An enthusiastic review of the To Dine For Eatery (333 Terminal Ave)
// Celina Kurz

Last Saturday, after a grueling few hours of flea marketing, my friend and I were hungry. We briefly contemplated a few of our favourite restaurants, but then a place we’d literally never seen or heard of before caught our eye.

With its bright orange, retro diner-style seating and tasteful decor, To Dine For appeared to be the typical “after” picture on the Food Network’s Restaurant Makeover. My friend and I joked that it looked like a futuristic re-imagining of a retro diner – lots of shiny chrome, but with a 50’s aesthetic. It looked the part, but would the food match our expectations? (Spoiler: yes, totally).

The waitress brought us our menus and water promptly, and the first thing that I noticed was that they had a variety of vegan and vegetarian options. In addition, there was a note saying that all their burgers were hand-formed daily with meat purchased from long-standing local butcher shop Jackson’s Meats and Deli. As well, all of their condiments, excluding ketchup, are house-made, including vegan aioli – “because vegans are people too.”

While we were tempted by the various Korean fusion items and the Grilled Mac & Cheese, we ultimately decided to both get burgers. To Dine For’s menu advertised a spread of the most unusual – but simultaneously mind-blowingly delicious sounding – burger combinations I’d ever seen. Options included the Peanut Butter & Bacon Burger, Kimchi Burger, Poutine Burger, and one burger featuring something called “bacon jam”– um, yes please. For less adventurous folk, they also offer a Plain Jane burger. As a poutine fanatic, I couldn’t resist the notion of the Poutine Burger, while my friend opted, purely out of curiosity, for the B.J. or Bacon Jam Burger.

They were both so good. The Poutine Burger was perfect, oozing mushroom gravy and cheese curds, the french fries at the perfect level of sogginess. The beef was flavourful and tender, and we couldn’t stop talking about how good our burgers were as we ate them. My dining companion allowed me to try her burger, which I actually liked better than mine – no easy feat, as mine was so good! The bacon jam was intensely smoky and just the right amount of saltiness that allowed all the flavours of the meat to come through.

We raved to the waitress about the food, and she genuinely seemed really happy that we were happy – she even brought out a sample of their BrulĂ©ed Grapefruit to try – a grapefruit halved, sprinkled in sugar, and presumably blowtorched until the sugar melted to a delicious golden-brown. So simple, and yet so creative and delicious!

On their facebook page, To Dine For has written, “Let us begin the bastardization of North American comfort food.” If this counts as bastardization, I fully and wholly support it.

//Celina Kurz, copy editor

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