A Decent Cheeseburger at Matty’s Patty’s

Matty's Patty's
Location
: 923a Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.mattyspattysburgerclub.com/

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.  This place is called Matty’s Patty’s, but should clearly be called Matty’s Patties.  Apostrophes: they’re not that complicated!  Maybe spend the five minutes it would take to figure out how they work before you name your restaurant?

You might argue that the name is wrong on purpose because it looks better, since both words are so similar, to which I would reply that no, you need to get out of here with that.  That’s BS and we all know it.

You might also argue that no one cares, and that maybe I should be talking about the food, since that’s the point of this whole thing.  And yeah, that’s fair.

Matty's Patty's

The food is fine!  They have two main things on the menu: “Matty’s,” which is a hefty seven ounce burger that comes with mustard sauce, pickles, and onion.  I tried this about a year ago, when this blog was on hiatus, and enjoyed it.

The other thing on the menu is “Patty’s,” which is a more traditional griddle-smashed cheeseburger that you can get as a single, a double, or a triple (a vegetarian version made with Impossible Meat is also an option).  This one comes topped with either Matty’s Patty’s sauce, pickled jalapeno mayo, or spicy ketchup sauce.  I went with the single and had it topped with pickled jalapeno mayo.

Matty's Patty's

It’s pretty decent.  Nothing about it blew me away, but the patty has a very mild beefy flavour and a nice texture thanks to the course grind.  It could stand to be beefier and juicier, but you could absolutely do worse.

The pickled jalapeno mayo mostly just tasted like a slightly zingier version of regular mayo, which is too bad because the burger really needed something a bit more acidic to cut through the richness of the gooey cheese and the patty.

The bun was probably the highlight, oddly enough.  It was super soft, squishy, and fresh, with just the right amount of heft to stand up to the patty.  It kinda reminded me of the potato rolls that have become so popular in the GTA, but better.

Quick Bites: Sarpa Restaurant, Burger Drops, El Pocho Antojitos Bar

Sarpa Restaurant
Franco Fries at Sarpa Restaurant

This place probably deserves more than a quick bite review, but it’s one of the many restaurants I visited while this blog was on hiatus, and this seems like it’s better than nothing.  I tried a few things here, and everything was quite good, but the highlight was clearly the Franco Fries: “hand cut fries, parmesan cheese, truffle-honey essence.”  This seems like an odd thing to order at an upscale Italian restaurant, but trust me — you need these fries in your life.  The fries themselves are perfectly cooked, with a crispy exterior and creamy interior, but it’s that truffle-honey essence that really makes these things sing.  I’m normally not crazy about anything with truffle oil (most truffle oils have never seen an actual truffle in their life), but this didn’t have that flavour at all; it was garlicky, a little bit sweet, and thoroughly addictive.

Burger Drops
Burger and a chicken sandwich from Burger Drops

I tried a couple of things at Burger Drops.  The first was the original burger, which features “griddled sweet onion, American cheese, house pickles, Drop sauce, toasted potato roll.”  It’s a solid burger — the patty has a nice crust, a decent beefy flavour, and the toppings suit it well.  It’s a bit on the dry side and nothing about it really jumped out at me, but it’s a tasty burger.  If I had been reviewing it for my burger blog, I’d give it a solid three out of four.  The other thing I tried was the chicken sandwich, which is odd, but tasty.  The odd thing about it: it’s not a traditional fried chicken sandwich.  Instead, it’s basically a gourmet McChicken, right down to the reconstituted chicken patty.  It’s a fun novelty and a big step above its fast food inspiration, but I’m not sure that I’d ever elect to eat this over a standard fried chicken sandwich.

El Pocho Antojitos Bar
Chilaquiles at El Pocho Antojitos Bar

Chilaquiles is one of those dishes that really deserves to be a bigger deal.  It’s such a simple dish: it’s just tortilla chips tossed in a zingy sauce.  At El Pocho Antojitos Bar, it’s also topped with crema (I think?  It’s been a while), cheese, and a fried egg.  The sauce thoroughly coats the chips, softening them a bit, though they do still retain a bit of their crunch.  It’s a thoroughly satisfying dish.

The Grand Big Mac at McDonald’s

The Grand Big Mac at McDonald'sLocation30 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

I actually had no particular intention of trying the Grand Big Mac.  I mean, it’s just a bigger Big Mac, right?  I was hoping to try the Ghost Pepper McChicken, but the McDonald’s I visited didn’t have it, so what the hell, Grand Big Mac it is.

It’s… just a bigger Big Mac.

The Grand Big Mac at McDonald's

It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but if you’re craving a Big Mac and you’re very hungry, sure, why not?  The regular Big Mac is 570 calories and the Grand Big Mac is 850, so there’s definitely a noticeable difference in size.  Otherwise, it’s a Big Mac, but bigger.

