One of the best foodie events of 2012 was TheGridTO’s Burger day. I was glad to know that because of its massive success last year, this weekend was its repeat. Once again, this pure indulgence took place at Artscape Wychwood Barns. This time around, for a fee of $30, you can have burgers from 60 participating establishing and enjoy burgers to your heart’s content. I knew from last year that this event could really go heavy. The only reason I survived it then was that I shared each burger with my EyeCandyTO partner, Abe Wornovitzky. This year I came with my friend Diona Joyce, a.k.a. TitaFlips. So I came ready with that strategy of not over-indulging. One to two bites of each burger would be what I would do to be able to sample a lot. I also intended to check out the new vendors. Last year I made good discoveries of places like Bestellen, Utopia and BQM made it top of my list. I wanted to find new burger joints that would pacify my want of a good beefy burger.
Waking up this morning, I was greeted with gray gloomy skies. Looking at Twitter, I saw some people tweeting that rain or shine, Burger Day would happen. Images of people getting ready for the onslaught of foodies which would start by 11am was getting more frequent at about 10am. Diona had to do some errands and we arrived late. The parking gods was looking down on me as I found parking right at the side of Artscape Wychwood Barns despite being late. I remember thinking, if the skies would just lighten up a bit, then I would never again doubt my good luck.
Walking south, we came to the queue which was the ticketing booths. It seemed that it was not as jampacked as the previous year. But I could be wrong as this year the booths were occupying a bigger square footage of the yard space, going all around the barn. Last year, it was most concentrated at the Christie St. side. This year there were more lounging areas, tables and chairs for people to use. Beer and other drinks were still sold inside the barn. Another good thing of spreading the vendors to all sides of Artscape Wychwood Barns was that there was less impeding snaking queues and foot traffic was easier. I was glad that I was wearing good shoes that I could slosh through muddy sod. With the rain being turned on and off like a light switch throughout the event, there were some puddles along the way. That did not stop foodies though to line up. When the food was good, I think I would patiently trek through mud to get there. It was also better this year that they opted for an eat-all-you-can setup as it was easier not having to line-up a second or a third time once the tickets run out. The organizers did learn a lot from last year and made this year better logistics-wise.
These vendors were my top three of all of what I have tried.
Babi & Co – Babi on a bun – I know, I know! This is not technically a burger but that pork belly with a really piping hot Chinese bun was rather addicting!
BNB – Their bison burger was perfectly seared and juicy, all you could ever want for a burger!
The Good Fork – Grilled Cheese Burger the texture of that well-crusted buttered toast with the burger sandwiched between was so satisfying.
Here’s the complete list of all that Diona and I have eaten today. Heaven, I pray, hopefully would not strike me for gluttony. :D If they have a page in Urbanspoon, I would include it so if you missed out today, you can still try their food in their restaurants. All images on the slideshow are in the order the vendors are listed.
1 & 2. Babi & Co – Babi on a Bun: Braised pork belly on a fried Chinese Bun with pickled cucumbers and sambal mayo.
3. Emma’s Country Kitchen – Crispy corn and chickpea fritter with lemon-basil mayo, shaved cucumber, pickled red onion and baby arugula
4. BNB - Bison burger with aioli arugula and porter cheddar
5. Goods & Provision – Beef and marrow burger with cheddar mayo and smoked bacon
6. Rock Lobster - Ground chuck, Old Bay Seasoning, Nova Scotia lobster, lettuce and garlic-and-lemon mayo on an egg-washed bun
7. BQM Burger – Ground chuck with pineapple, jalapeño, curry
8. Hogtown Pub and Oysters – Chuck patty with truffle aioli, Moliterno cheese, lettuce and tomato in a corn tortilla
9. Utopia Cafe – Italian Sausage and beef patty with mozzarella, pesto aioli, and spicy roasted red pepper ketchup
10. The Good Fork - Grilled-cheese burger, Fred’s ancient-grain bread, smoked gouda, shallot-tarragon jam and rémoulade
11. Shakeys – Porchetta-style pork burger with braised bitter greens and smoked-asiago “Cheese Whiz”
12. Riverside Public House – Ground chuck with smoked mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, red onion and special sauce on a sesame bun
13. Hey Meatball – Two grass-ded beef patties, cheese, spicy special sauce, lettuce and tomato jam on a ciabatta loaf
14. Habits Gastropub – Stuffed burger with beer-braised short ribs and smoked cheddar, topped with roasted citrus beet relish on a brioche bun
15. The Lakeview - Beef patty with maple caramelized onions, lemon-chive mayo, onion fritters
16 & 17. AAA - Pulled pork and chopped beef
18. Madeleines - Burger cupcakes
19. Kawartha Ice cream - Moose Tracks (Vanilla ice cream with chocolate peanut butter cups and fudge) and Raspberry Swirl (raspberry swirl woven through vanilla ice cream)