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Monday, September 30, 2013

Delirious Burger Company

Delirious Burger Company is a relatively new addition to Westdale.  First thing - bring cash.  They don't accept debit.  In this day and age, this seems rather dated, but there it is.  (Edit: They now take both cash and debit - but no credit!). Their menu is small, with basic burgers and a veggie burger and the only side offered, at least when we were there, were fries.
 However, these fries are outstanding.  Best fries available in the hammer.  They were crispy on the outside, mushy in a delicious way on the inside and dusted in sea salt.  They also provide you with malt vinegar, if you ask, which makes them even more amazing.  Cannot say enough about these fries. Also, if anyone can find a way to fit the word 'fries' into this paragraph a few more times, please let me know.
 Mr. HitH chose the double burger, with cheese, bacon and caramelized onions.  He likes his toppings to be on the meatatarian side (i.e. he skips lettuce and tomato) and he likes his burgers extra saucy.
 He was pleased with his burger.  While he isn't sure that it meets the ultimate standard (i.e. the Sneaky Cheese at Memphis Fire BBQ Co.), he found it to be well made.  The meat was moist, with a great crust. The toppings were added as requested and he very much enjoyed  the caramelized onions.  Overall, a well made burger.
 The veggie burger is made from a breaded portobello mushroom stuffed with cheese.  I loved it.  Anything fried is delicious, of course.  I asked what toppings they recommended and went with lettuce, tomatoes and mayo.
As you can see, it is full of cheese.  It's quite a mouthful and very filling.  The contrast of the creamy cheesey centre contrasts nicely with both the body of the portobello and the crunch of the crust. Without the mayo, I think it would have been too dry (and how something loaded with that much cheese could be dry, I do not know, but that is my belief and I won't stop BEEEEELIIIIIIEEEEVING).  This is also a solid burger for vegetarians who do not want to eat 'fake' meat (not a problem for Ms. HitH - she loves fake meat) and a delicious change for anyone wanting to add some veggies to their diet in an utterly non-healthy way.  I think I will say that this is currently the best veggie burger in Hamilton.

Delirious Burger Company is a solid addition to the Hamilton burger scene.  Their fries are excellent, their veggie burger a fantastic change and their burgers among the best within the city limits.

Delirious Burger on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Supercrawl 2013

This post is a little late.  Mr. HitH is working 2 jobs, 7 days a week (the joy of being a recent graduate of teacher's college) and Ms. HitH is teaching full time and is back in school part time.  We're going to do our best to keep on keeping on, but posts may not be as timely as we hoped!

With that said, we made it down to Supercrawl on Friday night.  We purposely went early, for we knew we would need to leave early to come home to bed. We hit up James St. at about 6 p.m.

 

We wandered up and down James a couple times to get the feel of the crawl.  I loved Erika James' Barriers installations.

It was also fun discovering things we had never noticed before - like the statue of justice on this cultural club.

