Not all about the pickle

It’s not all about the pickle, but it helps

When I was little, my Dad used to say that there was nothing that tasted like a homemade burger.

Although he did make a mean burger with special spices and just the right amount of charring on the grill, some of the reason for that great taste was the toppings.

We had garden lettuce, homemade mayo, mustard and cheese and onions… it was awesome. Really.

The only argument in our house was whether one should have the dill pickle on the side or sliced in the burger.

Whenever you go to a franchised fast food place, the burgers never even come close to looking like their pin-up counterparts – they were the sad, soggy cousins, the wallflowers that could not dream to hold a candle to something so vibrant.

(Well, OK, so maybe fresh crunchy lettuce and a slice of ripe tomato aren’t as appealing as a girl in a prom dress, but you get my point.)

Everyone has their favourite burger joint, depending on all kinds of elements.

I remember on summer holidays finding out that my cousins swore by the special sauce that White Spot used on their burgers. Our part of the family was not a fan of any “special sauce” that was part of a chain of restaurants’ formula.

That was when I realized that coveting a special independent joint was something not everyone did.

Perhaps it was part of my Prairie roots — the chain restaurants were not prominent where my parents came from. They both grew up in Winnipeg with independent local diners.

When we lived in Calgary, it was Peter’s Drive-In that had not only great milkshakes, but also the best burgers (if my Dad wasn’t making them, of course).

Just before I moved away from Kitsilano in Vancouver a place opened up called the Moderne Burger. My Dad and I and the rest of the family, depending on who was available, shared many nostalgic lunches over heaping plates of home-cut fries and cheeseburgers there.

It’s still a neighbourhood favourite.

Here in Kelowna, my hubby and I have found a few places over the years, but many have come and gone.

I can happily report that there is a classic diner with burgers in Rutland that re-opened last year with new vigour: The Burger Baron (They put their pickles in the burger.)  If you’re in that neck of the woods, splurge and have a milkshake too; it’s worth it.

If you prefer the more individualistic approach that is common in many pastimes these days, there is a burger joint for you in Penticton: Burger 55.

This funky joint allows customers to choose how they want their burger, even including different meat choices as well as Ocean Wise salmon and portabello mushroom.

Bun choices are multiple too, and there is a “shake of the month” if you aren’t excited by chocolate or vanilla. They even have a “Hipster Burger." (In other words, this is not the place for indecisive folks.)

They list dill pickles as a topping, but I bet you could ask for one on the side if you wanted it that way.

Why am I stuck on burgers this week? Maybe I’m pining for warm-enough weather to sit on a deck and enjoy one. It is warm enough to grill outside if you’re game to make your own patties. But why not take a drive and support a local spot?

If you have any favourites, I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my Happy Gourmande Facebook page and post a photo or a location. Or you can send me an email.

Good burgers are meant to be shared. Pickles not so much, but it’s good to know where the good ones are.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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