If you’ve started reading this blog over the last year, it may come as a surprise to you that I spent 8 years as a vegetarian. I wrote all about my decision to eat meat again in this post.
For eight years I was that vegetarian who said I never missed meat. And I really didn’t. I was that vegetarian who would scrunch my nose up at anything meat related. I was that vegetarian who told my meat-eating friends that veggie burgers were just as good as the real thing.
About this last point – they are not. I must have been ill with a carbohydrate induced fever. I’ve already apologized profusely to many of my friends for force feeding soy burgers and hot dogs on them. For complaining when they spit them out. For insisting that a frozen patty was comparable to a juicy beef burger squeezed between two soft buns.
Ohgosh. I’m drooling again.
Since the re-introduction of real burgers in my life, I have become a bit of a connoisseur. Of all the ways to eat animal meat, in burger form is hands down my favourite way.
Luckily for me, one of Toronto’s best burger joints happens to be close to my neighbourhood. The Burger’s Priest is a teeny-tiny indoor grill located in this rough transitional area between Leslieville and the Beaches, aka “no man’s land.”
The self-proclaimed “All American cheeseburger joint” offers five kind of burgers with the option of fries or cookies on the side. The place is small and cramped with a handful of stools against the wall. Line-ups are often out the door.
My roommie and I arrived on Saturday night after a brisk and chilly walk over. Something we hoped would be made up for with a mind-blowing hamburger. Luckily, we were able to snag a couple stools rather than return to our apartment with cold burgers in tow.
I went for the most basic version – the cheeseburger with all the toppings – ketchup, mustard, mayo, tomato, onion, pickles, lettuce.
A thin crumbly patty topped with a processed cheddar slice, between a soft white bun.
Let’s talk about the meat. It was amazing. My roommie got the double double with two patties, and I regret not doing the same. Just the one thin patty didn’t seem like enough. The beef itself was melt-in-your mouth. Cooked to perfection (not too little, not too much). It was fatty in the sense that the juices dripped everywhere, and I saw them vigorously shake salt over each patty before cooking.
I cannot however claim this to be the best burger of my life (like I did with the pancake). I wasn’t into the processed cheese or bun. Both were cheap tasting and dumbed down the amazing beef enclosed inside. It reminded me of a burger you’d get at a charity picnic, minus the crappy patty.
Thus, The Burger’s Priest only makes it to my Number 3 spot. In case you are wondering, I have dozens of Top 3 foodie experiences floating around in my head. Burgers being one of them. Normal?
The Number 2 spot goes to this bison burger I had at the Elk & Oarsmen Pub in Banff back in June.
Fresh ground seasoned bison patty topped with melted pepper jack cheese, butter leaf lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo. This burger came on a crusty white bun. The bison meat, while typically dry from being so lean, was thick and juicy. The best part was the seasoning. It was seasoned just like sausage. If I had ever doubted bison as a viable burger meat, I was now a believer.
And the top spot? My favourite burger of all time?
My mom’s of course!!
Actually, this particular burger was eaten on July 13, 2009. What made it so special was that it was my first real hamburger in 10 years. To quote from my blog at the time (I know, here I go quoting myself again):
Ohmygoodness. Words cannot even describe. I cannot believe my tastebuds and body have been missing out on this for so long! (ahem, more than a decade!) My mom and I picked up some ground hamburger at a local store in Cap-Pele, a small Acadian town not too far from here. So we assume it was good beef. My mom said she mixed it with an egg, some oregano, and a piece of flax bread, and then just cooked it on the stovetop.
Let me put it this way: I will never again compare a veggie burger to a real hamburger. There is no comparison.
I believe we can pinpoint my love for hamburgers to that specific moment in time. In all fairness, The Burger’s Priest had a lot to live up to. Clearly, it will be hard to find a burger in Toronto that will change my life the way my “second first” hamburger ever did.
I just ask one favour to all my vegetarian readers out there. Please, please, never tell your friends a veggie burger tastes like the real thing. Learn from my mistakes :)
Question of the Day: What’s the best burger you ever had?
I’ve been back from California for a day now, and I must say I’m suffering from a little post-vacay depression!
