Fantastic burger (The Max) from Max’s Burger on 8th and Cambie, this place is a hidden gem. There’s really no comparison to grass-fed beef, and these guys know how to make a proper burger. Best of all, the variety of bun options, whole wheat, gluten free, vegan, and regular ol’ hamburger bun! We all agreed the gluten-free bun was one of the best gluten-free bread products we’ve tasted in a restaurant. Yam fries were tasty too! Overall nothing was too heavily salted or over seasoned, just fresh ingredients done right. Move over Vera’s, I’m all about Max.
The sign boast “You Can’t Beat Vera’s Meat!”, the chain was voted best burger in town five years in a row, but does it still live up to it’s reputation? Phil and I felt compelled to investigate.
It’s not cheap. Prepare yourself for an $8-$13 burger, before sides. That being said, it’s not a wimpy beef patty either. You’re biting into a thick, well seasoned burger with a variety of toppings – some at an additional charge. Still, I don’t like the price, I think it’s a little steep for a place where you order at a counter, and seat yourself.
Phil always orders the beef sliders, 4 mini burgers for $10 served with Vera’s sauce, ketchup and cheddar. When I asked Phil what he thought about them he replied: “Ummm…,” and after a longer pause, “they were pretty good. But they lacked something, more toppings.” I agreed. For the price you expect some other ingredients, “such as caramelized onions,” rationalized Phil. “I mean, the amount of toppings on each slider is like what, half a tablespoon? Vera’s can afford to offer their customers a selection of additional toppings at little to preferably no additional charge.”
If I’m gonna eat a burger, I’m gonna do it right, so I ordered the Canuck Burger ($12.00), which is essentially a bacon cheeseburger. It came with ketchup, mustard, relish, Vera’s sauce, tomato, lettuce. I like my burgers juicy; Vera’s burgers are consistently dry, and I’m not just talking about the sauce to bun ratio. The patty was overcooked and I had to add extra ketchup.
For $6.00 we shared a side of half onion rings half fries. There was nothing special here, just some fries and a few onion rings
Vera’s Burger Shack is a love-hate kinda joint; I’ve found people either rant or rave about their experiences, but for me it has been less than satisfactory. I have no problem paying $12 – 16 for a gourmet burger – that is, if I’m getting a gourmet burger. True, the seasoning of the meat was delicious, however there were too many negative factors taking away from this. All in we spent just under $30. At this price point, I’d suggest trying Cactus Club or Earls, but honestly the McDonalds across the street would have been just as satisfying, and half the price.
This was an impromptu lunch at Slickity Jim’s on Monday after an impromptu night of drinking on Sunday. It is a cute little joint with a quirky interior and unique menu titles. There was only one – but very friendly - waitress working and one cook. The food took as long to come out with only one person cooking it all.
Our waitress informed us that they had a very busy weekend, and were out of the pulled pork. THE HORROR and disappointment in Phil’s eyes was almost too much to handle on an empty stomach. He settled for his second choice, a grilled chicken and brie sandwich called Watching The Angels Fall, $10.50. It came with his choice of soup, roasted potatoes, salad, or coleslaw.
The chicken was extremely tender, despite how lack luster the sandwich looks. But overall I thought it was just okay, kind of missed the mark somewhere.
When I asked Emilie what she liked about her Artichoke Heart Brie Burger, $11.50, she said “What didn’t I like. It was brie.” Well said Emilie, well said.
But in all seriousness, she said eating this burger didn’t feel unhealthy. The bun was quite substantial, and the vegetables fresh. It was like a homemade burger, filling without being unfulfilled. She opted for a lean ground beef patty but you could also choose from turkey, chicken, or a house made veggie patty.
I had The Breakfast of Broken Dreams for $9.50. Two easy poached eggs over an English muffin with caramelized onions, spinach, and warm gorgonzola sauce. I found it very satisfactory and only somewhat broken, as the “warm” gorgonzola sauce was actually stone cold. Like, ugggghhh, really?
