South St. Burger Co., Toronto, On

Posted Monday December 7, 2009 9:59AM

Categories: "gourmet" fast food burger, Dave N., South St. Burger Co., Toronto On

South St. Burger Co., Toronto, On Address: 2383 Yonge St, Toronto, On
Visited: Saturday November 28, 2009 1:30PM
Ordered: Veggie Burger Combo with fries and root beer (x1)
Total Cost: $9.84

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

My girlfriend Caryl and I decided to eat vegan for the month of November. That means no dairy, no eggs, and certainly no burgers. Or does it?! Veggie and soy burgers were obviously a possibility, but it’s pretty hard finding ones that a) are completely vegan, and b) don’t taste like a cardboard asshole.

By the end of the month I had eaten one burger at home that was really gross, and I was dying to get out and have something delicious. I found out that South St. Burger Co. — a newish burger chain owned by New York Fries — had a veggie burger, so I gave them a shout via their Twitter account to find out if it was truly vegan. I got a fast, friendly and helpful reply with the information I needed, and made plans with Caryl to eat there (though we did so in different cities).

Now, my vegan diet may not have been as strict as some, and my research into their ingredients was fairly limited. If you are interested in a veggie burger from South Street, I recommend emailing them at for a full list of ingredients, to make sure it fits your needs.

So far, my (pre-visit) experience with the company had been super good. I was impressed and happy. Once I got to the clean, modern-looking restaurant, things stayed more or less positive. The ordering procedure is like a Harvey’s or Lick’s: order your burger, shuffle down the line and, once your burger has been grilled up, order your condiments. The staff were fast and friendly, and the whole thing was efficient.

But I did say "more or less", didn’t I? There was something that came close to ruining my whole meal for me: Rush. The restaurant had the radio (Q107 I believe) on really loud. I generally like Q107, but having it on in the restaurant sucks:

  1. In addition to really loud music, I have to listen to really loud commercials. I’ve already paid for my meal, I don’t want to also have ads drilled into my brain while I’m eating it.
  2. If terrible, terrible music comes on, like fucking Rush, I can’t change the channel. I have to sit and listen to their 14-minute epics about trees, all the while gritting my teeth and wishing that I were deaf. I hate fucking Rush, man.

So yeah, the music situation was not cool. Significant points lost there, but your mileage may vary.

Another problem that I think is actually a bit of a bigger deal: the drink that came with my combo was tiny. The cup itself seemed like a decent size — smaller than I’d like, but decent — but it was packed with ice. Completely full. The amount of actual pre-melting liquid in there was enough to get me through about half my meal, after which I just had to suffer. I know there have been lots of points made about how much pop sizes have grown over the years and how bad it is for you, etc. But I don’t care, man. Give me a drink that’s big enough that I don’t get thirsty while eating. Pop costs practically nothing for these companies; skimping on that is pretty bushleague in my opinion.

A word about the fries: mmmm. I’ve always loved New York Fries, and having them with a burger was a nice treat.

Experience rating: 3.7/5

The Burger

South St.’s veggie burger is actually mostly soy-based. Before going to South St. I was very conscious of the fact that I’d never had a soy burger I’ve really liked. And… much to my surprise, I found myself really enjoying this burger.

So I can set the flavour-scene a bit: I got my burger on a white bun (you could also get whole wheat if you like), with Dijon mustard, ketchup, lettuce, guacamole, banana peppers, salt and black pepper. There were lots of toppings to choose from, which was nice. There are some sauces (e.g. garlic aioli and I think a Dijon horseradish or something like that) that I’d like to try if I go back.

I must admit, my tastebuds were pretty confused while eating the burger. At no point did I think it was bad. I did, however, have all of the following thoughts (all of which I wrote down, naturally):

  • Smells not burgery.
  • Tastes good! Not really like a burger, but good!
  • OK, it is pretty burgery. Not exactly like meat, but totally decent.
  • Nice seasonings. I can’t exactly place what it tastes like.
  • Maybe it does taste like meat, but not like a burger.

In hindsight, I’d say it was like a comedian doing a funny impression of another comedian. The impression will have some of the same characteristics of the original, some exaggerated and some understated. Though the original is good, the impression is also good, albeit in a different way. That’s a bit laboured, but I think you get what I’m trying to say.

All that said, there were aspects of the burger that could have been better. First, the burger seemed a bit small. I’m not sure if this was an illusion caused by a slightly too-large bun, or if it was actually small. I didn’t leave hungry, so that’s something to consider. Second, the toppings were applied skimpily, especially the guacamole. I’d say for more than half my bites, the toppings were more or less undetectable. The only saving grace is that none of them cost extra, which is nice.

Despite my weird ramblings and those two complaints, the bottom line is that South St. delivered a tasty burger in my hour of need, and I left a happy customer. I have no doubt I will return at some point to try their real burgers out, and maybe even give the veggie burger another go.

