A Fishetarian in Burgerville
As any vegetarian can attest, it's hard to curb a burger craving when you don't eat meat. In most cases, restaurants seem to add the "veggie burger" to their menus as a complete afterthought, serving half-assed over-cooked veggie patties that contain visible chunks of peas and carrots in the hopes of appeasing any vegetarians that want to be fed something other than salad. At the other end of the spectrum, you have restaurants that are blown away by the concept of a veggie burger entirely, and are completely clueless as to what should go between the buns - I came across this in Mexico where, upon ordering a veggie burger, I was served a slab of grilled pineapple on a bun. With mustard. It wasn't half bad!
Really good veggie burgers are few and far between. When I'm in the mood for a burger, I want something that simulates meat resonably well in texture and taste, and is juicy and delicious. I despise the aforementioned "pea and carrot" burgers only slightly more than the dry and crumbly granola "grain" patties that are basically a small loaf of bread, tucked into a bun. How much starch do these restaurants think that vegetarians need?
Here's my current top 5 veggie burgers:
5. Harvey's (various locations) - By far the best large-scale chain veggie burger out there.
4. Blue Plate Diner (10145 104 Street, Edmonton) - These guys make a damn tasty homemade veggie patty. They include beets in the veggie mixture, so it looks like you're eating raw ground beef! It falls apart when you eat it, but this is definitely the best non-soy-based veggie burger I've tried.
3. Magoo's (4242 Dundas W, Toronto) - Although Magoo's veggie burger is a little dry, it is huge and near impossible to distinguish from a "real" hamburger. They also have a large selection of fresh toppings to choose from, and the service is always friendly.
2. Lick's (various locations, GTA) - Licks makes a yummy "natureburger." Their patties stay juicy, and have a tasty flavouring that is unusual from most others I've tried. Bonus points for selling their burgers frozen at Dominion grocery stores so I can make them at home.
1. Jumbo Burgers (685 Runnymede Road, Toronto) - Although not a veggie burger per se, I love the "fish sandwich" at Jumbo Burgers. 3 slabs of deep fried (but not too oily) white fish, served on a soft kaiser bun with tartar sauce. I'm drooling just thinking about it. The decor at this place is hilarious, too.
So, yeah. Burgers!