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Charlie's Burger latest meal...

...was reviewed in the Globe and Mail


Interesting that a food critic and photographer from the same newspaper "happened" to be on the invite list. Perhaps the photographer was the guest. But who knows?

Again, the food sounds interesting but that $155 price tag (maybe the rare Queen Ant jacked up the food cost?) put it out of my price range for eating western style food made from what is considered "street food" in many Asian cities.

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  1. There is a certain amount of BS in the supposed 50% FCFS 50% lottery story, I casually know someone who went to the dinner (and was mentioned in the article as sitting beside the critic) who got in by asking "Charlie" directly. She's connected so I guess she knows who "Charlie(s)" is/are.

    1. MMM... I remember watching that scene in the Lion King when Timone and Pumba were eating all the bugs and thinking "Oh my that looks tasty"... so I wanna try this one!

      1. Does anyone really care about Charlie Burger anymore? The original concept was interesting but now prices are exhorbitant, insider preference. Once, I was interested. Now, no longer.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cynalan

          Forgive me but aren't the two sort of mutually exclusive? If you have to be an insider to get in at that price...the price can hardly be too high, no?

          Even ignoring the cost of the ingredients (which one has to assume is relatively high seeing that they're about as far from mainstream as possible), the cost of the time of the chefs involved trying to make such ingredients palatable can't be insignificant. Having done some catering myself, I seriously doubt that this is a highly profitable venture.

          Add to the fact that this is fairly groundbreaking stuff in terms of sustainable food-sourcing etc and I commend these guys for what they're doing.

          1. re: downtownfoodie

            Aside from this last dinner, what exactly are they doing that is so groundbreaking?

            1. re: millygirl

              the bugs seemed gimmicky to me. it didn't appear like they were working with the flavours so much as integrating them in for texture. if that's all they're there for then i'm not sure what the big deal is really... for some it's just a slimy or crunchy step up from an oyster or fried shrimp head with less flavour. but i guess yes, you wouldn't get bugs at a regular restaurant in toronto.

              also.... as for sustainable food-sourcing... i really don't believe any of the dinners have focused around that at all. at least none of the menus read that way nor did they ever market it that way. i mean they "flew in" a bunch of ducks in a can from montreal... how sustainable is that?!

              i wouldn't say there are insiders... so much as a vip list for the non-regular folk.

              1. re: millygirl

                i'm not claiming everything they;re doing is, but hey, no one bats a 1000, right? i just support anyone who pushes boundaries with food...whether they're economically or altruistrically driven doesn't bother me...as long as they're doing something new and interesting...and hopefully tasty

          2. For those of you interested in sampling some insect cuisine there's another chance this weekend and it's significantly cheaper than $155


            1. Are there any restaurants in the Toronto area that serve any dishes that include insects?

              2 Replies
              1. re: madmolecule

                atlantic with crickets, call ahead to reserve the buggers.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Apparently had to take them off the menu for a while at the insistence of his insurance company but I hear they are back.

              2. Did anyone go to last night's meal (horse)? If so, please tell us how it was

                5 Replies
                1. re: 00CP

                  I was invited but didn't make it to the second round of invites. I too would be interested to hear how the dinner was.

                  1. re: 00CP

                    i went. it was quite good. the only horse i'd ever had was a bite of tartare a couple days before the dinner, so i didn't know what to expect, other than thinking it'd be gamey. it's flavourful, lean, tender.

                    my favourite course was the lardo on a crostini (for flavour, though the texture was surprisingly tough/chewy), and the tenderloin with sage-apple stuffing. lots of other people loved the choucroute. the pho had a buttery-soft slice of meat, but the course was kind of ruined due to undercooked rice noodles. the pho broth was made from horse bones, and was very rich and dark, deeper in flavour than any pho i'd ever had.

                    even the dessert had horse in it -- lard rendered from the other courses, which went into the apple tart's pastry.

