#YYCBURGERWEEK 2014 @ Billingsgate Seafood Market & Restaurant – Calgary, AB

As “Burger Ambassadors” for the upcoming YYC Burger Week, which runs from May 2 to May 10, 2014,  my friend and fellow food blogger, Anna (@annasappetite) and I were tasked to visit three participating restaurants, one in each of the three price categories ($10 burgers, $15 burgers and $20 burgers) to get a “sneak peek” of the restaurants’ burger creations before the actual YYC Burger Week starts and report back on the YYC Burger Week website so everyone will get a glimpse of what they could expect to savour from each Burger Week participant/competitor. We had already gotten a glimpse of the YYC Burger Week creations at NOtaBLE – The Restaurant, The Fine Diner and Selkirk Grille earlier on in the weekend. I had also tagged along with my friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Carmen (@foodkarmablog), to check out Brasserie Kensington‘s burger creation a couple of days earlier. For our final Sneak Peek,  Anna and I visited Billingsgate Seafood Market & Restaurant (also known as Billingsgate MKT and Billingsgate’s Fish & Chip Restaurant), located in Stadium Shopping Center.

billingsgateThis was my first time visiting Billingsgate Seafood Market & Restaurant. I had no idea that this is one of the oldest continually owned and operated family businesses, not only in Calgary, but also in Canada. It was founded in 1907 by Bert Malthouse. Today, father Bryan Fallwell and son, Frank (Luke) Fallwell IV are the fourth and fifth generations, respectively, of their family to operate the fish business. The market offers a huge selection of fish and seafood while the adjacent restaurant serves up fish & chips and chowders, made from secret family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

If you’re looking for something slightly different for YYC Burger Week or need a break from all the beef and pork burgers, you’re in for a real treat! For YYC Burger Week, Billingsgate is serving up a Samurai Ahi Tuna Burger ($10), which consists of a 5 oz ahi tuna steak seared with soy & sesame oil, and topped with crispy fried dulse, salmon ikura roe, wasabi aioli, all between a baked fresh daily Cobs Breads bun.

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billingsgate_dulseThis burger totally knocked my socks off! The combination of flavours and textures worked together perfectly. I loved that the ahi tuna steak was perfectly seared. It was juicy, moist and flavourful.  Besides the ahi tuna steak, my favorite part of the burger was the crispy fried dulse. For those unfamiliar, dulse (also known as sea lettuce flakes) is a red alga that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The dulse comes in small packages and can be found in many health food stores and fish markets. In this case, the dulse was deep-fried to provide a great textural contrast to the ahi tuna steak but without having an overpowering taste. In fact, I would say, unlike nori/laver (which is commonly used in sushi rolls), dulse has a very mild flavour.

I’m really happy to see Billingsgate come up with such a unique and great tasting creation for YYC Burger Week. This burger is definitely worth trying as it is not the typical fish burger with the battered and fried fish fillet that’s drenched in tartar sauce.  Instead, this Samurai Ahi Tuna Burger is healthy, light and the ahi tuna is totally the star of the show. You’d better hurry as this Samurai Ahi Tuna Burger is only available at Billingsgate during their business hours for the duration of YYC Burger Week, which runs from May 2 to May 10.  If you miss your chance, you might never come across a  fish burger like this again!

Billingsgate Seafood Market & Restaurant
Bay 2B, 1941 Uxbridge Dr NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 269-3474 (ANY-FISH)

http://www.billingsgatemkt.com

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#YYCBURGERWEEK 2014 @ Selkirk Grille – Calgary, AB

selkirk_grilleMy friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Anna (@annasappetite), and I were lucky enough to get to visit Selkirk Grille for a sneak peek of their YYC Burger Week creation,  in addition to the three participating restaurants we were assigned to visit. As “Burger Ambassadors”, we were tasked to visit three YYC Burger Week restaurants, one in each of the three price categories ($10 burgers, $15 burgers and $20 burgers) to get a “sneak peek” of the restaurants’ burger creations before the actual YYC Burger Week starts and report back on the YYC Burger Week website so everyone will get a glimpse of what they could expect to savour from each Burger Week participant/competitor.