I flew out of San Francisco Monday afternoon.
Said goodbye to the California landscape and quickly saw the snow-capped mountains!
I sat next to an adorable elderly gentleman who offered to take my picture. Said he hadn’t used a camera in 40 years!
My body is all kinds of screwed up from the three hour difference between Eastern and Pacific time. Not to mention, Daylight Savings happened while I was away. Ohyes, and my calves are screaming from walking the hills, and my back is effed from lugging around a heavy hiking bag!
Le sigh. I think it’s time to relieve some of the finer moments of California :)
The Foodbuzz Festival ended Sunday morning with a farewell brunch, leaving us a whole day to explore the city. Unfortunately, this was the only day it rained!!
First stop, obviously, were the Full House houses. Err, I mean the Painted Ladies.
LOVE the Victorian houses in San Francisco. I oohed and aahed over the architecture there the whole time.
The next most important touristy stop? Trader Joe’s!
We don’t have Trader Joe’s in Canada, so we went to an area in San Francisco dubbed “Trader Joe’s Heights.”
My suitcase was already bursting with Foodbuzz swag goodies, so I couldn’t get much. Just what I could fit in my arms! (details of what these goodies are to come in another post)
Afterwards, we stopped by Baker Beach to get a spooky view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco is known for being a foggy city, so I felt this view was actually quite appropriate.
Suki is a fellow Star Wars nerd, so we stopped by Lucas Arts to see a Yoda statue. “Size matters not…”
The bridge is nice of look at, but of course I also wanted to go over it!
We’d originally planned to walk it on Sunday, but the weather kinda of nixed those plans. So we opted for the dry car instead :)
More gorgeous views of the bay!
Going to California made me miss living by real water. I grew up next to the Atlantic Ocean, and these Great Lakes here in Ontario just don’t cut it.
I miss the ocean!!
The rain stopped long enough for us to wander around on the other side of the bridge, which is a really cute and upper class beach town called Sausalito.
We conveniently stopped next to an excellent burger joint in Sausalito just as we were getting hungry.
A no-frills kind of place, with a simple sign saying “Hamburgers” over the door. Hamburgers Sausalito is just burgers, fries and pop. My kinda place.
Plus, the Soup Nazi was here!!
I got a lean burger with everything but mayo.
Ohyeah. Even after eating amazing food all weekend, sometimes nothing hits the spot like a burger!
We wandered for ice cream after, stopping at a place called Lappert’s.
I was too full for a bowl, but still asked for a taste of a flavour I couldn’t pass up…
Date ice cream!! I am obsessed with dates (second favourite sweet only to chocolate). It was a pretty frickin’ good bite.
Our last stop on our San Francisco tour was Ghirardelli Square/Fisherman’s Wharf.
We received a lot of free chocolate over the course of the festival, so none of us felt the need to buy any at the store.
But that didn’t stop us from swinging through just to get the free chocolate they hand out to everyone who walks through the door!
Peppermint marble chocolate. Do I even have to say it was good?
Fisherman’s Wharf, while touristy, was still a neat little area of the city with tons of shops, and of course great food!
Be it real crab…
…or sourdough crab ;)
I didn’t know this before, but San Francisco is famous for its sourdough bread. We stopped by the famous Boudin Sourdough to check it out.
And of course, to buy this hat too ;)
Growing up near the ocean, I’ve seen my fair share of seagulls. But the ones at Fisherman’s Wharf were the biggest I’ve ever seen. Twice the size of the ones in the Northeast!
We did a quick drive-by of Lombard Street. I still have memories of driving down it when I was a kid – and the crowds of tourists were out of control!
Now that I’m home, it’s strange to think that I just spent a whirlwind weekend in California.
I have a sneaking feeling I’ll be back on the West Coast soon enough though. Besides, there’s that sourdough chowder bowl I still have to get ;)
Question of the Day: What American city is at the top of your list to visit? I know everyone wants to gallivant around Europe and such, but I think there are so many cool places in the States I still have to visit! Top ones include: DC, Austin, Boulder, New Orleans and Seattle.