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Boy do I go on adventures to get burgers, more so since I started this blog. Sometimes they are adventures done by my choosing and sometimes they are adventures that are just out of my control. For this review it was another in a long line of out of control ones.
This one started by me going to a movie. After the movie (around midnight) I was starving and thought ‘Why not get a burger?’. Then I thought ‘Why not get a burger you haven’t reviewed and review it?’. Then I thought ‘That’s a good idea’. So I was in Richmond Hill and I was minutes away from Steer Inn Burger thus that’s where I chose to go.
I left the theatre and it was cold and miserable and icy. There was lightening in the sky flashing periodically making it look bleak and ominous. I got in my car, warmed it up for a moment and drove off in the direction of Steer Inn, getting hungrier by the second. As I got near it I could see in the distance flashing lights, like there was an accident or something. I got a little closer and noticed that was all the lights I could see. As it turns out the power was knocked out by the crazy winter storm we were in and Steer Inn was closed.
Damn it. I had resigned myself to Steer Inn and what was I to do now? It was late and not many places were open. So I decided on A & W on Keele and Highway 7 and I would drive up Rutherford Avenue to Keele in case say Harvey’s or Wendy’s or Dairy Queen were open and then I might have gone to one of those. When I got to Keele and Rutherford low and behold nothing was open because… the power was out!
Frustrated but not deterred I made my way to Keele and Highway 7. A & W was there; A & W was open. Now I originally wanted to review A &W by going in and ordering, where I could get a mouthwatering ice cold frosted glass of Root Beer along with my food. Alas, all I could do at this time was drive through.
So I drove up to the mic and ordered my meal. Papa Burger combo with fries and Root Beer (not Coke, shocking). I asked for no mayo on my burger and added lettuce. (For those not in the know, the Papa Burger is a double patty). Next I drove to the window, paid, waited a few minutes (maybe three), got my food, drove to the parking area and parked.
First thing I did was have a sip of Root Beer. Delicious as always. Next I dug into the fries. Not bad for a fast fast food place. Russet potatoes, thick cut, maybe a tad less crispy on the outside than I like. Still, these fries wouldn’t seem bad if they were on the menu of a sit down semi fancy restaurant.
Next up was the burger. I took it out of the bag it was in and removed it from the paper wrapper all A & W burger’s get. Looking over my burger I noticed that I had forgotten to ask for tomatoes, a topping that is a prerequisite for these reviews. Oh well. I decided to continue on in the name of this blog, tomato or no tomato. So the two patties were perfect for the bun, centred perfectly and just the right size with maybe 2 mm of bun poking out around the edges of the patties. The bun was a toasted sesame seed white bread bun. Toasted to perfection, with a crisp outer toasty crust and a soft centre (just how I would of liked the fries).
Biting into the burger I was confounded with joy and happiness. A & W has always made a good burger but over the last few years they have made it even better. It was juicy, it was tasty, it was delicious. Even though cooked well done it was the very opposite of dry. For a fast fast food burger it’s texture and taste outdoes anybody else in the game, it’s not chewy or tough or gristly. They cook the plain beef patty on a flattop I believe and sprinkle each side with their A & W seasoning, which is kind of like a cross between Montreal Steak Spice and Cajun Spice. Delicious. Bite after bite confirmed that notion: A & W is delicious.
The bun was just the right size and height and had just the right texture. The pickles were just mouthwateringly incredible and I wished I had more to eat on the side. The onions, whole sliced rings, were rich in flavour and perfectly balanced with the rest of the flavours to make an eating experience I never wanted to end. The way the onions were sliced and placed on the burger was great as every bite ended up having a consistent flavour (save of course for the pickles). The lettuce was a large leaf lettuce and added a bit more heft to the burger than would otherwise be there.
Now, from what I have said so far this sounds like a burger that would get a perfect review right? Well I cannot do that, I just cannot award A & W a 7 out of 7. It may be an awesome fast fast food burger but it is still just a fast fast food burger. It can be ready in seconds, it could be somewhat pre-cooked, it is not really made to order. It is the best of the bunch (Wendy’s McDonald’s, Harvey’s Burger King) but it really can’t compare to places like Holy Chuck, Five Guy’s and Burger’s Priest. It doesn’t come close to the quality and freshness of say Fresh Burger. It’s real fast food but it’s the best burger you’ll get without having to wait for it to be cooked.
So I eat here a lot. I may not of wanted to review A & W this time out but when I bit into the burger all I can say is I wasn’t sorry I was eating it (and I haven’t reviewed Steer Inn yet but I can say from memories past that it doesn’t come close to this burger). So based on how quick you can get the burger, how many locations there are, the quality for a fast fast food place and the fact that the quality remains even though there are so many locations, this is what I ended up giving A & W.
**I just ate this burger again and it was amazing. I have to bump it up a notch because for a fast fast food burger this truly is exceptional. So…
Out of 7 A & W scores 6