We were super excited to try Executive Chef Jano Hansen’s YYC Burger Week creation as we had heard rumours about how amazing this burger tasted. This was actually going to be my fourth burger in 3 days.  For my first burger, I had tagged along with my friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Carmen (@foodkarmablog), to check out Brasserie Kensington‘s YYC Burger Week creation last Friday night. The next day, as their “Burger Ambassadors”,  Anna and I tried out NOtaBLE – The Restaurant‘s YYC Burger Week creation as well as the one from The Fine Diner.

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Executive Chef Jano Hansen’s YYC Burger Week creation, known as the Heritage Voyageur Hamburger ($20), consists of a 7.5oz AAA Black Angus beef patty, cooked in duck fat, topped with Oka cheese, foie gras torchon, cotton-fried onions, tomato jam, Brassica mustard aioli, bread & butter pickles, butterleaf lettuce, and diced Hotchkiss tomatoes on top of a Alberta Bakery bun. The burger comes with a choice of Kennebec potato fries or Selkirk House Greens Salad, which consists of toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese with a Brassica mustard and champagne vinaigrette. For those looking for a gluten-free version, the sesame bun may be substituted with a gluten-free bun and the beef patty is gluten-free.

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In keeping with the theme of Heritage Park, where Selkirk Grille is located, this burger pays homage to Canadiana cuisine. Alberta is represented with the AAA Black Angus beef patty while the foie gras torchon is a nod to French-Canadian cuisine. Unlike many burgers which are topped with a seared foie gras torchon, the torchon in this burger is actually not seared. Instead, the torchon is gently melted by the warmth of the beef patty.

Another unique tidbit about this burger is actually the diced Hotchkiss tomatoes. Let’s face it, the sliced tomatoes on most burgers are usually put on as an afterthought and often fall out as you start eating the burger. While I love the taste of tomatoes, I do get annoyed when they fall out of the burger while I’m trying to eat it. Chef Lan Thai, who’s on Executive Chef Jano Hansen’s team, actually came with up this ingenious idea of dicing up the tomatoes and using the Brassica mustard aioli to bind them to the bun. This method works amazingly well and the diced tomatoes never fell out while we were eating the burgers. Props to Chef Lan Thai for coming up with such an ingenious way of dealing with the tomatoes!

Besides the diced tomatoes which never fell off the burger, I was most impressed with how well-balanced the flavours were in this burger. As a foie gras lover, of course, I LOVED the torchon. I thought this burger had just the perfect amount of foie gras. I could taste the foie but it didn’t overpower the rest of the other components. I also really liked the tomato jam, which was made in-house by reducing roma tomatoes with brown sugar, as it provided just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to balance out the richness of the other components.

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I can tell you one thing, the rumors were true. This Heritage Voyageur Hamburger did taste amazing! If you want to try this burger, you’d better hurry! This burger is going to be available only for lunch during YYC Burger Week, which runs from May 2 to May 10, 2014. After that, you’re going to be out of luck!

Selkirk Grille
Heritage Park Historical Village
1900 Heritage Dr. S.W.
Calgary, AB
(403)268-8607

http://www.heritagepark.ca/plan-your-visit/dining-and-concessions/the-selkirk-grille.html

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#YYCBURGERWEEK 2014 @ The Fine Diner – Calgary, AB

With YYC Burger Week just about the start later on this week, as a ‘Burger Ambassador’, I only have a few days left to complete my mission, which is to visit three participating restaurants, one in each of the three price categories ($10 burgers, $15 burgers and $20 burgers) to get a “sneak peek” of the restaurants’ burger creations before the actual YYC Burger Week starts and report back on the YYC Burger Week website so everyone will get a glimpse of what they could expect to savour from each Burger Week participant/competitor.

