Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Smoke Burger & Urban Eatery at Eaton Centre: Toronto: Downtown

Several Canadians had told me I absolutely had to check out the newly renovated and reopened (as of September 1, 2011) Urban Eatery ($48 million for this food court) in Eaton Centre ($120 million renovation total). I thus changed my plans for lunch (sadly meaning I never did get to try Ravi Soups - seriously, check out their ever-changing menu).

Urban Eatery is a huge food court with 24 food court options and 980 seats, which is still not enough. I had to wait behind someone for her to finish up in order to sit at one of the long tables of diners.

coming down the escalator

It was fucking packed.
Among the options are:

Poutinerie: obviously, a poutine place

Rare: specializing in slow-roasted roast beef
Big Smoke Burger: gourmet burgers at reasonable prices

Urban Herbivore: the vegans' haven

On top of these interesting options, they also have some bull shit, such as KFC and fucking Sbarro. Who would choose Sbarro, a shitty pizza chain that is in every single food court in the world, out of all the awesome options at this first class food court?

There you have it (though he's still 100 lbs lighter than his American counterpart would've been).

When I saw "never frozen, Canadian beef," on the menu, I decided to go with Big Smoke Burger as I wanted to see how it would compare to the best burger I've ever had (from Farm Burger in Atlanta, Georgia).

I could've paid $1.90 for an upgrade to organic, but I'd pumped way too much of my meager funds into Toronto's economy already, so I stuck with ordering the $5.35 classic burger.

They make a shit load of burgers, moving their long line quite quickly.
I didn't order fries, but I took a picture of somebody else's while I was waiting to receive my burger.  They look good, potatoey and soft, just like I like 'em.

I ordered my rosemary garlic mayo on the side, so I could have a bite or two of my burger without it, so as to really taste the meat before enjoying it in harmony with creamy deliciousness.  Unfortunately, presumably because of their rush, the message either didn't get through to the line guys, or else they didn't care to honor it.

Rosemary Garlic Mayo - I still received a side order of it, but it was also slathered on my burger. The rosemary garlic mayo was missing a depth of rich creaminess (not enough egg yolk, perhaps), but it was pretty good.
Big Smoke Burger - Looks great, right?

I would have forgiven them this carelessness if they hadn't cooked my burger to well fucking done.

What the un-bloody-at-all hell?

The edges were burnt, the inside thoroughly brown and diminished in flavor. It was such a let down to have waited in that line, anticipating a fresh, wonderful burger, and then receiving this poor cow's ruined sacrifice.

If you eat at BS Burger, I suggest specifically asking for your burger as rare as they'll make it.  Considering my luck with my mayo on the side request, it might not work, but you must try since good meat is totally wasted when cooked passed medium.

I guess at the end of the day, you're still eating in a goddamned mall.

Big Smoke Burger on Urbanspoon

After leaving the Urban Eatery to try to find my way through the labyrinth of Eaton Centre in order to get to my next destination in the warmth of the mall, I came across a place called Richtree that I really wished I could've tried.


They have all kinds of food in there.

But I was drawn to the pastry case.

So beautiful...

I was working on my angle for what would've been the most gorgeous pictures of all, when some guy told me that no photos were allowed. I never could find the sign he alluded to about this rule, so I have not deleted the photos I had already taken. Sadly, it does mean I can't show you how beautiful and enormous the harvest crumble with caramelized pumpkin, apples cranberries and oats ($3.69) was, or the chocolate pecan cake slice ($3.79, and by slice, they mean a wedge the size of an oven mitt), which looked so dense and moist and rich. I saw a woman get a piece of each, and they must've weighed about a pound each. She easily had dessert for a family of four for three days.

Richtree Market on Urbanspoon

Random note:

Walking along, I overheard a Canadian policeman say to another, "You say to bitches, 'yeah how bout you take your crack pipe out of your mouth before you talk.'"

And now an excellent talk on the nature of decision making by one of my favorite psychologists - Dan Ariely: