Unique Pork Cheeseburgers at Harmony Lunch

Harmony LunchLocation: 90 King Street North, Waterloo
Websitehttps://harmonylunch.ca/

Harmony Lunch makes me mad.  Not because the food is bad — it’s actually quite good.  That’s the problem.

I went to the University of Waterloo, so I lived in the area for four years, and I somehow managed to go that entire time without knowing that this place existed.  To add insult to injury: it’s right around the corner from the Princess Cinema, an art house theatre that was a regular destination for me during my time in Waterloo.  So it was right there, and I had no idea.

Harmony Lunch

Harmony Lunch is a legit old-school diner (it’s been around since 1930) that’s mostly known for their pork-based hamburgers that are served with a generous amount of griddled onions (along with tomato, relish, mustard, and American cheese).

It’s basically a classic griddled hamburger, only with pork instead of beef.  I missed the beef — in the context of a hamburger, the much milder flavour of pork feels like a downgrade when you’re expecting that nice beefy hit.  But then I’m kinda burger-obsessed, so maybe I’m biased.

Harmony Lunch

Certainly, it’s hard to complain too much when the final product is so tasty.  The patty is otherwise just right, with a good texture, a nice amount of crust from the griddle, and a satisfying juiciness.  And the combo of the pork patty, the soft griddled onions, and the gooey American cheese is hard to resist.

It’s all on a soft, fresh bun that’s been lightly toasted on both sides, and that suits the burger perfectly.

Harmony Lunch

I got it with the house salad on the side, which was nicely prepared and featured a deliciously zingy dressing.

So… how did I manage to live in Waterloo for four years without knowing about this place??  Who should I be furious at?  I need to direct this anger somewhere.

Outstanding (if untraditional) Philly Cheesesteaks at Illstyl3 Sammies

Illstyl3 SammiesLocation: 300 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/Illstyl3-Sammies-227723081025310/

I’ve mentioned before that it’s surprisingly difficult to find a classic Philly cheesesteak in the city (i.e. just steak, onions, and Cheese Wiz or provolone on a roll).

But if every cheesesteak could be as delicious as what they’re serving at Illstyl3 Sammies, then classic shmassic.  Because it’s far from traditional, but exceptionally delicious.

Illstyl3 Sammies

And it’s classic enough.  The steak, the onions, and the gooey provolone are all perfect.  In particular, the steak is exactly as it should be — it’s super tender, and has enough of a beefy taste to assert itself even among the very assertive flavours of the sandwich.

Specifically, they liberally season the beef with some kind of spice blend (the fennel stands out the most, but there’s definitely a lot going on here), and they add in hot peppers along with the onions. They also top the sandwich with a zesty house-made hot sauce that adds a ton of flavour and a very mild spiciness.

Illstyl3 Sammies

The taste is very far from a classic cheesesteak, but it’s got the three things you’re hoping for: it’s beefy, cheesy, and delicious.

My only real complaint is that the roll was a bit on the dry side, but other than that this was a top-shelf sammich.

Another Tasty Meal at Manpuku

ManpukuLocation105 McCaul Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.manpuku.ca/

I’ve already talked about Manpuku, so I’ll keep this brief.  I went back and tried the shigure don, and just like the udon I tried on my last visit, it was absolutely delicious and delightfully cheap.

The shigure don consisted of a heaping pile of tasty, well-marinated beef and onions atop  a generous portion of rice.  The beef looks a bit dry in the picture, but it was actually super tender, and surprisingly packed with flavour.  And the soft, tasty onions compliment the beef perfectly.

Manpuku

It cost $6.49.  I mean, come on, Manpuku — now you’re making all the other restaurants look bad.  I’ve frequently paid three or four times as much money for meals that weren’t half as good as what they’re serving here.