We also enjoyed the random musical artists, like this Celtic style band which had a gentleman jump in and jam with his bongos. They were playing so well together that when the gentleman with the bongos stood up to move down the road, I was shocked he wasn't a permanent band member. It was truly amazing to watch a few strangers jam together and then part ways.
I was so excited that Matt Jelly had made one of his fantastic maps of my neighbourhood.  We visited his booth when the Tall Ships were in the Hammer and loved them, but he had yet to venture up the Mountain.  I grabbed my neighbourhood and will soon be framing.  Now I just have to decide where to hang it in the house.
And then we ventured onto the food.  Being the responsible adults we are, we chose to eat cupcakes and doughnuts first. We stopped at Curbside Bliss cupcakes.
We first enjoyed the Dulce de Leche cupcake.  The cake was fresh - soft and inviting with a delicious molten caramel middle. The icing was sweet, without being sickening.  The caramel drizzle was perfect.  Truly, a superior cupcake.
However, the doughnut (donut?) took the cake. The cake.  Get it?  Get it?  (Puntastic jokes like this are the reason my students loathe me.) Anyway, this was a Ferrero Rocher inspired doughnut.  It was dipped in molten chocolate immediately before being placed into our hands. This made it messy - but it was ah-maz-ing. The crumble sprinkled on top was crunchy and delicious and made it taste exactly like like a Ferrero Rocher. So delicious.  Could eat a dozen every day.  Of course, I would die, but it would be a delicious death. Worth it.
Then we hit up the Karma Chamealon truck.  Ms. HitH is a vegetarian and was really excited about trying their Philly Cheeze Steak. In fact she had tried to get out to try this truck before but was always unlucky, until now. This is a vegan truck, so both the 'meat' and 'cheese' were vegan substitutes.
Overall, as a vegetarian, not a vegan, I found it a touch disappointing.  The fake meat was fine, if not inspiring - as fake meat tends to be -  and the onions were cooked to perfection. The roll was firm enough to hold together without being hard to eat.  However, the cheeze sauce was not plentiful and I found the sandwich dry.  It was certainly fine and I ate it all, but I wouldn't return for another.  The coleslaw was very disappointing.  It tasted like shredded cabbage dressed with only vinegar.  I expect more from a vegan truck than this in terms of salad!
Then, we ran into the Hamilton Portuguese Marching Band.  They were enjoyable and who doesn't love a marching band?  If you know this person, do not introduce them to me.  I won't like them. Neither should you.
We then moved onto the Meatball Shoppe truck.  They cater to a meatarian crowd (I know your jaws have just dropped in shock.  Go ahead.  Pick them up.  I'll wait) so only Mr. HitH ate there.
He enjoyed (and I mean enjoyed) The King Angus, described as 3 Angus Beef Meatballs served on a Bun with organic Field Greens, Marinara Sauce, sautéed onions & red peppers, 4 Italian shredded cheeses, Buffalo sauce and fresh cilantro.  His verdict was that it was delicious. He found the meat moist and flavourful.  The Angus was cooked to perfection and the spices were perfect.  The roll was not memorable, but did the job.  He was concerned about it being a cacophony of flavours before the first bite, but the sauces blended perfectly and the cheese gave it a great added dimension. A superb food truck meal.
We felt that we needed more dessert and I had read good things about the Itty Bitty Pie Co., so we went and bought a peach pie in a cup.
We found it uninspired.  The presentation, perhaps simply due to being thrown into a cup, looked rather like a dog's breakfast.  Mr. HitH felt this was a cruel assessment.  I had to just school him on the meaning of this British colloquialism, meaning a mess.  So no, it did not appear as kibble, just a rather mashed up pile of ingredients. After a careful reconsideration of his position, he now agrees. Schooled. We also wondered if apples had been added, as we found that it tasted much more of apples than peaches which was a shame as we wanted us some peaches. It was also much more of a cobbler than a pie.  We didn't even finish this. We finish everything. Especially Mr. HitH. But not this.
Then we discovered this cool mural.  How I missed it before Supercrawl I do not know.  But I love it. Who wouldn't want to saddle up a turtle and ride?!
I didn't know whether to be happy I found Elmer the Elephant or to be upset that Weekend Riot Club had co-opted him.
This gentleman was singing opera.  He was outstanding.
I wish I knew the artist's name for these pieces - but they were creepy.  I was a little afraid to walk beside them.
These people were walking down the street chanting "Free Omar Khadr". I would like to make a political statement here, but Mr. HitH reminds me that this is a food blog and not a political one. Thus, my bleeding heart shall remain hidden, unless talking about delicious, delicious issues. We all know politics leaves a sour taste in one's mouth, and who wants that when one is trying out new delicious food?
After the interesting array of Hamilton's fine arts we headed over to The Salted Pig as Mr. HitH loves him some pork. He had Pigs in a Blanket, which are corn tortillas filled with pulled pork, covered in horseradish sauce and green onions.
They were good, but there was nothing extraordinary here.  The meat was nicely cooked, tender and soft, but because the sauce was on top of the tortilla, it was dry.  The crunch on the tortilla was perfect.  He finished these happily, but again, wouldn't order them again.  He also had some bacon candy, which sweet, salty, and little pieces of heaven.  However, the serving was quite small.
We have never seen the Caplansky Deli Truck in the Hammer, so when we ran across it, Mr. HitH had to have a sandwich.
He ordered the Reuben.  I ate the pickle.  It was one of the top pickles I have ever eaten.  It was crispy and garlicy and salty and all things that a pickle should be.  Well done, Caplansky. Mr. HitH adored his sandwich. The bread was fresh (seriously, Supercrawl had good bread).  There was a ton of tender and melt in the mouth delicious meat.  The sauerkraut blended perfectly with the meat.  They had 3 options for mustard, and he chose the original mustard which worked perfectly. He cannot wait until we find the truck again.  This won his favourite meal of the night.
With this, we packed it in and headed home.  Mr. HitH had to work the next day at 7 a.m. and Ms. HitH needed to be at orientation the next morning - so no late night enjoyment for us, unfortunately, because judging from the tweets Supercrawl just got better and better.

