dinsdag, januari 21, 2003

Burger Wars
"You understand this is not a hamburger; it's a Kobe beef burger. You can't make a burger for $41 with chopped beef. It's Kobe beef; it's night and day what we're talkin' about." Marc Sherry, owner of the Old Homestead Steak House

While the troops are being shipped out en masse in the preparation for war, another war of a different sort has erupted between NYC and Texas. The Hamburger War.

Just when you thought puerility and edacity had reached their lowest standards, along comes a transcontinental contest to outdo one another over the price of a hamburger.

A week ago, firing the opening salvo, NYT writer Ed Levine announced he'd eaten hamburgers every day for two months in all five buroughs of NYC in order to write a great NYT burger article which, up to the point of his apotheosis, which sadly turned out to be a Blue 9, "California-style" burger, was a fascinating article for flesh eaters everywhere. A great job if you can get it, traveling the diners, chuck wagons, mess halls, saloons, burger joints and swank burger parlors in search of the sublime burger.

Levine wrote about a $41 monster burger that had recently appeared on the menu at the Old Homestead on Ninth Avenue, built of beer-fed Kobe beef, with lobster mushrooms and microgreens, on a Parmesan twist roll.

And we all know by now that anything anyone can make or do, Texas can do bigger and better. It must have been a profane cataclysm down in Texas to hear the "city folk" up here in NYC were able to concoct the Most Expensive Hamburger. But the shock wore off quickly and soon enough along came John Randall to build a 24.2-pound cheeseburger bigger around than your standard garbage can lid at the Texas Chili Parlor on the appropriately named "Lavaca" Street in Austin, Texas. In a demonstration of Texan ingenuity and perspicacity of a hamburger situation that could get out of control, Randall got out his calculator (or asked his 15 closest relatives and neighbors to help him count fingers and toes) and figured out how large a burger he could build for $41 with the $1.69-a-pound burger meat he uses at the Texas Chili Parlor. And he came up with 24.26 pounds.

But you know those barbaric, bromidic Texas: they just used plain ole "burger" meat instead of Kobe beef to make their burger, those unremitting bĂȘtes sauvages! As we all know by now, Kobe Beef is not some everyday chunk of cow flesh. No sir. Kobe Beef cows get massaged with sake and have diets based on beer. They are chauffeured from cattle call to cattle call, they drink Krug Clos du Menil by the case and date super models.

In the end, it doesn't matter anyway, they've both been outdone already by superchef Daniel Boulud who is introducing a new and improved DB Burger which ads layers of fresh shaved black truffles to the successful formula of ground sirloin and chuck stuffed with fois gras and braised short ribs, and topped with horseradish mayonnaise and tomato on a fresh-baked parmesan bun. It will be served not with fries but with pommes souffles, or crispy potato puffs and will be served for the special, black truffles-fluxtuating price beginning at $50. FOR A HAMBURGER.

I've been thinking about joining the Hamburger War. I've got the perfect thing in mind to top them all: The Desultory Turgescence SUV Burger: just a regular old Big Mac served with a side of Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV, the most powerful luxury SUV available. I figure with a MSRP of $56,162.00, this SUV Burger will be the most expensive burger around, at least until the Texans start cipherin' and figure how many pounds of ground chuck they can buy for $60,000.

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