Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Best Quick Lunch Experience: Burgers or Sandwiches?

Lucy Waverman, Alison Fryer and I decided to go exploring to some typical (and atypical) haunts.

We began with Porchetta, on Dundas west. Wonderfully moist, owner sourced, farmhouse porchetta, marinated with sage, rosemary, garlic and lemon, was placed on a terrific crispy skinned sourdough bun with crispy crackling. What a fabulous sandwich, we all agreed, a fantastic combination of great flavours, texture and juiciness. However, we differed as to what we preferred as topping. I preferred the simplicity of garlic rapini, a bit of olive oil and some grainy mustard. The plebs, Lucy and Alison preferred the black truffle mayo and some grainy mustard. I mean, what is a truffle sauce doing on a wonderfully rustic sandwich!!??

Next up, we decided, against our better judgement, to see what makes the public love the McDonalds rib sandwich. First I must shell shock all of you!!

To be frank, the bread was "ok", the onions in the bbq sauce were ok, but the bbq sauce was for youngsters who like 2 dimensional sweet/tangy stuff. It was not a complex flavoured bbq sauce with layers of flavour. The ribs, other than tasting porky, had no depth of flavour and had a somewhat mushy texture. It was a limp sandwich that could only be loved by onion lovers who liked the taste of the onions in swee/tangy sauce.

Next on our list, Burger Priest, one of the most talked about burgers in the city. I requested my burger medium rare and it arrived perfectly done, on an ordinary, white bread bun. I had the following toppings: mustard, pickle, tomato and onion topping. Alison and Lucy ordered the same, only with bacon. Their burger arrived overdone and medium well. The texture of my burger was perfect and I attributed that to not overcooking and the way the burger meat was ground and formed....coarsely ground, only once, and barely moulded into a ball...not too much fiddling, then flattened. However, although the burgers seemed juicy, the juiciness, in my opinion, was a product of the amount of fat added with the meat before grinding. The presence of so much melted fat in my mouth was not as appealing as beefy juiciness without all that fat. So, the flavour and juiciness did not live up to the hype for me. Don't get me wrong, it is a good burger, but, In fact, my best burger experience, the burger at the Burger Shack at the Parker Meridian Hotel, in New York, was a much better tasting burger, a lot less fatty tasting, equally juicy, perfectly done medium rare and very good quality beef, juicy beefiness with a lot of beefy flavour. That burger is my ultimate, eat out, retail burger.

Preformed ground beef balls at Burger Priest that are to be flattened for the flat iron grill. Notice the coarse grind.
 The burger with the bacon. 
The fries at the Burger Priest. Perfectly crispy and liked a lot by Alison and Lucy, but not enough flavour for me.

Our last stop for this round #1, Ruby Eats. We tried the egg salad with herb mayo and paprika sandwich grilled on a sandwich press. A decent sandwich, but a bit bland to my palate. 

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