Monday, July 21, 2008

I'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today

Sunday was a busy day. I think I am still recovering. I got in an early morning bike ride and a stop at the New Moon for some coffee and a cheese scone.
The Moon is a mellow place on a Sunday morning, opens early and I have a nasty habit of waking up early, no matter how late I am up, so it is nice to be able to get a paper and coffee and use the wireless to check blogs.

It really is a nice cozy spot, Jazz on the stereo and Vanessa or Meaghan usually work on Sunday mornings and they know me and I know them and it's a nice kick back place where no one freaks out if you take your sandals off.

The real deal, though, is that I had promised I would take Miriam out for lunch, and, in honor of her past birthday.....anywhere she wanted to go.

So she picks this place on the frontage the freeway.....gourmet something burgers.

Now I like a good burger. Just a flat out hamburger on a nice bakery bun, little ketchup. Just plain old burger with a cup of coffee. It can be a thing of beauty in it's simplicity. I grok a good burger.

Ok. So we go to this place she has been bugging me about for a year or so, Red Robin. Now as soon as we hit the parking lot, I don't like this place. It is a franchise and I really hate franchises. And as soon as we walk in the door, I loathe it. The decor reminds me of a McDonalds on steroids. A fucking overload of bland. Brightly lit. I mean, nothing was bad, it was clean and everything, but it just was, I dunno, dumb. No real charm, just fake, plastic-tiky.

Ok, I'm with Miriam and this is where she wanted to go and I'm gonna be a good dude and not say anything, ah, nasty, or critical. Just keep my mouth shut. Which is gonna be hard cause as soon as I look at the menu and notice that all the "burgers' are nine bucks and up...well, gees!....and there is no BURGER on the menu. NO PLAIN BURGER!! Now, what is up with that????? They have names like '5Alarm Burger' & 'Banzai Burger'& 'Guacamole Bacon Burger' & 'Whiskey River BBQ Burger'. Shit!!!! I wanted a hamburger....not some shit burfger. knock me down and piss on me!!! A Hamburger!!! And I'm looking at the photos in the menu and it's like I'm looking at some air-brush porn or sumptin! This stuff comes with shit I cannot pronounce.....and other stuff I really don't want on a hamburger....pineapple chunks and strange flavored mayo and sushi sauce. Seriously, it was like looking at a bunch of whores hanging out at a Maytag Repairman convention. Sheesh!!

Ok. Miriam talks me into ordering some onion rings, too. $8 for onion rings!
Like, what is in that batter, gold??? The price was really $7.99----and what is up with that??! $7.99 IS 8 buckeroos....they think I'm stooopid or something?

But I am being a nice guy and keeping my mouth shut and not complaining cause the kid picked the place out &all. We're chatting and chuckling and she is telling me all the stuff she wants to talk about; her brother is a schumk and lost her cell phone charger and Mickey is pissed at Kara cause Kara didn't tell her some stuff she was supposed to and Kara is blaming Miriam........and I love the kid to death so I am just nodding and grinning and it's a nice talk, but the place is just making me feel numb, like I ate a couple of qualudes and the place is full of people, but I just can't escape this vacant feeling.

Well, the food shows up and I gotta pretend it is food, cause Fuck-me-Jesus-in-a-bathtub, it sure isn't any burgers that I recognize and they are as big as the State-O-Maine and I take one look and I know I have as much chance of eating that whole thing as I do of humping a buffalo in the middle of a stampede. Wowsers!

Gees, I was wishing I was back at the Moon.

And , Holy-Mother-of-Pearl! These burgers have so much shit on 'em you can hardly tell where the meat is! Much less taste the meat!

All right. Maybe I am out of touch with some things in the world today. Could be I am just a simple guy. I think that may be a good thing. Or maybe not. But that joint is not gonna see my shoes walk in anytime soon. It kind of reminded me why I don't watch a lotta TV anymore, or listen to politicans much. There just seems to be a lot of shit wrapped around what it is I really want where every I go. What ever I want to buy.
But I know the next time I really want a hamburger I am going down the the corner of Merritt and Bowen to Ratch&Deb's and get a real hamburger. Shoot the shit with the waitress that calls me 'Honey'.

