It’s always risky to release a new product on April 1, given all of the April Fool’s fake news that inevitably circulates on the web that day, but Boston Pizza went there anyway.
The Edmonton-based yet Americanly-named chain on Monday launched its new Pizzaburger, which is… well, exactly what it sounds: It’s a burger baked inside of a wrapped-up pizza… a burger panzerotti of sorts. Here’s the promo video:
Regular readers know I’m not one to miss out on such new concoctions, so I went down to the local BP to give it a try. And given that I love both burgers and pizza, how could I possibly go wrong with something that combines both?
There are actually two options to choose from. The Pepperoni and Bacon Pizzaburger packs a half-pound of prime rib beef, bacon, pizza mozzerella and the chain’s “signature pizza sauce,” while the Five-Cheese Pizzaburger substitutes the pepperoni and bacon for cheddar, feta, Asiago and Parmesan cheese.
In both cases, the burger patty is cooked first then placed on the dough, where it’s mushroomed between all the other ingredients. The dough is folded up and topped again with either pepperoni and cheese, or just cheese, then baked. The cheese on top seals the whole thing up like a sort of edible glue. The burgers are then garnished with lettuce, a tomato and a pickle, and they come with fries.
For me, pizza isn’t really pizza without pepperoni, so I went for the all-meat option. It looked very unusual when it arrived, like a giant pastry bun with some vegetables tacked on top of it:
One of the Pizzaburger’s downsides became immediately apparent – it was pretty hot to pick up at first, which is obviously not a problem for regularly be-bunned burgers. It cooled quickly, though, so I was able to resume eating in short order… which was good because the pictures in the restaurant lobby and on the menu had by this point made me a slobbering fool.
The first few bites were exquisite in their alienness – here was the familiar sensation of beefy burger, but also wait… what’s that? Pizza too? What the hell?
It’s like my taste buds were telling my brain, “How can this be? This isn’t supposed to happen!” Nevertheless, humans are nothing if not adaptable creatures, so my sensory and processing functions quickly adapted. Okay, I’m eating a burger that tastes like a pizza. Normalness resumed.
If you’re like me, you’ve experimented with this idea before. I’ve made “pizza” on just about everything imaginable, from bagels to pitas to waffles to, yes, even burgers, by putting the basic ingredients – tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni – on it. The difference here, however, is that the experiment has been taken to its logical extreme, where whatever bread-like substance used in the original food item has been replaced with actual pizza dough.
And it works. The Pizzaburger is more pizza-like than anything I’ve ever dreamed up, and that’s a good thing. It’s an ooey-gooey hybrid that successfully captures the best of both worlds. Once the brain adjusts, the pleasure centers begin percolating in the knowledge that you’re actually eating two of mankind’s best food inventions ever, at the same time.
It’s not perfect, though. When the hostess asked if I wanted ketchup or other condiments before the Pizzaburger arrived, I brushed her aside, cockily saying, “It’s got everything you need inside, right?” However, a few minutes into it, I began to wish I hadn’t been so hasty since I found the burger itself to be a little dry.
I put this down to two factors, the first being that the patty itself is cooked alone before being sandwiched in the dough with all the other stuff. With it being baked a second time, it’s inevitable it’s going to dry out somewhat. The other factor is that the lack of condiments and vegetables – the veggies stacked on top are really just there for show – takes away that necessary cold contrast that livens up any burger. I always put ketchup and mustard on my burgers and usually top it with a tomato and onion for just this reason.
The Pizzaburger is thus all warm stuff, with nothing to give it that zing. It seems like more of a winter comfort food as a result, rather than a spring-time treat that might get you excited for warmer weather. All told, if you’re like me, I’d recommend taking the staff up on their offers of condiments.
The other issue with Boston Pizza’s new addition is far from a problem – it’s just that it’s very big. I was stuffed after eating just one half along with the spicy, potato-chip-like Cactus Fries, and had to take the other half home. If I were to do it again – which I probably will – I’d bring a friend and split it.
I know, I know. Splitting a burger seems weird, but hey, no one eats a whole pizza alone, right?