Of late, I have begun to crave a burger and fries.
Not just any burger and fries, mind you. A really good burger with really good fries. (My definition of "really good fries" probably would require some kind of Stephen Hawking-derived mathematical equation, so let's just say crispier than not and leave it for the moment.)
Thing is, I haven't had a burger in ... uh ... a long time. I don't even know how long. And it's not because I don't like them -- obviously -- but rather because every time we go out and I think I'm going to get a burger, I end up tempted by something else on the menu and get that, thinking, "Well, I'll just the burger next time."
Yes, by now I've learned that "next time" pretty much never arrives.
So I decided that tonight, before we go out to see my favorite cover band of all time, we are going to go out for that really good burger.
And here we stumble upon the problem. For, having not gone out in this town for a burger and fries in what we can conservatively estimate as an aeon (cf. above), I don't know where to find the aforementioned "really good" specimen.
I've been springing my dilemma on essentially every friend of mine who gets within hearing distance, with some interesting results.
Rachel, for example, was perplexed. "Why don't you just make burgers at home?" she asked. We weren't chatting in person, but I could pretty much assume she furrowed her brow as she spoke.
"Um..." I replied. "That's actually an excellent question."
Rachel: "Well?" (Did I mention she's a journalist?)
Me: "I'll get back to you on that."
I'm not really sure why we don't make burgers at home, but most likely, the answer is the same as the reason I don't ever order the burger: I'm always enticed by some more complex recipe. That, and we don't grill outside that often up here. Burgers at home are meant to be grilled outside. Because they are. Because I say so. So there.
(Hey. Shut up.)
With some help from Laura, Devin, Jim, and others, though, I'm beginning the hunt to find the best burger-and-fry combo in town. It has to be the two together -- I don't care if I find just the perfect burger, as probably the actual sandwich at Blue Spoon or Caiola's would fit that bill. It must have the right fries to accompany it, or it doesn't quite count.
And before you snort in my general direction, I'll have you know I am in no way alone in this quest. It is a noble calling of the meat-and-potatoes kind, one which I undertake on home soil only at this point in time. Had I taken on this assignment for the Times, I would happily have sought out the ideal steak frites in Paris. And if, to that end, I am the weensiest bit jealous of Mr. Bittman's expense account, that does not prohibit me from saluting another knight's tour of duty. À votre santé, monsieur!
And next time, I'm coming with you.