Burger Day 2014 featured a few changes from the previous format. For one, they moved it way down south to the park behind Fort York. All in all, this was probably a good thing–green grass, picnic tables, more open space…and, most importantly, you could drink a beer outside, which wasn’t the case at the Wychwood Barns.
Now, I don’t know if it was the somewhat remote location, the wide-open spaces, or the pricing changes, but there actually appeared to be fewer people out this year. As previously stated, after going all-you-can eat (for 30 bucks) last year, they brought back the burger and beer tickets from the inaugural edition, but also raised the cover from 5 bucks to 20 in the process. While that wasn’t enough to stop a true Calgarian like me, I can see how some people might not wanna pay 30 bucks for just three sliders when they got unlimited sliders at that price one year ago.
For the record, I’m told that they did away with the all-you-can eat format because they thought it was wasteful. Hey, when most of the money goes to a community food centre, I can see how having an all-you-can eat event seems just a tad inconsiderate…
In any case, I still scarfed down 10 sliders and polished off a couple beers–or, as Rob Ford calls it, breakfast. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) Here are some hamburger highlights:
Holy Chuck: The Misbred Village Bahahastard: Two patties of aged beef, Ontario lamb, and saganaki cheese ground together and topped with red onion, Greek olive oil, and sautéed peppers.
I first had Holy Chuck’s during Burger Week 2012. Still greasy and delicious!
Fidel Gastro’s Lisa Marie: The Nutella Burger: Burger stuffed with Nutella and topped with plantain chips and garlic coconut sauce.
Not as odd a combination as it might seem, though I probably shouldda saved this one for dessert. Here’s hoping they add it to the menu on their food truck!
Fat Louie’s BBQ: The Smoked Belly Burger: Two beef patties, smoked pork belly, American/cheddar cheese, jalapeños, onion, ketchup, and mustard.
Speaking of food trucks, this one’s propane tank crapped out before I could order from it on Thursday. But with double the beef and double pork belly, I knew I had to get it in my belly!
Boots & Bourbon Saloon: The Black & Blue Burger: Ground beef, Cajun seasoning, blue cheese, and fried onion strings.
Did you know that Toronto has its very own country bar? So, they weren’t blasting Brooks & Dunn on the jukebox, but there was just a little bit of Stampede in this little burger.
Hogtown Smoke: Angus burger stuffed with pulled pork and topped with cheese, pork belly strips, and pulled pork infused with BBQ sauce and bourbon.
Is that enough pork for ya? Well, is it?
Spin Toronto: Cheddar jalapeño chicken burger with guacamole and sweet onion relish on a cornbread bun.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled beef programming to bring you this chicken burger.
Rock Lobster: Surf & Turf Burger: Kobe beef, spicy carrot and cabbage slaw, and grilled shrimp.
Who wouldn’t want a giant shrimp on your burger?
Frank: Wild boar patty with maple fennel bacon, wild mushrooms, onion, and sour cherry compote on a brioche bun.
It even has a cherry on top! (Actually, I think that was just decorative plastic…)
Gangster Burger: The Jesse James: Candied bacon marmalade and southern-style slaw over a beef patty finished with honey Dijon glaze.
Presumably, this was named after the old west outlaw, not Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband.
The Works: War Pig: Canadian beef topped with fried mushrooms, smokey BBQ sauce, real Canadian cheddar, and smoked bacon.
How could I resist a burger named after the first Black Sabbath song I learned to play on guitar? Unless, of course, it was named after the Toronto proto-metal band from the early 70’s…
The Crest: Beef and ‘nduja burger with smoked bacon, aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and smoked pepper aioli.
What in the heck is ‘nduja? The guy told me it was andouille, but it says here that’s not quite the case.
Hmm, I just realized that I actually ate 11 burgers, instead of only 10. Which is funny, because I only paid for 10 tickets. Maybe they gave me an extra one for being such a great guy? :D