                    i don't drink, so i didn't partake in the wine but everyone said the pairings were spot on. one of the sommeliers said they basically guessed, seeing as they didn't have the luxury of tasting horse in advance.

                    as an aside: there was lots of discussion the ethics of eating, ahem, "cheval." my general eating view on eating horse (yes, they're smart and human-loyal, like dogs) is that people make arbitrary, silly decisions about what is an acceptable food animal, and what is exempt. eating meat is inherently an environmentally destructive, cruel thing, even when the slaughter is humane. i wouldn't eat it often, but that's mostly because i believe in eating less meat, but always good quality meat. everyone else around me seemed to agree, but then again, those who morally object to eating horse wouldn't be there in the first place.

                      1. re: 00CP

                        Canice are you able to tell where the dinner took place?

                        1. re: gogomiser

                          No secret as it has been discussed openly elsewhere by the chef and "Charlie", it was at OMG bakery on Dundas W. The venue changes for each dinner.

                    1. re: piccola

                      Saw this earlier on twitter. A final yawn for the enormous yawn that has been Charlie's Burger. Hopefully we can finally be rid of it and get a real underground dining scene without all the garbage.

                      Charlie's Burgers
                      48 Holland E, Bradford, ON L3Z1X2, CA

                      1. re: tjr

                        He has the drive and the connections to make it happen. A freind of mine tried the same thing , but with fewer connections, after Three dinners she stopped as the guest list started to be repetative, the sense of wonder was gone and even though she owned the buildng where the dinners were held and charged $200 per person for the meal she was not making any money. Chefs wanted too much, Wine was expensive, weeks of planning, guest dropping out last minute... not worth the trouble.

                        Props to "Charlie" as he has made it succeed. PLUS there is nothing stopping anyone here from starting their own underground dining "scene"..

                        1. re: RogerDoger

                          I don't get the hate for this either. It's a fun side-project for someone who was able to make it work. He has a genuine love of food and the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek. Who cares if the person responsible for it happens to be an experiential marketer? What difference does that make?

                          1. re: jamesm

                            I kinda liked the idea, even though I'd never participate -- I'm vegetarian and I don't have that kind of money to spend on random dinners. I'm glad to hear it was not-for-profit. To me, that makes it slightly less pretentious. :)

                            At the same time, I knew the interest would fizzle pretty quickly. And it seems like "Charlie" did too.

                            1. re: piccola

                              I do not think the Interest has "Fizzled" he has had sucessful dinners recently in Europe.. and it sounds like more dinners are on the horizon.. Now that he has Outed himselfI am sure he will attract others who may not have been interested before..

                              1. re: RogerDoger

                                I meant here. The buzz surrounding the meals -- who got the invite, what was the food like, etc -- seems to have faded quite a bit. But that's not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the dinners. It's very difficult to maintain that kind of public interest in any event, much less one that's out of reach for a majority of people.

                        2. re: tjr

                          Yes, I'm childishly envious as well. Wish I'd gone to one.

                          1. re: Snarf

                            I have been, as have friends, and none of us really understand the hype, other than that it was basically entirely built from the beginning to be run entirely based on hype. Okay food, no real focus, great wine, mostly poor company. If it weren't for the wine pairings, it wouldn't have even been worth the price of admission.

                            My favourite CB moment was the faux-Kobe beef meal where the kitchen staff went to such lengths to show that they had purchased "authentic" Kobe beef, only to produce a certificate clearly stating the contrary (and the beef served was clearly not Kobe based on appearance and texture alone).

                        3. re: piccola

                          Big surprise that it's a marketing guru who's at the helm of all of this haute pretense. And shame on Chatto for an article more filled with name dropping (including designer labels) than actual content.

                          1. re: tuttebene

                            You are surprised that it's a marketing guy running CB? I'd be surprised if it wasn't!

                            1. re: foodyDudey

                              It reeked of marketing stunt from day one.