In summary - a more disappointing food truck experience overall than we are used to, but that could also be explained by the fact that we did arrive as the trucks were opening. However, The Meatballe Shoppe, Caplansky's Deli and Curbside Bliss were excellent and we enjoyed them immensely.  Overall, Supercrawl was very enjoyable.  We will be back next year for more fun and adventure.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Cannon (or Cannon Coffee Co.)

My friends and I have an ongoing battle as to the real name of this establishment.  I call it Cannon Coffee Co.  They call it The Cannon.  We all call it awesome. (Addendum:  After confirming with the aforementioned coffee shop's twitter account, we now know both names are correct.  However, since this is my blog, I feel mine is more correct).
This is a neighbourhood coffee shop with a focus on fresh, local food.  The coffee is from Detour in Dundas. I believe that much of the produce they use is bought from the Ottawa St. Farmers Market (which happens to be our favourite market in Hamilton).
Cannon Coffee Co. features pour-over brewed coffee, where the coffee is brewed in a ceramic drip-through over your mug.  We find the coffee exceptional, but it is a long process.  They just introduced a French press coffee option, greatly increasing the speed.  In the sake of integrity, we ordered one of each.  The pour-over is on the left, the French press on the right.  We found that that the French press coffee had a more robust flavour and was preferred by Ms. HitH, while the pour over was smoother and preferred by Mr. HitH. Truly, you couldn't go wrong with either option. 
They offer many options for brunch, but most feature waffles, with the Power Bowl as the exception.   Ms. HitH ordered The 'Merican. This is a pesto waffle topped with avocado, grilled vegetables and goat cheese, with a balsamic drizzle.
 It was fantastic.  The creaminess of the avocado and goat cheese contrasted very well with the crunchiness of the waffle.  The veggies were still crisp and who doesn't love balsamic drizzle?

Mr. HitH ordered The Canadian.  This is a apple waffle topped with bacon, two poached eggs and cheddar cheese, served with maple syrup (which comes in an adorable little pot for pouring).
I would love to give you details on this meal.  Unfortunately, Mr. HitH was too busy eating to share this thoughts, beyond moans of pleasure.  The chunks of apple embedded in the waffle were awesome. The bacon was thick and, well, what else needs to be said about bacon?  If I was eating this, I would have preferred my eggs a little less poached - the yolks were wobbly, but solid - but he was pleased with it.  He very much enjoyed himself. 
Mr. HitH couldn't resist, and ordered some baked goods.  I protested - who needed more food? - but my whining was ineffectual.  He ordered a plum crumble muffin and a chocolate almond cranberry cookie.  
Even though I argued that we didn't need them, I have no problem helping eating them.  I usually find plum baked goods to be quite sour.  This, however, was not overly tart and the crumble topping was perfect.  The cookie was so rich with chocolate - the depth of it was fantastic.  Two very big winners and, as you can see, they were destroyed and quite quickly.  We also go two apple cider sodas to go.  They should be renamed the Apple Pie sodas, because it was exactly like drinking apple pie from a straw.  We both loved it.  Next time, we're trying the limeade.  They were out today, so no luck.
In summary, go to The Cannon.  Go often.  What I didn't mention is that everyone working there is fun and fantastic.  Every time we go, we feel welcomed.  If there aren't enough seats, you shack up at the big table in front with strangers and make new friends. The atmosphere is really much more like going to a (very cool) friend's house for brunch than going to a restaurant or even a café.  We love going there. You will too.
Cannon Coffee Co on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 02, 2013

Ribfest!


