E: In a very windy holiday season, both James and I needed some warm liquid to keep our spirits up. The Fairmont Empress’ Festival of Trees was a decent diversion, but after the Dutch Bakery, I was still feeling hungry.
We headed to the aptly named James Bay Tea Room and Restaurant because it was all James’ fault. Really, it was. I’ve never felt so full afterwards because this place served more than just teas.
J: This was another of my “heard of it but never tried it” trips. After going Dutch I was in the mood for familiar UK surroundings. The James Bay Tea Room recently refurbished their dining area. I can see why people come here. It’s very cozy. The place is decorated with photos of various members of the royal family. Royal memorabilia adorned shelves that spanned much of the dining room.
During this festive season, the tea room took liberties with the hanging of mistletoe above the front entrance. It says too much when even elderly women won’t sneak me a Christmas kiss.
I scanned their menu. It was impressive. I wondered how they could manage a menu with so many items. My plan was to eat healthy but Ed twisted my arm until I ordered the Ultimate Beef Burger.
It was two 5.3 ounce beef patties, topped with fried egg and many things you won’t hear of at a health club. I wondered if our server had first aid training, just in case I decided to involuntarily take a nice little nap under the table.
I could see James was happier than a certain reindeer at the rate we were going. I could’ve called him jolly ol’ saint J—or Napoleon.
Sadly, it wasn’t the best burger I’ve had. This meal had to be tried and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the size of James’ jolly nose. A typical burger measures less than an inch thick. Here, it was at least 5 inches!
J: Our burgers were balanced (if you could call it that) with a green salad. I couldn’t fit my mouth over the burger. My slapstick attempts at eating this behemoth caused a pickle to vault over my plate and land on the nice clean tablecloth.
One can assume Ed’s merriment watching my inept skills at eating this burger.
Don of the Victoria Burger Blog could’ve offered either sage advice or joined in with Ed. When my teeth finally dug into the mountain of meat, it was delicious. A small pool of grease formed below my chin but I could find nothing wrong with what I ordered.
E: Maybe I should’ve taken a bite out of James’ burger. What I ate was barely passable for a bear like me. The two patties were great for its volume, but it was dry.
The egg looked like plastic and didn’t have the taste I was expecting. Maybe if was still a touch on the poached side, I’d appreciate this burger more.
The only part of the burger which I enjoyed—that had taste—was the bacon and mushrooms. The ingredients tasted like it was from Costco than Thrifty’s, and I know the latter is up the street by two blocks. After James confirmed that the tea we had came from Costco than Thrifty Foods, I had to wonder.
J: It was true, the matcha tea was a Costco Kirkland Signature contracted through Ito En Ltd. We used a total of 3 bags in our tea pot but as I observed, it is most likely meant as a 1 bag 1 cup for the best results.
Our server was gracious enough to offer them from her own stock. But for the burger, I wonder why Ed’s was so dry. Maybe the staff liked me best.
I did, however, managed to finish the burger and part of the salad. While everything had a great colour to it—including the addition of the candy cane—the winter must’ve tainted my taste buds. I thought there was too much carrot in my salad. And it wasn’t the omnivore in me that needed sating, it was the carnivore.
The worst part was the sub-par salad dressing. I know good blue cheese when I can taste it. Here, it was more like paper mache mayo than cheese.
J: I have to agree with Ed. I normally consume my salads undressed. I thought the blue cheese would’ve given it some kick but instead I was left with a whimper. The salad as fresh as you can get from a supermarket.
The cook and our server were very personable and friendly. We were in good hands with the both of them. It’s not often you get to meet the man who cooks your food.
3 Blokes out of 5