Burger rating: 4/5

Bottom Line

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Jerome Palace – The Haunted Hamburger, Jerome, Az

Posted Thursday November 26, 2009 8:12PM

Categories: Jerome Az, Jerome Palace - The Haunted Hamburger, pub/diner burger, Samson L.

Jerome Palace - The Haunted Hamburger, Jerome, Az Address: 410 N Clark Street, Jerome, Az
Visited: Saturday November 12, 2009 7:30PM
Ordered: The Haunted Burger (x1), Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale (x1)
Total Cost: $15.90

Samson L.’s Review

The Experience

I have lived in Northern Arizona for a fair percentage of my childhood and have visited quite often since then, but I have never dined at any eatery in Jerome until now and I am not sure why. The Jerome Palace sits right off the main road (Jerome Ave), ultimately making the parking situation very limited. Directly across the street is a very small parking area that has the capacity to accommodate about 5-6 vehicles at best. So we had to drive back down Jerome Ave where there were a few more areas designated for parking. Luckily for us we were able to park almost right smack in front of the stairway which leads to the restaurant. The steps were shallow (about 8 inches deep) so for those impaired these steps may prove to be a bit of a challenge.

After our little cardio workout (the stairs) we made it to the front door of the Jerome Palace breathing just a little harder but completely prepared for what was about to come. From the outside it was apparent that they had patio seating, some of which were heated but the best part of the patio was the exceptional view of the valley. Inside you are greeted with a lovely showcase of bakery goodness and next to it was a condiment bar. Which made me suspect I would need to fetch my own tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, mustard, mayo, ketchup, etc… The indoor seating was very cozy because at first glance there seemed to be only about 6 tables varying from 2 person seating upfront to parties of 6-8 further back. Then there was the bar-side seating which looked like it could fit an additional eight, but don’t let the first impression fool you because they have an additional dining area located upstairs.

We were seated shortly after we had arrived and the waitresses was simply on top of things. Exceptional service with a great attitude. If you are ever in the Clarkdale-Jerome area I would recommend that you visit the Haunted Hamburger (especially if you have never been) because the locals rave that the Jerome Palace serves the best hamburgers and ribs in town.

The service was very prompt, the music was perfect, the atmosphere was inviting, the staff was awesome and very helpful. I am definitely coming back!

Experience rating: 5/5

The Burger

The locals boast that the haunted burger is the burger of choice next to the double haunted burger which is the same with an additional patty. The burgers are charbroiled and each patty weighs in at a hearty 1/2 lb. They’re served with your choice of steak fries, baked potato, twice baked potato or cole slaw. Naturally I opted for the Haunted Burger (single patty) with the side of twice baked potato and (FTW) a bottle of Nut Brown Ale brewed by the local microbrewery Oak Creek Brewing.

Surprisingly enough our order arrived in about 12-15 mins and the haunted burger came with sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon, cheddar and swiss cheese, green chilies, grilled onions and a side of guacamole. What sets this burger aside from other places is the fact that they serve each burger with (wait for it)… freshly baked homemade buns. Oh yeah no store bought bread here! Being the stud that I am I hit up the condiments bar and loaded my burger with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, mustard, a generous serving of jalapeños, then I smeared on the guac!

Rushing back to my seat (with drool on my chin) I quickly sat down and pondered a bit on how exactly I was going to tackle this challenge! Looking at my plate from several different angles I decided to just dive in all while keeping in mind that I wanted the first round to include every blissful element. The first bite just exploded with flavor. Hats off to the chef because it was prepared with just the right amount of seasoning and cooked to perfection. Tears literally ran down my right cheek as I proceeded to feast on the beast. I am glad I ordered the single patty; rather than, the double haunted burger. There was no way I could have finished it otherwise. With a little more then half left I snuck in a few fork filled servings of the "twice baked potato". I could be off base here, but it seemed like the twice baked potato was a regular baked potato served with a perfect portion of garlic mashed potatoes nested on top. It was nothing short of spectacular and far better then the usual standard side of fries!

Filled to gill and a smile on my face I proudly polished off the haunted burger and guzzled the last few swigs of the micro brewed beer. I only left behind a quarter sized morsel of what once was, the twice baked potato. Needless to say I was extremely pleased with my order.

This burger tops my list. Hearty portions, very well prepared, very well seasoned, full of flavor and the homemade buns made this experience perfect!

Burger rating: 5/5

P.S. The chocolate tower cake (not a item made there) is about 9-10 inches tall, moist and fantastic. I ordered it to go and I would have posted pics of it, but by the time I pulled out the camera there was nothing left. My family devoured it.

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Johnny Rockets, Gilbert, Az

Posted Saturday November 21, 2009 5:40PM

Categories: Gilbert Az, Johnny Rockets, pub/diner burger, Samson L.

