It's been one of those weeks (oh, dear, it's only Wednesday) that is thisclose to getting you to throw in the towel and say, Screw it, I'm moving back to Lyon et personne ne puisse me faire changer d'avis.
In any case, I completely gave up on cooking tonight after having maybe three hours of sleep in the past four days, and decided to get a burger from Zest. I really just wanted a nicely char-grilled piece of meat (no jokes, y'all) with some fries and maybe a bit of greens to allow me to pretend there was a vegetable involved.
And Zest delivered. (Not literally.) Their website doesn't note that the default is a cheeseburger, but the cheddar melted onto the patty was inoffensive -- tasty enough to not have been Kraft, not too strident to detract from the meat. The burger itself was close to medium -- since I was getting take-out, I asked for medium-rare knowing it would dry a bit on the trek home -- and I happen to enjoy raw red onion thinly sliced with my burgers, so that went right onto my bun too.
The burger itself was tasty although not agressively seasoned -- yes, I still prefer the non-mini Matchbox burger up the street -- but it had a far better char on the outside, while remaining moist and not overcooked in the center, than I find at most casual burger joints within the bounds of the District. Too many thick burger patties, to retain their medium-rare/medium status, end up looking as though they weren't seared or grilled at all on the exterior; this had a great balance of char to tender interior (but was definitely cooked through -- no too-cool center here).
The fries were really far too limp (...no one say anything about that either) but I've seen them there in person before and they were anything but, so I'm completely chalking that up to travel. Their flavor was excellent, and if I'd been any more patient I'd have crisped them up in the toaster oven before wolfing them down.
I need to sleep for about twenty hours to become a functional adult again, but it's unlikely that will happen. At least I had sustenance that I would more than order again -- at $9.50 before tax and tip, this is a takeout burger I will probably rely on.