Food Dudes

: It’s a truck, so check Twitter to see where they’re parked

Food trucks have really livened up events like the Canadian International Auto Show, which is currently going on at the Convention Centre.  Suddenly, the food options are a bit more interesting than a warmed over slice of pizza or a sad hot dog.

There are a couple of trucks at the show this year, both with a burger on the menu (the other one is Hank Daddy’s Barbecue).  I went with Food Dudes, which was probably a mistake.

The Truck Burger sounds appealing enough; their menu describes it as “chopped steak, aged cheddar, chili pickled onions, arugula, bacon mayo, pomme frites, brioche.”

It might have been a pretty good burger, if it weren’t for whatever the hell is going on with the patty, which has an odd, downright alien texture.  It was chewy, dense, and bizarre, like the ground beef had melted and congealed, trying its best to reassemble itself back into one solid mass.  Maybe I’m overly picky (okay, definitely), but in this case I have photographic proof.  I mean, look at the picture of this burger’s cross-section.  I’ve seen the insides of many, many hamburgers over the last few years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.


I’d say the burger is meatloafy (there’s definitely all kinds of flavouring mixed in), but I’ve never had meatloaf with this texture; it was somewhere between a sausage and Spam.  It was kind of insane how weird it was.

The menu calls the patty “chopped steak,” and maybe this is the culprit?  Chopping rather than grinding beef is ostensibly meant to give the burger a more coarse, steaky texture — but they seem to achieved the absolute opposite effect here.  Maybe instead of putting the beef through a grinder, they instead threw it into a food processor and ran it until the meat became a fine paste?  Or they chopped it by hand, and chopped it and chopped it and chopped it, until they wound up with the aforementioned paste?  I really don’t know how else to account for that texture.

It actually tasted okay, though between the assertive bacon mayo, the sharp cheddar, all the spices mixed into the beef, and the insane texture, I honestly don’t think I would have guessed this was a hamburger if I had eaten it blindfolded.  I don’t even know if I would have pegged the meat as beef, given how thoroughly disguised it was by the other flavours and that oddball spongy/chewy/gummy texture.

The patty was otherwise kinda juicy and not overcooked, so it’s a real shame that they did whatever it is that they did to it.  The toppings were pretty good too, if a bit overwhelming; I particularly liked the crispy potato strings, which added a nice crunch without being too assertive.  I also quite liked the fresh brioche bun.

But that patty.  That patty…

2 out of 4

Food Dudes - the truck Food Dudes - the truck Food Dudes - the burger Food Dudes - the burger Food Dudes - the burger

Food Cabbie

: It’s a truck, so check Twitter to see where they’re parked

Food Cabbie is one of those places I’ve been meaning to check out almost since I started this blog.  As one of the earlier food trucks in Toronto’s recent food truck boom, they obviously have staying power, which you’d think would indicate they’re serving up some pretty good food.

You’d think.

They have a few burgers on the menu: quarter pound, half pound, and a chili burger dubbed the L.A. Tommy Burger.

If it weren’t for this review, I wouldn’t have ordered anything.  I would have gotten the hell out of there posthaste.  My dining companion ordered first; he got the L.A. Tommy, and since we could see the man doing the cooking, we could clearly see him pull out the saddest looking pre-cooked burger I’ve ever seen and slap it on the griddle.

I suddenly got PTSD-esque flashbacks to BBQ Express, an experience I was doing my best to completely erase from my memory.  Like with that burger, every bone in my body was telling me to high-tail it out of there and never look back, but you know what?  My self-imposed burger blogging duties mean I have to take the bad with the good.  I’m here to eat this garbage so you don’t have to.  I’m here to jump on that grenade for you.  

I steeled myself and ordered the quarter pound burger.


It comes topped with mayo and tomato, with further condiments available on a picnic table just next to the truck.  I figured I’d keep it simple and eat the burger as it comes.

I just… I don’t…  What.

I think it might have been a frozen patty, but I honestly couldn’t tell because it wasn’t quite like any other pre-fab burger that I’ve had; it was worse.  It certainly looked like a frozen burger, but… Everything about it was wrong.

I’m not sure if it was the reheating or what, but it was just awful on every level.  I don’t even know what to make of the texture, which had that chewy, hot-doggy texture typical of frozen burgers, but which was also horrifically mushy.  Like, I’m not even sure how to describe that texture, other than to say it was horrible, and — I’m pretty sure — mere steps away from triggering my gag reflex.