Three bucks. Ketchup. No extra charge iffen I wanted fried onions on it.


Randal Graves said...

EIGHT bucks for onion rings? I'll pay that if they're huge and I get a bushel of forty of 'em.

NINE bucks for a burger? It better be the best damn burger around. What do I look like, a Parisian with money to burn?

TEN something or other? Yabba dabba doo? You're going to be the best Secretary of Food ever.

Mary Ellen said...

You should have ordered the hamburger of your choice and told them you want everything on the side, not on the burger... and a bottle of ketchup.

I've never been to Red Robin, but have seen them around, I had no idea they were that expensive. Someone told me Fudruckers was good, but I've never been there either....I don't eat beef, so what's the point? But I do remember what a good burger tastes like and piling on a bunch of stuff is a sin. Although...I did like my burgers with cheese, the good stuff like real cheddar, not that plastic looking "American" cheese.

Crap, now I'm hungry and the closest thing to a burger for a vegetarian is a soy burger and you have to pile on all kinds of crap to hide the taste....I'll bet it will taste just like a Red Robin burger and it won't cost me nine bucks. :-0

Anonymous said...

Okay...let me give you guys some perspective. A $9 burger in New York is considered reasonable. Gasp! Did I just write that? In fact, it's the reason why I stay out any sort of chain restaurant and frequent a diner or a local pub instead. But even at the "local" places, a $3 burger is cheap.

Now, if you want to know about some good "cheap" places to try some Puerto Rican fare, okjimm, give me a shout if you ever come to New York. ;~)

DivaJood said...

okjimm, you need to get into your car, drive to Chicago, and go to Hamiltons on Broadway just south of Devon. Hamiltons is a bar, but they serve really fine hamburgers. Just plain, meat on a bun, good burgers.

Or, up in Northfield, there's Charley Beinlich's, also a bar, which serves up a dee-li-sush burger.

I feel your pain, really.

Anita said...

since i don't eat beef, i can't really comment on this.

but, i can say that i've seen (or heard, i can't remember) the red robin commercials so i'm not surprised at all. if you checked with me beforehand, i probably could have warned you!


okjimm said...

Ya, is expense for my part of Downtown Wisconsin....even for a great burger...and it wasn't great. Neither were the onion rings.

ME...a SOY burger? That sounds almost pagan....and I belong to Save The Soy. Beans have feelings, too!

Spartz....Ya, I know NY prices would be steeper....and I would love to hit small diners...sounds great. Unfortunately we are REALLY short of Puerto Rican joints around town ;) , but boy&howdy I would love to try some!
There was a small joint in Milwaukee that I used to go to...Mexican....just a small bar with some of the best Mole' was to die for!

Diva...I would love joints like that! I really miss the small cafes that used to be everywhere...with a regular crowd and the staff would know who you are.

Sometimes I just miss the simpleness that had existed in America...the specialness. It seems more and more everything is franchised and I have to choose between bells&whistles I never wanted in the first place. not go to a Red Robins....never! if it hadn't been Miriam's choice, I would never have gone there. I don't eat a lot of beef myself.....I can't handle steak&such, but Boy! Every once in a while a good burger! Maybe with a slice of great cheddar or swiss....yuppers, plastic cheese.

Shit, it is almost the end of the day.....I'm getting hungry. I know this little 'local' BBQ joint that has great chicken, hush puppies and fried okra....hmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

okjimm - You're a nice dad to put a happy face on the burger outing.

I used to drive people crazy because when I did a lot of business travel, I would order cheeseburgers to judge how good a place was. If they could do a decent burger, they were okay with me.

Mary Ellen - Fuddruckers is okay. They have a veggie burger that's pretty good, too.

