Thank You.

This has been one crazy year, easily the most rewarding of my life. I learned a lot, met some great people and became a father. I have learned that Fish Sauce tastes awesome on everything, Bristol Palin lists one of her qualifications for paid public appearances as “unwed mother” and at the risk of upsetting most women and teenage girls I have discovered that the true message of the Twilight book series is that all men are monsters who crave young flesh. That last tidbit was revealed to me on a new TV show called Community staring a much older looking than anticipated Chevy Chase, and it’s really not that funny. Well done Stephanie Meyer, you have solved the mystery of men once and for all.

As the year approaches its end I feel like I have really found a rhythm in my life, one that has really never been there before. I have a great family, wonderful friends, a good job and the coolest dog ever who is soon to have a little sister, sorry Cooper but you knew it was coming. To top off all of that awesomeness I have THIS. This blog has given me a release for some creative energy that my day job can’t provide. I have met some cool people, found some great food treasures and figured out that I am a total social media junkie. I am hopelessly addicted to Twitter and I find myself scanning my Twitter feed looking for tweets from my favorites. They include @therealcabbie, @SandraOldfield, @jminter, @hummingbird604, to name a few. I also have some ACTUAL PEOPLE I KNOW who I follow on Twitter such as @HeatherVince, @eye_candy_photo and @dylan_redekop.

I love the local blogging scene and without my old pal Dylan I wouldn’t be doing this at all. His Blog, More Than A Feeling Music, was my inspiration and I still read every post he writes, really good stuff. My friend Erika was inspired somewhat similarly by me! Totally flattered and I think she is an amazing photographer. Her blog, Eye Candy Photoworks, has some great stuff, including some shots of yours truly and my little girl. There are some other local blogs that I read on a regular basis as well such as Miss 604 by Rebecca Bollwitt and Hummingbird 604 by Raul Pacheco-Vega. I have discovered that this city has infrastructure to support freelance writers and bloggers in the form of co-working spaces like The Network Hub.

This year has been full of great food discoveries like The Roaming Dragon, Argo Cafe, Nuba, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar. I have received great feedback about my posts from all over the world and I am continually evolving my writing style and content to try to make it as appealing and user-friendly as possible. I have also launched a new company, Ninety3 Days Media, to oversee this blog and act as a promotional arm for a book I’m writing about my daughter Hayley.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Facebook. It still amazes me that people take time out of their busy lives to read what I write. This will be my last post this year so that I can take it easy over Christmas so whatever and wherever you are celebrating this holiday season I hope it is fantastic and I look forward 2011 and everything it will bring.




Baslines 2.5 Pound Burger Challenge

Adam Richman from Man Vs. Food is a freak. How do I know this about the Travel Channel’s eating challenge guru you ask? The answer came to me in one of those freaky dreams you have when you’ve eaten something rich too close to bed time. I watch Adam every Sunday night as he traverses America taking on ridiculous eating challenges all the while thinking that he must have the best job in the world. Boy was I wrong. After taking on a 2.5 pound burger at a sports bar in Surrey I had a dream that Adam Richman was chasing me through the streets with a giant pizza mocking my failure and calling me a loser, ouch.

The burger in question is from Baselines Pub located at 8233 166th Street in Surrey, it consists of two and a half pounds of beef with aged cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions , pickles and mayo on an 8 inch sourdough “bun”. Why the quotation marks around bun? The “bun” is a whole round loaf of sourdough bread, the kind you would hollow out for spinach dip. The burger “patty” was basically a 2.5 pound meatloaf made to fit in the “bun”, it was roughly 2 to 3 inches thick.

The rules for this challenge are pretty basic, one challenge burger per person, finish it and it’s free, don’t finish it and it will cost you $25. I opted for no tomatoes or onions as did my co-competitor Kevin. It should be noted that there was a third challenge taker in our group, Lee, but Baselines only had 2 challenge burgers ready to cook and making a third would have taken over an hour so Lee opted out, promising to take on the challenge another day. He did order a regular 7 ounce burger which provided a great visual reference for our monsters.

