Incendiary headline, I know. Here’s why.
Toronto Life recently unveiled a brand new list of the 25 best burgers in the city, to compliment the one they published back in 2012. I was looking through it the other day, and something caught my eye: the Opera House Grill’s Shaggy burger — Toronto Life’s 25th best burger in the city — looked suspiciously like it came out of a box.
I figured that couldn’t possibly be the case, but I went there just to check.
The burger was indeed made with a frozen, industrially-produced patty. You know, the ones with a rubbery, hot-dog-like texture and a generic, vaguely unpleasant meaty flavour? Yeah, one of those. It’s very close if not identical to the ones they serve at distinguished eateries like Cineplex movie theatres and El Furniture Warehouse (the restaurant where everything costs five bucks).
That’s one of the best burgers in the city, apparently.
This is the equivalent of ranking the best movies of all time and including Paul Blart: Mall Cop, or ranking the best bands and including the Baha Men, or ranking the best shows and including Suddenly Susan.
Bringing this back to food, it would be like including a dish sauced with Prego in a list of the best bowls of pasta in the city, or including a Pinty’s product among the best fried chicken, or including Taco Bell among the best taco joints.
I’m belabouring the point, but I feel like I need to make why this is so egregious and galling to me crystal clear.
I’d imagine that the author of the list was won over by the impressively voluminous pile of toppings — tasty stuff like griddled onions, bacon, and onion rings — and didn’t know enough or care enough to realize that the burger patty itself (i.e. the entire reason to eat a hamburger) was so shoddy.
Of course, publications like Toronto Life have always been more about the toppings than anything else — in fact, the cursory, one-sentence-at-best treatment that the patty gets in most mainstream burger reviews is a big part of why I started this blog in the first place. But even by that standard, this is absurd.
I’m a burger snob, I know. You’re probably thinking, “what the hell is he getting so worked up about??” But to me, once you’ve called something that I can buy in the freezer section at No Frills one of the best burgers in the city, that’s that. You’ve lost all credibility.
So yeah, I’m done, Toronto Life. I guess I’ll miss out on your next hot tip: this little place called Manchu Wok that serves the best Chinese food in the city.