Archive for Caryl D.

BBQ Express, Toronto, On

Posted Wednesday September 16, 2009 4:30PM

Categories: BBQ Express, Caryl D., Dave N., fast food-style burger, Toronto On

BBQ Express, Toronto, On Address: Bellair St. between Bloor & Cumberland, Toronto, On
NOTE: Google insists BBQ Express is on Bay St. It isn’t.
Visited: Tuesday September 15, 2009 12:45PM
Ordered: Burger with cheese (x2), Grape Soda (x1), Bottled Water (x1)
Total Cost: $12.42 + $1.75 ATM fee
 

Caryl D.’s Review

The Experience – worse than Plain Jane

Dave asked if I wanted to meet him for lunch; I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, my lunch turned out to be less than I bargained for. We met at Bay and Bloor and were off to try a new burger place, only to find it hadn’t opened yet. *sigh*

[ed.'s note: the place that was closed, Gourmet Burger Co. on Charles, will get reviewed once it opens.]

I suggested that we try this little hole in the wall in Yorkville - (selfishly to see if I could see any celebrities — no dice. *sad face*) It’s in an alley, it’s the size of my pinky finger, and it’s a mish-mash of Korean grill, Italian, and Canadian. Down side, it’s cash only. We order the burger, walk through the park and find a seat on some rocks. Had it not been for the shining sun and the wonderful company of my honey plus, it would have been a terrible experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being around the Newtron, but every other aspect of this burger event was not good.

Experience rating: 1.8/5

The Burger (if you want to call it that)

The bun was cold and I hate cold buns.

The meat tasted weird, really weird! Not like a normal beef burger, but some cheap imitation meat, like tofurkey, only this wasn’t tofu.

Luckily, I had mustard, ketchup, and relish, accompanied with onions, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes to drown out the taste of the ‘beef.’

I had a little burger envy because Dave thought it would be good to add Ranch to his burger and I wish I had done that. Damn.

The cheese was not melted. New rule: no ordering cheeseburgers for me. It’s pointless: why pay extra money if I can’t even taste the cheese?

Burger rating: 1.3/5

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

I was leaving the office to go work at home for the afternoon, so I decided to see if Caryl wanted to grab a burger. She was game and we eventually ended up at BBQ Express in Yorkville.

This place is a tiny, tiny little lunch counter in a brick enclosure, with room for about five customers to stand inside. It is literally shoved into the middle of an alley off Bellair St., and it totally doesn’t fit in with the ultra-posh surrounds. I don’t need my burger joints to be fancy at all, but this was definitely far too cramped. I found myself getting annoyed at other customers invading my bubble while we waited.

In what is becoming a common theme, these guys only took cash. Once again I had to head elsewhere (this time to a convenience store) to withdraw money before I could have a burger.

The staff were friendly — they even started getting our burgers ready while we went to get some dough — but this didn’t really make up for the cramped quarters or the money thing. I guess they were fast-ish?

Experience rating: 2.5/5

The Burger

This burger sucked hard. No, seriously, it was bad. Most everything about it was bland and tasteless and unexciting. Full-bodied this wasn’t.

I topped my cheeseburger with lettuce, mustard and — inspired by my positive experience the other day with creamy garlic wing sauce – ranch dressing. The lettuce was moist and wilty, adding none of the crunch I was hoping for. The mustard was plain old yellow mustard. The ranch dressing was basically tasteless, and definitely not worth the extra heart-attack-inducing calories and fat content. Caryl swears the cheese was real cheddar, but it looked and tasted like a processed cheese single to me; if it was real, it was some of the blandest cheese I’ve ever had.

The patty itself had taste, I suppose, but it wasn’t really a burger taste. To me it tasted more like meatloaf almost. I think it might have been homemade, but I couldn’t really tell and it was bad enough that it didn’t matter.

