Tag Archives: burger

Five Guys 008

Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Real Idaho Potatoes

Today, K and I ventured downtown to check out a burger joint that we have been meaning to review for a while. He had been to the one in Kingston once before, but had also tried out the chain elsewhere in the States. I, on the other hand, was a Five Guys virgin.

atmosphere

Despite it being a cold and snowy night, the place was hopping with people. It was a pleasantly diverse crowd, with locals, families, young couples, and even some military folk dressed in their garb. As you walk in, you head straight for the cash, where they take your order. The menu is very simple, with four regular burgers to choose from (hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger, or bacon cheeseburger) and four little burgers (with the same variety). The regular burgers use two patties, while the little burgers use one. You can also get one of two sizes of soft drinks (which you fill up on your own – and refills are free), and one of two sizes of fries. The fries can be seasoned either Five Guys style (just salt) or Cajun style. The kitchen is entirely open for all to see, and it is impeccably clean and efficient. The eating area, on the other hand, though bright, was in need of a cleaning. This probably had to do with the weather outside, and the fact that everyone is welcome to munch on some free peanuts while they wait. I definitely spotted some peanut shell families gathering underneath the tables.

what we ordered

A word of caution: don’t throw out your receipts too quickly! I am a person who does not hang onto receipts, so in my haste, I threw it out before I got my order. Luckily, I remembered the order number, and I got my order just the same. However, if you are not inclined to remember your order number, make sure you keep your receipt!

Before we start talking about the food, note the picture above – a number two sticker is on my burger. This is a testament to the true efficiency of the joint. Every order is accompanied by a receipt number, and within that order, each burger is numbered so you know whose is whose!! This is especially helpful if you are ordering burgers for a whole bunch of people, or if people get the same burger, but with different toppings. Now, on to the good stuff…

This is the Little Cheeseburger, with ketchup, lettuce, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms (4.79). Oh! I forgot to mention that all the toppings come free of charge – you just tell them what you want! K enjoyed his burger, but he says that if he were to do it again, he would just go for the regular burgers.

This is the Little Bacon Burger, with lettuce, ketchup, mustard, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms (4.79). I definitely thought I ordered a Little Bacon Cheeseburger instead, but alas, the receipt (and my sandwich) told me otherwise. The burger was okay, but I didn’t find anything spectacular to rave about. The grilled mushrooms are a nice addition, and they do toast the buns, but I found that the bottom bun almost disappeared amidst the rest of the burger. K has much better burger-eating technique than I do, so I found myself wiping my fingers after almost every bite.

We cannot have burgers without fries! So, we ordered a portion of Five Guys style large fries (2.29). By the cash, they have a whiteboard where they write down where the potatoes are from for the day. Today, they were from Place Farms in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The fries were delicious, and they tasted oh so potato-ey. I definitely enjoyed them.

We also ordered a drink, a large drink (2.29), but you could technically order a regular drink, since you get free refills. It’s up to you! The selection of soft drinks is nothing to rave about either, but again, it is part of a complete burger combo.

After eating all this, I was still a little bit hungry, so we decided to order a Regular Hamburger (6.29). If you are someone with a medium to large appetite, I would  definitely suggest getting the Regular burgers instead.

This is our Regular Hamburger, with grilled onions, regular onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, and lettuce. Note the two patties. This burger was much better than the other two. It was juicier, had a fuller flavour, and just generally more enjoyable. With the two patties together, you could really taste that the patties were homemade – the ground beef flavour was much more distinct. I would definitely recommend you give this one a try. As we finished up, we felt much more satisfied, and it was a great way to end the meal.

overall

3 (out of 5) for food

1.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Disclaimer: The reason we gave Five Guys such a low mark for atmosphere was because of the nature of the place. At its heart, Five Guys is a fast food joint, and not a place you would go for a sit-down dinner (this is not to say that only fancy places will get a good rating for atmosphere).

That being said, Five Guys is a nice alternative to the otherwise unhealthy fast food options that we are given in today’s world. We will probably be back sometime (or at least, K will, in the spring time, once softball season begins).

Check it out for yourself at 185 Princess Street (Bagot and Princess)!

C

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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Harper’s Burger Bar – Hipster Meat Patties For All!!

Pokes and prods aside, I’ve been here twice: once with C a few days removed from opening day and another time with my parents for lunch. On our first visit the place was jam packed, the service was prompt and courteous, and the food was delicious. On my second visit the place was less packed, the service was horrible, and the food, after two trips, was forgettable.

