Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ongoing Discussions About Food Icons: The Bacon Cheeseburger Harvey's review


Not so long ago, within my lifetime at least, Harvey’s used to serve fries made from fresh cut potatoes. Then one day someone in charge made the decision to serve frozen fries instead. Could someone please explain how this was conceived to be a good idea? Obviously the people in charge have no clue.  Harvey’s, here is a great promotional idea, go back to the fresh potatoes. Who are the people making these decisions? Cara Operations Limited who bought the Canadian burger chain in the late 1970s. 
In case you are not familiar with Cara and their approach to food service it is easily summed up in two words that will paint a vivid picture: airplane food.  Again, turning to to the past, when airlines served meals, and if you had the pleasure of eating aboard Air Canada, KLM, American Airlines or British Airways then you have sampled Cara’s cuisine. Need we say more? Airline food is like stock ammunition for a stand up comedians needing material. Ironically the only thing worse than airplane food seems to be hospital food. Enough history? Where are the burgers? We feel the information about the people who are bringing you your burgers is important because it does give you idea of where it is coming from.

Our promise to you: there is meat in this burger

Harvey’s offers a bit of a spectacle when you order one of their burgers. Your burger is made and then a counter person asks you to make your condiment selection. The Harvey’s selection looks impressive all laid out in bowls like a giant salad bar. Our all dressed burger, that set us back almost $6, had the following condiments, onions, mayo, mustard, ketchup, relish, iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickle slices and pickled banana peppers. Caught up in the show I talked myself down because this is after all just a ketchup and mustard station. What is good about these condiments is that the pickle and tomato slices are thick and so is the bacon. This is a nice change after the transparent bacon and razor thin tomato slices found at most big burger chain joints. The cheese was the standard orange slice of American cheese and the bun was rather plain but nicely toasted so it did not taste too doughy. 

I want to say one word to you. Are you listening? Plastics
The verdict:

The bacon was crispy and the with all the condiments  there is a definite fresh taste but as we keep noticing with fast food chains is that they pile your burger with condiments a way of hiding poorly cooked cheap meat. Think about it, ketchup how much does that cost? Cheaper than good beef that's for sure so slather that sucker up. Harvey’s has mastered the art of condiments with spectacle. The meat patty at Harvey’s almost seems plastic or synthetic not just in taste but also in look. Each shard of the ground beef that makes up the patty seems to be the exact-same size and proportion and looks like the only human contact might have been when the person turned on the machines at the factory. I have seen meat patties that look like this before and if you are really curious just buy a box of Presidents’s Choice frozen hamburger patties. 


The condiments do create a nice fresh tasting burger and the real drawback is with the meat that is like  eating nothing. The enigmatic patty leads me to believe that this is more condiment sandwich than burger. The poor quality of meat does not come as a surprise because it is from the people that brought you airplane food and frozen fries. Harvey’s, use better meat and go back to fresh potatoes for you fries because you will have “a beautiful thing.”

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