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Sunday, June 8, 2008

two different burgers

So last weekend we went up to LA. We went to see the Cure on Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium, so we checked into a hotel Saturday night to just relax. We had had a tiring week, and I just needed some good sleep. So we got to the hotel and we were waiting to check in. We drove around and found out that we were way closer to Manhattan Beach than I imagined. We'd never been there, so we drove around, got lucky with a parking space and walked around.

It's funny because coming from the eastern seaboard, we have both always had this prejudice against LA. We only heard of it in a negative light. So as we are slowly discovering more of LA, we actually love it. I feel like Hollywood is the least interesting area that we have been to.

Anyway, we got back to the hotel and we vegged. We watched TV. We had margaritas. The Food Pimp usually is not so good at making cocktails, but this was good. Not a "margarita" in a textbook way - just tequila, fresh lime juice and sugar. Oh, and mint too, so it was like a tequiljito. So he brought a knife and a lime press and made drinks. And we watched TMZ. We were in LA, so that's what you're supposed to watch, right?

So the FP was scamming to get room service. He has this thing for getting steaks by room service in hotels. It's such a luxury that I would never even consider ordering if I never hooked up with him! So we had scoped out the area within walking distance and the most promising place was a thai restaurant. We started to make an attempt to dress, but then somehow, he just grabbed the room service menu and decided that's what we were doing for dinner. I relented. I was tired and didn't really want to go out for what would inevitably be a crappy thai dinner.

So the FP got a steak. I think it was new york strip. I really don't recall. I got him to order me a burger with mushrooms and avocado. So there were 3 different burgers on different menus. One was with lettuce, tomato and onion. One was with avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion. The half pounder was with your choice of mushrooms, different cheeses and some other stuff. So of course they brought the more expensive half pound angus burger and probably charged extra for the avocado.

So the FP's plate looked standard. Some steamed veggies, asparagus, zucchini maybe, something else - which were actually still green, a potato gratin, his steak, and a mushroom demi sauce. I guess the steak, which he asked for rare was super rare. The quality of the meat itself was not too good, it didn't have a nice sear, so all that usually lovely fat was pretty much inedible. But amazingly, his sides were great. The sauce was really good, the veggies were perfectly cooked, the gratin was not mush, not too cheesy or creamy. Usually one expects these kinds of hotel sides to be made in a huge batch that sits for a while before being served. So that was a nice surprise.

Now my burger. I ordered it medium. I don't trust midrare burgers. Most people don't. The only way that would probably be good anyway is if it were with some fantastic high quality cut of meat that was ground in house fresh. So it was pretty much well done. Which was really disappointing. It was very tasty, but just kind of dry. Not horribly dry, but dry enough to make it not as enjoyable as it could be. You know, like one of those english sit-coms that don't have laugh track, so since english humor is so dry, you have to pay attention to know when to laugh. At least there was avocado, mushroms and swiss cheese on it to "moisten" it up. The funny thing is that when the FP ordered he didn't ask for cheese. Which is fine because I wanted cheese but didn't think of it.

Oh and not to belittle my fries. They were delicious. They were golden. They were seasoned with like seasoning salt. They were hot. I scooped almost all the mustard out of the teeny bottle and some ketchup and dug in. I pretty much ate almost all my food. Guess I was hungrier than I thought. For dessert I ate the chocolate chip cookie they gave me when we checked in. It was still soft and yummy. At Doubletree they give each guest a warm cookie at check in, which is nice. They have like a holding oven under the desk.

So the next morning we checked out and headed to Chinatown. We had never been there, so we were excited to check it out. I will save that for it's own blog, though.

Actually, I'm just going to skip the rest of the day to the drive home. I will write about everything else later.

So I had to work Monday morning at 6 am, so we had to leave LA right after the show. The FP was still impaired, so I drove. We stopped somewhere in OC to get gas and food. There was In N Out Burger, which we had never been to, so we went there. It was about 12:40 and they closed at 1. We made it. Usually, when ordering fast food before closing, I get the sense that they don't want me there. Not so with this In N Out. They welcomed us in, took our order very cheerily, and cooked it very happily. We sat near the counter, so we watched the guy cook our burgers and fries to order. He seemed to have a sense of pride about it. Amazingly, people kept coming in, and they kept happily taking orders.

So we got our burgers and fries. I guess we only ordered one fries, but it was late and we had to get home so I could at least get a couple hours of sleep.

So the fries. They were obviously fresh cut fries. They were a little light. I would have liked them more cooked. But with fresh potatoes, they take longer than blanched frozen fries. Anyway, it's a small complaint. They were very good. Nice and hot and fresh from the fryer, but not greasy. They were actually too salty, which I believe is a first for us. We gobbled them up anyway.

Then the burger. I think we got double doubles. I made the mistake of unwrapping the burger from the sleeve. I think when I was little my parents wouldn't fully unwrap their burger, and maybe I view this as the way old people eat burgers. So I always unwrapped my burgers completely. Is this weird? At any rate, it was a mistake because the two patties and the tomato and stuff kept sliding around and I had to insert the filling back into my buns. I'm sure you've heard that story before.....

Anyway, the burgers were obviously fresh, hot, and they tasted like beef. Sometimes burgers just taste like dirty grill or flattop, but these had a clean meaty taste. The FP just loved it. He raved on about how impressed he was. And it's hard to impress him with burgers. He's just not a big burger fan.

And the thing is, it's hard to convince him something's good if he's never had it. Of course everyone says, In N Out, have you tried it? And he says no, and he doesn't even seem impressed when people tell him the fries are cut in house. But to the Food Pimp, tasting is believing. He's like that with music too. I have told him about some band forever, and he doesn't care or really listen. Then one day he happens to hear that band and he acts like he discovered them. That's just how he is.

So anyway, it was a great meal. And even at 12:58, the staff was still welcoming people in! It's as if they took lots of pride in their jobs! Now that's a strange concept!

So then the FP tried to drive home, but he was too tired/drunk to drive. So I took over after a few miles, and we got home pretty damn fast. That burger gave me just enough fuel to haul ass down the 5 to make it to my bed. I got 3 hours of sleep.

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