Monday, June 22, 2015

The Next Act

Now that it's officially summer, I've been thinking more about places in Edmonton with awesome patios for dining out. Enjoying the warm sunshine with delicious food always leads to a great time in my opinion. With that being said, I thought I'd share my first patio lunch of the season at The Next Act (8224 104 Street NW)! 

Located just north of Whyte Ave on 104 Street, The Next Act is a pub that offers snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. The Next Act is very well known for serving up some of the best burgers in town - in fact, they landed first place in Avenue Edmonton's list of Best Burgers in Edmonton in their Best Restaurants 2015 issue. I knew I needed to try one of their burgers to see if they were really deserving of that title. 

The menu.

June and I arrived around noon on a Wednesday, stepping inside a bustling pub. Luckily, a table out on the patio opened up for us so we decided to take our lunch date outdoors. It wasn't too hot outside and there was a gentle breeze. Shade from a nearby tree and the clouds blocking the sun every now and then allowed for beautiful, soft lighting which is something I seek whenever I'm taking my food photos. 

Spinach Dip.

To start off our lunch, June ordered the Spinach Dip ($12) to share with me. Baked spinach and hearts of palm blended with cream cheese and garlic make up the dip, which I found to be absolutely delicious. The dip was warm, comforting, and full of flavour. It reminded me of the time when my group in Foods class back in junior high made a simple spinach dip, which was my first time trying the snack. Paired with the soft naan bread and crispy tortilla chips, this snack was a hit at our table. 

Our lunch.

Now onto our main courses! Our food was a little slow to arrive but understandable because of the lunch rush. 

MEAT Brisket Donair.

June decided on the MEAT Brisket Donair ($15) for her lunch. The capitalized MEAT in the name refers to The Next Act's sister restaurant MEAT which is just next door. You can read about my adventure at MEAT by clicking here. Wrapped inside the naan bread are smoked brisket, feta cheese, sweet donair sauce, red onion, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce. June offered me a bite which I took (hehe)... I thought the brisket was tasty but the real standout was that donair sauce which was nice and sweet and prominent in my bite. 

The Class Act.

It's finally time to talk about my lunch pick: The Class Act ($16) burger which comes with bacon, cheddar, an over easy egg, and all the groceries. You have to assemble the burger yourself since the buns are separated at first, but that made it easier for me to pick off the pickle and one tomato slice since I don't really like too many vegetables. Just putting the burger together was enough to make the egg yolk softly ooze out on the side of my burger. My first thoughts? This burger is hugeeeee! Cutting the burger into super tiny pieces was a necessity for me. Now how about the taste? The patty was juicy and quite thick, while the bun was soft, pillowy, and lightly toasted. The vegetables tasted fresh, but the best parts of the burger for me were definitely the egg and bacon. I didn't really get a lot of cheddar though. The house cut fries served alongside our food was just okay but nothing really special about them. 

So did I think this was the best burger in Edmonton? No. I personally thought the size of the burger was too big and overwhelming for me. When it arrived at our table I instantly wished CJ was with me to help me finish my food. I would've enjoyed my burger more if both the patty and bun weren't so thick. 

View from the patio.

I think the burger I had was okay overall, but it definitely was not the best burger I've had (or am yet to have) in Edmonton. I tend to like smaller sizes that are more manageable to eat when it comes to burgers. We all have our own preferences. I know many people enjoy The Next Act's burgers, such as the The Critic or their PB&J which are two crowd favourites. 

The next time you're craving a burger, I would still recommend giving The Next Act a shot even though my first experience wasn't as amazing as I'd hoped. After all, they scored first place in the Best Burgers category for a reason! So do give it a try if you're in the neighbourhood. I enjoyed the Spinach Dip a lot more though and would love to come back just for that. Check out The Next Act on Facebook, Twitter (@NextActPub), and Instagram (@nextactpub).

My first patio lunch of the season was great. It was nice to get some food with a friend while enjoying the warm weather. I'm looking forward to more patio adventures this summer! 

My first photo submission to Gastropost!

P.S. Later that evening, I found out the week's Gastropost mission was "Just Dip It" and immediately thought that the Spinach Dip I had earlier would be perfect to submit. I submitted my first photo to Gastropost Edmonton to complete the weekly mission, patiently waiting for the following week to see if my photo would end up in the Edmonton Journal. And it did! Thank you Gastropost for featuring my photo in the paper! Also thanks to June since she's the one who paid for that dip and made it possible for me to complete the mission! 

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