Blue Star Diner, Calgary

Kevin and I were downtown this week dropping his Harley off at the stop and decided to treat ourselves for lunch before we went back to the office.

We were in the Bridgeland area, the hub of some of our favorite restaurants like Sushi Bar Zipang, Tazza, and Main Dish. It’s tough to make a decision when there’s so many great places to go! Luckily we were both in the mood for a burger and fries, so we headed down to Blue Star Diner.

It’s so obvious that Blue Star Diner is owned by the same folks that run Dairy Lane Cafe. The wholesome, fresh feeling we got at Dairy Lane is mirrored at Blue Star.

Here, the walls are bright, with clean and simple photography throughout, a chalk wall where they list all the local farmers they do business with, and cool feature walls like this one:

The wall had me wanting one just like it in my own kitchen, but we don’t drink enough wine warrant building a wall like this. It might work just as well with mason jars filled with grains and pulses though, but I digress.

They pride themselves in sourcing high quality and local ingredients wherever possible, creating a sense of community that just makes you feel good about eating there.

A quick scan of the menu and we were greeted with our favorites from Dairy Lane – yam fries, the classic Dairy Lane burger, and locally made gluten-free buns – that have become way better since my Dairy Lane Cafe review.

I got excited when I saw that they’d added a gluten-free, vegan vegetable burger to their menu. It’s not everyday one gets to enjoy a gluten-free, vegan meal in public, at least not in Calgary! The burger sounded good enough. How could you go wrong with black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, onion, lettuce and tomato?

I’m a sucker the avocado + burger combo and was positive this new menu item was going to be a sure win.

The staff assisted me as they took my order to make sure that what I’d chosen was gluten-free and dairy-free. They seemed really knowledgeable about cross contamination, gluten containing ingredients, and safe items on their menu.

About 30 minutes of waiting and sipping on water, our order arrived… only mine was served with a whole grain bun. I’m happy that I suspected what was set before me wasn’t gluten-free, but I’m not sure everyone would catch something like that.

The waitress apologized and explained that gluten-free wasn’t on our bill, took my plate back and came out with my salad so I had something to eat while Kevin enjoyed his meal. I hadn’t thought to confirm whether or not the salad she’d given me was the same on the gluten plate. Looking back, that would have been a good idea.

While my meal was a bit all over the place, Kevin’s Dairy Lane burger came out juicy and delicious, as normal. It’s no Iron Goat game burger, but at $11.75 for an angus beef burger that brings a bright smile to Kevin’s face, you can consider it a lunch win!

Kevin was about half done his meal when my new gluten-free veggie burger came to the table. I was excited to see the new gluten-free bun but the patty looked a bit sad. When I read black bean burger, it made me think of black beans in the burger, you know, maybe a darker patty with broken up beans? My ongoing kitchen experiments have taught me to never judge a book by its cover, so I dug in!

Sadly, in the case of this black bean burger, my first impression was bang on. It was like eating a block of tofu. There was very little taste to the patty, the guacamole was bland, and there was maybe a teaspoon of pico de gallo, which also left something to  be desired. I tried improving the taste by adding a generous amount of salt and pepper, even removing one half of the bun but it didn’t help. I threw in the towel about 30% in and used the bun to soak up the dressing from my salad.

Oh right, did I mention that this burger was $14.75 + $2 gluten-free bun and $1 for the salad instead of fries, that’s a whopping $17.75 for a subpar meal. Disappointing.

Having been to Blue Star once before, I know that there are better things on the menu, and for a lot cheaper. Just won’t be going for a gluten-free, vegan burger again!

Blue Star Diner on Urbanspoon

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