I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday…

I was at a lunch thing the other day (at the Carleton Tavern of all place…don’t I move in exalted circles??). A woman at our table ordered a hamburger with nothing on it.  She ate her thin little burger patty between a tiny little bun, just like that.

She said she always has her burgers plain. I had a burger like that once when the only topping options were fried onions and ketchup. It was pretty bland and dry. Of course it was also a very, very bad veggie burger.

Veggie burgers, like meat burgers run the gamut from:

 Incredibly horrible:

  • McDonald’s (thank god they seem to be discontinued – they gave veggie burgers everywhere a bad name)
  • Burger King
  • Yves Burger Burger
  • M&M Meat Shops
  • PC Portabello Swiss (mainly because the idea of cheese mashed into my burger makes me gag and they are way, way high in fat)
  • PC Soy Burger
  • Schneiders Oh Natural burgers (so much crap in them)

Not too bad:

  • Gardenburgers
  • Harvey’s
  • PC Meatless Burgers (only had it once)

Pretty Good

  • Dr. Praeger (which seem to have only recently migrated to Canada)
  • Boca
  • Lick’s (also made the best meat burgers I can remember from way back when I used to eat stuff like that)
  • Kelsey’s

Excellent

  • Venus in Halifax used to make a delicious grain/nut/seed veggie burger. It was to die for. They stopped making them and I hunt endlessly for something similar.
  • Grain/nut/seed veggie burgers I make at home with  PC Burger First thin buns – best thing they ever came up with.  Topped with onions, tomato, lettuce and a little mayonnaise.

 I love burgers.

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22 responses to “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday…

  1. OMG. If Dr. Praeger is “pretty good,” then I’d hate to taste the incredibly horrible and not too bad!

    I haven’t tasted very many veggie burgers in my life, but I made the mistake of buying a box of Dr. Praeger at Costco recently because the picture on the box looked good, and because my husband has had all sorts of heart problems recently and needs to cut out things like real burgers.

    I had one of those horrid things myself, and it tasted like a bunch of peas and carrots mushed together and squeezed into the shape of a burger. Is that what veggie burgers are supposed to taste like? Ugh! I’d really rather just have a big bowl full of actual peas and carrots. I don’t mind real veggies, but veggies trying to masquerade as burgers is one of those things I just don’t get.

    I’ve stil got 15 of those 16 Dr. Praegers in my freezer. I’d love to throw them out and make some room in my freezer, but I don’t because that would be like throwing away $10. I wish I could send them to you, but they’d probably get lost, like your gargoyle.

    Sorry, but veggie burgers in general offend me. I did buy some turkey burgers for my husband, which are not too bad. I can see turkey trying to masquerade as beef. But still, I make myself a real burger while I cook my husband’s turkey burger. I’ll probably continue to do so until my doctor gives me a death sentence.

    You asked me the other day if I follow any kind of diet or take any medication for my ulcerative colitis. Nah! Nada. My doctor did want me to take some sulpha pills every day, but the side effect was that I couldn’t go out in the sun much while taking it. Well, F that! One of my favorite things in the world is sitting on the beach or around the pool. As far as I’m concerned, life isn’t worth living if I can’t go to the beach/pool. I might as well get skin cancer some day to go along with my future colon cancer. I might feel differently if I had had any symptoms recently, but I’ve been lucky.

    No, ignoring doctor’s orders is not what I recommend for your daughter, but it’s working for me right now.

  2. There used to be a restaurant in Southern California called Houston’s that made the BEST veggie burgers I’ve ever tasted. The place is since gone, and I’ve never found another vb that could quite fill its shoes. Sigh. OKAY. This post is making me hungry! 😉

  3. I love the veggie burger! Even before I was a strict vegetarian, I would eat them. There is a place in downtown Peoria that makes a GREAT vb…and I’m sure its just a frozen thing but I sure can’t find it in my local grocery.

    If you want to share your recipe for veggie burgers sometime, I would love to see it!

  4. Stella – Hey — nice to hear from you! And oh ya –lentil burgers.

    Hunter – Bah! Cheese needs to be savoured on its own with some crusty bread and fine wine, not melted over a burger an buried under condiments. But to each his own, eh?

    Heidilou – In the German city of Hamburg they used to eat a speciality dish of pounded steak, known as the Hamburger steak. When German immigrants brought the dish to North American it eventually got bastardized into the hamburger we know today. The word burger on its own really just means “of a town”, not “made of beef”. A veggie burger isn’t “supposed” to taste or be like anything. Some try to mimic beef, but some are actually made of veggies and some are made of nuts and seeds and grains. I’m sorry veggie burgers offend you. I’m sure they don’t mean it. Maybe you could crumble those Praeger’s burgers and mix them with some rice for an interesting fried rice dish?

    Lesley – why do all the good ones die young? I’ve found that a lot with some excellent veggie restaurants. Their hearts are in the right place and they know their food, but I guess they aren’t very clever business people. Sigh…

    Debra – which kind of veggie burger do you love the most? I don’t really have a recipe for anything I eat. My burger is made from whatever leftover grains I happen to have (rice, barley, Kasha, couscous) I grind it up in the blender with some nuts (walnuts are my fave – though peanuts give an interesting flavour, especially if they’re raw) and maybe I’ll throw in some sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds too. Don’t grind it to a powder, just into crumbly bits. Then I add some herbs, salt, pepper and an egg to hold it all together. Squish it and mix it with your hands, roll into balls, flatten and either fry with a little oil or brush some oil on both sides and bake. Nuts to grains ratio is about 30:70.

  5. I’m always on the lookout for a great veggie burger – for some reason though I’m not vegetarian, I actually prefer them to beef burgers.