Scarlet W. Blue said...

I have one question: who do I have to screw to get me a bunch of those Red Robin steak fries? ;)

I love that Whiskey River BBQ Chicken. I want to marry it.

A Raven Loonatyk said...

I'm with Scarlet on the Red Robin steak fries, but I too was shocked that they didn't have just a plain burger on the menu. I ended up with the bacon cheeseburger.

Some of the best burgers I've eaten have been in pub type or diner type places. I'm with you, some things are good just the way they are and don't need improvement. My pet peeve lately is flavored vodka. I just like the plain stuff; in my opinion, it's fine the way it is.

Liberality said...

ME: you have to get Morningstar Farms Bean Burgers--they are soy too but with spices and black beans and they don't taste so fake. I like those but I can only do soy on occasion.

Hey Okjimm I'm right there with you on the fake fucking restaurants. Mom and Pop places are the best. But this country is getting to be one big box store after another anymore. All the places the same and shit. You gotta make your daughter take you where you want to go eat on your birthday and maybe show her what a real restaurant is like.

Mary Ellen said...

Thanks dcup, I didn't know they had veggie burgers. It's good to find a restaurant that has veggie along with meat dishes for my meat eating husband and son.

Liberality, I've heard of Morningstar Farms, but I've never seen the black bean soy burgers...I'll look for them, thanks again!

okjimm- don't go making me feel all sorry for the soy beans you want me to starve to death? '-)

susan said...

When we were getting ready to drive across the country we had the big AAA maps spread out all over our living room floor and it suddenly hit me that in every one of those little burgs there'd be a McD's, a Burger King and a KFC.. never mind Tasty Freez and whatever. I wish I could find the guy who invented franchising so I could make him eat the damn stuff for the rest of his (sure to be) shortened life.

DivaJood said...

We could all sing the Dairy Queen song. But yes, the Franchising of America is a complete tragedy. And it is encroaching upon the rest of the world as well. Sucks. Sucks that we avoid local flavor and culture. That we try to sanitize it, strip it of its unique qualities.

Pottery Barn's mission statement involves making every living room in America a Pottery Barn showroom. How's that for bland?

Mary Ellen said...

It seems that every time I venture out on a road trip, I end up having to stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant because it's either that or Subway,BK, or McD's. If you've ever been in a Cracker Barrel, there isn't anyone under the age of 75 eating there...especially around 3:00 pm because thats when old people eat dinner. Wait a minute...I don't think I've ever seen a black person eating there. Maybe that's why they call it Cracker Barrel?

susan said...

Oh, ME that's a good one.

David Halberstam wrote an 800 page book called 'The 1950's' that really should be essential reading for anyone interested in the beginnings of what surrounds us now - city design, suburbs, strip malls and franchises. He had a very smooth literary style which made complex issues easy to understand.

okjimm said...

Hold it, Mary Ellen....

//f you've ever been in a Cracker Barrel, there isn't anyone under the age of 75 eating there...especially around 3:00 pm because thats when old people eat dinner.// one under 75...after 3:00pm.....Old People.....are you fessing up or sumptin?

Susan...I read that book. Correct. Very nice vivid read. I really miss that part of American, the LOCAL merchant, cafe. I grew up in a small town where transistions come later. Our 50's finally died in the late 60's...I remember those transistions that Halberstam described.

I miss the small cafes more than anything.

susan said...

The thing that ticked me off was hearing that some of the major food franchises arranged for false stories in the newspapers about dangers of ptomaine poisoning and stuff in the cafes. Of course, when the highways bypassed the towns the agencies involved did sweetheart deals with the food chains. Mom and Pop were not on the invitation list.

Distributorcap said...

if you want expensive meat (take that for what it is worth)

i had a $40 hamburger in copenhagen. free ketchup, no lettuce or tomato

okjimm said...

expensive meat....whoa....$40 for a burger....? what was that cow made outa....

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