And so it was that Raymond, Laird and myself collectively agreed to try out the new Burger Shoppe Quality Meats on Ossington Street last night.
There is much to like about this 30-seat restaurant. The burgers are beefy, juicy, and absolutely delicious, made from Rowe Farms naturally raised AAA beef, ground in-house, filler free, and grilled with taste but without pretension. (All of my vegetarian pals can substitute the beef with an organic tofu patty.)
The burgers boast names and preordained toppings. For instance, The Riverside is dressed up in BQM barbecue sauce, naturally raised bacon, mayo, arugula, tomato, mozzarella and a hand-dipped onion ring that rivals A&W's (my all-time favourite fast-food item).
The burgers come a la carte and most are $9 and totally worth it.
They were out of the salad, but other starters and sides include sliders (three tasty 2oz burgers) and Uber Poutine, which was too wet but a great example of why hand-cut fries, real gravy, squeaky cheese curds, caramelized onions and chorizo get along so swimmingly.
The service was cheerful and attentive even though the place was packed.
There are a couple of problems though; and oddly, they're all aesthetic. The room is too loud, and the music makes it louder. You literally have to scream to be heard, and cup your hands around your ears in order to hear. What's more, the tables are too deep, which probably adds to all the screaming. Also, the chairs are too low -- we're talking lawn-chair low. If I had been sitting in one of those chairs instead of at the gorgeous communal table on a bench, my chin would have been resting on the dinner table.
Still, we were enjoying ourselves. And then Raymond said something, but being on his third glass of the house Malbec (very generous pours, may I add) it took him several tries until Laird or I could understand what he was saying.
And that's when we came up with a new drinking game called: "What's This About Patrick Swayze's Pancreatic Cancer?" (Not my proudest moment, but hear me out.) We weren't making fun of Mr. Dirty Dancing's devastating prognosis, we truly feel awful for him. It's just that Laird had mentioned how Barbara Walters made Patrick and his wife cry during a recent interview, and then Raymond suddenly looked up from his BQM Shepherds Pie (homemade, saucy, generous but woefully under seasoned) and was just learning of Swayze's stage 4 cancer.
And that's when he said: "What's this about Patrick Swayze's pancreatic cancer?"
After the fifth try he finally got the sentence out in one piece, and then urged us all to attempt it ourselves, noting that it could be one of the more difficult sentences to pronounce without pausing or stumbling.
And darn it if he wasn't right.