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When Chow transcends your screen and enters your dinner plate. An essay of my personal Chow failure.

jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 08:03 AM

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……”

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  1. foodieX2 RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 08:24 AM

    Thank you for the most enjoyable post I have read on this site in loooooong time.

    Cheers!

    1. girloftheworld RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 09:37 AM

      First- you should submit to this a magazzine

      second- Embrace your non burgerself and let it go... People look at me like I kill puppies and hate babies when I tell them I don't like pizza. " Oh but you have never tried..." Turst me I have. I am just not a pizza gal.

      7 Replies
      1. re: girloftheworld
        jrvedivici RE: girloftheworld Jul 25, 2013 09:55 AM

        Thank you! (and we share our fondness of pizza one of my favorite food groups!)

        1. re: girloftheworld
          foodieX2 RE: girloftheworld Jul 25, 2013 10:00 AM

          <<when I tell them I don't like pizza>>

          <<I am just a pizza gal.>>

          Did you mean your just NOT a pizza girl?

          You really need to try mine <<big grin>>

          1. re: foodieX2
            jrvedivici RE: foodieX2 Jul 25, 2013 10:04 AM

            Good catch foodie, I missed that! Perhaps GOW and I don't share a common fondness.

            And I'm glad you enjoyed my story here.....if my pain brings you pleasure than it was well worth it!

            1. re: jrvedivici
              foodieX2 RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 10:07 AM

              Oh it was not the pain, it was all in the telling. I felt as if I was you. You are a very talented writer.

            2. re: foodieX2
              girloftheworld RE: foodieX2 Jul 25, 2013 10:07 AM

              Fixed- Thank you foodiex2...

              Hey I am told I make great pizza...I just dont like it--

              1. re: girloftheworld
                jrvedivici RE: girloftheworld Jul 25, 2013 10:25 AM

                Well then we can meet in the middle, you can make the pizza and I will eat it!

                1. re: jrvedivici
                  girloftheworld RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 10:37 AM

                  ill heat up the green egg when you are ready

          2. MGZ RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 09:45 AM

            It can take years to master the proper flip technique. Don't beat yourself up too much.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MGZ
              jrvedivici RE: MGZ Jul 25, 2013 09:59 AM

              Obi-Wan-Mgz-Kenobi I am still a young Jedi, with your continued patience and mentoring combined with my hard work, I hope some day to master the Jedi Hound Flip.

              I remain your respectful apprentice.
              Jr.

            2. b
              Bkeats RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 10:22 AM

              Hey Bob!

              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.

              1. t
                truman RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 10:33 AM

                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.

                1. m
                  miss_belle RE: jrvedivici Jul 25, 2013 10:43 AM

                  My favorite burger consists of meat, cheese, bacon & mayo on a grilled bun. It's when you put all that other stuff on there that you wind up with a problem on your hands:-)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: miss_belle
                    juliejulez RE: miss_belle Aug 12, 2013 02:32 PM

                    You are a woman after my own heart. I don't mind vegetables as a side dish, but I don't want them on my burger. Makes it too hard to eat.

                  2. Gastronomos RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 10:44 AM

                    I woulda ordered me some pasta...

                    1. alliegator RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 11:24 AM

                      I want to stand up and clap!! So well written and entertaining. And I am also not a burger person. It's nice to know there are others like me.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: alliegator
                        suzigirl RE: alliegator Jul 26, 2013 11:28 AM

                        Also not a big fan. The both of you are not alone. I like a burger, I do not love one.

                        1. re: suzigirl
                          Gastronomos RE: suzigirl Jul 26, 2013 06:37 PM

                          Also not a big fan. The lot of you are not alone. I like a burger, I do not love one.

                      2. Gio RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 12:03 PM

                        From one non-burger lover to another, Good one, Jr...!

                        1. KaimukiMan RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 03:23 PM

                          I bow to you, food prose at it's best.

                          I will not yum on your yuck (today at least.)

                          1. Breadcrumbs RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 03:50 PM

                            Alas, those flippers led you astray jrv. If only you'd had your thumbs on the bottom...that second bite would have been burger nirvana!!

                            ...loved your post!

                             
                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                              KaimukiMan RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 26, 2013 06:59 PM

                              yes, this thread compelled me to go out and have a burger for lunch (whopper junior from burger king - lots of toppings) and indeed, it is only my thumbs on the bottom and I almost invariably flip. That could explain the mysterious stains on my shirt this afternoon.

