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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Burger Ruminations

There is no such thing as one; there is only two.

These days, you are considered cool, a real man, if you have opinions on the best burger.  People get in pretend fights over the best burger.  One might say "Five Napkins is incredible and has the most killer burger!" and another will say "No way Corner Bistro in the West Village has the best!" and in the end they will slap each other on one another's shoulder and have another drink.  These people are idiots and don't know what they're talking about.  Further, they trivialize something which is dead serious.

For today's ruminations, let's consider the Spotted Pig and Five Guys.

People who go to Spotted Pig think pretty highly of themselves.  They congratulate themselves for their incredible taste; they congratulate themselves for being "in the know."  They probably went to an elite college and have really cool and tasteful clothes and they very likely make six figures.  But don't worry -- they're liberal-minded and like poor people and black people.  As further evidence of their tolerance, you might even see a few black people at the Spotted Pig.  As even further evidence of their down-to-Earthiness and egalitarianism, Spotted Pig patrons will often eat the highly regarded, critically praised burger.  How elite can they be if they eat a burger, after all.  But remember, despite all of these very ethical, cool, tolerant sentiments, the patrons still need to feel special, like they're not only successful and cool people but people with superior taste and insider instincts, and therefore the burger at Spotted Pig is not just a regular burger.  The meat-blend is high quality, the bun an impeccable brioche, and most different of all, the cheese is of the blue variety, Roquefort.  It's a satisfying burger and the cheese really does make it all the more satisfying.  Indeed, I wonder if it would be all that satisfying if it were just the burger without the Roquefort cheese.  The fries are shoe string, with some rosemary and garlic mixed in.  They're addictive enough but I prefer thicker fries.

Five Guys.  Those who boast of enjoying Spotted Pig may enjoy Five Guys but will never boast of it.  No one feels cool going to Five Guys the way some do going to Spotted Pig.  The burgers at Five Guys are very different, more of a fast food style than an artisinal, tavern style like Spotted Big.  But the burgers at Five Guys are generally quite enjoyable, and although the fries don't have the rosemary and garlic of the Spotted Pig fries, I probably enjoy them more.

Now, my friend, we must decide which is better.  Obviously, we could take the easy way out and say one isn't better, they're just different.  But no, which is better.  If there could be only one, which would it be?  Further, which is the real burger?  I locked myself in a room with an unending supply of both burgers so I could compare them more easily, taking a small bite of one, then the other.  Ah yes, this one has the funk of the blue cheese, but this one has a nice griddled crisp!  I would have a taste of one and think it was the best, but then, just to be sure, would take a taste of another, and be convinced that the other was in fact the best.  Back and forth I went, until time lost its meaning and I found myself in a plane of reality where the burgers existed simultaneously as the same burger.  If I took a bite of the Spotted Pig burger, I was at the same time taking a bite of the Five Guys burger; and if I took a bite of the Five Guys burger, I was at the same time taking a bite of the Spotted Pig burger.  I began to sweat and feel uneasy, and a terrible sickness overtook me.  I was trapped for all eternity to wrestle with these two burgers, and there would be no happy ending, and  I wondered why I was made to grapple with such a problem for all time?