Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The glories of the A&W Mama burger

While many people will probably disagree, the North American continent is not generally known for amazing cuisine and is more likely to be associated with fast food, huge steaks and huger people eating them. Although I can't exactly disagree with that general diagnosis we did have some very nice meals over in that Canada so here's a bit about some of the places we ate.

A&W - bill themselves as the home of the burger family, and for a fast food outlet I think they do pretty well. If nothing else they get credit for not putting ice in the drinks (as they reckon they are cold enough to start with) and the burgers have an actual beefiness about them.

Swiss Chalet - no longer have the waitresses dressed as Swiss milk maids, but for a chain restaurant do good quality food at reasonable prices. Their speciality is rotisserie chicken in various formats, my favourite being the gravy smothered classic sandwich, and they have a trademark dipping sauce which I'm not keen on. Part of a group which also includes:

Harveys - a slightly more upmarket burger joint where they take the time to assemble your beef in a bun in front of you, allowing your own choice of pickles, relishes, salad items etc. This was also where I finally got round to having the Canadian speciality Poutine. Which is basically a bowl of chips with gravy and runny cheese on the top. Not a staggering addition to the world of fine dining, but very tasty and warming on a winter's night.

Milestones - also linked to the two above. And a further rung or two up the quality ladder. For example their burgers are made with Kobe beef rather than you average Canadian cow. And they will sell them to you in miniature-slider form as a starter should you so desire. Very nice butternut squash soup as well.

Tim Hortons - the most widespread and successful coffee shop chain in Canada, named for the late Hockey player who started them but now owned by Wendys. Fabulous donuts (mine's a Maple dip), tasty bagels, soup, wraps and so forth. They always seem to have the longest queue of any outlet in a mall food court and there are even a couple of outlets here in the UK now.

I also enjoyed our Greek last supper, cinamon beaver tails (no beaver involved) in Ottawa, Japanese and Chinese lunches and other stuff too.

But the chocolate is still disgusting.