Thursday, June 7, 2012

Off the Map: There Is No Good Way to Have a Plague

Plague Bringer Burger -- Kuma's Corner, Chicago, IL
Kuma's Corner

Shocking as it may be, we do not make a habit of frequenting biker bars.

Now, calling Kuma's Corner in Chicago a "biker bar" might be a bit of a stretch, but we have no better name for a place which features a smattering of motorcycles out front, a seemingly strict "employees must be covered in tattoos" rule, and cartooned nudity masquerading as "art" on the walls.

In essence, this is not really our kind of place.
They Don't Make a Motorcycle with TWO Sidecars and NO Bike, Do They?
Nevertheless, we haul ourselves up to the bar and get down to ordering the first cocktails of our Chicago adventure.  Unfortunately, all Kuma's Corner seems interested in serving is beer.
We Would Find This Tap More Amusing Had It Featured Absolut and Grey Goose Bottles
"Do you have wine?" we ask the not-exactly-genial bartender.

"Red and white," she answers.

Asking for elaboration on what exactly the "white" or "red" varieties taste like (enlightening as her initial description is...), we receive little more than a grunt.
Her Answer Is Essentially "It's Not Beer"
We take this as a cue to shut up and suffer through the mystery white variety, along with one plague bringer burger, as recommended by Adam Gertler on the WITH GARLIC episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Thankfully, With All This Garlic, Nobody In This Place Is Showing Any Interest In Kissing Us
Glancing around the restaurant, we are shocked to find almost all of the tables packed, considering it is only 11:45am on a weekday and we just left the nearly-empty Urban Belly.  Presumably, Kuma's Corner's clientele does not work for a living.
I Don't Wanna Work, I Just Wanna Chew on Some Meat All Day
Instead, what they do is crave massive, Honey-I-Shrunk-My-Mouth-size burgers, a sentiment to which Ginger can generally relate.

"The only thing I ever really crave is a hamburger," she admits.  "Well, and anything with sugar on it."  Which, when you think about it, does not narrow down the variety much at all. 

In contrast, Vodka's craving is much more specific.  "I crave pasta.  And I pretty much eat it daily, so it works out."

With food cravings like this, it is astounding that we have not yet been targeted by Jenny Craig.
Though the Same Can Be Said for Anyone Capable of Finishing This Thing
Our wine, which tastes suspiciously like a "house" variety, eventually arrives, followed by our plague bringer burger and fries.   The burger, just to look at, is completely overwhelming: a thick beef patty smothered in pepper jack cheese and sandwiched between a pretzel roll, lettuce, tomato, roasted garlic mayo, jalapenos, hot sauce, and tortilla strips.  In theory, we should love this thing.

In practice, we essentially hate it.
Well, Except for the Ketchup
Now, this plague bringer burger is a real conundrum.  Every component of it sounds delicious.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong with a Burger Featuring a Pretzel Bun AND Tortilla Strips?!
Therefore, when we finally manage to wrap our jaws around the entirety of it in order to take a bite, we can't tell at first if it is the best thing or the worst thing we have ever eaten.

As we finish our second bite, our decision is fairly clear.
Ding Ding Ding, We Don't Have a Winner!
In total, we each like exactly one thing about this burger: Ginger is taken with the pretzel bun (which Vodka finds uselessly devoid of salt), and Vodka with the tortilla strips.
We'll Just Take a Bowl of These Strips and Some Guacamole, Thanks in Advance
Every other feature of the burger, we despise, separately but equally.  The meat itself is so unevenly cooked that it is virtually inedible -- some parts gray and dry, and others nearly alive.  Even had it been grilled properly, the texture is much more like that of a meatball than of a burger patty, and the juicy greasiness is sorely lacking.
Funky Looking Meat, Much?
However, what this burger lacks in grease, it makes up for in pure, unadulterated torture.  The roasted garlic mayo -- the part of the burger we had been most excited about -- tastes as if a full head of raw garlic has been stuffed into the bun.
Take Off At Least Half These Ingredients, and We'll Talk
The pepper jack cheese and hot sauce add a completely unnecessary level of heat -- unnecessary because the raw jalapenos are enough to kill one's tastebuds in a single bite.

"I am truly breathing fire," Ginger admits.

"Eat the mediocre fries," Vodka suggests.  "They help take away the sting."

"No.  I have enough reflux from this thing as it is," Ginger states.  Indeed, by the third bites of our burgers, our lips sting, our breath reeks, and our hands are smothered in plague.
The Aftermath of the Burger Torture Chamber
"They could've spared a wet nap," Vodka complains, rubbing her hands on one paper napkin and then another.  "I hate any dish that I can't eat like a human."  In truth, there is no possible way to consume this burger without making a complete mess of one's appearance (let alone one's internal organs).  This fact renders Kuma's Corner generous portions a moot point, as we believe it would be impossible for anyone to finish this thing without a stain on her clothes and a hole in her esophagus.
This Disaster Should Come With Its Own Government Warning
"Ugh, that was awful," Ginger bemoans as we traipse back through Logan Square.  "That burger really was a plague.  Not in a good way.  Cause there's no good way to have a plague."
The Culprit Behind the Great Epidemic of 2012
Unless, of course, one's goal is to create a plague that will wipe out people's tastebuds and arteries in one fell swoop.  In that case, Kuma's Corner is winning by a tattoo.
Kuma's Corner Plague Bringer Burger: 1 star

1 comment:

  1. just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog ladies, keep up the good work!