It might have been a bit more interesting if it had the same bun but bigger patties, because then at least then you’d be getting a slightly different, beefier experience.  But everything is proportionately bigger, so eating it feels about the same as eating a regular Big Mac.  There’s just more of it.

The Plant-Based, Beyond Meat P.L.T. at McDonald’s

Beyond Meat Burger (PLT) at McDonald'sLocation: 980 Dundas Street, Woodstock
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

What have I been up to today?  Oh, you know, not much, just driving 120 kilometres to try a veggie burger at McDonald’s.  That’s 120 kilometres one way, so 240 kilometres total, or about three hours of driving.

You know, a totally rational, normal way to spend a Monday.  Not crazy at all.

Yes, in case you haven’t heard, McDonald’s recently embraced the inevitable and announced that they’re going to be joining the increasingly crowded fake meat game.

They’ve teamed up with Beyond Meat, probably the most famous purveyor of veggie burgers that (supposedly) taste like the real deal, and they’re testing them out at 28 locations in and around London, Ontario.

Beyond Meat Burger (PLT) at McDonald's

The faux-burger is called the P.L.T. (Plant, Lettuce and Tomato), and they describe it on their website as “a juicy, plant-based patty made with Beyond Meat® and served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayo-style sauce, ketchup, mustard, and a slice of processed cheddar cheese.”

It’s… fine, I guess?  It’s a Beyond Meat burger through and through, so if you’ve had one of those, then you know what to expect.  The McDonald’s publicity machine is claiming that they’ve been working with Beyond Meat to create a custom patty that matches the flavour of their standard burgers, and maybe that’s true.  But if it is, I certainly couldn’t tell.

The advance buzz — that this tastes just like a regular McDonald’s burger — is absolutely, positively not the case.  It’s basically fine for what it is, but unless it’s been many, many years since you’ve had a burger at the Golden Arches, you’re not going to be fooled.

Beyond Meat Burger (PLT) at McDonald's

The biggest issues are the taste and the texture (so… everything, basically).  The flavour is vaguely meat-like, but it also tastes off and lacks anything even remotely resembling beefiness.  It’s not gross, but it kind of falls into the uncanny valley of hamburgers.

The texture is about the same — close, but not quite there.  It vaguely approximates an actual hamburger, but again, it’s off; it’s a bit too soft and mushy.

I recently had the Beyond Burger at Tim Hortons; this is going to sound completely insane, but that one was better.  In this particular case, Tim Hortons’ incompetence worked in their favour — the patty had obviously been cooked in advance and kept warm, which dried it out a bit and helped to reduce the off-putting squishy texture.

Beyond Meat Burger (PLT) at McDonald's

Everything else about the burger was fine — the many condiments were all McDonald’s standbys, and they were all tasty enough.

Honestly, it could have used more toppings.  The patty was still the dominant flavour, and in this case that’s definitely not a good thing.  The version at Tim Hortons was more successful in covering up the flavour of the patty with a welcome deluge of assertive condiments.

Is this worth a three hour drive?  For a maniac like me who’s eaten at McDonald’s all over the world, maybe?  For everyone else, absolutely not.  It’s fine for what it is, but when Tim friggin’ Hortons is beating you at your own game, you know you’re in trouble.

Mexican Chipotle Burger at McDonald’s

McDonald's Mexican Chipotle Burger - McTastersLocation: 1138 Victoria Street North, Kitchener
Website: https://www.mcdonalds.com/ca/en-ca.html

McDonald’s recently came out with a couple of “new” (I’m pretty sure both have been on the menu before) items called McTasters: the Thai Sweet Chili Chicken Sandwich, and the Mexican Chipotle Burger.

I tried the Mexican Chipotle Burger, and it was surprisingly decent.  It’s definitely one of the better new things I’ve tried at McDonald’s recently.

McDonald's Mexican Chipotle Burger - McTasters

The burger comes with “chipotle aioli sauce, crispy tortilla strips and a juicy beef patty, all on a toasted sesame and paprika ciabatta bun.”

It’s tasty.  The chipotle aioli sauce basically tastes like the dressing you’ll find on any number of Southwest salads, only with a mild spicy kick.  The crunchy tortilla strips add a nice bit of texture, and the cheese (which is unmentioned on the menu for some reason) ties it all together.

McDonald's Mexican Chipotle Burger - McTasters

The bun is interesting, too — it’s chewier and more dense than the typical McDonald’s bun, but it works.

It helps that the beef is the classic small McDonald’s patty, and not the Angus or the Quarter Pounder patty that they use in most of their limited-time items.  When it comes to the beef at McDonald’s, less is more; the slim old-school patty is the perfect size.