    The very bestest ever comes from a lady at the organic farmers market. They’re full of nuts and stuff and are absolutely spectactular.

  6. Stop it, you’re making me hungry! I suspect I’m gonna be eating burgers this weekend because we’re going to a camp, but I’m positive they’ll be beef burgers (I can count the number of Muslim vegetarians I know on one hand, easily)… Well, I’m bringing along my wheat-free bread and milk-free milk so that there’s something I can eat…

  7. Jazz – I’m keeping track of these food recommedations from you for when we come to Montreal. Where is the organic market and is it on every day?

    Noha – Ha ha. You might as well bring along your meat-free meat and your alcohol-free beer and your potato-free potato salad, too and then you can really go crazy. Have fun!!

  8. I like the veggie burgers at The Works…. but they usually load them up with so much awesomeness that I can hardly notice the taste of the burger… mmmmmmm….

  9. did Lick’s close down?
    Costco occasionally had this amazing portebello/swiss number that is to dye for. i also really dig those tofu ones you find at the grocery store in the….wait for it….tofu section. the miso one particularly tickles my fancy.

  10. Yeah.
    Sorry to be so ‘old-world’, but I LOVE beef.

    …and I used to buy vegetables just so I could put them in the crisper drawer of my fridge, and watch them rot.
    Not really, but that’s one of my favourite lines from former SNL cast member A. Whitney Brown on the subject of ‘vegetable dislike’. I never watched SNL, but I saw that quote once somewhere along the way, and enjoyed it for its pulpy wit. You don’t get a lot of good mould jokes.

    So – hamburgers used to be made of pulverized people from Hamburg?
    I never knew that.
    So it was, like – the original Soylent Green, or something?

    Moo.

  11. Em – thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been meaning to check that place out.

    Meanie – YES, Licks closed. Very infuriating. It used to be a fun Saturday lunch thing after shopping at Value Village. And, oh ya – I forgot about those tofu burgers (La Soyarie brand). They’d definitely go in the pretty damn good category. Very freakin’ greasy though. But it makes them good for the BBQ.

    JB – Well, you know Germans and their kinky diets (see Armin Meiwes). Though why eating other mammals is any less creepy than eating humans, I don’t know.

  12. Holy cow, the Lick’s closed down? I am way out of touch with life inside the green belt.

    You can still buy Lick’s burgers (and their veggie burgers) in boxes at the Loeb. You can buy their famous Guk sauce (in regular and hot varieties) in bottles at the Loeb, too.

    Lick’s are our favourite veggie burgers (with Guk sauce, of course). In general I prefer veggie burgers that are soy based, rather than those that are mixed-vegetable based. If we aren’t able to get to the Loeb we can make do with the PC World’s Best Meatless Burger, and I even don’t mind the M&M kind (although I totally agree with you on your other “bad” selections).

    Unfortunately we are a nut-free home as we have a couple of family members with peanut and almond allergies…otherwise your homemade recipe sounds wonderful!

  13. Lynn – Ya, Licks Ottawa is no more (sniff, sniff). They lots of pretty good veggie stuff along with the burgers. I have bought the burgers and other things at Loebs and also, I think Loblaws. I don’t think I’ve ever had Guk sauce though — must look into that.

    You can still make the grain burgers with seeds, perhaps? And some crunchy grains like Kasha and some veggies? Corn works well (though not good for people with digestive issues).

  14. I hate to say that I’ve never actually eaten a veggie burger (or a turkey burger for that matter). I think I’m afraid of the texture or something, but I definitely need to cut back on the red meat. Are they burger-ish? Will they taste like a beef burger if I melt enough cheese on them?

  15. Mo – Like I mentioned before there are a variety of veggie burgers, but there are some that try their best to be just like meat burgers and most carnivores wouldn’t be able to tell the difference — especially if you put a lot of stuff on your burger

  16. OH MY GOD! LICKS!!! I haven’t had one of their veggie burgers since I left Toronto. They are really good and I LOVED the assortment of toppings you could get – I always went for tomatoes, spicy lentil sprouts and garlicky tazhiki and cucumbers

    I like the portabello burgers you can get at the Works I think its called an MEC burger? I love me some fungus.
    My favorite burgers as a kid were giant puffballs fried up with onions and garlic on a bun. YUM!

    At home I make my own mayo (I have an aversion to store bought) with garlic and balsamic vinegar and it gets liberally slathered on anything that doesn’t move.

    I do burger potlucks. I provide a gazillion toppings and people bring their burger of choice for us to grill. I’m going to try your not-a-recipe proportions cause mine do fine getting baked in the oven but can’t handle the grill.

  17. Anonymous – Yes, I miss Licks. Buying the stuff at the grocery store and cooking it myself just isn’t the same. The whole point of Licks was a decadent fast-food meal. If I have to cook, I’ll make real food. The burger pot-luck sounds like a fun BBQ idea.

    So, the veggie burger at the Works is a slab of mushroom? Not an actual burger? I hate those things. I mean, I love portabello mushrooms and everything, but a slab of mushroom on a bun IS NOT a burger. And yet they manage to charge the same for it as if it were. I’m very disappointed.

  18. I don’t think it’s there anymore but there used to be a resto in the Byward Market on William Street I believe, called Silk Roads. They have/had the freaking best veggie burger I’ve ever had in all my life. A Pecan Burger I think it was, with a mango chutney. Sweet Mother Mary it was good!

    As far as what you can find here in Montréal theres a place… Lesbo Burger Ok, that’s not the real name, the REAL name is Le Paryse. It’s a small quaint hippy-dippish joint. They have a nut burger that is yumdillicious! don’t believe me?…

    http://www.midnightpoutine.ca/food/2007/08/la_paryse_best_burgers_in_town/