While it might be spreading across the country, Le Burger Week in Toronto is still not really a thing. This year’s competition only includes six burger joints…and half of them aren’t even in the city. Hey man, I’m not gonna go to Norwood or Cornwall just for a burger—but I don’t mind heading over to my burger bros at Holy Chuck, home of the mac-tastic Go Chuck Yourself, where they’ve got a Le Burger Week special that’s gonna blow the (lack of) competition away!
They call this one The Smokey Cowlorie, and it’s like breakfast, lunch and dinner in a bun. They start by taking their Smokey Cow burger, which you can get on the regular menu, and then they kick it up a notch. You’ve got a nice, juicy, double bacon burger, with some smokey, melty, aged cheddar cheese, a nice bite of maple on the bacon…and then they add a fried egg, and put it all between two grilled cheeses, son! The yolk broke on my first bite, making this one all ooey, gooey, big and mooey. It’s definitely got my vote, dude!!!
So, we’re hanging out at The Fifth Pubhouse, this cozy basement joint at the corner of Duncan and Richmond. This place is literally underground, but its menu is total rockstar. They’ve got Bomb.ca burgers for almost every province in Canada, including this beauty Nova Scotia Salmon Burger:
Duuude, this thing is bigger than Corey Hart! I’d wear my sunglasses at night to eat it…except I wear them all the time, bro! Now, let’s break it down. You’ve got a super-massive piece of salmon, and the fish is cooked perfectly. A nice, simple burger with lettuce, tomato and a soft, flaky bun, with a whole buncha citrus chive mayo spilling out all over the place. And these sides are pretty legit, too—gerkin pickle slices, a tangy carrot coleslaw, and a decent-sized pile of fries.
You know I love my Alberta beef bro, but this might have been the best burger I’ve had all week. I might hafta come here more often!
So, we’re hanging out at Little Fin, this cozy neighbourhood joint on Temperance, just off of Yonge St. They normally specialize in seafood—I’m pretty sure I’ve had their fish ‘n chips before—but this week, they’re going gangsta with a tasty O.G. Burger:
Now, here’s the deal. Sometimes, when you’ve got a great burger, you don’t need to put brie cheese and a pineapple on top. This patty is thick ‘n juicy, cooked to perfection, with a little zest from the herb aioli, a slice of local cheddar cheese, and a few pickled jalapenos, for a little heat, but not too much. And the sweet potato bun is flakalicious, nice texture with the sesame seeds. All this, and you get fresh coleslaw and spicy potato wedges for 14 bucks!? That’s a real-deal meal, bro!
(We’re coming straight down my piehole, son!)
Not a whole lot of places were open on Labour Day, so I headed down John Street to The Office Pub, where they’re serving up this bad boy from Down Under. They call this the Aussie Crown Burger, and while I’m not sure if it’s especially Australian, there’s no doubt that this dish is pretty funkalicious:
OK, let’s break it down. The patty is kinda thin, and not super tasty, but it’s all about what they put on top. You’ve got some nice crispness from the bacon and tomato, gooey brie cheese and an oozy fried egg, and then a slice of grilled pineapple for a citrusy kick. I dunno who came up with this, but I’d definitely throw some shrimp on the barbie for him. Really, all that’s missing here is some Vegemite, an ice-cold Fosters, and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!”
So, while the Hero Burger on Spadina didn’t know what week it was, the one at Church and Wellesley knew exactly what I meant when I asked for the Brunch Burger. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had a burger for breakfast, but this one is definitely right up there.
OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got another 6 oz patty, topped with some nice, chewy, peameal back bacon, an ooeey, gooey fried egg, again with the smoked white cheddar, and a sesame-seed bun. Oddly enough, what I tasted most was the mustard on the burger—I wouldn’t normally eat mustard for brunch, but if you put it on a burger, then hey, that works for me.
Hero Certified Burgers on Spadina Road did not know it was Burger Week at all. There was no signage, nothing to indicate the occasion. And when I asked for the Smokey Hero burger by name, they said they didn’t have it. I actually had to read off the list of ingredients for them to punch in individually. Because you could get it at any Hero Burger—I didn’t have to go all the way up to Forest Hill.
With all that being said, this was still a solid sandwich. Normally, when I go to Hero Burger, I get an 8 oz burger, which is actually two 4 oz patties. But this one is a 6 oz patty, and it’s a lot thicker and tastier. You’ve got a new chew from the Portobello mushrooms, a bit of kick from the smoked white cheddar, and a whole buncha smokiness from the maple chipotle BBQ sauce. If anything, there might have been too much sauce, or it was too runny, anyways—you can see it dripping off the lettuce and all over the place.
Now, Baton Rouge was probably my Poutine Week MVP, with a lip-smacking lobster poutine that’s not normally on the menu. And they’re bringing it for Burger Week too, with this smoky taste creation that puts pulled pork on top of a half-pound patty. They call this one the Smoky Ranch Burger. Me, I call it magically delicious:
OK, let’s break it down. You’ve got a nice, thick Angus beef patty, with some good grill marks—on both the burger and the bun. A nice chew from the pulled pork, and a ton of smoky flavour from the BBQ sauce. You don’t taste the ranch as much, but as you can see, it really runs all over the place. Nice fresh crispness from the lettuce, too, and the sautéed onions add an extra kick. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, bro!