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I was teamed up with my friend and fellow food blogger, Anna (@annasappetite), to visit The Fine Diner, a new school diner in the old school neighbourhood of Inglewood. This was actually my second stop as a ‘Burger Ambassadaor’. For my first stop, in the $20 category, Anna and I tried out NOtaBLE – The Restaurant‘s YYC Burger Week creation earlier in the day. Believe it or not, attempting to sample two burgers in a day, just hours apart, is actually a bit of a challenge but as die-hard foodies, we’re up for the task. Not only that, this was going to be my third burger in two days as I had tagged along with my friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Carmen (@foodkarmablog), to check out Brasserie Kensington‘s YYC Burger Week creation the evening before.

fine_diner_yycburgerweek_burger3This year, The Fine Diner has entered their YYC Burger Week creation in the $15 category.  If you’re a big fan of lobster, this burger creation is going to be right up your alley! Chef Eddy Gurney at The Fine Diner has put together a Surf n Turf Burger ($15). This burger starts with a 5 oz gluten-free certified Angus beef patty that is topped with lobster warmed in garlic butter, cheddar cheese, housemade garlic aioli, lettuce, red onion, and tomato on a butter brioche bun with a pickle spear on top. The burger will come with a side of house cut duck fat fries. You can substitute the fries for either a house salad or the weekly feature soup, upon request. For those looking for a gluten-free version, the brioche bun can be substituted with a gluten-free bun.

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This Surf n Turf Burger will be available every day at The Fine Diner during YYC Burger Week, which runs from May 2 to May 10, 2014. Take note of The Fine Diner’s opening hours, which are 7am to 3pm daily.

The Fine Diner
#4 1420 9th Ave SE
Calgary, AB
(403) 234-8885

http://www.finedinercalgary.com

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#YYCBURGERWEEK 2014 @ NOtaBLE – The Restaurant – Calgary, AB

With YYC Burger Week being just less than a week away, I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me as a “Burger Ambassador”.  I was tasked with visiting three participating restaurants, one in each of the three price categories ($10 burgers, $15 burgers and $20 burgers) to get a “sneak peek” of the restaurants’ burger creations before the actual YYC Burger Week starts and report back on the YYC Burger Week website so everyone will get a glimpse of what they could expect to savour from each Burger Week participant/competitor.

I was teamed up with my friend and fellow food blogger, Anna (@annasappetite), to visit NOtaBLE -The Restaurant. NOtaBLE was my first stop as a “Burger Ambassador” though not my first YYC Burger Week burger this year as I had tagged along with my friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Carmen (@foodkarmablog), to check out Brasserie Kensington‘s YYC Burger Week creation the evening before.

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This year, the special edition ‘NOtaBLE’ burger ($20), for YYC Burger Week, is created by Executive Chef Justin Labossiere and pays homage to French Canadian food. Starting from the bottom, atop of a freshly baked housemade sesame bun is a generous layer of housemade aioli with black truffle shavings, pickled red onions, a wood-fire grilled 7 oz naturally-raised pork & wild boar patty, housemade foie gras butter with madeira and maple syrup, double smoked bacon, oka cheese, local lettuce and tomato along with a dill pickle on top. This burger comes with a choice of side – housemade soup of day, salad or fries. For those seeking a gluten-free version, the pork patty is made with oats by Only Oats, which is certified gluten-free, and the sesame bun can be substituted for a gluten-free bun.

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If you’re looking for an all pork burger, this ‘NOtaBLE Burger’ might be the winner! I loved that the patty was thick and juicy and you could really taste the flavour of the pork in the patty. The double smoked bacon was so smoky and flavourful. My favourite part of the burger was the rich housemade black truffle aioli. All the components worked together in harmony to create a well-balanced yet decadent burger.

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If you want to try this burger, you’d better hurry! It will be available all day every day but only for the duration of YYC Burger Week, which runs from May 2 to May 10, 2014. After that, you’re going to be out of luck! As a side note, this feature burger creation will be the only burger offered on the NOtaBLE menu for the duration of YYC Burger Week.

notable_stilton_cheesecakeIf you’re looking for something sweet after devouring this amazing burger, you should try NOtaBLE’s signature Stilton Cheesecake ($10), bruleed with rhubarb compte. Anna and I were both impressed at how delicious it was. Even though I generally love really strong blue cheese, in this case, I liked that the stilton flavour was pronounced but not overpowering. The flavours were really well-balanced and the cheesecake was not overly sweet. It was the perfect dessert to end off our decadent meal.