Johnny Rockets, Gilbert, Az Address: 2270 E. Williams Field Rd., Gilbert, Az
Visited: Thursday October 29, 2009 7:25PM
Ordered: Smoke House Double Burger (x1), Strawberry Malt (x1)
Total Cost: $14.53

Samson L.’s Review

The Experience

In my entire existence I can honestly say that I have never been to Johnny Rockets diner prior to today, despite the fact I frequent the Santan Village shopping center. The location is fairly convenient as it’s caddy corner to the theater and across the way from the food court.

As I entered the establishment I immediately felt like I had stepped into a classic all-American diner with the tabletop jukeboxes and matching decor. To my surprise I also walked in at the exact same moment when three employees were doing a little number to the sounds of "Stayin Alive" by the Bee Gees as it was playing on the jukebox. Since the place was a little on the empty side I jumped into a booth which could have easily fit 4-5 people per bench. The music was great and the atmosphere was lively. On the downside the service was a little slow for not being very busy and when the music was playing it made it a little difficult to place my order. I understand that the troubled economy is rough but when you have to ask for a napkin and you are handed only one, you know times are tough!

Just for the record I am not implying in anyway, shape or form that I am a messy eater… I just needed a second napkin to clean up the spillage from the strawberry malt. Oh and BTW be sure to get the strawberry malt order in first because for what ever reason… it took a long time to get. To put it into perspective I received my burger (which took about 10 mins) way before my malt arrived.

Overall it was a pleasant experience and I would definitely go back again… if invited.

Experience rating: 3.5/5 (Would have been a 4 if the service was better.)

The Burger

Me being a virgin to Johnny Rockets, I asked the waiter (Anthony) for recommendations. Once he pointed out the "Smoke House Double Burger" my eyes focused on the description. Two fresh all beef 1/3 lbs patties, cheddar cheese, thick bacon strips, crispy onions rings topped with their own smoke house barbeque ranch sauce. Served with American fries or a side salad. Just the thought of two juicy 1/3 patties riddled with bacon and melted cheese had me salivating. So without any hesitations I order it with a strawberry malt!

So Anthony walked off and proceeded to the grill which is when I realized that the waiters and waitresses are also the cooks! I said to myself, "This can’t be good".

Finally after much anticipation my burger arrived, delivered by none other than Anthony. The look of it was intimidating. The size of it seemed like you would need to cut it in half to eat it, but I did not want to seem like wuss. So I handled it with both hands even though (not to brag or boast) I could have palmed it easily. While thinking to myself, "There is no way I am going to finish this".

To my surprise I expected to see the "sauce" overflowing and oozing out the buns. I also expected the "sauce" to be over powering rather than being weak at best. Nonetheless the burger was very juicy, very hearty. & very fulfilling! The onion rings gave it a nice touch and the American fries were delicious. I was hoping the bacon was applewood smoked, but they weren’t. Not a huge deal but it would have made the experience better. Surprisingly enough I devoured the "Smokehouse Double Burger" but barely scraped the surface of the fries.

I walked out satisfied.

Burger rating: 4/5 (It could have been a 5 if it came with applewood smoked bacon and more of their so called smoke house barbeque ranch sauce)

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Wendy’s, Toronto, On

Posted Saturday November 21, 2009 5:17PM

Categories: Dave N., fast food burger, Toronto On, Wendy's

Wendy's, Toronto, On Address: 2 St Clair Avenue East, Toronto, On (inside the St. Clair Centre, lower level)
Visited: Thursday October 29, 2009 11:23AM
Ordered: #2 Combo: 1/2lb Double with cheese (x1), Fries (x1), Root Beer (x1)
Total Cost: $8.23

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

Wendy’s restaurants tend to offer very few surprises.

As is fairly typical, I was in a rush and needed something fast and to-go. I hit up Wendy’s before getting on the subway. This particular Wendy’s was clean and tidy, but unfortunately it was also crazy slow with my order. When I arrived there were no other customers, so I’m not really sure why it took so long.

As my aggravation mounted, a family arrived — including two loud, yelling children. Now, it’s not Wendy’s fault that these kids were annoying, but this kind of thing is not atypical for a fast-food scenario and does impact the experience. So, points lost.

By the time I got my burger I was running late and had a headache. At this point every little minor aggravation was likely to set me off. Minor aggravations like:

  • The fries were far too hot, possibly dangerously so.
  • The fries were tossed into my paper bag haphazardly, creating greasy spots in the paper and ruining the structural integrity of the bag.
  • The service was not unfriendly, but certainly not overly hospitable either.

So anyway, I pretty much had a terrible time of it there.

Experience rating: 1/5

The Burger

Wendy’s burgers have the potential to be pretty greasy, but they’re also pretty tasty. This one wasn’t an exception. When I was finished eating it, there were somewhat-gross grease puddles left over in the burger’s foil wrapping. Despite this, the burger had a decent, fresh-ish taste for a fast food burger. It was also pretty soft and squishy, which I like in fast food.

Burger rating: 3.8/5

Bottom Line

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