Nothing is Sadder

Bob Zeanah By Bob Zeanah, 13th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Off Beat

Nothing is sadder than not finishing a beer and cheeseburger at the same time.

How to drink beer and eat a cheeseburger

Nothing is sadder than not finishing a beer and cheeseburger at the same time. One bite left, one swallow left is always the goal; anything less is just, well, sad.

Beer should be gently poured cold, real cold preferably into a frozen pilsner glass. Poured down the side with 3/8 inch foam. Quarter inch is too small, ½ inch and the taste goes flat. But, it’s so sad to look at the leftover foam in a pilsner glass when there are French fries remaining and three bites of cheeseburger left. Order another beer you say? There are three reasons why two restaurant beers are the limit. You drink one beer when you first arrive and visit with your friends and then have a second beer with food. Nice and even. Three beers runs up the tab. “Really? My tab is this much? Plus the tip?” Suddenly the time visiting with friends sours just ever so slightly. Second, three beers results in too much beer left after the food resulting in sadness. Even is our goal. Third, there is a little known law that governs waiters and waitresses. While one can receive frozen beer mugs and frozen pilsner glasses for beers #1 and #2, a person must receive a mug or glass hot, straight from the dishwasher for beer #3. I’m not sure who is responsible for this law, but it is obeyed more fervently than any other law on the books.

Of course, balancing the consuming of beer and cheeseburger to finish at the same time is not as easy as it sounds. First, there is the issue of French fries. Depending how salty they are, as a side note, there is no such thing as French fries being too salty, the whole balancing can be thrown off. Starting with a pool of ketchup and seasoned generously with Tabasco, you use a French fry to mix the two and eat your spoon. This can start toward ruination of the ending of the evenness. By the way, don’t worry about the burning sensation from the Tabasco, that’s what the beer is for.

Onion rings do not appear to present such a problem as onion rings seem to appreciate the delicate balance of cheeseburger and beer and support the important end result, which leads me to offer the best place to order onion rings. A few years ago, I caught a segment by Rachel Ray on what she claimed were the best onion rings in the country. Normally, I am only mildly interested in Rachel Ray’s expounding on anything, but this got my attention, because I happen to believe that the best onion rings in the country are served at Frankie and Johnny’s in New Orleans. Also, the place she claimed had the best onion rings was in Dallas and, two weeks later, I was traveling to Dallas for a convention. I conducted an Internet search and found the barbeque restaurant she mistakenly identified as the best, was close to my hotel. Wait, before a chorus of Rachael Ray fans attack me, I think Rachael Ray is cute and perky as the next guy and would love to have her cook for me. Trust me, I love looking at her. But, I have noticed that Rachael Ray fans are not normal. Anything you say that could be, in the most convoluted manner, construed as criticism, they go nuts defending her. Her fans are worse than Tim Tebow fans for not tolerating anything other than total adulation. However, she ventured into sacred territory. One night during the convention, I ventured to this barbeque restaurant. They did carry a black lager, so, one major plus for the restaurant, but the onion rings were a mere shadow to my favorite. Frankie and Johnny’s also has great po’boys, but more on that subject later.

And, the barbeque. Please, have people in Dallas ever heard of Alabama? Do they have no imagination? This barbeque restaurant was rated 4½ stars out of 5 stars as the best barbeque in Dallas. I can buy better barbeque at the convenience store at the corner of Highway 98 and County Road 65 just outside Foley. I will point out that there is equal sadness about beer and barbeque not finishing at the same time, as there is beer and cheeseburgers. But that is another topic. Dallas, you need to do some serious research on barbeque. Start with Dreamland in Tuscaloosa. Of course, as an Auburn graduate, it pains me to say anything in Tuscaloosa is good, much less the best, but Dreamland, the original one on Jug Factory Road, is the Holy Grail of barbeque. The paper mill closed thirty something years ago, but I swear I can still smell it when I go to Tuscaloosa. Don’t get me wrong. Dreamland is the Holy Grail. Memphis barbeque is great, too, especially Rendezvous barbeque nachos at a Redbirds game or a Grizzlies game. I did eat in a barbeque dive once in Memphis. So much a dive that I do not remember if the place even had a name beyond, “Barbeque.” Those two ladies, who run the place, know how to make barbeque. They’re not so keen on sweeping the floor, but their barbeque is worth the trip along with the flirtation with borderline, shutting-the-place-down health ratings. Pulled pork, secret sauce, homemade Cole slaw, all piled on a white bread bun served on a paper plate. That’s good. You will have a Co-cola, Dr. Pepper, or sweet tea with your sandwich. Do not ask for anything else to drink unless you want an “are you stupid?” stare. Years ago, Possum Trot barbeque in Seale, Alabama, home of the largest vulture roost in America, contrary to what one of those Northern ‘I’ states, Illinois, I think, claims, was the best barbeque sandwich I had ever eaten. I’ve also had barbeque at Salt Lick, located outside Austin, Texas, considered the Mecca for barbeque lovers. It’s probably the best beef brisket, but still does not measure up to Dreamland in their pork ribs. What is it about barbeque and convenience stores? Recently I had the best barbeque brisket I’ve ever eaten at a convenience store in Austin.

