Topz - Santa Ana
There is a burger joint in Arizona that calls itself the Heart Attack Grill. It is a place where you can get a towering four-stack of meat and cheese dubbed "The Quadruple Bypass". The fries are proudly cooked in “pure lard”, the owner refers to himself as a "Doctor", the waitresses dress like sexy nurses, orders are called "prescriptions", and when you're finished, you are rolled out to your car in a wheelchair. Oh yeah, they also sell cigarettes.
It's all very tongue-in-cheek (their catchphrase: "Taste Worth Dying For") and it's shamelessly targeted towards chest-thumping alpha males. And although I’ve never tasted their food, I admire the humor and the honesty –- here’s a restaurant that not only acknowledges that burgers and fries aren’t healthy, they have a litle fun with it.
But in doing so, it actually (even if somewhat inadvertently) credits their customers for being smart, rational people who are responsible for their own choices. No one who walks in there is under any illusion that what they’re about to consume is good for them.
Which brings me to Topz; a recent entrant in the O.C. dining scene with already outpost in Orange, and a new one in Santa Ana. They go in the opposite direction, billing themselves as the "Healthier Burger Grill" and proclaiming that theirs is a "guilt-free" experience compared to the "other guys".
But before I go into how the burgers taste, let's first do the numbers. Herewith are the nutrional facts for their base model of burger (with everything), which was easily procured from Topz's own website:
Weight: 301 g
Calories from fat: 230
Total Fat: 25 g
And for comparison, here are the nutrional facts from you-know-who:
Weight: 214 g
Calories from fat: 260
Total Fat: 29 g
Weight: 169 g
Calories from fat: 170
Total Fat: 19 g
From an initial glance, it seems that while it contains less fat than a Big Mac, you'd ingest more fat eating a Topz's burger than if you downed a Quarter Pounder.
Though to be fair, you must account for the fact that the Quarter Pounder is almost half the weight of a Topz burger. So, if you calculate what percentage of its weight is fat, the Topz burger does come out ahead. Of its reported total weight, their burger is 8.3% fat. The Big Mac is 13.6% fat. The Quarter Pounder, 11.2%.
So which is it? Is it really "healthier" or isn't it? Well, I'll leave it up for you to decide.
Frankly, I'm indifferent. Truth is, if the Heart Attack Grill were open next door, I'd be reviewing it, not Topz.
But with that said, Topz's burger wasn't as bad as I had heard, though perhaps it's because I was expecting a lot worse after reading reviews by fellow bloggers Kat from Gluttonista and Dan Garion of Eat in OC.
While it was decently tasty, the burger I had could've done better with a white bread bun instead of whole wheat (which had the mouth feel of sawdust). All in all, it's still better than a McDonald's sandwich.
However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'd buy it again. It's been a week since I had it, and the only really memorable thing about it was the price: The 1/4 lb. Black Angus Burger cost me $4.60 (before tax).
Topz's Aero Fries ($1.80), on the other hand, were memorable for the wrong reasons. As the name subtly suggests, it's baked, not fried. In fact, Topz is proud to proclaim that they own no deep fryers.
Because of it, the fries suffer from a personal axiom of mine that states:
"An incremental increase in nutrition will result in an exponential decrease in flavor."
The Aero Fries were more stiff than crispy, with its dryness accounting for its texture. And while most were slightly crunchy, some were limp, and all had the same presence on the palate as a Baked Lays -- my mouth was never fooled into thinking that it was eating a French fry.
Anyone like me, who orders their In-N-Out fries "well-done" -- where the potatoes are practically wicked of all moisture and replaced with an oily crunch -- will be similarly disappointed.
However, it must be noted that the Aero Fries were dramatically lower in fat compared to McDonald's.
Weight: 158 g
Calories from fat: 120
Total Fat: 14 g
Weight: 154 g
Calories from fat: 220
Total Fat: 25 g
But I know what you're thinking. What would fries cooked in "pure lard" register? And more importantly, how great would it taste?
2 Hutton Centre Dr
Santa Ana, CA 92707
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