Saturday, November 13, 2010

Messini Authentic Gyros (Toronto, ON)

445 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1P2, Canada, T: 1-416-778-4861

Toronto, Ontario, is one of the most multicultural cities in the world (49% of the population is born outside of Canada!). Consequently, good ethnic food of whatever kind can be found. Allegedly, the best gyros can be found at Messini Authentic Gyros in Little Greece. I got a pita gyros (pork), which truly was authentic. No strips of greasy, ground meat, but chunks of spiced meat, fresh from the skewer, onion, tomato, tatziki and... fries! A very tasty combination, even if the tatziki was a bit flavorless.

VERDICT: 94/100
This is the second best pita gyros I ever ate; after the one at De Griek in Leiden, the Netherlands. The only thing that is off, is the tatziki, which could have more flavor.

That said, Messini is not just a gyros joint, it is a real Greek restaurant. A couple days later I went back with my wife, and we had a mixed grill with great gyros, juicy chicken souvlaki, tasty pork kabob, and ok Greek sausage on a bed of 'Greek fries' (potato slices). It came with a fresh salad, pita, and a delicious kalamati tapenade. Delicious and authentic!

New York Fries (Canada)

Somewhere along highway 401 in Canada.

New York Fries is not in New York; hell, it is not even an American outlet. It is a Canadian chain with, at this time, 201 locations all over Canada as well as in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and Hong Kong. It serves fries, poutine, and hot dogs.

I got a medium portion of "classic fries", which according to the website are: "Hand Cut. Skins On. Cooked to order in Trans fat free, non-hydrogenated Sunflower Oil. Served hot and crisp. Perfect fries every time." While "perfect" is a bit over the top, they were definitely among the best I have had in North America!

VERDICT: 93/100
If you are looking for some very tasty french fries in a fast food setting, and you are in Canada, New York Fries is the place to be. Next time I will also try the hot dogs as I have the feeling they might be well above average too.

Miller's Bar (Dearborn, MI)

23700 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124, T:

Miller's Bar is an institution in the larger Detroit area. Since 1941 this uneventful bar (windowless outside, dark inside) has been serving some of the best burgers in Michigan. In fact, despite the name, it is more a burger joint than a bar. Based purely on quality and word-of-mouth, Miller's Bar serves a very limited menu in which only the burgers, onions, and fries are truly acknowledged. The rest is listed under "and if you've gotta have it".

I went for one of the "world famous" Ground Round (i.e. hamburger), fries and a coke. I forgot what it all cost, but it was probably around $10. The fries were not special. The burger comes only with a thick, very juicy, patty and a thick slice of onion. The condiments on your table are ketchup, mustard, and pickles. Despite the rather minimalist approach, this was one of the freshest burgers I ever had.

VERDICT: 94/100
What can I say, the hype is true: Miller's Bar serves one of the best hamburgers in the country! In fact, if they would provide you with a few more condiment options, it would be even better. A tip: don't waste your time on the fries, just get a second burger!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Little Big Burger (Portland, OR)

127 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209.

Little Big Burger is a small burger joint in the hipster Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. But it is a small place with big plans. As soon as you step in, you get the feeling that it is a chain. At the moment, however, they only have one more joint, in the northeast of the city. But I'm sure there will be more soon.

Little Big Burger only sells cheeseburgers ($3.75), hamburgers ($3.25), veggie burgers ($3.25), fries ($2.75), sodas ($1.75), and floats ($3.50). I went for a hamburger, fries, and soda. The hamburger is a 1/4 lb crusty, juicy patty with lettuce, red onion, and pickle. It's small, but very tasty. The fries come in a large portion, golden brown fried, but not very tasty.

VERDICT: 90/100
Little Big Burger serves small but top burgers and mediocre fries. Next time I will go for two burgers instead of burger and fries.