The burger looked to be around the size of a volleyball. The meatloaf patty was actually very tasty and the sourdough bun was also quite good. Eating this burger with your hands is not an option so I decided to attack the layers one by one. I cut the burger in half to give me a benchmark for progress. I ate the top of the “bun” with the lettuce on it, then the pickles and then I started on the meat. I soon realized that this was not going to go well. Our waitress came by and told us we were doing really well compared to previous challenge takers but doubt had already began to sneak into my mind. As I approached the halfway point I started to really slow down. I thought that it would be the bread that would be my downfall but the meat proved to be too much. When Kevin and I finally gave up neither of us could even look at the meat left on our plates without feeling ill. We came to the realization that spending $25 was better than getting sick all over the table, which allegedly happened to someone who finished the challenge.

I was left with a little under half of the meat and a quarter of the bun while Kevin had a little more bun left but I would call it a tie. We left feeling defeated, bloated, a little nauseous and with elevated blood pressure. Am I glad I tried to tackle this eating challenge? That is a question I don’t really have an answer for. I feel like I needed to at least try, which I did, but failure is a bitter pill.

If anyone out there thinks they can out do us I challenge you to head to Baselines and try. I will tip my cap to anyone who can finish this gargantuan burger but in the words of Mr. Adam Richman, in this battle of man versus food, food won. At least my dog got some yummy meatloaf when I got home.


Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Five Guys Burgers & Fries has 2 locations in Greater Vancouver. One is in West Vancouver at Park Royal Mall and the other is in South Surrey at the sprawling Morgan Crossing development. Famous for the 2 things mentioned in their name there is nothing else on Five Guys menu but burgers, fries and things to wash said items down. I visited the Park Royal location a few months before I started writing about food and I thought it would be a good idea to check out the newer location out in South Surrey.

The inside of Five Guys has a very sparse red and white theme the reminds me of an 80’s pizza shop. The South Surrey location is a little larger than Park Royal but retains the feel of a burger and fries only fast food factory, in a good way. There are bags of potatoes stacked on the floor, plain wooden furniture and a very energetic staff ready to make you a fresh meal as soon as you walk in the door.

The menu consists of  4 burger options, burger, cheeseburger, bacon burger and bacon cheeseburger. The standard burger has 2 patties but they are all offered in “little” form with 1 patty. There are 16 toppings to choose from which are all included in the price. The fries come in regular and large size and are offered plain or Cajun and are cooked in peanut oil.

I ordered the bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles, mayo, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce and jalapeños with regular Cajun fries and a regular drink. There are 2 drink sizes but both are free to refill so I’ll let you do the math. My number was called and I headed up to the counter to retrieve my grub. The brown paper bag was filled about 3/4’s full with fries and I had to rip the bag open to find my burger. The fries were very good and the Cajun seasoning was excellent, nice and spicy.

My Burger was amazing, juicy, fresh and spicy. The jalapeños are raw and not from a can so they had a little extra kick. There are no freezers in any 5 Guys restaurant because they believe in fresh beef cooked to order and it pays off in their tasty burgers. I have read a few other local reviews of 5 guys and they generally all have 2 identical complaints, price and calories. To put the price into perspective my meal was $15.76 which may seem a little on the pricey side but if you order a single patty and you are there with someone who you can share fries and a drink with the price would come in at around 10 dollars each which isn’t much more than other fast food burger joints that aren’t half as good. The calorie comments are ridiculous as burgers and fries aren’t supposed to be healthy. If you want lower calories eat a salad and if you want a lower price go to the supermarket and make it yourself.

Would I recommend 5 Guys Burgers and Fries? Let me put it simply, this burger is the best non sit-down restaurant burger in town. That is a bold statement but I will stand by it. These burgers stand above Vera’s, Fat Burger and all of the big fast food chains. There is also free roasted peanuts in big boxes for you to crack open and snack on while you are waiting for your food. There aren’t too many meals that I haven’t been able to finish in my life but this was one of them, so if you’re going to 5 Guys bring a friend and prepare for an awesome burger and fries!!