Harper’s is one of the newer additions to the burger and fries scene that has taken downtown Kingston by storm. It’s located a little ways down Princess Street right beside the Sleepless Goat on Princess and Wellington St. It’s owned by the same people who own Le Chien Noir and Atomica’s near the Brock Street Commons but I have to say that I’m still undecided on how I feel about it. I still appreciate their desire to stick to local ingredients and to offer Kingston a higher quality burger, but their flip-floppy restaurant experience is lost on me. Anyways. Enough about my ambivalence and more about the review!

atmosphere
I think this, like our Geneva Crepe Cafe adventure, was a pre-fellowship dinner and we decided to go check it out on a whim (we hadn’t realized that it had opened already). When we entered the place was packed with people and we were lucky to get a seat so quickly. We sat in the middle of the restaurant which gave us kind of a nice view of everyone else eating, but I kind of wished we had gotten a booth. Oh well. As I looked around I noticed the demographic of the patrons, mostly young university students who look the part of the eco-movement. What was nice, though, was also seeing locals out and offering their patronage to Harper’s. I do honestly hope that this place becomes a fixture in downtown Kingston.

The space itself is intimate and dimly lit. I’m feeling mixed about the televisions around the room because while I really like watching Top Chef while I’m eating I feel like it cheapens the place a little bit. I really did like the exposed brick interior and the general decor the restaurant though.

Some cool things that they offer at Harper’s are a kid’s menu, a lunch special, spiked milkshakes, and blue plate dinners (hip diner versions of: fried chicken, salmon filet, and strip steak. Oh how I wish they would do a meatloaf). Harper’s is trying to play the part of trendy diner and after looking through their menu I’m mildly convinced. One thing to highlight is the lunch special which takes place daily between 11.30am-4.30pm, which includes their classic burger, a side of fries, and a fountain drink for $10. Not bad.

what we ordered

(our bad on the pictures…it was REALLY dim in there haha)

C tried one of their shakes (I have never understood her affinity to drinking things like shakes or smoothies while eating…) with her meal. She ordered their chocolate shake ($5 – made from Kawartha Lakes ice cream). It was crazy light (even I drank some!!) and didn’t have as strong as a chocolate flavour as I thought, which was really pleasant.

C ordered their Classic Burger with a side of onion rings, but added cheese and bacon onto her patty ($9.50). The onion rings were so forgettable. I can’t emphasize to you enough how forgettable they were. They were your run of the mill onion rings that you could have gotten from Harvey’s. We were both expecting some kind of fancy thick cut onion rings with panko batter or something. To be entirely honest I like A&W rings waaaaay more than the ones at Harper’s. The burger itself wasn’t bad, it was thick and relatively juicy, although C found it a bit too salty.

I ordered the sliders with a side of their Yukon Gold fries ($12.50 for your choice of three miniature versions of their signature burgers with your choice of side). Now, I’m really big on burgers and I couldn’t decide which veritable taste sensation I wanted to isolate a burger to so I opted for the sliders. I ended up getting: easy (Ontario cheddar, bacon, soya glazed mushrooms, HBB sauce), umami (brie, balsamic candied onions, tamari glazed mushrooms, white truffle aioli), and deluxe (Monterey Jack, avocado, local bacon, roasted garlic-rosemary aioli). I liked a lot about these lil guys. The sliders were a good size, nice variety of ingredients to taste different, and cooked well.

My only complaint was with the presentation of their lettuce, onions, tomato, and pickles. Come on. With all of the thought that went into the ingredient combinations of the burgers, you can’t think of a better way to present it than slicing them together and tossing it on the basket?

overall

3 (out of 5) for food

3.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

If you had asked me my thoughts after my first visit to Harper’s I would have raved to you about the service and food. But after my second visit I would tone down my zealousness towards it and tell you that it’s totally worth a try with an open mind.

I will probably go back when they (hopefully) switch up their burger menu a little bit or to try their blue plate dinners. Other than that I will be taking my (and C’s probably haha) burger patronage to Five Guy’s Burger and Fries over and over again.

K

Harper's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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AquaTerra – We LOVE regional ingredients!!

AquaTerra…how you have evaded our patronage, I will never know. This is by far one of the better restaurants in Kingston, in all categories of comparison (service, food quality, worth), and for some ridiculously strange reason C and I had never been there together. C is an AquaTerra regular due to her affiliation with TORF and has had several items on the menu before. I, on the other hand, am an ¬†AquaTerra virgin…NO MORE! And spoiler alert to the evaluation at the end, it won’t be the last time I go either haha.

atmosphere

AquaTerra is just inside the main lobby of the Radisson on Ontario St. and I guess for the past few years C has been trying to find a faster way into the hotel other than the main entrance but has yet to find one. So, we entered through the main entrance like normal people. Upon entering the restaurant you’ll get an almost lounge-y feel to to it, which isn’t a bad thing…I really felt like the atmosphere would’ve been more suited to a nighttime event rather than our casual lunch.

