2013 Villain: The Cronut Burger
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2013 Villain: The Cronut Burger

Nominated for: challenging our intestinal fortitude.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains: the very best and very worst people, places, things, and ideas that have had an influence on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until 2 p.m. on January 1. At 4 p.m. we will reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

villain cronut matthew daley

The Canadian National Exhibition began so innocently this year, with the rides, exhibits, air shows—and, of course, ridiculous midway food. This year’s offerings looked to be outrageous, but no more dangerous than any other season’s. Between a hotdog covered in chocolate and marshmallows and red velvet pancakes smothered in pulled pork, the cronut burger—a cheeseburger that replaced the traditional bun with a cronut, a hybrid super-sweet baked good that crosses a doughnut with a croissant—seemed almost innocuous.

Only one day after our tasting team’s iron guts braved the midway fair, however, something rotten started to go down at the Ex. People began to get violently ill after paying a visit, and not just because of the record-setting Zipline: more and more cases of food poisoning were reported, all attributed to a meal at Epic Burgers & Waffles, which sold the now-infamous cronut burger. The vendor was quickly shut down so that public health officials could investigate.

At final tally, 223 cases of food-borne illness were attributed to the cronut burger. Much as the monstrous creation of Dr. Frankenstein came to plague its creator, punishing him for his over-reaching scientific investigations, the rampant sickness attributed to the cronut burger seemed an example of the consequences of food experimentation gone awry. At first people assumed that the infection came from the greasy beef patty, or perhaps the overly rich and sugary bun. As the investigation went on though, the crime of upsetting digestive systems across the GTA was pinned on a far more insidious perpetrator: the maple bacon jam.

A meaty, sugary, unpleasant topping slathered over the already excessive cronut burger, the maple bacon jam (which was provided by an outside source, Le Dolci bakery) was determined to be the source of the contamination. Just to be safe—and out of respect for all of the guts the burger had initially unsettled—Epic Burgers and Waffles ceased to sell the cronut burger for the remainder of the Ex.

While it might be slightly unfair to malign an entire food for one ingredient’s foul contents, for ruining at least 223 stomachs, the Cronut Burger is one of 2013’s Villains.