Monday, 5 December 2011

The Burger's Priest

1636 Queen Street East

All right-- no beating around the bush. I'm just going to come right out and say it. No beating around the bush like some greenhorn Boy Scout out on his first snipe hunt, standing in his shorts holding the burlap snipe bag with one hand while scratching his poison ivy rash with the other while dew glistens on the grass as the early morning sun comes cresting up over the hill, roosters crowing on fenceposts overlooking thousands of acres of Genetically Modified Wheat, dusted with pesticides and spliced with all different kinds of DNA-- "Tiger DNA? Whose bright idea was it to splice the wheat with Tiger DNA?" Junior Scientist Simmons raises his hand. "That would be me, sir. I was thinking we could give the wheat some stripes, make it more fashionable. We could corner the market on Fashion Wheat." Alas, the catwalks of Europe were not quite ready to be stormed by giant mobile stalks of tiger-striped wheat, sashaying forward twirling their roots like tassels-- especially not after the Tiger Wheat became enraged by the photographers' flashbulks and ran amuck, attacking the fashion crowd before Karl Lagerfeld beat back the wheat with one of his trademark leather jackets. Leather is indeed a versatile material but it is by no means the best part of the cow and definitely not the tastiest, even if you're a Charlie Chaplin hobo sitting down for a down-to-your-last dollar boot banquet. No, you need to rustle up some bucks, hunt beneath your sofa cushions for some spare change, go out and sell blood plasma if you have to because you will need the cash to go to the East Side of Toronto and head for The Burger's Priest and order The Best Burger In Toronto.

Yep, it's true. Old news by now due to my glacial-style blogging pace but for those of you who haven't salivated at the sight of The Burger Priest's fresh-ground patties sizzling away on the flattop grill I have but one word for you: GO! Go now! Deceptively simple (no truffle oil infused nonsense here), incredibly fresh and astoundingly delicious California-style cheeseburgers are what's on offer. I usually get the Double Double, just called the 'Double' last time I was there-- did Tim Horton's threaten legal action? Were folks getting confused? "Let's see, I want two creams and two sugars on my burger. That's a Double Double, right?" WRONG! It's two perfectly-grilled patties and two pieces of American Cheese.

There's a secret menu for those in the know. You can order things like the Vatican City, which is a Double Double with two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. Or the Pope Burger, which is a Double Double plus an Option-- the Option is the Burger Priest's veggie burger, which is a giant mushroom stuffed with cheese, breaded and deep-fried. Speaking of deep-fried, the fries at The Burger's Priest are delicious as well.

The only downside to The Burger's Priest is there is no seating in this tiny takeaway. There are four stools and in the olden days (last year) it was possible to perch and eat, scarfing down all that delicious grease but nowadays there are signs stating "These Stools Are For Waiting Only! Don't Eat Here!" Or other stern words to that effect. BUT WAIT! There's going to be a second location! Yes, the Yonge & Lawrence location will have 16 seats. No more standing in the parking lot! And oh, look, my dreams might be answered. The new location might have ONION RINGS.

So what does all this mean for The Burger Quest? Well, I gotta tell ya, The Burger's Priest has really put a damper on The Quest. Every time I think about getting a burger, I head down to The Burger's Priest. Why take a chance on a possibly mediocre burger when I know what's waiting for me at the end of the burger rainbow? There are still plenty of burger joints in Toronto I haven't hit yet-- The Stockyards, I'm looking at you-- but man, right now I believe I have found Burger Perfection. Is it Texas-Style? Can a burger be both California Style and Texas Style? I'll save that debate for another day. And now, if you'll excuse me, The Priest awaits.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Craft Burger

Oh mercy me-- The Time, She Has Flown! I have been chowing down on tasty, tasty burgers but I haven’t been writing them up. Why not, you might ask? "Why so selfish, AGP? Have you been hogging Toronto’s best burgers? Huddled away in your burger cave licking your greasy lips, snarling at any burger lovers who get too close?" Um… yeah. No. Not exactly.

I see by my notes I’m exactly three entries away from crowning TORONTO’S BEST BURGER. "Is it Texas-style? Does it come wearing a little cowboy hat? Is it coated with a light dusting of gunpowder?" Memory is a tricky thing, my friends. I wish I could tell you that I took one bite of TORONTO’S BEST BURGER and was magically transported through time and space, back to my awkward-legged Texas Childhood…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s continue to do this chronologically, shall we? Not quite the rigid unrelenting structure of "My Year Of ________" ("I’m going to eat nothing but marshmallows for an entire year and blog about it!" CUT TO Blogger’s Tombstone: "He Almost Had A Book Deal") but a faithful retelling of how Time has unspooled… come with me now, back to June 1st, 2010 and CRAFT BURGER. (which now has been renamed "Big Smoke Burger"... uh... "Craft Burger" was a much better name, don't you think?)

Trying to make my way to King & Bathurst I get sucked into Streetcar Hell: Queen Car rerouted through one of Toronto’s many Construction Mazes, King Car delayed-- finally I get out and walk, pushing through the crowds, running about fifteen minutes late to meet my friend Corin Raymond (check out his tunes! Although no songs about burgers yet... c’mon, Corin!) for dinner. He’s about to pass out from hunger-- for me this is dinner but for him it’s breakfast, the first meal of the day.

The restaurant is full (and I hear it gets really full during lunch) but our orders arrive quickly, served up on long rectangular trays lined with brown butcher paper: an organic burger with Gouda for Corin and a classic burger with the works for me. The burgers smell GREAT. The First Bite: AMAZING! Hot, Juicy, BEEFY. Perfectly cooked. The sesame seed bun is pillowy soft. We dig into our burgers and catch up, talking about music and movies and books. Later we’ll head to The Cameron House to catch the band New Country Rehab but for now it’s all about two old friends sharing fun burger-fueled good times.

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At the end of our meal Craft Burger became the Front Runner for Toronto’s Best Burger. Did it stay in first place? Stay tuned!