I confess. I should be working on my paper. I know I should. But I was so close, and I had heard so much about it – I simply had to make a detour. Forgive me.
I guess I am kinda sorta an atheist. Religion really is not my thing. But the church of the most incredible juicy burger ever to hit this town – now that’s my kind of worship.
The Burger’s Priest is on a dodgy strip of Queen East – in the nether world between the Beaches and gentrified Leslieville in Toronto. The sign on the outside declares “Redeeming the burger one at a time.” The place is practically a closet, with 5 stools and a small counter – it’s pretty intimate. Before I even order, I hear one guy chowing down tell his friend “Dude – seriously – this is like the best burger I have had in my entire life. I am ordering another one.”
The menu is written in code ……I order the “Priest”….that’s “The Option” on top of a cheeseburger. “The option” is two grilled portabellos, stuffed with a garlicky cheese blend, rolled in panko and deep fried. On top of a cheeseburger. Seriously. I get fries, and a Dr. Pepper (sometimes a Dr. Pepper is required – this was one of those times. Sorta like root beer, half like Coke – when its ice cold – it’s a good time) OK – I won’t eat dinner – I swear. (It’s ok to swear in burger church). Toppings are straight up – nothin’ fancy – mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle – nary a crumble of goat cheese in sight.
While I wait for my feast, I check out the pictures of “Saint In N Out” of California, “Saint Corner Bistro”, “Saint JG Melon” and “Saint PJ Clark” of New York – homage to the forefathers; likely the founders of the burger religion. All everyone is talking about is the burger…..while eating the burger. When’s the last time you went somewhere and everyone was talking to each other about how amazing their food was? Strangers, friends – all smiling, chowing, wiping chins, praising the priest, celebrating the burger, and welcoming new comers.
“What planet did this meat come from? I have never had anything like it.”
“This is just your first time here? Why?”
My burger is up, and then…….a miracle! It’s not an apparition……suddenly there is one free stool at the counter– Dr. Pepper and I quickly grab the seat. The burger is perfection. The griddled patty is so fresh, juicy and just plain meaty. The toppings – like on a good Napoli pizza are barely there – subtle – allowing the glorious fresh meat to shine through. The bun is like Kleenex. Not in a bad way. It’s soft, squishy, no flavour…likely a Wonder bun, based on the truck parked out front, and a guy in Weston gear ordering a “Double Double”. The Kleenex bun collapses on impact, becomes barely there, and performs the singular important role of keeping your hands free of ketchup and mayo. The “Option” is ethereal – crispy, cheesy….divine. I did not even eat the fries – don’t bother – I am sure they are good, but it’s all about the burger.
A famous Canadian musician sitting next to me (I’ll keep his identity a secret – one’s religion is one’s own business) declares “I am here all the time, and when I am not here, I am just thinking about when I am going to be here next.”
Amen to that.