Caramelized onions harmonized in TRIUMPH with the gorgonzola sauce, which despite being luke-warm at best actually tasted good. I was surprised by the uncooked spinach; it was interesting, definitely not bad but I assumed based on the menu description that it would be steamed or something.
Phil also ordered a mocha milkshake which took for-ever to arrive (granted the ice cream had been frozen like a rock according to our server) but when it arrived it was good. And topped with whipped cream. So worth the wait. However, I didn’t think it was as good as my fresh fruit smoothie!
Will I go back? Yes. Why? Because I’m just too damn hungry not to, and the dishes were intriguing enough to warrant a second sitting. Also, Slickity Jim’s has really cute plates. Oh, and Phil wants to try the pulled pork. And I hear they have a good dinner menu with chicken pot pie. And a fried egg and cheddar burger, one of my Bucket List meals. Ugh, I’m so hungry.
I finally think I overdid it with the breakfast bacon. But what can I say, my eyes are bigger than my stomach and my stomach was full of bacon and bacon related goodness. Edible Canada, touché.
As always, we ordered drinks to start, the $5 cocktail feature and a coffee which came with its own press! Very cute.
It was a well crafted caesar with horseradish for spice, a chilled slice of bacon and a bacon salt rim. I was intrigued by the combination of cheap liquor and bacon, but it was very rich and salty. That bacon salt was no joke.
Phil tried the Canadian Rockies Beef Burger for $13.00. It didn’t come with fries, so that was an extra $5.00. The burger came with double smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, caramelized onions, house-made pickle & house ketchup.
Great burger, we really liked it. The meat was juicy and not over seasoned, you could really taste the beef. The strong flavours from the smoked cheddar and caramelized onions complimented it well. Very filling, even Phil had to brace himself to finish it. The side of duck fat fries came with a bacon aioli which was okay, but didn’t live up to the urbanspoon rave reviews.
I ordered the Edible Canada Breakfast for $12.00: Scrambled free range eggs, Sloping Hills pork & apple sausage, double smoked bacon, smoked tomatoes, crispy duck fat fried hashbrowns, fresh herbs. It also came with the house “ketchup”. The meal was well presented, and the perfect serving size. It was richer and more filling that it appeared.
Two thick slices of perfectly cooked bacon, not charred to a crumbling crisp like most breakfast joints. I was very impressed. The Sloping Hills apple pork sausage was alright, the eggs were very dense, and I didn’t enjoy the smoked tomatoes – which had a smoked bacon flavour.
We disagreed about the house made “ketchup”. Phil liked it because it was real ketchup and not the sugary Heinz stuff; I hated it ( but kept eating it just incase the next bite was the one that changed my mind…) It really didn’t add anything to the meal except a lack of flavour. It was bland and unexciting.
My friend Dom tried the Gluten-free Fish and Chips, $15, made with rice flour tempura. This looked pretty amazing, and in hindsight I regretted not ordering it. Go read her blog for the review and food photos! theglutenfreedom
I thought it was only okay. I’d like to go back and try some of their dinner items and enjoy the evening ambiance, sans whimpering children. The price of my breakfast was right, and I was stuffed …. but it was too salty and I felt bloated afterwards. This is partially the fault of the bacon salt caesar, however the rich creamy eggs and the duck fat hash browns were both heavily salted, the fries so much so that it was hard to finish them. But everyone else really enjoyed their less salty meals, so I give this place a 3 out of 5 stars.
Milestones Grill and Bar
2966 W 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC V6K
Working in the service industry rarely affords me with the opportunity of actually being a customer instead of just serving one. That all changed last Saturday when my manager called to tell me not to come into work, and to instead go out and enjoy the sunshine ( her actual words!). With a skip to my step and a ridiculous smile on my face I set about my glorious day off. We gathered some of the besties and decided to try Milestones for brunch.