Also upon arrival the excellent service begins. The hostess and our server were almost borderline impossibly kind, which made our dining experience all the more enjoyable. You could tell our server’s passion was in serving fine food, which was so cool to see.

During the week AquaTerra offers a prix fixe menu for $15. This includes a soup or salad, a main, and a dessert with coffee or tea. For the quality of the food and the portion sizing, I would say that the $15 for a lunch is well worth it. On Sundays they offer a brunch buffet but I’ve heard mixed reviews about it. C and I had the prix fixe.

what we had

C ordered one of their refresher mock-tails, she found it a little too heavy on the spritzer with the mango flavour being dulled and the pineapple flavour being too much. Well, I liked it and I guess that’s why I drank most of it. $4.

This was their complimentary rosemary, chive, and red pepper butter to go with the bread basket. I’m not really sure if it’s a staple at AquaTerra or if they change these butters every week, but regardless it was tasty. The red pepper flavour comes through the most but it was definitely an upgrade over your standard butter. We LOVED that they used Pan Chancho bread.

We both got the soup of the day as our first course. This was a cauliflower based soup with chorizo blended in. The soup itself was seasoned wonderfully, although we wished that the chorizo flavour would’ve came out just a tad more. It was thick, creamy, and definitely an awesome starter.I highly recommend it if they ever serve it as a soup of the day again.

This was my curried chicken wrap (grilled chicken, sauteed peppers, onions, sweet curry mayo). It reminded me a lot of a chicken wrap that I had when C and I visited Mackenzie King Estates in Gatineau Park, except the chicken in the Aquaterra version was more juicy and tender. The curry flavour came out beautifully in this wrap and the fries were fresh and absolutely delicious. I wish there were more fries on the plate haha. The only thing that I would add to this plate would be some kind of aioli to go with the fries. Really solid dish though.

C got the AquaTerra burger (Kenview farms black angus burger, sauteed onions, maple dijon mustard). C added cheese for an extra dollar and other than that you would think that it’s your everyday kind of burger. But not all your everyday kind of burgers can taste like a smorgasbord of flavours in your mouth like this one was. The burger was juicy and chock full of flavour, cooked to absolute perfection (right at that point where the meat is cooked through, but there is this massive moisture retention going on).

Okay so by this point we’re actually surprisingly full. Almost to the point of satiation. But we must persist! Dessert awaits!

I got their warm chocolate bread pudding (served with caramel creme anglaise and pralines). I’ve had bad experiences with yucky bread pudding in the past so I’m not sure why I ordered this. I thought I would be way too full to eat anything more, let alone something that had the word bread in it,and the chocolate aspect of it sounded way too rich for me (for those of you that know me, you know that I really don’t like chocolate). I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The bread pudding was warm and light, and by light I mean as light as a bread pudding can be. The chocolate flavour was relatively subtle contrary to its appearances (I mean look at that picture…it looks like it was left soaking in a chocolate fountain for twenty minutes). I didn’t end up finishing it because I was way too full, but it was definitely a good way to end of a meal.

C was even more full than I was so she got the ice cream. Their ice cream comes from a regional creamery called Slickers near Picton, ON. This particular day’s ice cream was made from local Concorde grapes. Our taste palettes were definitely not prepared for this one. When you usually think of grape you think of a clear, crisp flavour in some kind of juice medium. This was a very vivid grape flavour in a cream medium, so the creaminess really threw us off. It was really tasty and we really liked that they use regional ice cream. C and I will definitely be taking a trip to Prince Edward County to try more of Slickers ice cream. Oh, one more thing. Look at that portion sizing. THREE SCOOPS?! Too much for us, man.

overall

4.5 (out of 5) for food

4 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Eating at AquaTerra for their prix fixe was such a nice treat for C and I. We loved our server and the regional ingredients that were used. The presentation of the food was tasteful and the food itself was tasty (see what I did there? haha). Will we be back? Definitely. We need to go there at night and try their dinnertime menu and atmosphere. I wish we could have scored them higher for atmosphere but it was just too odd during the day time.

One more story. Our lovely server forgot to charge us for C’s refresher mocktail and instead of running back to the computer to print out a new receipt with the correct charge on it (which we would have been more than happy to pay), she waived it off and said it was her mistake so that was on her. Classy move. In exchange for a $4 dollar mocktail the restaurant will get our probable undying support and loyalty through our eating adventures.

Go check out AquaTerra near Ontario and Johnson (1 Johnson St.) inside the Radisson.

K

Aqua Terra on Urbanspoon