When Chow transcends your screen and enters your dinner plate. An essay of my personal Chow failure.
Lately there have been a few threads on the General Topic board about burgers, with titles like “How do you construct your burger”, “Do you flip your burger”. This along with the ongoing discussion on my local board about favorite burger joints has lead to some very entertaining reading.
I've made the point a few times burgers just aren't my “thing”, nothing against them, but they do very little for me. I enjoy a nice burger in the summer on the grill etc. but rarely do I go out seeking a burger to eat. Last night I finished up my appointments around 9 pm and decided to hit up a local spot since Wednesday is Prime Rib night. I walk in sit at the bar, order my cocktail and place my dinner order, 1 Prime Rib Special medium please, to which I was told “Ohhhhhhh I’m sorry we have run out of the special for the night. (This is my second time attempting to try their prime rib night….and the second time I was shut out. 9 pm isn't terribly late……and the place wasn't packed……I’ve got a feeling this place is making 1 rib as a loss leader to get people in the place, anyway that’s another discussion).
Disappointed like the Christmas I got socks instead of my GI Joe with Kung Fu Grip, I ask for the menu back so I can figure out my next choice. Sirloin? This place has a grill behind the bar I normally enjoy some wings, clams and an occasional steak. While I’m looking over the menu I notice the burger page, all the choice’s of burgers but nothing appealing until I hear a little voice, “Construct your Burger Bob, Flip your Burger Bob”, suddenly this little voice quoting passages I have read on Chow over the past few weeks are flashing in my mind, all the burger opportunities I have missed in life are now, NOW at my fingertips. Are they not making enough prime rib, or is this my actual destiny calling?!?!?!?!
Bartender comes back and asks me what I want, in a strong and confident voice I respond, I’ll have a BURGER!!! I ordered the bacon cheeseburger with my choice of cheese; I requested the ale cheese wiz spread. I watched with great enjoyment as they took the humble beginnings of my burger out of the fridge, just an unformed ball of meat, they placed it on the counter and molded it…….created the patty which would eventually become MY burger. I felt a tear form in the corner of my eye as I watched them gingerly transport my now perfectly formed patty from the counter to the grill, where with the care of a mother placing her child in a crib, they laid my perfect patty down. As a child would make a small whimper when being placed in the crib, away now from it’s mothers arms, my perfect patty released a sizzle, a roar of raw meat declaring it was going from a perfect patty to a broiled burger, a rite of passage before my very eyes. I felt the tear roll down my cheek.
After about 5 minutes they flipped my patty/burger and it released a yet louder sizzle letting me know the rite of passage was about to be completed. At this point my plate is being prepared, toasted bun, leaves of lettuce, large tomato slices, fresh red onion, small side of cole slaw, pickle and now the arrival of my burger placed on the bun and topped with a crown of glimmering cheese wiz. Prince William and Kate might have their King George, but I tell you all, this was my Royal Baby Burger! Come to daddy baby, oh yeah come to daddy!
They brought my Royal Bundle of Love Burger to me and as my heart swelled with pride, the little voice came back “Now you must CONSTRUCT your Bundle of Love Burger”……threads and posts flash before my mind’s eye, tomato first topped with lettuce to stop the tomato from ruining the bun, ketchup on bottom bun underneath meat, mayo on top bun, cut the onion into pieces and sprinkle evenly over the cheese, so many options I was nearly overwhelmed. I completed the construction like unpaid union laborers working on a Trump Building, I placed my hand atop the entire creation and pushed down to compact the size to accommodate the diameter of my mouth. I witness the cheese sauce ooze down the sides, the burgers juice run down the bottom bun and pool on my plate…….the time had arrived. I picked my burger up and brought it to my mouth and took the first bite of my Royal Bundle of Love Burger. Biting off a mouth and a half full……..grease and cheese wiz running down my chin I lower the burger back to my plate, struggling to chew like a human, all the flavors melting together in my mouth as I continue to chew, now a bead of sweat forms on my brow, I take a deep breath as I continue to chew, take a sip of water and finally, finally I swallowed my first bite………………..I release a slight sigh of satisfaction of getting that bite down when I hear the voice again…….the voice says;
“Why didn't you get the Sirloin?? You’re not a burger guy you friggin idiot”.
The pinnacle of my disappointment is when I tried the “flip” move. I had read what so many of you do with your burger(s). I picked the burger up with fingers on top, thumbs on bottom, I brought it half way up, as I proceeded with the flipping motion I lost my grip slightly, a piece of lettuce worked itself loose and was waving like a flag during a hurricane, onion pieces fell all over the bar, I think I hit a lady across the bar in the eye with a sesame seed, the lettuce slapped my face and the whole thing just crumbled to pieces in my hands and fell upon my plate. EPIC fail.
I looked down at my plate with burger pieces strewn all about……and the voice tells me;
“Man looks into the burger abyss, there is nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the burger abyss……”
Sorry I got into your head the thought of constructing a burger. I did say that flipping a burger seemed a sure way to make a mess.
Loved the read though. Gave me a good chuckle.
Love the post!
I wouldn't call this dining experience a failure, though. One of the things I love about CHOW is that it encourages me to try new foods and to take a little bit of culinary risk. You did just that - success!! So you didn't like what you ate... eh, live and learn. You get major points for trying.