The first thing I noticed was the architecture of the restaurant: the sunlight streaming through the solarium seating area was very cool. We got there at 1pm and the place wasn’t too busy. Immediately we ordered caesars and alcoholic coffees (Hey man, this was a celebration).
The first of only two complaints was that the waiter seemed, at times, to be in LaLa Land. Phil asked for a coffee with no whipped cream, and mango sauce on the side of his french toast. The coffee arrived with whipped cream and the french toast drizzled in mango sauce. We’re a pretty easy-going bunch so we didn’t make a fuss about it. It just seemed odd since our waiter was overly competent with everything else. Then again, maybe he just didn’t like Phil!
My ex-vegetarian gluten-intolerant friend ordered off the comprehensive gluten-free menu: A burger with bacon, and a side salad with lemon chardonnay vinaigrette for $12.99. She said it was amazing to eat a real hamburger again and that it tasted great. Glad you enjoyed it, and welcome back to the club!
Phil had the Strawberry French Toast for $12.99
Phil is Mango-phobic, and avoids dishes that come with the exotic fruit. Despite asking for the mango cream garnish on the side (to dip each bite into, he claimed),it came drizzled all over the plate. But Phil found it surprisingly delicious! I’m happy he enjoyed this breakfast treat, and it looks just as good as it tasted. Using baguette slices instead of bread was a heartier and unique twist on a classic breakfast item.
Torn between choices, I asked our waiter’s opinion and he suggested I try the Grilled Shrimp California Benedict for $13.99. This was not my first choice, – it sounded kinda weird, and honestly I was hoping he would recommend the Pear and Coconut Pancakes. Alas, his opinion was one of conviction, and I tend to trust staff recommendations.
THE BENNIES WERE AMAZING!
The shrimps were big and juicy, and they gave you a fair deal of them. The avocado salsa was not over bearing and really complimented the dish. What really rounded out the meal was the Mediterranean salsa served over the breakfast potatoes. It was especially good with a mouthful of the avocado in the Bennie. The hollandaise was alright, not too thick and didn’t overpower the other flavours.
Our other friend ordered the classic Eggs Benedict for $10.99, it looked exactly like mine but less filling. Even if I had wanted to take a photo of it he had devoured half the plate before I got around to taking a picture.
The prices were reasonable but we all complained about still being hungry. The dishes were beautifully presented and everything tasted great, but we wanted more food! I mean, how much do breakfast potatoes cost to make, really? And only two pieces of fruit per plate? Unimpressed.
The thing about brunch is, you’re hungry enough for lunch but craving breakfast food. You want breakfast priced options but with lunch sized portions, and that was our second complaint about Milestones: tiny portions. Everyone felt this way except Phil, but he has the appetite of a small child, and we were ravenous bears just waking from hibernation.
Who doesn’t love a breakfast sandwich on a Sunday morning?! Today we woke up and decided to take the leftover buttermilk biscuits from last night and make magnificent breakfast sandwiches. Yes, magnificent. The beauty of the Breakfast Biscuit Burger (thanks for the great name Phil!) is that you can tailor it to your liking. I went for a fried egg, sliced chicken, spinach and marble cheese combo.Phil’s sandwich was sans egg, more hot sauce, and lots of sliced chicken. I also whipped up a spicy garlic aioli sauce with a few shakes of cayenne pepper and Franks Red Hot (we put that #$*% on everything).
For the perfect circular egg I used a cookie cutter. Placed the cutter in a buttered pan, cracked my egg inside and let it cook about two minutes. I then removed the cookie cutter and flipped the egg over to cook for another minute.
I don’t know if you can tell but the cookie cutter I used was a balloon shape. Or a speech bubble. The girls from The Little Yellow Kitchen made a Hungry Belly Breakfast Sandwich using Bobby Flay’s recipe for pork sausages and I think pairing the biscuits with Flay’s sausage patties would better suit the “breakfast burger” title I’ve christened these sandwiches, alas more preparation was needed and we were too hungry to go shopping! Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!