Another Halifax Burger Week has come and gone, and this year was the biggest one yet. A whopping 125 restaurants took part in this year’s festivities, which has quickly become one of the largest food events in Halifax!
This year was full of big new burgers, some classic favourites, and a whole lot of variety. There were patties of all shapes and sizes, made from a wide range of different products, and despite there even being some creations that don’t really fall into the definition of what a burger is, a great, meaty (or not-so-meaty in the case of the amazing veggie burgers) time was had by all!
Not only did Haligonians hit the streets hard in search of that next great burger, they also came together and raised a staggering $113,101 for Feed Nova Scotia (that’s over 160,000 meals!). You crushed it Halifax, and I’m beyond impressed!
While I did miss out on a couple of burgers I wanted to chow down on this year (not for lack of trying – I’m looking at you Vandal Doughnuts!), I did get my hands on a lot of great entries, and yet again I had the difficult task of trying to pick my faves. There were some they clearly stood out above the rest, but overall there wasn’t many burgers I tried this time around that I wouldn’t go for again if I was given the chance.
Read on to find out my top picks of Halifax Burger Week 2018, as well as some Honourable Mentions!
Black Sheep – The Whole Farm
“Appropriately named The Whole Farm, this burger incorporates pretty much every farm animal in some shape or form. Starting with a juicy beef patty, and followed by delicious braised lamb shoulder and sweet double smoked bacon jam, this one is sure to bring a tear to every meat lover’s eye.
On the not-so-meaty side, you are treated to fried goat cheese and duck confit, which is then topped with a fried egg, and finished with sprouts (which in my opinion is a completely underused option when it comes to burgers)”
Rinaldo’s – The Uncle Sam
With all of the unique and original burger ideas coming out of restaurants these days, nailing a classic burger can be harder than you would think. The Uncle Sam, while not an exact definition of what a ‘classic’ burger should be, had a more traditional feel to it, even with the added elements.
The tender brisket patty was dangerously delicious, and was only further improved by the more classic toppings. Kicking it up a notch with the pepperoncini special sauce, the only thing better than this creamy condiment was the two thick mozza sticks (which people are constantly raving about – that cheese pull though!) that strut in and steal the show. This burger is one that needs to have a permanent place on the menu at Rinaldo’s!
Primal – The Black Widow
“The Black Widow is a sexy burger and it knows it. A rich wild boar patty sits on a bed of red cabbage gochujang slaw that is savoury with a subtle sweetness. On top of the patty are strips of smoked bacon followed by two crispy onions rings, which I believe are a welcome addition on most burgers.
Finished off with some chimilantro and a creamy black stout beernaise, it is all brought together between a unique black bun, and could easily be considered art in food form. It’s always a good time when a Burger Week burger is as nice to look at as it is to eat!”
Relish – Abe Froman’s Diner Burger
Yet again, Relish has come through with a Burger Week burger that shows you can achieve a lot of flavour with only a few elements, as long as you know what you’re doing.
The use of the roasted garlic mayo, banana peppers, and beet relish provides an extremely layered flavour combination that cohesively comes together in each bite. The pickles, onions, and tomatoes gave a nice, fresh crunch to the burger that was more than welcome in this very meaty week. Surprisingly, my favourite part of the burger was the celery salt. It was subtle enough so that is wasn’t overpowering, but it gave the burger a tasty little pop that was all kinds of delicious!
Stubborn Goat – The Sloppy Joe McGuinness Burger
“The obvious star of the show is the pulled beef smothered in the Guinness stout jus. They pile on a healthy amount of the beef, and it has a great, bold flavour that keeps you wanting more.
On the not-so-meaty side of things, they are generous with both the house pickles and shredded cabbage, both of which balance out the strong flavours from the stout jus, while giving that crisp crunch that’s usually always a welcome addition to most burgers. Top it all off with a sharp, melted Gouda and you have another winner from Stubborn Goat!”
Dee Dee’s – Veggie Burger
Every time I visit Dee Dee’s I always wonder why I don’t come here more often. The food is always fresh and filling, and don’t even get me started on how delicious everything tastes.
Their Veggie Burger for Burger Week was no different. The lentil, rice, and roasted mushroom patty was surprisingly one of my favourite patties of the week, which really says something coming from a hardcore carnivore like myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the frizzled spiced potatoes, which paired very nicely with the French onion spread. The bun was the perfect size and texture for this kind of burger, and overall, this one not only was a great break from all the meaty burgs, but also proved that veggie burgers are very much welcome in the world that is Halifax Burger Week!
