Sunday, April 14, 2013

Drunk Review: Hero Certified Burger

Full disclosure: I am not drunk right now. I am able to write this post by the miracle of pen and paper. You see, yesterday was my birthday and my wife gave me this snazzy book to capture ideas for my blog when I am out and about. It is REALLY hard using an iphone to type and drink. I know why earlier writers used typewriters.

Anyways, after having birthday brews in the early afternoon, I finally settled on a destination. Once you have kids, there is always a fine line when choosing a restaurant for your birthday. Their little faces look expectantly at you while they secretly hope that you choose their favourite place. The first suggestions were for Dangerous Dan's (not close enough to be walkable) or Occasions (a neighbourhood family restaurant, their favourite). Remembering my last visit to Hero Burger near work, I found something that might peak their interest, the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine that promises 100+ choices of soft drinks. Also, it had been a while since a Drunk Review opportunity had presented itself.

The rest of this post will be constructed from my notes, if I can read them. It may be that I will have to get myself into the same mindset (read as on the dusk of drunkenness or edge of inebriation, or that pleasant land where you can just glimpse the next land of lushness) but I will bravely try to forego the call of the beer fridge.

We walked down to the Beach location of Hero Burger. Much of that walk is a blur but I remember it punctuated with "Are we there yet" 's and hockey stories. Boys. We made it to the door and entered into a world of choices. Maybe too many choices for those coming into the space for the first time under the influence of something other than hunger. I was glad that I had visited one of these shops before so that I could wrangle the boys through the process and use their indecisiveness to cover up my slight wobble and wow and flutter at the choices.

There were screens perpetually flashing alternate burger messages. I was afraid that if I made a choice, a better choice would show up later. The visuals needed some shooop noises or maybe the sound of the doors from Star Trek. Their website gives you some idea of what I'm talking about. The pictures were subtly moving like a gentle Blair Witch effect but in colour, or maybe that was me.

The gee-whiz-wow gadgets didn't end there. Nope. I had some type of drink from the freestyle machine that required me to push buttons, tap bars, hold buttons and basically act like one of those joy chasing rats in an experiment. I had something called Zipp, Pibb or Blech. Not sure which but it was sweet and wet like a sucker melted in hot water and cooled down. Come to think of it, that describes most soft drinks.

If I had despoiled my mental faculties in another way other than alcohol, one could spend a lot of time communing with the machine. This is so complicated for the average stoner, that the freestyle website has instructions that the average stoner should practice before coming to the restaurant.

So, while you are waiting for the burger (takes 5 minutes, says so on the menu), you can take as many trips to the machine as you want. Only problem. There doesn't appear to be a washroom. A drunk without a washroom is like a woman without a bicycle. (Me neither.) There may be one but it isn't obvious to the oblivious.

If I hadn't kept the receipt, I would not be able to relay that I tried an 8oz burger with white chili cheddar, zucchini relish, jalapeno, maple chipotle BBQ and ancho chipotle sauce. I am not normally that forgetful of what I put in my pie-hole but the burger was forgettable. Not entirely, the patty was huge in proportion to the admittedly tasty bun so that it looked like a flying saucer, especially the saucer from "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

Eventually the hats of horror appear. Once you open those babies, there is nowhere to put your burger. You are left with shreds of chef's hat all over the tray and no way to put down the burger. As mentioned before, if you order the UFO then you are eating it in one fell swoop. I don't remember what the burger tasted like. The toppings were good. The bun was reasonable.

The last sci-fiction futurism detail came with the fries who wore some more frilly white packaging. <ASIDE> If you have seen those weird white things that are put on turkey legs at Thanksgiving in tv shows and movies, this packaging looks like that, all French, frilly and fake. </ASIDE> The detail was this ketchup package that allowed you to squeeze or dip. If you look at the press release link over there, you will see that one of the product manager's names is Pavlov. Coincidence? I think not. So, you can indulge your weird drunk-fu by squeezing a little drop of ketchup on each and every fry. More rewarding that gripping and ripping the little tab on the mini-tub of ketchup and dipping, in my opinion because, of course, the rest of this post is all fact.

The kids loved the gadgets but they have not been brought up watching Jetson's or any other future forward 1950s sci-fi shows. I want my flying car, damn it. Anyways, this restaurant is good for kids but bad for drunks.  From the plethora of choice, messiness of unpacking the burger and the OCD of ketchup application to the confusion inducing screens; the whole thing seems designed to purposefully keep boozehounds out. I know that my kids will ask to go there again. Could be worse. They could have a McD's jonesing.

Hero Certified Burgers on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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