Of course, being the three-time defending champs, Pitchfork Eatery was the restaurant that I had my sights on more than any other place going into this competition. They earned that distinction, and I wasn't going to be dismissive of that fact. Needless to say, my expectations were higher here than of any other joint in town.
(A quick note, I loved their new indoor COVID screens. They produced an excellent private intimacy for each table. Not bad, Pitchfork, not too bad at all!)
I ordered the regular competition burger, and my friend I was with ordered the gluten free version. It was easy to distinguish between the two as her bun had deeper colouring as opposed to my sourdough bun. It kinda looked as though she had spent a long summer all bronzed in the sun, while my pasty white-ass walked straight out of the winter months, void of the same tanned-up sunniness.
(Because I will never not showcase the greatest ginger ale ever, as is my usual, I ordered one for myself and one for my friend. Their house made ginger ale is one of the hidden secrets in this town, and regardless of what meal I am having, it will be there in accompaniment.)
Both of our burgers had a real clean presentation on our plates. Being a stickler for small details, I was happy about that. Speaking of those small details, the little cubed pickled beet garnish on the top of the bun was very nicely done. It wasn't too acidic, nor did it have that vinegar-y taste some super pickling can have. It was subtle and gentle, done just right!
The burger was almost a little walking contradiction because it was quite juicy, but it still had a nice crunch that didn't fade away. That screamed of knowledge of technique, and the execution therein. We were both aware of that, and openly discussed it.
It also looked stacked high, but when you grabbed a hold of it, the burger settled into the perfect eating size. That fell right in line with the walking contradiction of integrity of the crunch through the sweet juiciness.
I almost don't have to say too much of what I thought about the burger, because it can almost much better be conveyed in this way...
The burger actually made my friend moan with delight numerous times. It was so pleasing, that it took her to that beautiful place of sensual exhilaration. (Similar to the way their Yam Puree made me gasp in delight.) Those are not artificial indications of pleasantries. When food takes you to a place where you transcend your overall senses into that otherworldly state of honest euphoria, you know you're into something special. Although I wasn't moaning like her, I definitely echoed the same sentiment.
Moving along, what can I say other than...
"The patty was a fatty!!"
If you took words like...
...and threw them into a blender to mix them all together, you would start to realize the scope of the entirety of the patty: The size, the cook, the seasoning...
It was perfect in every way you could come at it. This was a focused topic of discussion between us, and we both agreed upon that, which spoke to both of us about something more...
"Consistency in the cook!!"
I can reflect upon the opposite idea with the burger from the Hume, from the size, where mine was proper, but my friend's was smaller, and the cook of mine being overdone, which led us straight to the conversation of lack of consistency. Pitchfork was the exact opposite. It put both of us into the same conversation of consistency, but in the right direction of unison.
The crunch held up its end of the deal to maintain its integrity throughout the entire eat, despite the juiciness. Score one for the crispy fermented cucumber!
It definitely requires a notion of skill to keep a consistent level of crunch that holds its integrity despite being immersed in a sea of juiciness that was still void of sogginess.
This is the kind of fine picking that separates it from burgers like Yum Son, that although a fantastic patty, by the end, it was soggy mess on the plate.
I was really focused in on this whole aspect of things, and brought it to the forefront of our conversation within the discussion of our burgers.
It wasn't just the layers of flavour that were amazing, but also the depth that they held. Instead of adding layers and layers of stacked ingredients, leaving a burger piled to the roof, Pitchfork used layerings of flavours, which is a much different thing. It showed a way deeper technical skill of flavouring technique rather than just adding stuff upon stuff. It was eloquence in disguise and revealed a superior understanding of technique.
When I started spewing that idea from my mouth, my friend jumped right on board the train of agreement that took us deep inside that conversation.
This Pitchfork Eatery burger was on another level than all the rest...except for Loka! My friend had also had the Loka burger as well before we had gone to Pitchfork, and once again, she was in agreement with me.
Pitchfork put up a gawd damned fight, delivering some crushing blows, but Loka just edged it out for the lead. There was no doubt though, that these two are in a class of their own for everything I have tried so far.
The thing that pushed Loka just ahead was the subtle, yet bold fusion of their mid-eastern flavourings in their burger. In doing such, Loka demonstrated the perfect understanding of the competition, which isn't just to load up with ingredients on top of ingredients, or completely reinvent what a burger is, but rather to stay a burger's traditions of what has made it world famous, but at the same time, infusing different flavourings in that bold way without being overbearing.
House made Ginger Ale...one of Nelson's secret little nuggets...
As for Pitchfork, being the three time defending champ, and then putting this burger up for the fourth year?? It says so much about a different understanding of technique and flavouring. It is not a coincidence as to why over half of my guests have placed Pitchfork Eatery at the top of the heap of restaurants in this town.
I have never had anything less than a spectacular meal every single time I have eaten there. It doesn't matter how you want to look at it...
-depth of flavourings
-consistency of cook quality
-tasting experience elicited
-fine tuning tiny details
...It is the place where I can confidently send any one of my guests and have them return to my hotel in a blissed-out state from the meal they just had, regardless of time of year, or what is on the menu. Nothing surprises me when I eat there, and just as with my friend being brought to a place of sensual moaning, the reactions and responses from my guests echo it all.
In the time since Josh Mateschitz had taken over as the executive chef around late August/early September of 2017, the minimum standard you get is nothing less than fantastic! It is unbelievable in its consistency of sensationalism. The expectations risen very high, but they still continue to, not only back them up, but also exceed them. It's really quite something to watch. If you eat at Pitchfork Eatery, you're virtually guaranteed a culinary orgasm...just listen carefully, and you're bound to hear some gasps and moans inside those walls!
I don't vote on this Burger Month tour, and even though I am giving the edge to Loka for the win, all I can see with Pitchfork is their stranglehold on the top restaurant in this town getting tighter and tighter. I don't even have to look at what I personally think when I have the numbers directly from huuundreds of people from out of town who I have sent out to explore the food in Nelson, BC. When over half of them are going there, and coming back 100% really happy, that speaks for itself.
I've literally had guests go to Pitchfork for lunch, with plans to go elsewhere for dinner, but because it was so good, they no longer acknowledged any other restaurant in town, and just made reservations on the spot to go back for dinner...and then thank me repeatedly for telling them about it.
Pitchfork Eatery has their shit dialed!
Pitchfrok's COVID screens keep to their rustic feel while infusing a nice sense of intimacy...