The Pink Bicycle
1008 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC (map); 250-384-1008; pinkbicycleburger.com
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: A juicy beef patty topped with poutine fixings. Yep, that just happened.
Want Fries With That? Yes! And upgrade to the truffle fries.
Price: Poutine Burger, $15 (+ $1 for truffle fries)
Notes: This burger is a "rotating feature", and not officially on the menu. Word is you can always get it, if you ask (nicely).
After almost a year in San Diego, my first trip back to Canada was an emotional one, mostly caused by consuming all of the food I miss: Fruit and Nut bars, Swiss Chalet sauce, and one particularly tender moment with a Honey Dip Timbit. But by far the most memorable edible was the Poutine Burger at The Pink Bicycle in downtown Victoria, BC.
I'm going to stop right there while the words poutine burger sink in. The concept of fries, cheese curds and gravy on top of a burger sounded too delicious to pass up. Sure, it could be messy, but is there really any possibility that it could be bad?
As it turns out, no. In fact, in order to avoid descending into hyperbole, I'll simply say that this is a bucket list burger that everyone should try at least once. Preferably with the truffle fries.
Pink Bicycle's poutine burger is crafted from locally-sourced ingredients, including Heresford beef from Springford Farm, cheese curds from Natural Pastures, and a sesame seed bun from Bond's Bakery (next door).
The burger has all of the classic elements of poutine, with a few surprises. The patty is covered with thick-cut fries and fresh cheese curds, then doused with rich rosemary gravy and sprinkled with crispy shallots. A smear of garlic mayo unites all of the elements, while adding a subtle bite to the exceptionally savory burger. The final product is so comforting that it's the burger equivalent of a Snuggie.
Unless you ask, burgers are cooked through (because of local health bylaws), but you can request some pink in the center. My burger had a visible blush of pink, and even though the patty would have been tastier if it was more on the rare side of medium rare, with the introduction of rosemary gravy, melted cheese curds, and garlic mayo, there was no shortage of moisture. The patty had a few spots of char and a delicious beefy flavor, but enjoying this particular burger was more about the complete experience. The strongest flavors came from the aromatic rosemary gravy, the garlic mayo, and the creamy cheese curds.
The lightly toasted sesame seed bun from Bonds Bakery was soft and squishy, but still substantial enough to hold its own against the current of beef juice and gravy, making it an ideal choice for the burger.
Upgrading to the truffle fries was a wise move. The thick-cut fries were tossed with white truffle oil and black pepper, giving them a boost of earthy and savory flavors. When dipped in the puddle of rosemary gravy that oozed out of the burger, they were even better. After sampling the truffle version, I can't imagine ever ordering them plain, especially since it only costs an extra loonie. One of the tastiest bites was the last fry, which was bathed in gravy and stuck to a cheese curd—kind of like a poutine amuse bouche.
Pink Bicycle's poutine burger and truffle fries was one of the best meals I had on my entire vacation (including the fancy-pants dinners on the cruise ship). Here's hoping the restaurant adds the burger to the official menu soon.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a freelance food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego, including all things sweet and sugary, for her dessert blog San Diego Sugar.