Onion rings, I was talking about onion rings. Onion rings are your friend in making beer and cheeseburger come out even. But, I got distracted on the subject of po’boys. Everyone needs to have on their Bucket List to eat a po’boy from Domilice’s in New Orleans – oyster po’boy, shrimp po’boy, andouile po’boy, roast beef debris po’boy, doesn’t matter. Order a beer, pour the beer in a frozen Woolworth’s 5 & 10 glass, and make everything come out even. My, your life will have changed.

Of course, the beer has a lot to contribute to the important equality in finishing. For me, I prefer a black lager over any other beer any time with the possible exception of a Belgium Ale brewed in Asheville, North Carolina that can steal my heart. But, a black lager – Shiner Black, Guinness Black, Sam Adams Black Lager, and, the best, Blackened Voodoo – is the best. One of the great tragedies of Hurricane Katrina was the shutting down of the brewery that makes Blackened Voodoo for two years. Longest two years of my life.

Some right wing evangelical religious kook, pardon the redundancy, in the Texas Legislature attached a rider to a bill making the selling of Blackened Voodoo in Texas against the law because Voodoo is linked to devil worship. In retaliation, the Louisiana Legislature banned the sell of Lone Star beer in Louisiana because there is a five-point star on the beer cans, the sign of the devil. I love it. Hate Lone Star beer anyway. Louisiana Legislature – 1; Texas Legislature – 0.

On to the important point, who makes the best cheeseburgers? There are so many places tied for first place that I cannot list them all. However, I can steer you to the correct places. First, look for a parking lot that does not have any empty spaces. Second, look for concrete block walls. Along the Gulf Coast, sometimes the outside walls are stucco, but they must be peeling in order to find good cheeseburgers inside. Griddle cooking is a must, though one of the best cheeseburgers I have ever had was in a Mom & Pop grocery in Semmes, Alabama cooked in an aluminum electric fry pan with a lid. Those things are not found in stores anymore, you have to shop thrift shops for those things where somebody cleaned out their garage and probably forgot the things actually made good food because of the trapping in of moisture. This particularly cheeseburger was American cheese on a plain old white bun, mustard, and fresh (I mean they sliced the lettuce and tomato right there in front on me). Anyway, you look for concrete blocks, griddle on the inside, handmade signs in the window, misspelled words often mean that the food is even better, and stools. There must be stools, you know the kind that attach to the floor and you can swivel.

In addition, what to avoid list includes, uniforms by the wait staff, any chain, no griddle in sight, and a Confederate flag. I avoid restaurants with a Confederate flag for obvious reasons, but I also find that people who display Confederate flags do not know how to cook, in addition to being racists. But, that is another topic. On to the cheese.

Cheese does not matter. I know that many people are persnickety about their cheese and must raise their nose in the air as they pronounce with a French accent their favorite cheese. Even if the cheese is Italian cheese, they pronounce with a French accent. Yes, I like Gruyere, Camembert, and other highbrow cheeses, too. But, for a great cheeseburger, any cheese will do. Griddle is the main ingredient. One of the best cheeseburgers I have ever had was in Wagerville, alas they do not serve beer, however, Alabama, which constitutes the middle of nowhere. They serve it with American cheese, but the dang thing is so good, Food Network rated it the best in Alabama. I will not put up an argument, but there are a couple of places that I would put up there, all with griddles and concrete blocks. By the way, concrete block structures and great po’boys seem to go together.

Black lager poured down the side of a frozen pilsner glass with a 3/8 inch foam head is close to perfection. Cheeseburger, well done, mustard, as the gods intended, lettuce, tomato, maybe a pickle, cut in half served with steak fries or onion rings. Big pool of ketchup doused heavily with hot sauce, now if no one interrupts me, I can make everything come out even – last bite of side, last bite of cheeseburger, and drain the glass. To the corollary of the saddest thing in the world is the greatest pleasure in the world – empty platter and foam drying on the side of the glass all at the same time.


Beer, Cheeseburger

Meet the author

author avatar Bob Zeanah
I am a freelance writer with two books in search of a publisher. I teach Creative Writing classes as well as Business Writing and Grant Writing classes.

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author avatar Suzan Christensen
14th May 2013 (#)

A great explanation of cheeseburgers. french fries and beer with the lagniappe of the barbecue. What will he think of next?

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