Archive | June, 2016

Provo FoodBar

19 Jun

provo
Location
: 308 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://provofb.com/

There’s nothing sadder than when a burger comes ridiculously close to greatness — so close that it can almost touch it — but something holds it back; the elements are pretty much all there, but there’s one stupid little thing that ruins it.  I’m thinking, for example, of the burgers at the County General (felled by overly strong mustard) or Broncos (bun overload).

The burger at Provo FoodBar might just be the most blatant example of this phenomenon.

The menu describes the burger as coming with “tomato jam + aged cheddar + pain au lait bun.”

There’s some other stuff that the menu doesn’t mention (arugula, crispy onion strings), but let’s talk about that tomato jam, a.k.a. the ruiner of hamburgers, a.k.a. the worst thing that’s ever been put between two buns.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad — it’s actually kinda tasty on its own.  But it’s so wrong for this burger that it’s almost absurd.  It’s overwhelmingly, disastrously sweet.  It’s dessert sweet.  Like, you could put it on ice cream and it wouldn’t be out of place.  At all.  And they slather it on both the top and the bottom half of the bun, so it’s everywhere.  I attempted to remove it in the second half of my burger, but it was so thoroughly suffused into the bun and the other condiments that getting rid of it was completely impossible.

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I guess it’s supposed to be like a playfully gourmet take on ketchup, but even ketchup (which is far from my favourite burger topping) has a vinegary kick to balance out the sweetness.  No such balance here; just cloying aggression.  This is a tomato jam sandwich that happens to have a hamburger patty in it.  The jam is clearly the dominant flavour.

It makes me incredibly sad, because the patty is good.  Really good.  It’s all there: it’s cooked perfectly to medium (and I mean perfectly, edge-to-edge) with a good amount of crust, it’s got a great texture with a nice coarse grind that hasn’t been over-handled or too tightly packed, it’s nice and juicy, and though it’s difficult to tell thanks to that stupid jam, it has a decent amount of beefy flavour.

It’s a great patty that really, really deserves to be part of a better hamburger.

As for the other toppings, they may as well have not even be there, because this is the tomato jam show through and through.

The bun was mostly okay, though it was a bit too big for the patty.  It was also somewhat ruined by the bizarre way it was toasted — it tasted like they put it in the oven at a really low temperature for a really long time until it formed a hardened, crouton-like shell.  It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it was unfortunate.

That patty, though.  It was so good.

I came at brunch, so the burger came with home fries instead of the traditional French fries.  They were fine, though they were a little bland, and served at a temperature somewhere between lukewarm and cold.

3 out of 4

Provo FoodBar - the outside Provo FoodBar - the restaurant Provo FoodBar - the burger Provo FoodBar - the burger

Doomie’s

5 Jun

doomies
Location
: 1263 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://doomiestoronto.com/

I honestly never thought that I’d be reviewing a veggie burger for this blog.  I mean, I try my best to avoid reviewing hamburgers made with any meat other than beef, so a veggie burger seemed completely out of the question.

Then I saw some pictures of the Big Mac clone at Doomie’s.  I kind of had to try it.

For the unaware, Doomie’s is an L.A. export whose M.O. is serving vegan versions of over-the-top junk food like chili cheese fries, chimichangas,  and of course, hamburgers.  “Vegan” and “health food” tend to go hand in hand, but I’m sure even vegans want to eat deep-fried junk every now and then.

I feel like I need to preface this review by saying that I went into Doomie’s with a completely open mind.  I realize that I’m a bit of a burger snob, but good food is good food.  If the veggie burger here were delicious, I’d be more than happy to sing its praises.

That being said?  This might be one of the worst hamburgers that I’ve had in my entire life.

I ordered the Big Mac clone, which isn’t technically on the menu.  The waitress jokingly pointed out that any resemblance to that particular burger is purely coincidental (since no one wants to incur the wrath of ol’ Ronald’s lawyers).  But it’s available if you ask for it.

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It looks impressive, I’ll give it that. Aside from the fact that the watery sauce was leaking from the burger like blood from a gut-shot corpse, it looked impressively like the real deal.

Eating it was a challenge.  I’m not sure why the sauce was so thin, but it completely soaked through the bun and made the burger impossible to eat without a handful of napkins.  And the parts of the bun that weren’t soaked through with sauce?  They were either suffused with grease, or sogged up by mushy cheese (yes, mushy cheese — more on that in a bit).

Of course, eating this burger was also a challenge because of how gross it was.  I mean, let’s not beat around the bush.

Those veggie patties are going to haunt my dreams.  I just don’t think that food science is able to accurately replicate the taste and texture of beef.  If you’re going to serve a veggie burger, your best bet is to not even try, and just serve something in a patty shape that tastes good.

Doomie’s, sadly, tries to replicate beef.  The results are flat-out horrifying.

The veggie patties here have somehow managed to take everything I hate about frozen burgers, and magnified it tenfold.  That rubbery, vaguely hot-dog-like texture you get from really cheap frozen patties is here in spades, but where this patty goes horribly wrong is the flavour.  It just tastes off to a degree that’s downright surprising.  I don’t even know if I can describe that flavour, other than to say that it tastes like you left a frozen patty out in the sun until it turned suitably rancid.  It was flat-out disgusting.

Then there’s the cheese, which — though it actually tastes close enough to the type of processed cheese you’d find on a Big Mac — has that aforementioned mushy texture.  Imagine taking shredded up tissues and soaking them with cheese-flavoured water, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.

The other toppings were all fine, aside from the watery sauce (which, to be fair, tasted pretty close to the real thing).  But when your burger features two patties as foul as these on unpleasantly sodden bread, the toppings are completely irrelevant.

As for the fries, they were battered — not my favourite — but for that style of fry, they were pretty good.

0.5 out of 4

Doomie's - the outside Doomie's - the menu Doomie's - the restaurant Doomie's - the burger and fries Doomie's - the burger