Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Boogies Burgers

We just had Canadian Thanksgiving, and what am I thankful for?  Pumpkin pie.  And especially the person who invented pumpkin pie.  Have you ever carved a jack-o-lantern and seen what's inside those things?  Never in a million years would I have thought, "Mmm mm, all this needs is some crust and a bit of nutmeg!"  Like that guy who first bit into a lobster, we are indebted to another pioneer who took what must have seemed like a really bad idea and instead enriched our palates.  Sadly, the same can't be said for the poor bastard who tried to create chocolate-covered wasps.  Some ideas that seem dumb at the time actually are.

Since it was Thanksgiving, the kids had a four-day weekend, and they came by the office on Friday for lunch.  It had been quite a while since we had gone to a great burger joint on Edmonton Trail, and even then, only Alison and I had eaten there before.  This would be the first time our boys had tried Boogies Burgers.

I can see where your mind is headed already.  Don't worry.  After ruining everyone's appetite last time with tales of grilled gonads, I'm not going to give in to the too-easy jokes that Boogies Burgers' name suggests.  There will be no discussions of nose goblins, snotcicles, nostril bungies, sinus dwellers, Kleenex caulking, nasal discharge, mucus, phlegm, or loogies.

This is a respectable blog, and I'm above all that.

So, back to the tragically named restaurant.  From their name displayed in hippy-chic stained glass to the vintage '80s tabletop video games (including, appropriately, Burger Time!), Boogies Burgers has a retro, counterculture atmosphere.  The counterculture cred mostly makes itself known through a variety of posters and prints scattered across the restaurant's walls, decrying the oppression of "The Man".  In Boogies Burger's case, they are very specific about who "The Man" is.  They have a real beef with a very famous ginger who has a predilection for wearing yellow jumpsuits and way too much makeup, the clown-prince of secret sauce (still not a mucus reference) himself, Ronald McDonald.

Boogies Burgers' belief that there is nothing happy about a meal at McDonalds must be based on a general disdain for corporate franchises, because it can't have anything to do with concerns around healthy eating.  Boogies (can I call you Boogies?) has a four-patty monstrosity called, ironically, the "Don't Fear the Reaper" burger that is "garnished" with a butterflied hotdog wiener, four slices of bacon, a fried egg (pure genius!), and is topped off with a mini corndog protruding from the bun like a deep-fried periscope.

And, no, that's not what I ordered.  Should I decide to commit meat-induced suicide, I'm going to really make it count at one of the local all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue places with all of those varieties of skewered meats.  Bet on it: if I'm leaving this world in a restaurant, I'm taking at least four animals with me.

Instead, I ordered the Sam's Burger (and added a couple of strips of bacon).  It also has a fried egg, but just one patty.  Besides the fried egg, this burger features another unique ingredient: Boogie's signature red sauce.  This is not to be confused with the Two Sisters' red sauce; the Two Sisters' version is a creole-style condiment and is definitely red.  Boogie's variety is a sweet sauce, a variation of the classic burger sauce, and is a lot closer to yellow and orange than red. 

Alison had a Fay's Burger (mushrooms and grilled onions), Will had Jebb's Burger (bacon and butterflied hotdog wiener), and Duncan chose the aptly named Pizza Burger.  Even at one patty each, these were still difficult to finish in one sitting, and we probably didn't need to order quite so many Spicy Fries.  But we hunkered down and devoured our burgers completely, except for Duncan who had half of his put into a doggie bag.  The boys were heading straight to their sports activities from Boogies, so I took Duncan's leftovers to my office to keep in the fridge until the end of my work day.  Unfortunately, I "accidently" forgot to bring it home. 

Don't tell Duncan, but it still tasted pretty good three days later.

My only complaint about Boogies is the price; I expect it to cost more than Mickey D's, but three times as much!  Burgers, fries, and soft drinks for a family of four should not cost over $40.   That hurt my feelings (and my wallet) a bit, but Boogies redeemed itself as we headed out the door.  Posted at the exit was the following sign: 

Help Wanted: P/T Experienced Cook.  Must love bacon & hugs.  Flakes and cat people need not apply.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a big fan of cats.  Actually, let me rephrase that: I hate cats.  (I typically describe a good time as being "more fun than a room full of cats and a glue gun.")  No, there isn't some deeply buried, traumatic experience from my childhood involving a feline pet, just a mild allergy.  So, I suppose what really bothers me is the effect they have on many people.  Remember when I mentioned in a previous blog entry that some people seem to crave an unhealthy relationship in their life, and many find it with cats?  I wasn't kidding.  As evidence, let's compare cat owners to dog owners:
  • Whenever you see a dog food commercial, the actor playing the dog owner always talks about shiny coats and healthy teeth.  But in cat commercials, the owner talks about how fussy their cat is, how it destroys furniture and clothing, how fickle and aloof their pet is; and they act grateful for this behaviour, because it's the only attention they're gonna get from the little beast!
  • No-one ever talks about the crazy dog lady; when the neighbours detect a funny smell wafting from next door, the paramedics never walk in to find thirty semi-feral dogs feasting on their dear owner's corpse (which is still clutching an electric can-opener and a half-opened can of Fancy Feast).  I've also noticed that it's never a crazy cat man, either, but I'm not going to say anything more about that. 
  • Historically, cats have been reviled.  The proof?  When someone is trying to solve a difficult problem, what is the old saying?  "There's more than one way to skin a cat."  And do people cross themselves and faint to hear him say this?  No, of course not.  Instead, they nod and mutter, "Yes, that sounds reasonable."
  • A hot dog is a good thing (especially with sauerkraut), and is respected for its quiet humility. But a cat in heat is a screeching, howling banshee that can strain the patience of even the most ardent cat lover.
As it turns out, cat people can't be held completely responsible for their co-dependent behaviour.  There is growing evidence that cats carry a parasite (no, not another cat, but a much smaller parasite) that usually only affects rodents, making them inexplicably attracted to the cat, overcoming any sense of self-preservation they might normally have around pussy-footed predators.  The same research implies that some humans (who carry the recessive "little old lady" gene) are similarly affected by this toxoplasm.  It would seem that common side effects also include shawl fetishes and an irrational affection for the British royal family.

Well, there we go, parasites and toxoplasm.  And here you were worried I'd mention boogers.

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