I had many good recommendations for my first burger, but in the end, it came down to more than the meat.  As much as “burgourmands” debate the pros and cons of this place’s patty versus that bistro’s beef, in the end there were a few things that narrowed my choices.  Mainly, I didn’t want a huge, crazy burger. On Saturday, the husband indulged me as I scoped out some final choices. Yes, I went and just looked at people eating burgers.

Both the burgers at Shake Shack and the Burger Joint looked “normal” and had received the most rave reviews from both friends and the Internets.  In the end, the appeal of the getting a good burger at a diner-like dive hidden in a fancy midtown hotel could not be beat. On Sunday, we returned at what I thought would be a non-totally-crazy-nutso-hour-crowd time (3 pm) and snagged a table.

I had the hubband wait on line and instructed him to order a burger medium-rare “with the world.” Yeah, I read the posted how-to-order sign as saying “the world” when any sane person would realize, funny font or no, that it said “the works.” In any case, he knew what’s what and brought me back:

first burger

I cut it open and took my first burger bite. The “works” I should mention, includes lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. My first bite I must admit was mainly a taste of toppings. But further bites made me realize that the hub was right: Burgers have a lot to do with toppings. Did I like it? Yes. Was it very different from a good turkey burger to me? No, it was not.

I was sort of disappointed: I expected it to be a  world-changing beef bite. But either I still don’t have the palate or I just don’t see the big deal about burgers. It was good, yes, but if it changed anything in my belief o’ beef, it was that burgers in and of themselves may never ever make their way into a regular food for me, and that 34 years may be too late to get into hamburgling.

Last in my journey was to find out: Would I, in competitive eating terms, suffer a reversal?

While I left a few bites on my paperish plate, the happy news is that I managed to keep it all down. I think I may be able to stomach anything now! Backyard squirrels, watch out.


  1. #
    March 11th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    too many toppings take away from a good burger. i’m all about a medium rare burger with just a little bit of lettuce, a single slice of tomato & ketchup or mayo… i figure once you stuff it full of toppings, you might as well go for a turkey or veggie burger :)

  2. #
    March 16th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Burgers, not entirely unlike say cocaine (or so I hear), are deceptively anticlimactic… at first. I had a similar sensation with In-N-Out Burgers the first time I had them on the west coast—and they are actually fairly close to the Burger Joint’s fare.

    I thought, oh, THAT’S IT? What’s the big deal? I mean, it’s GOOD, but it’s not like OMG IN-N-OUT BURGERZ! A few days later, I had another one. And then, just before I left L.A., I started to recognize a feeling… a CRAVING, if you will.

    You just need to do a couple more lines… I mean… eat a few more, uh, burgers.

Leave a Comment