I have often seen/heard the verbal debate between In and Out and 5 Guys. I would smirk a little and roll my eyes, for the record, I have always been a die hard In and Out fan. I don’t eat there often, I sort of savor eating there for special occasions, finishing a big project or capping off an exceptionally lazy day. In the back of my head I always thought “Ok, the guy pitching for 5 Guys has obviously never had a good In and Out burger/has no soul/is crazy”
So today I found myself over on the side of town I don’t often find myself and low and behold there is a 5 guys over there, so I thought to myself “Hey, what the hell, lets give this chuck wagon a twirl.”(yeah…I actually say stuff like that to myself in my head…I don’t know why…I don’t even know anybody in real life that talks like that…) I saunter in and my first thought is “What the hell…this looks exactly like In and Out…same spic and span white tiles…red accents…pssssshhhh….posers….they just ripped of In and Out’s decor?! Weak sauce…”
Things were not off to a good start. I bellied up to the bar with a skeptical look on my face and ordered my food from what I think may have been the skinniest, most nervous looking high school kid I have ever seen….he looked like a faint mustache wearing a hat….
I sat down and doodled around on my phone(matter-a-factly announcing on Facebook that I was giving this a shot, several of you chimed in your two cents) What seemed like an eon later a guy that looked like Busta Rhythms slid a brown bag up to the edge of the stainless steel counter and yelled into the microphone “Numba 11!” and I was all “Hey dat’s me!” and walked over….and that….is when things started happening….
Ok first off, they serve their french fries in soda cups with no top, which is normal enough…Busta started sliding fries into the soda cup until it was full…and then….he just kept going…..he was holding the cup over the bag and just kinda manically smiling and singing along to Led Zeppelin and cascading a greasy golden waterfall of potatoes into the bag…he didnt even care the cup was full…he just started pouring them into the bag…staring at me like some kind of crazy dread locked Willy Wonka, singing along to the Zep, while a river of starchy goodness flowed into my to go bag, which was turning translucent at an alarming rate. I am not sure what he used to gauge the “cut off point”(probably when my jaw had reached the lowest peak of its wonder struck gaping) he goes “AIIIIIGHT DEY YA GO! HAVE A GOOD UN!” and shoves a very rotund bag towards me….I gathered up my parcel…which felt like a small child wrapped in 4 or 5 layers of snow clothes, and headed off to my car.
The splendor of what I had just witnessed, Busta Wonka and his Led Zeppelin themed carpet ride, had taken my mind completely off being hungry, I fired up the car…and started driving towards home….as I was getting on the freeway I did something I never do, I ate a fry. I have this weird thing about eating in the car, I like to test myself to see if I can make it home, and then reward myself for having the mental fortitude to hold out till I am sitting on my couch and the food is spread out “proper style” on the coffee table, but alas, all those debates had me curious and I could not wait. The only way I could express what I tasted, is if you took a 4×4 plank of timber, and either shrunk it down or made your self gigantic, so now you have a finger length elongated rectangle. Now lets say you some how found a way to make a deal with the Norse god of thunder and he agreed to strike that plank(made of potato) with a mighty bolt of lighting, that instantly vaporized ONLY the outside, while giving the inside the creamy consistency of a perfectly baked potato. Needless to say, I had not fully prepared myself for such a sensory experience, and out of impulse I shrieked something along the lines of “BEAN TOWN BABY BITCH CAKES!?”(as much of an exclamation as a question, I just wasn’t ready…) My first thought was an immediate mental flash back to Willy and his golden fountain of frys and I thought to myself “G-damn…I have…SO MANY OF THESE!!!!!”
At this point I grabbed the top of the bag, rolled it down, and put the whole thing behind the passenger seat of my car…it was overly apparent that I would probably not only end up losing control of my vehicle and lives could be lost if such high caliber food stuffs were in arms reach as I drove…I pulled in my drive way…and cautiously walked up to the front door…what if that fry had been a fluke? What if the rest weren’t as good?
