Burger Quest unexpectedly finds one of Calgary’s finest among the Mexican fare of Native Tongues

White Gravy’s Review

One of the true joys of being a foodie is unexpected delights.

When you find something truly special in a place you never thought you would.

We’ve all experienced it …

The best sushi I’ve ever had was in Austin, Texas

The best burrito you can find in this province is at the general store in Twin Butte on the way to Waterton.

And one of Calgary’s best burgers is served up by a hot-shot Mexican joint.

Acting on a tip, we hit Native Tongues with optimism, based on the reputation they’ve already established for great food, but with apprehension over whether that magic would carry over to their burger.

My fellow burger-questers I am here to tell you it did.

Native Tongues opened in 2015, and immediately gained rave reviews. You can see the impressively long list of accolades they’ve received on their website. And it is well earned. The menu boasts a great combination of authentic Mexican food stuffs. The tacos are the star of the show, but the menu has a bevy of other fantastic options when you have a hankering to make a run for the border. 

And yet there … tucked away right under your nose, yet below the radar, is the Hamburguesa al Carbon.

Don’t not overlook her. Just because she’s shy doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to dance. Grab her by the hand and drag her out on the floor.

This burger can move.

In some ways, this is a very traditional burger. Two thin patties, plenty of cheese and the standard toppings.

But there are also some twists with this offering.

The bun is an odd hybrid that I can’t quite describe – except to say that it has the same yellow colour that makes those little Hawaiian buns so fantastic. And some of the same sweetness.

What really separates this burger is the perfect, and I mean perfect, amount of heat. Just enough to hit you at the right time and in the right way.

A classic burger with a Mexican twist. Executed wonderfully.

Accompanying this gem are chips and hot sauce – carrying forward the southern spin. I would recommend ensuring you have a tall, cold bottle of cerveza or Coke … you’ll need it. On the latter, kudos to Native Tongues for stocking Mexican Coke. Why does that matter? Well kids, because Mexican Coke uses cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. A cold glass bottle of Mexican Coke tastes like your childhood and will instantly transport you back to long summer nights when the only responsibilities you had were to back home by sundown and how you would fill the next day. It also goes perfectly with Hamburguesa al Carbon.

Overall, Native Tongues’ burger offering is amongst this city’s best and unequivocally BQ Certified.

An unexpected delight that will now become a regular indulgence.

Wonderbun’s Review

I view opinions the same way I look at 1980’s wedding. Ones that featured three-tiered cakes with swoops of rich white, passionately sculpted icing, that suggests something of greater taste and sustenance lies beneath. Inevitably you end up poking around a plate of mangy fruit cake wishing that Betty Crocker was the bride’s mother.

It does not matter how much crappy cake I have eaten, I still end up at weddings. I consistently put good money down on gift registries to be returned with a wooden nickels worth of dry chicken and that same crappy cake. Good money frittered away on gifts that fulfill the “needs” of two young kids who have no clue what they are doing to begin with. But this is the cost of admission to both acknowledge and sure-up longstanding social ties and to be witness to life imitating bad performance art in the shape of formulaic speeches and watching the newlyweds smash the cake, that no one wants, into each other’s faces.

The supply-and-demand concept has been obliterated where opinions are concerned. There was a time when you had to run a gauntlet of colleague and peer criticism to test the metal of your ideas before tightly regulated systems  of communication would dare print or broadcast you. Now all you have to do is post your first whimsical thought of the day like it’s more important than your first constitution of the day and you feel like you have done us all a favour. Even though I probably could care less, you can count on me to like it. I’ll heart you in a heartbeat. When you finally take that selfie with that person that is as cute as you in a CG puppy dog nose, invite me to your wedding. I will buy you the latest soap dispenser and towels, I will laugh at all the jokes in the speeches that are actually the set up for that contrived lip quivering moment of seriousness where with the same words as everyone else, and despite billions of unions before you, you will try and convey how the person you found is better than anyone else ever. And yes! I will still play along; with a tear in my eye and one rolling over my cheek into a plate of uneaten cake.

I realize that I am not as authentic as I would like and I am confused as to what I like at the best of times. Time and time again I will internalize my opinions and behave contrarily. I realize that there are times when I have liked and given hearts to your stuff and actually seethed on many levels for having done so. For this I apologize and I can make it up to you if you will trust me just this once:

I heart the Hamburguesa al Carbon at Native Tongues.

This is one of best burgers to have ever honoured my teeth. You will be a better person for having eaten one. You will be more authentic for having had the perfect balance of this stack cross your taste buds. Your friends will comment on how calm and radiant you are despite your never having passed wind on a yoga mat in a room full of strangers. Your sense of self will be expanded to a capacity that can contain the awe and innocence of infinite silly kitty memes. You will sit cross-legged in front of the Buddha and he will fall from enlightenment with the thought that you know something that he does not. Your likes and hearts will again matter.

But that’s just my opinion.

White Gravy takes burger far too seriously, sometimes weeping softly over the loss of some of Calgary’s old burger joints – Willy’s, Bob’s, Charcoals….why did you have to leave us. WHY?!?!?! The opinions expressed by Wonderbun are in no way associated with actual people and or the crappy weddings they had nor do they constitute liability against the body formally known as Jeff Bray.