The Luthor Burger

It’s funny, I’ve been sitting on this review for about a month. Each time I try to write it, my opinion changes. Any burger so epic that it is served in a doughnut deserves a fair review, but it’s really given me troubles.

I caught this burger at the Calgary Stampede. Between the dude selling pizza on a stick and the dude selling deep fried Oreos was my dream vendor. The dude selling doughnut burgers.

The burger tasted fantastic. A massive patty topped with bacon and cheese served in a maple glazed doughnut. It had everything going for it, the salty bacon, the sweet glaze, and good old fashioned American cheese, but for some reason, every time I think about it, it’s followed by two thoughts. 1. When can I have another & 2. Do I really even want one?

I told you the burger tasted good, but really that’s only half the battle. The first issue is  it only took about 30 seconds to arrive once it was ordered and paid for. Now I know it takes more than 30 seconds to make a burger. So that fact that it was ready when I ordered it, means the patty was sitting for a while. There’s no question it was greasy, but how old was it? The best burgers are made to order. To pay a premium price for a burger that’s been sitting, is like being expected to tip at McDonald’s.  Not an ideal situation.

Another issue with this burger, and maybe I should have expected this, was that over 1,000 calories in one burger is not really good for the system. I was exhausted after eating it, and never really recovered. The rest of the day and into the next, I felt ill. I guess I should have paid attention to The Boondocks (S01, E10).

The final problem with this monstrosity lay in the doughnut. Sure the maple glaze was fine, but every time I’ve heard of this magical treat it came in either one or two Krispy Kreme’s. Now it’s not the brand that was the problem here, it’s that I was anticipating an epic burger served inside an epic doughnut, and this doughnut was far from epic. It was thicker, heavier and tough. Almost like it was a little stale. It may have functioned better as a bun, but a mess would hardly have been a deterrent in this situation.

All issues aside, I’m grateful to have tried the burger. I’ll never do it again, but hey – you live, you learn.

4.3 (during)-3 (following 36 hrs)

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The Steamed Hams

Real Deal Steamed Hams. And here I thought they were just a Simpson’s joke. The process is a little over my head, but apparently results in spectacular burgers. Well, at least good enough to stay in business for 50 years. I’m not yet a believer, but if they made a top five in America list, they must be worth a try.

Check out the original steamed hams here.

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The Deep Fried Hamburger

Unfortunately I did not find this in Calgary, but thanks to A Hamburger Today, I will find one on my next trip to Memphis.

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The Local

Sometimes running all over the city looking for an amazing burger is counter intuitive. We often take for granted what is sitting right in front of us. You can imagine my surprise when I wandered into my local starving, ordered, and received an incredible burger.

Local 510, my local bar has great beer specials. At least that was all I knew about it until I ordered the burger. I always assumed there food would be fine, just because of the decor, but when you just go somewhere in search of a pint, you rarely end up ordering food.

The other day I ordered their burger and was blown away. At first it made me feel a little silly that I hadn’t tried one, but that thought was long gone once I bit in and could think of nothing else but the burger at hand.

This thing comes loaded – lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, mayo and Russian dressing. I added Swiss cheese and was in heaven.

When the burger arrived I was already impressed. Served on a cutting board with a small bowl of fries, the burger looked spectacular. I took the picture than marveled at it before biting in. I guess I could have added ketchup, but everything looked so right. How happy was I when it tasted as good as it looked.

The right combination of sweet, savory, charred and crunchy (the lettuce). My friend had ordered some tacos, (supposedly also pretty good) and before he had finished his second taco, my burger had disappeared. I had demolished it.  It probably touched the cutting board a couple of times, but I can’t remember because I ate it so quickly.

I’ve since been back, and I’m sure I’ll get there a few more times.

Moral of the story: check your local burger before driving halfway across the city for something half as good.


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The Pork Belly

Back home in Toronto I received a strong recommendation. Go to Porchetta & Co., bring your Italian brother in law to be, and watch his jaw drop. Quite the reco.

Never in my life did I expect the words to come true. I ordered a Porchetta sandwich with Truffle Sauce and Rapini, Lapo ordered the same thing on a platter. I took a bite, turned my head to watch Lapo, and saw his head explode. The flavor of the meat was outrageous. I don’t know how Porchetta is supposed to taste, but in my opinion, it should taste like this. Succulent and savory, with bits of crispy skin added for flavor and texture, the sandwich was incredible.

Go. Go now. Your mouth deserves to visit this place.

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The Sweetness

The blog is called The Carnivore, and the goal is to find the best burger. But like most others, I love a little dessert too. Especially when the dessert is freaking awesome.

It’s hard to critique a fresh doughnut. They’re perfect. Fluffy, soft and sweet.

I first heard about Jelly Modern Donuts from a friend. She had heard about their Maple Bacon doughnut and recommended I try one. I’m not really one for sweet and savory, but I walked over anyway. I mean really, who says no to an incredible doughnut?

When I got there I was super impressed. The doughnuts looked like works of art, and there were plenty to choose from. Some of the most spectacular must have been the Marshmallow, Peanut Butter and Jelly, S’mores and of course the Maple Bacon. I went with their Classic Jelly  and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla doughnuts. Like a Lays commercial, I couldn’t have just one.

I carried them home like a football, afraid to drop them or let anyone snatch them. Never have I felt so protective over food. When I finally got home I dove in, demolishing the doughnuts, and every piece of icing that fell off in the box. They were incredible. Scratch that. They were F’ing amazing. I even ended up going back for more the next day.

If you have been sleeping on Jelly Modern Doughnuts, go. I think Crave has finally found some competition.

Now if only I could get them to split one and throw a burger in, I’ll be in Luther Vandross’s heaven.

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The Drive-In

The Inglewood Drive-In is a time warp. Tucked away off the main strip in Inglewood, the Inglewood Drive-In looks like the neighborhood was built around it. Complete with booth seating, and a small counter the place is a throwback to the times when burgers didn’t need to have fancy ingredients.

Walking in I got the feeling that I was ordering something special. I chose the double cheese burger, and took my seat. The burger comes topped perfectly. With mustard, mayo, ketchup, pickles, onions and cheese, there’s nothing more that you really need. Lettuce and tomatoes are extra, but really that’s fine. Sometimes soggy lettuce or less than fresh tomatoes can take away from a really good burger.

To say that the double did not disapoint is a drastic understatement. The burger was phenomenal. The flavors worked, the patties were juicy and the bun was perfect. Like really perfect. Soft, fluffy and complemented the burger. Little things like the bun can really damage a bare bones burger, this one absolutely did not.

The only real drawback may have been the patties. They were processed and perfectly formed, but in the end they were juicy, so they get a pass. That is a real credit to the person on the grill.

Finally, and this is hardly a last but not least, the price makes this burger even better. At under five bucks, you get an unbelievable burger. I know I’ll be back, I recommend you get there too.


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