Awesome food right here in T.O. for a Family Day staycation...Travel News
Finally got a chance on the weekend to find out what the fuss about Burger's Priest is all about.
The new shop on Yonge St. north of Lawrence is close to my home, so I got there at 11:45 a.m. for a noon opening. There were only two people in front of me at the time, although there probably were 25 folks in line when they opened the doors.
Having read all the stories, I was a tad confused about the ordering procedure. I knew they have all sorts of weird orders you can make with names like the Tower of Babel (see photo) or the Vatican Intrigue (oh, wait, that's today's front page). But I just wanted a simple cheeseburger with the only civilized things to put on a burger; mustard, onions and pickles. I waited a few seconds and placed my order for the cheesburger, fries and a chocolate shake. Grand total: a little less than $15. Grand result: sheer heaven.
It took a few minutes for the burger to get made, but that's a good thing as it was as fresh as can be; juicy and moist and absolutely dead-on wonderful. Apparently they only use salt and pepper, but either they cook these things at the lord's optimal temperature or it's the best beef on the planet, because it's an incredible hamburger. Not in that "oh, my god can you believe this taste" kind of way; just in a "wow, they really nailed a perfect, simple hamburger" kind of way. Which is probably tougher.
The bun wasn't anything special but the whole experience was, well, satisfying as hell. Great fries. I thought my chocolate shake was a bit sweet/syrupy and I'd personally only give it an 8 out of 10, despite being thick and rich. The fries are an 8.8 or maybe a 9, but the burger is a 9.7 out of 10. Seriously, the only one I've had that's better is at a place called Val's in Hayward, California, near where I grew up. Val's does a burger on an open flame and they're much bigger and just a tad browned on the outside. A Val's milkshake is a beautiful thing, but their fries are far too chunky to merit a good score unless you get them extra crispy.
Anyway, 2,500 miles is a long way to go for a hamburger. So get thyself to Queen East or Yonge and Lawrence and check out Burger's Priest. Just don't try it on a Sunday as they're closed for church.
I also recently got around to checking out Pizzeria Libretto on Ossington Ave. and thought it was dynamite. On Mondayand Friday they had a fixed lunch prix deal with a pizza, choice of caprese or arugula salad and either biscotti or gelato for $15.
They do simple (mostly) pizzas and cook them for just 90 seconds in a 900 degree pizza oven. The crust is thin and bubbled and perfectly singed and the sauce is great. I tried a strange style with applewood-smoked lamb bacon. A touch too gamey, I'd say, but quite good.
The arugula salad comes with walnuts, shaved parmesan and sliced pears and is just outstanding.
I loved the homemade chili oil you can put on your bread or pizza. I asked but they don't sell it. Instead, a young woman (the service is outstanding) got a small jar and filled it up for me to take home. No charge.
A great street in Toronto and a dynamite spot for pizza.
IGUANAS AND SCOTLAND AND BACKPACKERS AND AIRLINE FOOD ... TOURISM NEWS FROM HERE AND THERE
Sounds crazy, but Puerto Rico has something of a green iguana problem. Seems the lizards are multiplying like rabbits and dashing to and fro around the airport in San Juan, causing delays and forcing an eradication program, as they have few natural predators. The critters can grow to 1.8 meters long and live for 20 years. Some folks hope to harvest them and sell the meat in the United States, although I have no idea who goes to the Piggly Wiggly and orders up iguana tenderloin...Travelmole reports that Lufthansa "enjoyed a record breaking year in 2011, carrying more passengers to and from the UK & Ireland than ever before." It's said the biggest increase was in Scotland, where the new service between Aberdeen and Frankfurt saw passenger numbers grow by more than 25%. Dublin and Birmingham also saw significant increases...Sounds a bit counter-intuitive but research by the TNT Travel Show found that backpackers prefer word-of-mouth recommendations (just like me back in Europe in 1979, prior to the Internet) over online reviews. Research of more than 1,000 youths found that most 18-35 year olds don't use online reviews so much because, and this makes sense, they leave their smartphones at home. Sounds like they check out online reviews and such at Internet terminals, but most are smart enough to leave their expensive iPhones with Mom and Dad while they stay overnight in crowded hostels. I think it's a good idea to take a cheap cell phone for text messaging or emergency calls, but I wouldn't recommend young folks take expensive smartphones on a backpacking trip...According to a study by University of Manchester and Unilever, folks think the airline with the best food in world is Turkish Airlines. In second place was Singapore Airlines, while Etihad took third place ahead of Aer Lingus and Emirates in fifth place. The next five places, in order, were taken by Cathay Pacific, KLM. Qantas, Aeroflot and Air France. American Airlines occupied last place in the table, below Lufthansa and Alitalia. I didn't see where Air Canada fit in, if it was even included in the survey, that is.