The taste wasn’t much better.  Acrid and burnt around the edges, it had a gamy, downright nasty flavour that, at the very least, was somewhat disguised by how incredibly salty it was.  I’ve obviously never eaten cat food, but this is what I’d imagine it would taste like if you mashed some Fancy Feast into a patty and griddled it.

It’s one of the worst hamburgers I’ve ever had.  It’s certainly right down there with Hero Certified Burgers, which I didn’t even think was possible.  Like with that burger, I couldn’t finish it (an exceedingly rare occurrence for me).  I got a bit more than half-way through and I just couldn’t stomach another bite.

I actually feel kind of bad.  I felt no remorse whatsoever ripping into Hero Burger, a soulless corporation whose modus operandi is to fleece Canadians by using slick marketing and sheer omnipresence to trick them into buying a shoddy (at best) product.  I only gave them what they had coming.

Food Cabbie, on the other hand, seems to be a mom and pop operation.  No one opens a food truck to get rich; these are people who, presumably, wanted to share their food with the city, and thought they could make a living doing so.  That’s what makes the complete lack of care in the food they’re serving so baffling.  I’m honestly quite confused by it, but I can only comment on the food I was served that day, which was atrocious.

And the sad fact of the matter is, this burger was so thoroughly horrible on every level that it’s very difficult to speculate that they were just having a bad day.  It was bad food, period.

They must have been serving something worth eating at some point, otherwise I don’t see how they could possibly survive in the GTA’s ever-expanding food truck scene, but those days are clearly long gone.

As for the fries, they were almost as bad as the burger. Pale, with a soggy, grease-soaked exterior and a chalky, undercooked interior, they joined what was left of the burger in the garbage.


0 out of 4

Food Cabbie - the truck Food Cabbie - the truck Food Cabbie - the fries Food Cabbie - the burger Food Cabbie - the burger
Food Cabbie Food Truck on Urbanspoon


: It’s a truck, so check Twitter to see where they’re parked

After the surprisingly mediocre Kevin’s Burger Obsession, the prospect of another food truck specializing in burgers didn’t exactly fill me with glee. One lousy food truck shouldn’t be able to ruin it for the rest of them, but still — I wasn’t super enthused to try the place.

But then I checked out Burgatory’s website; one line in particular caught my eye, regarding the patties being ground daily from “brisket, short rib and shoulder by Cumbrae’s Meats.”

Well, that’s… that’s actually a pretty well thought out blend of cuts, not to mention that Cumbrae’s sells top-shelf meat. This is in stark contrast to the numerous Toronto burger joints that proudly proclaim how lean their burgers are, and boast using inappropriate cuts like sirloin. And then I inevitably wind up facing down the latest sad, dried-out patty, chewing and chewing and chewing while another little piece of me dies.

Basically, my expectations were suddenly a little bit higher.

Actually finding the truck proved to be surprisingly difficult, however; they don’t seem to be particularly active on the weekends, and have the vexing tendancy to wait until the last second to post where they’re going to be parked (I almost missed them on this particular Saturday, as there wasn’t a peep on their Twitter account until 11:00am the same day. And then of course it was a ghost town, because it helps if people actually know where you’re going to be if you want them to buy your product, but I digress).


They have a few choices based on the seven deadly sins; sadly, they were all a little bit more busily-topped than I’d like. I went with the Sloth Burger: “Sloth Sauce, Velveeta, Hickory Sticks, Tomato and Lettuce on a Brioche Bun”

The patty was cooked all the way to well done, and was sadly not quite as juicy as I had hoped — but it was still fairly juicy, especially considering how thoroughly cooked it was.

More importantly, the beef was very obviously above average. It had a really satisfying beefy flavour, though the rest of the burger was doing its best to drown that out.

Most egregiously, the sloth sauce was sweet, tangy, and in the quantity it had been applied to the burger, completely overwhelming. They are not shy with that sauce, that’s for sure.

It says a lot about the beef, then, that even with the cloying sauce, the beefy flavour of the patty was still able to elbow its way through.

The other toppings were okay; the tomato and lettuce were the usual, and the hickory sticks added a pleasant amount of crunchiness that suited the burger well. The Velveeta, on the other hand, never had a chance — with that aggressive Sloth sauce, you can’t even tell the Velveeta is there (there wasn’t even a hint of cheesy flavour).

The bun was quite fresh and just substantial enough to hold up to the very messy burger, though it was a little bit too wide for the patty.

As for the fries, they were liberally tossed in grated Parmesan, and were definitely above average.

Burgatory - the truck Burgatory - the truck Burgatory - the burger and fries Burgatory - the burger

Kevin’s Burger Obsession

Location: It’s a truck, so check Twitter to see where they’re parked

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.


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