                            2. mariacarmen RE: jrvedivici Jul 26, 2013 10:58 PM

                              nice.

                              but please, pray tell, what is the burger flip?

                              i googled: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

                              surely not...

                              - a burger lover.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                MGZ RE: mariacarmen Jul 26, 2013 11:05 PM

                                The flip at issue herein is much more innocent (though thanks for the new knowledge you have imparted upon us). It is the act of turning the burger over during the process of eating it. The idea is that since the bottom bun tends to get soggier as the first few bites are consumed, especially if the burger gets returned to the plate between bites, "flipping" permits the top bun to absorb the bottom buns duties midway though the love.

                                Here's the underlying discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/909647

                                1. re: MGZ
                                  mariacarmen RE: MGZ Jul 27, 2013 09:48 AM

                                  Huh! I like the bottom bun when its gotten all soaked with burger juices. so, non-flipper here.

                                  And now, i really want a burger.

                                2. re: mariacarmen
                                  jrvedivici RE: mariacarmen Jul 27, 2013 07:52 AM

                                  Hahahaha gives a whole new meaning to walk into a burger joint and say "give me a number 2". And no please, don't super size that!

                                3. d
                                  dmjordan RE: jrvedivici Jul 27, 2013 05:37 AM

                                  To all those that flip, maybe I'm reading this wrong, but if you're doing the flip wouldn't your fingers be on the bottom and your thumbs on the top and then you flip? I can't imagine how you would flip the way the OP described. Maybe that's why it fell apart.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: dmjordan
                                    KaimukiMan RE: dmjordan Jul 27, 2013 10:20 PM

                                    yes

                                    1. re: dmjordan
                                      jrvedivici RE: dmjordan Jul 28, 2013 05:45 AM

                                      Day late and a dollar short on pointing this out to me!

                                    2. Gastronomos RE: jrvedivici Jul 27, 2013 05:44 AM

                                      "...and decided to hit up a local spot since Wednesday is Prime Rib night..."

                                      "...This is my second time attempting to try their prime rib night….and the second time I was shut out...

                                      "...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..."

                                      “Why didn't you get the Sirloin?? You’re not a burger guy you friggin idiot”. ..

                                      "The pinnacle of my disappointment..."

                                      "I looked down at my plate with burger pieces strewn all about……"

                                      jr: This was your "second attempt" you say... I had to write, "This is my third visit here for dinner."

                                      ...and it still boggles me how they don't get it. They just don't understand. It's boggling. Truly. Boggling.

                                      1. jrvedivici RE: jrvedivici Jul 28, 2013 06:47 AM

                                        CBS New Sunday Morning had a segment about...........Americas Love of The Burger!!!! It's like it's haunting me.

                                        1. jrvedivici RE: jrvedivici Jul 29, 2013 05:57 AM

                                          ***Disclaimer*** This is NOT the burger from my original post. But since this is my personal burger post I figured I would share with you all one of the most intriguing burgers I have seen.

                                          This was my son's bacon cheese burger from Ben and Jack's Steakhouse in NY. This particular lunch was after the NY Giants 2011 Super Bowl Parade in New York. I don't normally photograph my food but this just impressed me.

                                           
                                          1. j
                                            joonjoon RE: jrvedivici Aug 27, 2013 03:05 PM

                                            I love you.

                                            It sounds to me like you need a different, simpler burger. You don't want a burger that's half salad. You need a burger that highlights the meat.

                                            The "cheese sauce" they have at burger joints in our area is garbage.

                                            Next time try something simple: Hamburger, blue cheese (not dressing), caramelized onions.

                                            Or something even simpler, perhaps like this:

                                            http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: joonjoon
                                              jrvedivici RE: joonjoon Aug 28, 2013 12:39 PM

                                              Back at ya Joon!

                                              For the record my epic burger failure took place at The Pour House on Shrewsbury Ave. in Tinton Falls. This is my go to late night, don't want to be too far from home, grab a bit to eat place. Not claiming to be a connoisseur off all things cheese, I do believe their cheese sauce to be above average of most.

                                              I like that combination of the blue cheese and caramelized onions.....I'll give that a shot next time I'm in the mood and tell you what I think. Thanks!

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