The words “hero” and “patriot” get thrown around a lot these days, to the point that they are almost devoid of all meaning. Well, I’m about to regale you with a tale that will remind you all what it means to be a True American Heroic Patriot™. In this post, I share the exact moment in my life when I rose to the challenge, and represented America in defeating the odious forces of Canada…by eating a really big cheeseburger and a boatload of poutine fries.
Like Rocky Balboa facing insurmountable odds in his battle against the living embodiment of communism, I was similarly an underdog as I faced off against the culinary embodiment of the tyrannical spirit of Canada. (Yes, tyrannical. You don’t think there’s a heart of darkness lurking below the chummy exterior of those Mounties?! Don’t be a sucker.)
Whether I prevailed and claimed America’s prize (a free dessert) or succumb to a heart attack in that very restaurant, this would be a battle for the ages. One that my grandchildren would proudly repeat to their friends, and with any luck, one that will eventually find its way into the history books. “The Battle of Bricker v. Burger.”
Kidding aside, who doesn’t love a good ole fashioned story of the triumphs of American gluttony? If the Food Network’s programming is any indication, this stuff sells about as well as sex. Plus, I spent 34 Canadian Dollars on this thing, so I figure I might as well get a blog post out of it.
That morning, we had hiked in Yoho National Park up to, which you can read about in Part 2 of my Yoho National Park Trip Report. After that, we had spent a lot of time driving, chasing good weather (and never finding it) until we eventually ended up in Jasper National Park. After checking into the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, we headed out again in the hopes of a good sunset.
We resolved defeat on that front when out of nowhere, the sky exploded in color. Literally, one might everything was grey and gloomy, and a few later, there was a burst of color–almost as if there was a fire on the horizon. We were nowhere worthwhile in terms of a shooting location, but we pulled over anyway. I think this was part reflexive (you don’t pass up that kind of light in the Canadian Rockies!) and part for the sake of loosely documenting the beauty of what we saw.
In any case, the next stop was dinner, where we wanted some good Canadian comfort food to drown out our sorrows of striking out photographically pretty much that entire day (aside from sunrise). Enter Downstream Restaurant & Lounge, in downtown Jasper. These trips are usually filled with a lot of cheap meals (I think we had eaten at McDonald’s 3 out of 4 meals before that) since photography is the emphasis, not cuisine, but we decided to treat ourselves to what appeared to be one of the better restaurants in Jasper.
The Downstream Restaurant & Lounge menu actually looked pretty good all around, with a variety of ambitious entrees. However, my eye was drawn to one thing: the Ken.D.P. Challenge. This consists of 100% Alberta Beef, topped with chicken breast, smoked duck, a double order of bacon, plus cheddar & mozzarella cheeses. It also comes with a double order of poutine. In true challenge form, if you finish all of this, you get a free dessert.
If it were just Sarah and me, I would have never ordered this. But, when you get a bunch of guys together, even professional adult ones, there’s this sense of immature bravado. I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I’ll admit that it is for me when it comes to things I would look at as silly with more clarity. (Hey, at least I’m not out there reenacting Jackass stunts.)
Perhaps this is pathetic, or perhaps it’s inspirational. Your mileage may vary. In any case, it took exactly zero goading for me to come to the conclusion that I had to conquer this challenge. So, I ordered the most expensive burger I’ve ever ordered in my life, and endeavored to do exactly that.
In all honesty, it wasn’t that good. This should not come as much of a surprise as most challenges like this are similarly an odd mix of ingredients (I don’t know of many chefs who top a burger with duck and chicken). This was really too bad, as the beef by itself was good, as were the chicken and duck. The poutine was also excellent. (I think everyone else enjoyed their meal–so I would still recommend Downstream Restaurant, just not this challenge.)
For someone of my build, I can eat a shocking amount of food. While the Ken.D.P. Challenge was way more food than I needed to be “full,” it was not too difficult.
Like any grown man-child who participates in a restaurant challenge, I sought the approval of my friends after finishing the burger and poutine, and they indulged me. (As did our server.)
Upon finishing the burger and poutine, I was rewarded with my choice of “free” dessert, which I took home. In the grand scheme of things, given how much I spent on that burger, this dessert hardly felt free, but an award is an award, and I took it.
All in all, it was a fun night at Downstream Restaurant & Lounge. Although I alternate between puffery and self-deprecation with regard to the burger challenge in this post, both are in jest. In reality, this remains a fond memory from that trip to the Canadian Rockies, and part of the fun of life is doing nonsensical things for the sake of a good time and the memories. Had I ordered elk steak or wild salmon, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed the meal, but I certainly wouldn’t remember it long after the fact. Nor would I be writing a nonsensical post comparing my consumption of it to defeating communism. If that makes me immature, then so be it. There are worse things to be.
If you’re planning a visit to the Canadian Rockies, I recommend picking up a copy of The Canadian Rockies. It’s by a photographer, so there are a ton of inspirational photos in addition to the normal tips (you’ll also find trail maps and other sound advice).
Have you visited the Canadian Rockies? Do any competitive eating while there? Any thoughts about my epic defeat of this Canadian burger? 😉 Does conquering this burger sound like something you’d like to do? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!