The Barrington Steakhouse – The Carnival Burger
“An Atlantic beef patty is hidden beneath a pile of chili and cheese, and is then crowned with a handful of golden onion rings, and given the good ol’ ketchup and mustard treatment. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a tribute to classic carnival foods without a corndog, and it just so happens that a Pogo skewer holds the whole thing together.
It takes culinary talent to take food that is typically known to be not so great for you, and turn it into something that feels almost elegant, and The Barrington Steakhouse manages to achieve just that with their Burger Week contribution this year”
The Watch That Ends the Night – Canadian Meatloaf
“Playing on that home-cooked dish that I’m sure most people have probably had at least once in their lives, the Canadian Meatloaf burger starts out with a thick slice of savoury meatloaf that is a thing of dreams, and is only further enhanced by the melted cheddar that is draped over it. Add in the horseradish mayo for a bit of a kick, and the result is a very well rounded burger.
Don’t let the somewhat simplistic composition of this burger fool you. There is a lot of flavour packed in the slice of meatloaf, and the ingredients that accompany it, and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed every single bite. It has comfort written all over it, and it’s reminiscent of meatloaf that’s just like mom used to make!”
Cheese Curds – The Gouda Father
While I had many previews before the week started, The Gouda Father was my first official burger of Burger Week, and to say I started off with a bang is an understatement!
Don’t let that messy exterior fool you, there was some tasty things happening between the buns with this one. The star of the show was obviously that deep fried Mac n’ Gouda cheese brick. The crunchy exterior was only bested by the warm, gooey interior that coats every bite in all kinds of cheesy greatness. The chipotle mayo gave it a nice little kick, and there was some crispy strips of bacon buried in there for good measure.
I will admit that this one was a bit excessive in some aspects, and probably wasn’t for everyone, but sometimes you just gotta go big or go home!
Krave – Bacon Jam Cheeseburger
“The beautiful thing about this burger is that it accomplishes so much while remaining relatively simple. Like I’ve said before, where this burger kills it is all in the condiments. Don’t get me wrong, the beef is great and the pickles are everything you want them to be, but the tag-team duo that is the creamy Krave sauce and the hugely popular sweet and smokey bacon jam is a knockout!”
The Auction House – The MAC Stack
“I’ll admit that when I first read the description of Auction House’s contribution to this year’s Burger Week, I wasn’t exactly confident in how it would turn out. Pasta on a burger can be tricky to pull off, and I wasn’t convinced that crushed Cheetos was something I would want on a beef patty.
Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised.
The Cheetos gave the burger a nice, crispy crunch without being too much, and the mac and cheese was just cheesy enough that it helped the pasta fit nicely with everything else.
The sauerkraut was abundant and tasty, and it added a great additional texture on top of the beef patty. The kabayaki sauce gave the burger a bit of a punch, and when it all came together on that lightly toasted bun, The Mac Stack not only proved me wrong, but also became a burger that I would gladly recommend to those participating in Burger Week”
Durty Nelly’s – Gaelic Steak Burger
“The Jameson whiskey peppercorn sauce that is drizzled over the beef patty is savoury and rich, and it coats every bite. The fried onions and mushrooms give the burger a rustic feel, and I really enjoyed them paired with the peppercorn sauce.
Gaelic steak is commonly paired with “chips”, so the addition of the shoestring potatoes were a nice touch, and not only brought another element that is true to the original dish, but also provided a great texture to the burger. Finished off with a horseradish grainy mustard aioli to give it a bit more depth, and overall you have a comforting burger that brings a taste of Ireland to Halifax Burger Week!”
The Old Apothecary – Macaron Burgers
While not technically burgers, it wouldn’t feel right not including these tasty little guys as I really enjoyed this sweet treat during my Burger Week adventures. I usually try and stick with options that can be classified as a burger, but my sweet tooth has a mind of it’s own sometimes, and since TOA is known for serving up some delectable baked goods, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give them a try.
If you enjoy a good macaron, then these should have been a no-brainer for you during BW (if you were able to get your hands on a box before they quickly flew off the shelves!). The maple and bacon flavouring brought a great sweetness, and my only complaint with these was that there was only three in a box. Who says you can’t have burgers for dinner AND dessert?