By Mike Cohen
Le Burger Week in Montreal will have a cheesy twist when it takes place from September 1 to 7 across the city. You might want to call it “Le Cheeseburger Week!” That’s right, the annual fall foodie festival has a new look, and this year, it’s all about the cheese! This year’s edition of the festival is made possible thanks to Saputo and Lightspeed.
Provinces participating this year include; Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, British Colombia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Heading into its ninth year, Le Burger Week has become an annual autumn foodie tradition to look forward to. Restaurants across the nation are asked to think outside the bun and create a unique burger reflective of their overall concept, style, and cuisine. The 2020 edition will replace the traditional call to vote for the best burgers with a call to help through charity partnerships. Both Lightspeed and Saputo will be awarding the “Lightspeed Choice” & “Saputo Choice” awards to their favourite burgers!
Furthermore, this year, a proceed of select burgers sold in Canada will be going to Centraide and United Way; philanthropic organizations that collect donations to support a vast network of community agencies that help individuals and families.
Bravo to Le Cheeseburger Week’s founders, Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam. It is such a breath of fresh air to see a program like this taking place and providing vital economic benefits during COVID-19.
All you need to do is go to their website at www.leburgerweek.com and choose some restaurants to go to- eat in, delivery or takeout.
For me, the fun thing about a promotion like Le Burger Week is to try something new. When I came across a 2019 winner of the Saputo’s Choice Award I was intrigued to learn more about Brasserie Les Enfants Terribles (https://www.jesuisunenfantterrible.com). How could it be possible that I did not know about this successful chain of six locales? There is the original in Outremont as well as Nuns Island, Centropolis Laval, Place Ville Marie, Magog, and a cafeteria-style locale on Sherbrooke Street West downtown.
In the fall of 2007, during a family dinner, Francine Brûlé mused aloud about taking on a new challenge. For this mother of three grown boys, veteran businesswoman and charismatic leader, a restaurant seemed a natural choice. In the following days, she found the perfect site at the corner of Bernard and Champagneur in Outremont. On February 1, 2008, she took over the space.
Artistic director Alexandre Brûlé Brosseau and architect-designer Louis-Joseph Papineau renovated the space from top to bottom. They installed glass doors at the front and added features such as rustic wood, chalkboards, an open kitchen, murals by Tim Barnard, long wooden tables and a magnificent central bar. Inspired design and a clever layout helped create an inviting and cozy atmosphere. On April 14, 2008, the new eatery welcomed its first customers. During lunchtime and weekend brunch, the space is awash in natural light. In the evening, any reason is good to drop by and say hello to Francine and partner Serge Bruneau, himself a seasoned restaurateur. During the first summer, the patio became one of the city’s most popular, and the restaurant was an immediate hit with foodies of all ages.
Les Enfants Terribles revisits the classics and also crafts innovative and simple dishes with a festive, flavourful and unorthodox touch. Francine Brûlé has managed to recreate the homey atmosphere of a somewhat chaotic household where the fare is comforting, original and refined.
In advance of Le Burger Week I dropped by last week for a curbside pickup. Their special for September was not quite ready yet, but I was so happy to sample their Classic Burger with some delicious crispy fries. I added to my order for my next days’s lunch by also ordering an outstanding dish of macaroni and cheese gratiné with bacon. It was too delicious for words. I also had some mini-pogos at home that night. All they needed were eight minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. Their signature Caesar salad went to my secretary at work who gave it a huge thumbs up!
This section of Bernard Street has been closed off to traffic and turned into a giant terrasse. It was only lunchtime and the place was packed.
For Le Burger Week , Marketing Director Lélia Vincent says that five of the restaurants (the cafeteria is not open as of this writing) will be serving The Goody-Two-Shoes / Sainte-Nitouche burger containing AAA beef, Sainte-Nitouche cheese from Noyan, Quebec), crispy shallots, melted leeks and fresh herb mayonnaise. There is also a vegan option, with mane mushroom , vegan cheese, crispy shallots, melted leeks and fresh herb lion’s vegannaise
For Adam and Rassam, the idea for Le Burger Week was born in 2013 out of their shared love of burgers and an understanding that their fellow Canadians shared that same love. Adam and Rassam wanted to create a fun and exciting way for burger lovers to interact and support their favourite restaurants, while, at the same time, providing restaurants with the chance to build greater public awareness through their participation. As Adam explains, “Le Burger Week began as a fun local food project to celebrate our city’s (Montreal) love for burgers. Over the years, we have grown into a national festival that continuously helps to stimulate businesses across the nation.”