I used to think a burger was a burger. Now McDonalds and their ‘beef’ patties aside, I had eaten a lot of good burgers. Ground beef, bison, ground sirloin, sure there was a difference, but at the end of the day, I felt like I had eaten a burger. And I should point out, I really like burgers, but as much as I enjoyed them, they were all on a similar kind of level of enjoyment. It’s kind of like when you first start drinking wine, or even coffee, you enjoy it, some taste better than others, but you really don’t understand it until you encounter the one that opens your eyes. When all of a sudden you realize that wow this wine actually does smell of plum and raspberries, and that it tastes beyond all your expectations. I guess it’s like one of those Magic Eye pictures where you’re supposed to see dolphins or whatever. I still haven’t managed to see anything in one of those ridiculous pictures, but that’s beside the point. When you do see it, you get it.
Enlightenment is a word that probably shouldn’t be used within the context of burgers, but that’s what it was. I stood in line at Gorgeous George’s Burger on Bernard St. in Kelowna, BC, and expected to get a good burger. Pretty much all specialty burger places make a something that is pretty tasty, so all expectations were for a good yet highly un-extraordinary experience. The cheeses sounded good. The meat was apparently high quality. You could bison if you wanted. They had some special sauce that is ever so secret. It all sounded swell, and I was hungry.
When they first handed me the paper bag, I sat up at a stool and put some malt vinegar on my fries. Little did I know that this was going to be some sort of Harold and Kumar experience. I casually ate some fries, which were very nice, fresh cut, English chip shop style. Meanwhile, the burger sat there waiting for me, wondering why I was ignoring it. I’m not sure that I have the right words for how it tasted on that first bite. I attribute this to shock. Like the first time you see a naked woman, you just don’t have the words. Maybe even a twinge of guilt, things that feel this good are generally wrong or at least frowned upon. On the second bite, however, I understood what I had discovered, and apparently what the other twelve people who were still lining up had already discovered. Legal and delicious: the blue cheese, the sauce, the meat, and some sort of crack cocaine infusion were sending tingly feelings all over. It was simply magnificent. No more than that, life changing.
The crazy thing about these burgers is that there isn’t a hoard of fancy toppings that make it tasty. It’s honestly the simplest of burgers. Options of cheese and bacon, that’s it. No roasted garlic, mushrooms, truffle oil, foie gras, nothing but meat, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce.
So if you’re reading this, and think that perhaps I’ve lost it a bit, go try one. I recommend the blue cheese, but the Smoked Applewood sounds good as does the Speckled Hen Ale and Mustard. Add bacon, do whatever, but seriously, go and bite into burger enlightenment.