if you live in Winnipeg you know my plight of the lack of good doughnuts.

In my travels I always grab doughnuts. Seeking out what is considered the best in the city and usually I'm not disappointed. There's just something about a good doughnut that understands me. 

I've had Yonni's Doughnuts in Victoria. Bogart's Doughnut Co. in Minneapolis. Glory Hole Doughnuts in Toronto. Voodoo Doughnut in Portland (far too many in two days). And Hazeldean Bakery in Edmonton. Yet when it comes to my hometown. There is no doughnut scene. 

It looks like that is about to change. 

Oh Doughnuts has started to serve their delicious concoctions at Parlour Coffee. No surprise I dragged Adrian there the first day they were available. We tried both kinds available - grapefruit curd and lavender glaze. They were tasty and exactly what I wanted. Now I'm stuck waiting for them to open a storefront. Here's to hoping it's soon. Until then I am going to dream of that lavender glaze... or just keep frequenting Parlour Coffee for doughnuts and coffee. 

You should follow Oh Doughnuts on Twitter and Instagram to find out when and where they are available.

September 11, 2014

Pub Chat: Episode 68 - Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout

The episode the intern takes over

This episode we’re drinking Elysian Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout and talking all about our favourite movie directors with our intern Luke Jacob Thiessen. This is a pretty long episode, so make sure you have a few beers lined up to enjoy while you’re listening.

Download here. Or subscribe in iTunes here.

Show Notes

00:00 – Intro
01:40 – Elysian Split Shot
03:10 – About Elysian
07:00 – Scorcese, various curse words
15:30 – Steven Soderbergh
18:00 – Directing duos
19:35 – Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings
21:50 – Coen Brothers and film producers
31:00 – Quentin Tarantino
38:20 – Michael Mann and Tom Cruise
45:45 – Woody Allen
50:55 – Wes Andersen
52:45 – James Cameron and Avatar
57:45 – Michael Bay
1:00:00 – Spike Jonze and Her specifically
1:03:50 – Christopher Nolan
1:07:00 – Danny Boyle
1:11:00 – David Fincher
1:13:05 – Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow
1:18:05 – Wrapping up

September 8, 2014

Le Burger Week Recap (2014)

The week my heart hated me

If you've read any of The Great Burger Hunt reviews you know I love burgers. You also know that I have certain tastes and am very specific about how a bun makes or breaks a good burger. Initially looking over all the burgers at Charcoal Collaborative I noticed most places looked like they put some effort into finding the right bun. Some were house-made, while others were well selected. Certain ones were not and basically I had no desire to stop in for their burger. Let's just say I was excited for this week and the burgers that laid in wait.

My initial glance I listed about ten places I wanted to try. I whittled that down to a top five, making it to all of them but one. 

I probably would have gotten in more than nine stops but with the holiday being the first day, it kind of made it hard. Most restaurants were closed that I wanted to try or the chef wasn't in the first day. With only a handful of places open my first day options were limited.

Deer + Almond
Luckily two of the places that made my initial ten were open on the first day. 

The first stop was The Grove. Their burger intrigued me, and Raegan and I needed a place to be able to work while I consumed a burger. The Grove was the logical choice. Paired with a beer (Old Boy), I ordered The Mondo Mushroom Melt. It was surprisingly no too messy - I honestly thought this was going to be one that would fall apart and be a mess but it was well designed. Very tasty too, with the right amount of sauce. All the flavours in the burger and the additions worked very well together. 

Later that day I met Paul at Mano a Mano & Teo's Lounge - only to find their burger sold out. Kudos for being open on the holiday at least. 

From there we ventured to Nuburger. The winner of last years Le Burger Week in Winnipeg. We got there just in time. As we got to the front they had to do a "bun count," and lucky for us we got the last two buns of the night. This was 6:30 PM and they were sold out. The Summer Breeze had a nice zing, was well balanced, albeit a bit drippy. The star of this was the patty was well seasoned and very light. It wasn't a rich burger that had me in a coma, the perfect size and perfect balance of flavours. There's a reason they won last year. 

Day two brought me to one of my favourite spots for lunch - Deer + Almond. The only entry that wasn't a beef patty I believe. The Chicken Fried Chicken Burger Ya'll was pretty special. Arguably not a burger but a sandwich. That being said the chicken was unreal and the side of soup was spectacular.

Dinner time on day two was Fitzroy. The American Beauty was so basic and had crackling on it, so I instantly knew I wanted to try this burger. They knocked it out of the park. This burger was my favourite of Le Burger Week. This was a basic, simple cheeseburger but executed very well. Everything was accounted for and the taste was superbly balanced. I think everyone I spoke to said this was in their top 3 of the week.

Needless to say I was feeling a bit lethargic on the next day and decided to skip burgers.

Elements the Restaurant
After a day of burger rest I returned to the quest, this time with Adrian and Jacob to Marion Street Eatery. The burger that is more pickle than burgher. The Tickle My Pickle Burger set out to do exactly as promised. It tasted like dill and pickles. It was good and different but with the sheer size of it and the dry bun it didn't rank too high on my list, but it was one I was recommending to people to try if they were interested in the dill pickle taste and a different style of burger.

The Friday lunch consisted of a stop at Elements the Restaurant. The Lamb Burger was as tasty as expected, anytime there is a lamb patty I am a sucker for it. It had house made feta too, which was excellent. The bun to patty ratio kept this just out of my top 3.

Table Manners was only available Saturday and Sunday, and had a limited amount of burgers. Kevin and I went early and the line up was already pretty big. The Bear Boy had a jerky bun, french onion slaw, sauerkraut, mozzarella, all beef patty. It was really tasty - and the best bun I had all week, really setting them apart. This burger cracked my top 3 instantly.

Table Manners
With no plans to hit up another place the decision was made to try Pizzeria Gusto but it was closed and they also had a sign up that they were sold out for the week. I had heard really good things about their burger. Since Inferno's on Academy was right beside it we stopped in for the Big Kahuna Burger. On paper this burger sounded wonderful and it looked pretty. Sadly the flavours of this burger weren't balanced too well with bacon that was too salty, pineapple that was making the bottom of the bun soggy, and a non existent jalapeño and cilantro aioli. Every bite was a different flavour - had it been evenly balanced this burger may have cracked my top 3.

The final day Adrian and I tossed our hat in the ring by making our own burger - The Manitoban. A bison and bacon patty, which we cooked sous vide and then charred on the grill, and topped it with sautéed local onions and mushrooms, a sous vide egg, and Manitoba Trappist cheese. The bun was cut slices of rye bread that we toasted.

Adrian and I's creation
If I had to rank them I would go Fitzroy, Table Manners, and Deer + Almond.

If my Instagram photo likes was any indication of what burger was the best it would still fall onto Fitzroy. Unless you included the entry from Adrian and me, which somehow got more - ya'll crazy.

Le Burger Week was great fun and I ate a ton. I never had a bad burger. They were all tasty in their own way but a few stood above the rest. Now onto a week of no burgers to get my arteries back to their unclogged ways. Thank god Le Burger Week is only once a year.