Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cash Only? Now We'll Never Be Able to Figure Out the Tip

Cheeseburger -- J.G. Melon
J.G. Melon

Breaking News: the way to get Ginger to attend an exercise class is to promise her a cheeseburger immediately afterwards.  Trainers of New York City, please take note.
The Best Motivation Comes in Quarter Pounder Form
After her second foray to an activity that is bound to kill her one day -- spin class -- Ginger meets Vodka at J.G. Melon on the Upper East Side to try Bobby Flay's Best Thing I Ever Ate BURGER choice.  Still slightly winded and frantically trying to pull on a blazer in an effort to look less like she just stumbled off of a bike, she spots Vodka entering one of J.G. Melon's two doors and makes a half-hearted attempt to get her attention... by clearing her throat.

In a surefire sign that we are spending too much time together, Vodka actually recognizes this grunt as belonging to Ginger, and what follows is a slapstick-comedy scene of us circling one another around J.G. Melon's two entrances.
Marx Brothers, Vodka and Ginger-Style
When we finally manage to approach the same door at the same time, we enter J.G. Melon's hot, crowded and melon-enfused space and search desperately for someone to seat us.  When two not-exactly-genial workers shoo us off towards the manager, he escorts us to a table outside.
Get It? The 'Melons'? J.G. "Melon"? It Took Us A While
Now, based on previous blog experience, one might wonder how Vodka ever got Ginger to agree to eat outside when the temperature is hovering below the sixty-degree mark.  Well, it seems that when Ginger is sweating profusely from athletic activity, she is much more willing to brave the elements.  Needless to say, Vodka plans on making her run across Manhattan before every potential al fresco dining opportunity from now on.
Shockingly, This Water Bottle Is Not Full of Gin
We sit, begin guzzling water, and order our cocktails (a gin and tonic for Ginger and a vodka soda for Vodka -- naturally).
We're Really Taking Our Monikers to a Whole New Level of Devotion Lately
Our waitress, it should be noted, while much more pleasant than the workers we found inside J.G, is rather passive-aggressively friendly, almost like she stumbled out of Chicago and onto the Upper East Side.  Nevertheless, she plies us with cocktails quickly, and thus, we are without too many complaints.
Though Before You Rest on Your Laurels, Rest Assured That We Are About to Complain About These Contraptions
We each order a medium burger with two slices of American cheese and extra pickles, and one bowl of French fries to share.  When the burgers arrive (on what have to be the smallest plates known to man), we quickly top them with the provided red onions and hearty portion of pickles (it seems J.G. Melon does not believe in lettuce and tomato).
Anyone Who Goes for Extra Cheese and Extra Pickles Is a Friend of Ours
Luckily for Ginger, since Vodka can photograph her own burger and thus not hold up the process, she is able to begin replenishing her lost calories within seconds, and she nods approvingly at the patty of beef that J.G. Melon has created.
And She Nods Even More Approvingly at the Pickles
Indeed, not only is J.G. Melon's cheeseburger juicy and beefy, it features just about the best bun-to-patty ratio we've ever seen.  Each bite includes a near-equal portion of meat, cheese, onion, pickle, and bread, and there is no sense of diminishing returns as we make our way through.
While we consider giving J.G. Melon's creation the full 5 star treatment (as the two slices of American cheese that Bobby Flay had specified ordering is a definite asset), we ultimately decide that unlike the splendor of, say, Steak 'n Shake, we would certainly eat this burger again... but only if we found ourselves near 74th and 3rd.  As good as thus burger is, it would not necessarily warrant us returning to the Upper East Side merely to consume it, and plus, at nearly ten bucks a pop, it is close to double Steak 'n Shake's pricing.
When the Times Square Meal Is the Cheaper Option, You Know There's a Problem
Plus, there is the matter of the fries: shaped like potato chips (the "barely ridged" variety), they are severely undersalted (so much so that even Ginger doesn't mind Vodka dumping half of the salt container onto them) and mildly mushy.  Unlike crispy waffle fries, J.G. Melon seem to prove why potatoes are not meant to be fried flat, and we are not the greatest of fans.
Who Ordered the Ruffles?
The Only Fries That Brits Have a Right to Call "Chips"
Moving onto dessert, we order one slice of key lime pie, which is tasty enough if virtually crustless (come on, J.G. -- don't deprive us of our graham crackers).
Solid Use of the Whipped Cream Container Though
Actually, We Should Have Just Ordered a Slice of Whipped Cream
When the check arrives, we stare at it for many a speechless minute -- not because the amount is so large (although actually, it is), but because we are once again rendered incapable of doing math.  You see, J.G. Melon is a cash-only joint, so we are unable to simply split the check on our credit cards and not do too much in the way of thinking.  With dollar bills flailing in our hands, we make a desperate attempt to discern whether or not we are giving an appropriate tip ("It's their own fault if we don't give a good tip for being cash-only") before rising from our table.
So Mr. Melon Does Not Believe in Lettuce, Tomato, OR Credit Cards
And thankfully, since we are already outside, there are none of those pesky doors to contend with, Marx-brothers-style, as we make our not-exactly-graceful exit.

J.G. Melon's Cheeseburger: 4 stars

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