Saturday, January 9, 2010

Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

It is that time when I am again reminded by how much I dislike french fries being served well in advance of the actual burger. They didn't invent the phrase "burger with fries" for no reason. They don't say "first serve me the french fries, then if I want to eat them with the burger, I'll just wait and eat them when they're cold." These two foods are on the top 5 list of perfect food compliments (remainder of list to be determined at a later date as it does not actually exist).

The reason I am reminded of this right now is because while in Palo Alto, I like to eat at a burger joint called The Counter. The Counter has made GQ's list of "top 20 burgers to eat before you die" from a few years ago (2 in Michigan at the Sidetrack in Ypsi and Miller's Bar in Dearborn - both of which I've eaten). I've eaten several burgers at The Counter and I'm not sure I agree that they deserve to be on the "before you die" type of list. It's a very good burger and all, but I think the GQ guy mostly just put them on his list because of the immense amount of available customization. I choose Redcoat Tavern any day of my life over The Counter.

This isn't about the burger, though, it's about the way they inexplicably choose to serve their fries. If I order a burger and fries at the standard food-ordering time, I get my fries in about 2 minutes and my burger in about 10 minutes. I am left with two incredibly difficult choices at this moment:

1) Eat all the fries thereby leaving no fries when the burger comes (and singularly eating a hamburger is not the right way to do it)
2) Eat some of the fries leaving the remainder to be eaten cold but with the hamburger

Because french fries have such a high surface area relative to internal volume, they have a tendency to cool very quickly. Without some sort of portable heating unit, there is no way fries will stay warm at burger arrival time, plus we all know that reheated french fries are a sad facsimile for "real" fries, so if you were crazy enough to bring a portable heating unit you would end up with a loser food product.

The only way to prevent this problem is to tell the helper to bring the food out at the same time, but then you feel like you're doing something wrong because that's just not the way they do it there. Also, if I only eat there a few times a year, it is difficult to remember to ask for the french fries at the same time as the hamburger because WHO ON EARTH BRINGS THEM OUT AT DIFFERENT TIMES? Last time I checked, this is America. I don't want to live in the country that can not appreciate the perfect synergy of fried potato and ground cow patty. Dear God, thank you for cows and their sacrifices for me to write about.

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