Archive | September, 2013

Kevin’s Burger Obsession

22 Sep

kevin
Location: It’s a truck, so check Twitter to see where they’re parked
Websitehttp://kevinsburgerobsession.com/

Though there are a handful of food trucks serving hamburgers in the city (including Food Cabbie, one of the earlier trucks in the recent food truck explosion, as well as Crossroads Diner and Beach Boys, among others), this is the first one I’ve reviewed for this blog.  I guess if you put “Burger Obsession” in the title of your eatery, I’m pretty much obligated to go there.  Plus, as far as I know it’s Toronto’s only burger-centric food truck, so there’s that.

Kevin’s Burger Obsession serves a grilled burger; most of the essential burger joints in this city serve griddled patties, so another great grilled burger would certainly be welcome.

On this particular day I found the truck parked near Roundhouse park, but since they’re on wheels you’ll have to check their Twitter to see where you can find them at any given moment.

I ordered the plain beef burger (they also offer pork and turkey), which comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and grilled onion.

Sadly, though Kevin may be obsessed with burgers, his own burgers are kind of bad.  I think these hamburgers may need to take out a restraining order on Kevin.

kevinA

It’s a meatloaf burger.  I think I’ve made it fairly clear by now that I’m not crazy about this style of hamburger, but I can recognize a good one when I see it.  This is not a good one.  The seasonings are actually not all that strong, as far as meatloaf burgers go, but despite that there’s absolutely no beefy flavour here — just the muddled taste of whatever they’ve mixed in to the beef (Worcestershire?  I’m not sure).

Much more troubling was the patty’s off-puttingly mushy texture.  This isn’t the first mushy hamburger I’ve reviewed for this blog (see here, here, and here); I don’t know what these people are doing to give their hamburgers such a horrifying texture, but I really doubt it’s a coincidence that all these squishy patties come from meatloaf burgers.

This is yet another argument to not mess with a good thing by mixing unwanted garbage into your hamburger.  Condiments belong on top of a hamburger, not inside of it.  Anyone who’s tasted the burger at a place like Burger’s Priest or White Squirrel knows that all you need is good quality beef seasoned with some salt and maybe pepper.  That’s it.  Throwing other gunk in there is like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Of course, that’s assuming that you start with very good quality beef, and I doubt that’s the case here.  The complete lack of beefy flavour makes that all too clear.

The toppings were pretty good, particularly the grilled onions, and the bun was nice and fresh and complimented the patty fairly well.  It was, however, way too big — I was left with a pretty significant amount of superfluous bun after the patty was gone.  I’ve said it before, but a too-big bun is a telltale sign of a middling (or worse) burger joint.  When making a hamburger, the natural inclination is to shape the patty to the size of the bun, but hamburgers shrink while cooking.  This is pretty basic stuff.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal to have a bun that’s wider than the patty, but if you drop the ball with something so basic, it’s safe to say that you’re getting other things wrong as well.

Did I hate this burger?  Not really — I’ve certainly had worse.  But for a place with “Burger” in its name, this was unforgivably bad.

Kevin's Burger Obsession - the truck Kevin's Burger Obsession - the menu Kevin's Burger Obsession - the burger Kevin's Burger Obsession - the burger

The Fire Pit

8 Sep

fire
Location
6020 Hurontario Street, Mississauga
Website: None

Hoping to find a decent burger near my work, I decided to check out Yelp’s list of the best hamburgers in Mississauga. Number one on this list? The Fire Pit.

I found it troublesome that number two is C & Dubbs (a.k.a. one of the worst burgers I’ve had since starting this blog) — obviously the whole list needs to be taken with a fairly enormous grain of salt. Regardless, I decided to check out Yelp’s number one burger.

It’s a Greek place; the tendency at restaurants like this is to serve a meatloaf style burger with all kinds of spices mixed in, which is what I braced myself for.

As it turns out, I would have been lucky to get a meatloaf burger.

The Fire Pit has a very similar vibe to many old-school places like this in the GTA, with reddish-brown decor, the menu lit up behind the register, and a selection of toppings to pick from behind glass. I went with my usual mayo, tomato, and pickle.

fireA

Before I lay into the place, I will say that, at the very least, it’s cheap. I got the quarter pound burger as a combo, and it came up to less than nine bucks with tax. This is, by Toronto standards at least, delightfully cheap.

Of course, there’s a reason it’s cheap. It’s a frozen, industrially-produced patty, and a particularly shoddy one at that. It tastes like a flattened hot dog, basically. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever eaten, but if you put this and a real hamburger side-by-side in a blind taste test, I don’t think the taster would even realize they’re supposed to be the same thing. It just doesn’t taste like a hamburger. Blech.

The toasted sesame seed bun was fine, though the tomatoes were mealy and the “mayo” was Miracle Whip or some similarly sweet mayo-like substance.

I looked up The Fire Pit on Chowhound before checking it out, and found only one quick mention of the place, in a thread dedicated to the city’s best onion rings. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to mix things up, and ordered onion rings instead of fries.

I generally prefer breaded to battered onion rings, though battered ones can be okay if the batter is thin and crispy, with a well-cooked onion inside. These featured a thick, overly-substantial layer of batter encasing onions that immediately pulled out of the ring, leaving you with a doughy, useless husk. I only felt the need to eat a couple before tossing the rest in the garbage.

The Fire Pit - the restaurant The Fire Pit - the restaurant The Fire Pit - the onion rings The Fire Pit - the hamburger The Fire Pit - the hamburger
Fire Pit on Urbanspoon