My cooking life has been a weird one. Most people start out making things like burgers and mac and cheese; me, I started with braises and roasts and only now (almost ten years later) have I started getting comfortable making the stuff that most people make at the beginning of their cooking careers. Burgers are a good example. I had only cooked burgers once before in my life and it was in the oven. Never had I shaped a patty, plopped it on to a grill or into a cast iron skillet and lifted it on to a bun. And, true to form, even last week, when I finally did this thing that most cooks–most American cooks–do all the time, I didn’t just make normal burgers. I made lamb burgers and I served them with Greek salad.
Farewell To Perth: Hawker Markets, Eat Drink Blog, A Food Truck Party, Aisuru Sushi, Flipside Burgers & Taiwanese Dessert
My sense of time is totally warped. I flew back from Sydney yesterday, leaving Thursday morning and arriving in L.A. on Thursday morning, five hours earlier than when I left. Today might be Friday but it also might not be Friday, I’m really not sure. All I know is that after visiting Fremantle last week, I had a few more days in Perth before going to Sydney on Monday (or was it really Monday?) This is an account of everything that I did in that time.
Did tears trickle down my face as I took my first bite? No, they did not. That’s one thing that occurs to me now, how easy it is to take meat for granted when you eat it. Yes, I enjoyed myself–it’s a really excellent burger–but eating meat in America is akin to watching reality TV or listening to loud, repetetive music. It’s not something you really think about, it’s just something you do when you’re not thinking. And that, I think, is what this conversation about meat all comes down to: whether you want to think about it or not.
Eater lists the 38 Essential Burger Restaurants Across The Country and suddenly I’m craving a burger for lunch. My own essential burger list would include: Shake Shack, Umami Burger (for the Hatch Burger), and The Burger Joint. What’s on your list?
Pull up a chair, I’m going to tell you a funny, though slightly depressing, story.
See, on Valentine’s Day, I was alone in New York. Craig would be coming a few days later and, in the meantime, I decided to spend the night seeing a play I’d always wanted to see: David Ives’ “All In The Timing” at 59E59. (A terrific production, by the way.) I figured seeing a play by myself on Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be a big deal; once the lights go down, who cares that you’re alone? The real issue was getting food before the show started. Eating out alone on Valentine’s Day, now that’s a different story.
I didn’t want to believe the myths and legends surrounding the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger. I’m a man of the people: if it’s not listed on the wall, I don’t want to eat it! But when I wrote about In-N-Out Burger a few months ago, all you secret menu advocates slapped me on the wrist and said, “You’re not a man of the people, you’re a damn fool if you don’t order your burger ‘double double animal style.'” And so, on our most recent trip to In-N-Out, I followed your orders and did as you said.
Stand back, mere mortals. You are about to encounter a sandwich that is not meant for the meagre constitutions of wimpy humans. This is food for giants, food for gods. “God” is even in the sandwich’s name: meet The Godmother at Bay Cities in Santa Monica. A sandwich with so much meat on it, if Noah opened a deli on his ark, he’d still have nothing on this. We’re talking Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, and prosciutto. That’s like 40 pigs right there.
Last week was such a hectic week searching for an apartment in L.A., I wasn’t able to do my usual business of researching restaurants, plotting dinners and constructing photo essays for you, my hungry readers. (Exception: Loteria & Gjelina.) We did, however, enjoy many random bites that I photographed, dutifully, in the hopes of writing a post like this one you’re about to read. So buckle your seatbelts!