NOtaBLE – The Restaurant
4611 Bowness Road NW
Calgary, AB
(403)288-4372

http://www.notabletherestaurant.ca

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#YYCBURGERWEEK 2014 @ Brasserie Kensington – Calgary, AB

I am super excited that YYC Burger Week is just less than a week away. This year, there will be 30 restaurants participating/competing in 3 price categories – $10 burgers, $15 burgers, and $20 burgers. Last year, for the first ever YYC Burger Week, I only managed to check out 4 of the burgers out of the 16 participating restaurants in that one week. With 30 restaurants participating this year, it’s going to be even more difficult for me to decide which burgers to try as this year’s Burger Week only runs for 9 days, from May 2 to May 10, 2014.

This year the organizers behind YYC Burger Week have decided to introduce a new twist by asking some well-known local food writers, critics and food bloggers to sample the burgers in advance, basically to get a “sneak peek” of the participating restaurants’ burger creations before the actual YYC Burger Week starts. This allows for each of the burgers to be showcased on the YYC Burger Week website and gives everyone a glimpse of what they could expect to savour from each Burger Week participant/competitor.

I was lucky enough to be one of ten people chosen to be a “Burger Ambassador” this year. I happily accepted the task as I really wanted to get a first-hand glimpse of what the restaurants were planning to have in store for everyone during Burger Week. Each Burger Ambassador has been assigned three restaurants to visit, typically one from each price category.

Though I wasn’t assigned to visit Brasserie Kensington, I was super curious about their burger creation after all the banter on twitter so my friend and fellow “Burger Ambassador”, Carmen (@foodkarmablog), let me tag along with her to get a sneak peek of Brasserie Kensington’s YYC Burger Week creation.

Chef Jorel Zielke, Executive Sous Chef of Brasserie Kensington, is the mastermind behind this unique burger creation. For all the carnivores out there, take note! This fully-loaded Brasserie Burger ($20) will satisfy all your meat cravings with its double 3 oz patties – one beef and one pork, along with 1 oz of shredded duck confit and is topped with housemade grainy mustard, housemade arugula aioli, melted brie, and crispy duck fat fried onions on an Engel’s Bakery onion kaiser bun. This burger does not come with any sides, but I didn’t really need any either as I was already quite full after devouring this massive burger. For those seeking a gluten-free burger, the patties are gluten-free and it is possible to substitute the onion kaiser with a gluten-free bun, although there may be a small upcharge.

It’s worthy of note that the meat for the patties is cured for 24 hours and ground in-house so you can order your burger to the desired doneness. What’s unique about the burger patties at Brasserie is the technique which they use to form the patties. As the meat comes out of the grinder, the chefs try their best to gather the strands and stack them in parallel so as to begin forming a log. Once the desired diameter reached, the meat is rolled to form a log and sliced into discs with the desired thickness resulting in loosely-formed patties.  This technique apparently helps the patties to maintain shape, even after cooking.

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This burger is available all day every day, during both lunch and dinner service, for the duration of YYC Burger Week (May 2 to May 10), with the exception of brunch on weekends. On weekends, this burger is only available after 2pm. Also, take note that Brasserie Kensington is not open for lunch on Mondays. They open starting at 4pm on Mondays.

brasserie_foie_gras_sea_salt_ice_cream_splitOn a side note, if you’ve got a hankering for something sweet after devouring that decadent burger, I’d highly recommend you try their Foie Gras & Sea Salt Ice Cream Split ($10) with bruleed banana, chocolate, caramel and pineapple. I won’t lie, I’m a foie gras lover so this dessert was right up my alley. I liked that this dessert was actually very well-balanced and not overly sweet. I seriously haven’t had a dessert this good in a long time!

Stay tuned for my next posts as I will be reporting back on the three YYC Burger Week Restaurants I’ve been assigned to visit as a “Burger Ambassador”.

Brasserie Kensington
1131 Kensington Rd NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 457-4148

http://brasseriekensington.com

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