I have a weird tradition that when ever I get to go food, I always give my dogs 1 piece of something each. They were both perched on their hind legs at their designated “drop off point” in the kitchen. I gave them each a fry, they both started to chew and then immediately both gave me a look as if to say “You miserable %@#$@# face…you have been feeding us garbage all these years…” After witnessing that dark omen, I headed off towards the living room with my now almost translucent brown paper bag of mysterious godly junk food. I dropped the bag on the table, and my tv remote jumped about 2 inches into the air and sort of skittered a few inches to the right….which surprised me quite a bit.(anyone that knows me well, knows I am a gadget whore…I’m not ashamed…I love the gizmos…and my tv remote isnt one of the stock/light variety, its a heavy duty job that has a built in LCD screen and weighs about the same as a small toaster….the fact that it jumped into the air said a great deal about the density of what I was about to cram into my hungry maw)
I sat down, cracked open a Miller High Life(champagne of beers baby), fired up a documentary on Lewis and Clark and nervously peeled back the aluminum foil(yes they wrap their burgers in aluminum foil…thats high society!) and heard an audible gasp come from my mouth, fueled by the sight of the cheeze oozing down the side of the bun. This was no mere single slice of cheddar…no it was like someone had taken a bucket of velvety smooth yellow gold and built a small lake of it, smack dab in the center of my burger….it was…beautiful…..
When I was walking up to my house, I had noticed one of my friends had suggested “going all the way”(every condiment they have) sadly…I had only ordered “everything hold the onions” which was your standard back yard bbq dressings…catsup, mustard, pickles…so I was slightly saddened by the fact that I had jipped myself out of sauted mushrooms, BUT WHAT THE @#$@#$@#!!!? peeking out at me under the patty was a small heard of steamy looking sauteed mushrooms…browny points for you 5 guys…you knew me better than I new myself!(insert mental graphic of skinny kid with the dirt mustache giving the thumbs up and winking)
Now it was go time….maybe all this was bang with no bite, its easy to walk the walk but much harder to talk the talk. I took my first bite…..
Side note:I have read that in India, the Hindus consider cows to be sacred animals. You can not hurt them, eat them, bother them in any way. They are treated with love and respect and honored from they day they are born until they die.
Ok, that being said, I’m pretty f’n sure thats what kind of beef this burger was made out of, holy cow….like literally, god cow. If I had to describe what I was chewing, I would have to go with the phrase “meat confetti”
the first bite, severs the mouthful from the main patty…and as you start to palpate it with your molars and odd thing happens. It starts to break apart, but not in a dry way…its almost like a delicious little army of gravy soldiers has been patiently waiting for you to bite down, and when you do, they release their death grip on the meat itself and begin an amazing saucy dance of taste in your mouth. The next several bites were a blur, I honestly have lost the ability to mentally recall those moments…but I do remember becoming aware of a slight wheezing sound…which I soon deduced was me breathing through my nose at a heightened rate…it was that good, I did not want to open my mouth, lest the tiniest bit of flavor might escape. It was around that exact moment I completely understood why dogs growl when you try to take a bone from them. It is a panicked moment of “holy @#$@#$ this is good…and I don’t know if I will ever get one again but God help me I will rip the fingers from your hand if you try and take this experience from me…” Right about then I looked up and saw the two budget rate actors playing Lewis and Clark sledging through the snow and I felt a powerful wave of pity sweep over me…”@$@#$ you guys worked so hard and you….you never got one of these….”
The rest of the experience was something akin to watching a hyena eat along dead giraffe, fortunately I was alone and we have alot of paper towels so the mess was fairly easily cleaned up. I lay here on the couch for a good 10-15 minutes…reflecting on what had just happened to me, the places I had gone…the flavors I had lived….how I would punch anyone who ever suggested that cut rate bargain scrap house In and Out was even considered to be in the same arena of business at my new temple of worship….
Yes, I know kneel at the house of 5 Guys….if you have never tried their burgers…do so post haste, seriously, you can get a new job and your family will forgive you for going AWOL.
F’n Dave Meter of Appreciation – 10/10