Every year, the Burlington Rotary Club hosts Canada's Largest Ribfest in Spencer Smith Park. Given that this was one of Mr. & Ms. Hungry in the Hammer's first dates, returning annually has become a pilgrimage, even though one half of our couple is a vegetarian.  Please forgive the pictures - we only had cell phones with us today.

This year, we started with the traditional Blooming Onion for our vegetarian.  This is, of course, a very healthy choice, featuring an entire onion, sliced so as to resemble a flower then breaded and deep fried.  It is then served with a mayo based sauce, flavoured with ketchup and horseradish.  It is a delight for the taste buds, should one be able to ignore the filmy coating of grease it leaves within your mouth.  Fortunately, we excel at disregarding disgusting artifacts when deliciousness is involved.
For the meatatarians, we moved onto ribs and chicken.  Our first stop was Billy Bones BBQ, who were enthusiastic about their meat and celebrated winning second place this year with a few pit crew chants. Nothing says winner like second place! 
Bless these people.  It was hot, smokey and despite what the picture seems to depict, they were enthusiastic and fun, singing, chanting and even dancing while BBQing.
First, we tried the chicken.  The skin was crispy and the seasoning was adequate.  The meat was cooked perfectly and moist and tender.  Having said that, it was severely lacking in sauce and therefore flavour.  Overall, this was our least favourite chicken, tasting bland.
These ribs appear quite pink, but were cooked through.  The same problems with the chicken came through in the ribs.  They were dry and not nearly flavourful enough.  In a word - bland. Again, our least favourite ribs. We definitely did not feel they were winning quality ribs or chicken and, to be honest. we were quite surprised they placed second. 
 Our next selection came from Kentucky Smokehouse.
These ribs were saucier and more flavourful than the previous ribs.  The taste was deliciously smokey and charcoaly.  Yes, we just made up a new adjective.  The ribs were fall off the bone tender, and while it was a definite improvement from our first selection, the sauce was not memorable.  In our tasting party, second place.
 Finally we arrive at the best ribs we tasted from Ribfest this year, and this is where our adventure gets interesting. In order to wait in as few lines for as little as possible, we split our resources. The lovely vegetarian half of our couple was sent off with $20 and instructions to pick any combo out any that looked interesting. In fact, the words "surprise me" and "whatever tickles your fancy" may have been mentioned multiple times. This makes us question the judgement of the meat eater as said vegetarian has not eaten meat in 18 years.  Would you trust her to pick out your meat? In the end, she went to Fire Island Barbeque.  For the record, it was mostly chosen because it had a gorilla on the sign, and we are big fans of gorillas here at Hungry in the Hammer.
We purchased the 2 meats for $15 combo, getting ribs and chicken.  We must note that we asked for extra sauce and were taught that this is getting sexy ribs. That's right, sexy. Real sexy. We brought Sexyback.  You're welcome.
These were by far our favourites of the day, both ribs and chicken.  We chose the Manhattan Mild sauce (for we were sharing with some who do not have our enjoyment of spice) and it was delicous.  It left a smokey, lingering sweetness after each bite, with much flavour.  Both the ribs and chicken were, as always fall off the bone tender.  Tender meat is not a problem at Ribfest.  Again, we did ask for extra sauce here, but it is our belief that even without the extra sauce, these would be winners.
Heading down to Ribfest on Monday shortly after lunch meant that we avoided the massive crowds that gather around dinner.  Ribfest also has a children's area and craft vendors, but we were focused on the food. Even with the relatively small crowds, between finding parking (about a 10 minute walk from the site), waiting in line at the booths and then heading back to share dinner, we were at the site gathering food for about 1:15 hours - not a quick way to grab linner (or lunch/dinner, for the uninitiated). Next year, we'll come back at about the same time and we will be sure to ask for all our chicken and ribs to be made extra sexy. Overall, a deliciously fun way to end summer.