Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tot Wheels:4.1/5

Double Bacon Burger
Score: 4.1

$9 (tax inc), $13 Including Tots

You’ve probably heard about the habit forming Tots, but did you know Tot Wheels also makes a great burger? Owner and chef Scott Moffat tweeted the Double Bacon Burger special and I double timed it to 275 Broadway to be first in line at the flashy food truck.

Scott makes the patties in house – a blend of beef, pork and Italian sausage with his own recipe of herbs and spices. They were juicy and delicious – the star of the stack. They cook each order fresh and the two thin patties cook faster than one thick one with twice the flavourful grill crust.

The bacon is fried up fresh and wrinkly; it’s usually cooked soft, on the brink of undercooked for some diners. “It takes a little longer but ends up being worth the wait. People don't complain as long as the quality is there” says Scott. The assembly is completed with grilled onions, Havarti cheese, ripe red tomato and shredded lettuce. It’s capped with a grilled sesame seed bun that’s up to the task if you need to one-hand it. “All of our products and ingredients are local and organic as much as possible.”

Dani wrote “The burger had two smallish patties and three slices of bacon with sautéed onions. The flavour was nice, just enough spice. The Dijon added a tanginess to the whole package.” Mat added:“Really rich in flavour. Italian sausage in patty is excellent.” Les scribed “The Havarti cheese was a classy touch! All held together nicely & the bun was good.”

Of course, the burger is accompanied by heavenly tots. The combo comes with Sriracha or garlic aioli for dipping. Like everything else in the truck, the Tots are made fresh and they’re crispy-golden on the outside, soft and cheesy-gooey on the inside. The mashed potato blended with herbs, spices and cheese is rolled and dropped into the fryer per order. You can watch Shaw TV’s spot to see Scott in action.

Jeff exclaimed: “Excellent burger - plenty of beef & bacon, and a huge bun (almost too big) that was nice and soft, but held together nicely. Patty was cooked just right. Perfect amount of tots to compliment - spicy aioli was excellent.” Karen’s a fan: “I love the Tot Wheels truck! The tots were terrific - big and crunchy.

Scott plans on keeping the burger on the menu and adding an additional sandwich.  Word is the next creation may be a Mac ‘n Cheese grilled cheese with pork belly. Tot Wheels will be at Many Fest – Food Truck Wars again this year from Sept 9-11, 2016. “Many Fest is our - and most truck's - busiest time of the year, I'd like to serve the burger at the festival but it might not be possible with the volume of people.”

Scott took over the truck from Darryl Crumb in March, 2016. Scott was the lead chef at the Exchange Restaurant for two years where they worked together and he learned about running the food truck from Darryl. Tot Wheels also caters events - and surprisingly - weddings! “We have done wedding dinners and late night snacks.  This saves the bride and groom a ton of money and has turned out excellent every time.

Tot Wheels Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pete's Place Family Restaurant (closed): 4/5

Chili Burger: 3.6
$11.95 (platter)

Bacon Cheeseburger: 3.5
$10.95 (platter)

$10.95 (platter)

Cheese Burger: 4.2
$9.95 (platter)

When we arrived at Pete’s Place owner Samantha had us setup at one long table in the middle of the restaurant. There was a photo of the five patty Fatboy and she challenged me to finish one – but I’d need a lot more training before tackling that behemoth. As it was I could barely finish the double I ordered. I’m pretty sure their claim of a 5-oz. patty is grossly understated.

Pete’s Place is on top of their game, winning several community choice awards. True to popular opinion, it's nothing fancy, but serves up good food at reasonable prices. Some restaurateurs take the opportunity to expound at length about their creations, but when I asked Samantha she responded with “Burgers are prepared fresh daily, and on busy days twice“ and “Chill is prepared using 100% certified Angus beef and Pete’s own custom blend of spices.“ Plain and simple.

Samantha kept our drinks topped up while patiently waiting for all of our group to arrive so she could put in the orders together. They were well staffed with three in the kitchen including namesake Peter Vlahos on the grill and son Dean prepping and plating. It wasn't much of a wait before Samantha was bringing out all of the meals at once. Impressive!

It’s a classic diner patty. Lean and fairly dry, dense and cooked with a solid grill crust. I thought the burger seasoning salty, but a few diners said the saltiness was from the chili sauce. It's Greek-style - not too spicy. I liked it on the burger and loved it on the fries. Chili sauce is like beer – tastes vary and so did opinions. The Brioche-style bun wasn’t sweet, but light and fluffy with a shiny top. It held up well.

The Fatboy was topped with a heap of shredded iceberg lettuce – easy to bite through. The pickles were spears laid across the patty – admired by some with others pining for the disc form. The tomato was bright red and ripe. Karen wrote “This was a really decent burger. Good taste overall. The patty was firm, great tasting and fairly juicy. I liked their chili sauce, not too salty with a nice mild seasoning. Tomato was fresh and juicy, lettuce chopped fine so not too sloppy and didn't make the burger all slippery. The fries were excellent hot. Caesar salad was super! Lots 'o garlic.”

Mireille had the chili burger – which is a stack doused in chili – all the more impressive as her white dress was still white afterwards. “The meat was a little dry but the chili helped moisten it. It had a little heat - I enjoyed it. The burger held up very well even though it was smothered. Bun was delicious.”

Sandy had a cheeseburger: “The pickle spears were a nice surprise! As was the flavourful patty. Some might find it salty, but salt is my weakness. I'm not always a fan of chili on my burger but this wasn't smothered and helped cut the saltiness - I need to practice balance - begrudgingly. Great garlicky Caesar salad too!

Loved the bacon cheeseburger” wrote Jeff. “Chili and full pickle spears on the burger was a nice surprise. One of the best burger buns I've ever had - held together right to the last bite, and bun:burger ratio was bang on. Crazy amount of fries too!

Burgers come as a platter with soup, salad or fries & coleslaw. All three choices were delicious. The bowl of fresh mushroom soup was thick, flavorful and *huge*. The fries were a hit - crispy outside, soft inside and hot. I had half Caesar salad and half fries. The salad had an enjoyable dressing and a big crunchy crouton for every piece of fresh Romaine.

Burger Clubbers came from far and wide for Pete’s Place. One couple parked their camper across the street and a family drove all the way from Regina stating: “I'd come here again and order the same burger!” Their kids had chicken fingers and fries - a deal at $6.95. The boy said the fries tasted like a burger. The short kids were given colouring books to keep them entertained while the tall kids were amused finding the *four* Pokemon in range of our table.