It was time! On May 21, 2011, the day that the world was “supposed” to end, I began something wonderful. Hamburger Pants stop #1! As my co-conspirator, Leah and I had been looking forward to this for weeks. We had already selected our destination: Rocky’s Burger Bus. For those of you who have not heard of this fabled bus, it is a repurposed bus that serves burgers. It’s located out of the way near Blackfoot in Southeast Calgary, and it seemed the ideal spot for the first burger. Hamburger pants on and stomachs rumbling, Leah and I headed south.
However, as with most great ideas, the first try never goes how you think it will. We showed up to the Burger Bus, ready to have our first burger adventure, and it was closed! Rocky’s Burger Bus is NOT open on the weekend! According to Urbanspoon.com, it’s only open Monday-Friday. Although initially disappointed, Leah and I agreed that, as the bus is located in a very industrial part of town, it probably wouldn’t get a lot of weekend traffic. Lesson learned! But now what?
Leah and I got back into my trusty Corolla “Carlos” and we sped off, not knowing where to go next. What was close? More importantly, what was DELICIOUS? Hmm. And then it hit me! The Burger Inn! Back in high school, I had often heard of classmates heading off for lunch from Burger Inn. I remember laughing when they brought back the menu, which boasted many different animals on its cover: cows, chickens, wait, was that an ostrich? Buffalo, elk and other assorted herbivores decorated the front of the menu, and I knew right away: I had to go there. So in the shadow of disappointment casted by Rocky’s Burger Bus, we headed for a inn that we hoped would have enough room to host us.
Walking into Burger Inn was like walking into a time warp. Even Leah made the astute comment that the mirror background Burger Inn counter boasted similar colors to the 90s hit TV spot “Body Break” (But try not to tell Joanne and Hal about this little project, I think they might find it unhealthy). Leah and I loved the atmosphere: it was a mix of old and young customers, old and young workers. I’m not going as far to say that there was some magical “air” where you could sense that this was some sort of heaven, but it was a comfortable place to hang out for a while.
The great and intimidating feature of Burger Inn is its menu. Although all options are reasonably priced, I was torn between several exotic types of meat for my burger including: elk, ostrich and buffalo. I allowed my burger buddy Leah to select first, and she opted for the ostrich burger, so I was left to decide between elk and buffalo. I went with buffalo. Leah and I took a seat to await our meals.
Quickly, our orders were placed out on the counter and it was time to dig in. Leah had selected a water and fries as her beverage and side respectively, and I had gone for a can of 7up (something very Pulp Fiction about my choice I felt) and onion rings. I like to think of myself as an amateur onion ring connoisseur. So when presented with the opportunity to sample a restaurant classic, I had to take advantage. Leah and I both took pictures of our meals and then it was time to eat.
The burger was very satisfying. The buffalo meat was, unfortunately, very similar to beef. HOWEVER – that doesn’t mean that the burger itself was disappointing. As mentioned in my initial post, the sauce to meat to toppings ratio is very important. Burger Inn had NAILED IT. I was not in want of sauce, and yet, my burger did not drip too much with overflowing condiments. Leah is a natural at food criticism – she made many observations and has already guaranteed herself a regular appearance on this blog. She complimented Burger Inn on its generous use of veggies (lettuce, tomato, onion) but commented that a little less mustard would have been appreciated. To this comment, we both agreed that the mayonnaise component of this burger was enough to make each bite rich and creamy, without being overpowering. I would have to say that Leah’s ostrich burger was the most delicious of the two: it had a chicken like flavor, but something else of a gamey aftertaste that only ostrich can provide. It was a juicy and novel flavor. If I were to return, the ostrich burger would be my next order.
The sides themselves could have stood alone. Leah’s French fries were double deep fried, and they came straight from the potato. My onion rings were great (not my favourite), they were the type where one can take a bite and not pull the entire onion out of the ring, left with a batter skeleton that is oh so unappetizing. No, on the contrary, there was a crispy delicious mixing of crunchy onion and salty batter with each bite. And the portions were plentiful. Our plates arrived overflowing and we were not able to finish all of our respective sides. And may I also compliment Burger Inn for being generous with the ketchup – I HATE it when restaurants are skimpy on ketchup packets…what…are you going to run out? Seriously.
Full and content, it was time for Leah and I to check out of the Burger Inn. It was great to finally realize a high school dream, originating from when I first saw that menu advertising a zoo’s worth of flavour. With the first burger adventure under my belt, I am ready to move on to the next delicious adventure.