Burger rating: 1.2/5

Bottom Line

Average rating:

1.7/5

 

The Burger Shack, Toronto, On

Posted Tuesday September 8, 2009 9:23PM

Categories: Caryl D., Dave N., fast food-style burger, The Burger Shack, Toronto On

The Burger Shack, Toronto, On Address: 233 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, On
Visited: Saturday September 5, 2009 1:30PM
Ordered: Shack Special (x1), Homemade Cheeseburger (x1), Root Beer (x1), Bottled Water (x1)
Total Cost: $14.10 + $2 ATM fee
 

Dave N.’s Review

The Experience

The Burger Shack almost has a cool vibe going for it. The sign and roof thatching out front make you think you’re entering an awesome tiki-themed restaurant, but the atmosphere is killed almost as soon as you enter: inside, the table-tops are the only bit of decor that keep up the theme. The rest of the restaurant looks like a typical divey burger joint. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I was disappointed because it didn’t live up to my (admittedly high) expectations.

Ordering here is way trickier than you would expect! There are couple things to watch out for. First, I was unpleasantly surprised that they only take cash. That meant my ordering was interrupted by a trip to the dodgy ATM at the donut shop next door, which charged me $2 to withdraw cash. Suck. Once I finally was able to order, I didn’t realize that there were two categories of burger, homemade and "regular" (frozen?). I figured the namesake burger, the Shack Special, was the best bet and ordered it without realizing it was one of the regular burgers. Why wouldn’t the Shack Special be homemade? Ridiculous.

Service was pretty fast, the restaurant was clean. If you go in aware of the gotchas mentioned above, you should have a pretty good go of things.

Experience rating: 3/5

The Burger

I’m going to be honest, I was pretty pissed that this sucker wasn’t homemade. I was eyeing Caryl’s burger with some serious envy. The Shack Special consisted of two patties, two processed cheese slices and toppings of my choosing on a kaiser. The topping selection was pretty standard fare — ketchup, yellow mustard, pickles, etc. The only relatively interesting topping was fried onions. I opted for BBQ sauce, mustard, the fried onions and a few hot peppers.

The thing definitely wasn’t a bad burger, but it sure as heck wasn’t anything special. The frozen patties were thin and disappointing, with fairly lackluster flavour. The kaiser was nice, but they grilled it without asking me and I don’t like grilled buns, so it ended up too crispy and burny for my tastes. The fried onions really were the saving grace, but fried onions can only go so far, you know?

If I return I am absolutely going for one of the homemade burgers, bringing cash, and asking for my bun not to be grilled. Lessons learned.

Burger rating: 2.5/5

Caryl D.’s Review

The Experience

They say that smell is the most powerful of the senses and can remind us of past experiences. I must say that my recent trip to Burger Shack brought back memories from when I was a little girl. That smell, oh how I remembered that smell. Driving north on Highway 11 with my whole family and stopping at Webers – for those of you who haven’t experienced Webers on Hwy 11 let me indulge you: a little dive, with old trains on the lawn where we used to go and play, cars flying by on the highway, and smoke billowing out of the little store that made the hamburgers. I have no idea what the burgers tasted like, I don’t remember what I got on it, but I do remember, the smell, the greasy, smoky, fire burning smell of those burgers. Three days ago it felt as though I had traveled back in time: I pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of the car and I could see the smoke rising out of the roof, plummeting down towards me and straight into my nose, there it was, that smell, Webers burgers, only this place was the Burger Shack at Oriole and Eglinton. What a place!

The atmosphere was rather plain, although the booths intrigued me because there were individual seats that you had to pull down. It was slightly weird and uncomfortable, and as someone with OCD I had to put the seat down beside me even though no one was sitting there. As a side note, it’s cash only. That wasn’t the biggest concern because my sugar daddy Dave took care of the bill, but if you’re planning on going, be sure to have cash, or a sugar daddy/momma.

Experience rating: 4/5

The Burger

I ordered the Homemade Cheeseburger and I was sure to get the works, save for the hot peppers and I think sauerkraut. The burger was juicy; the bun was toasted, and the size was perfect. To my surprise, I could taste the burger through all the fixens, which is a bonus for me because I love putting lots of toppings on my burgers. My only problem was that there could have been more cheese.

My burger experience was great, although, I wonder, was it mostly nostalgia that made it good? Either way, if smell has the power of memory, then the taste of these burgers has the power to keep me going back for more.

Burger rating: 4.75/5

Bottom Line

Average rating:

3.56/5

 

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