Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Off the Map: Welcome to San Francisco. Do You Have an Extra Penny?

Phat Bob -- Pearl's Deluxe Burgers, San Francisco, CA

In order to prove our point that we are more capable of making it across the country than we are to Brooklyn, we have ventured to San Francisco.  And within an hour of touchdown on the west coast, we have begun eating.  As life should be.
Forget the Bridge -- Point Us Toward Your Closest Food
Our gluttony begins at Pearl's Deluxe Burgers, which we rush off to through the "scenic" streets of Tenderloin, trying desperately to arrive before the 10:00pm closing time.
Consuming Multiple Bottles of This Little Delicacy on the Plane Is Somehow Keeping Us Awake
When we reach the counter, we are instantly confused, as the burger Tyler Florence had called the "Phat Burger with Bacon and Cheese" on the BURGERS episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate is actually named "Phat Bob."
Poor Bob
Our second conundrum comes from the choice of whether we want a quarter-pound or a half-pound burger.
Half Pound Eaters Have to Enter Through the Side Door
Merely because we have already gorged ourselves on enough candy and airline gin to last us through the whole of our trip, we make the "sacrifice" of ordering one half-pound burger to share, despite the fact that this is our one and only meal of the day.
We're Apparently Leaving Our Hearts and Our Self-Control in San Francisco
Since we are sharing, we figure we might as well go big, so we take one Phat Bob and an order of French fries.  The total comes to $13.03, at which point Vodka hands the cashier $20 and 3-cents.  And said cashier side-swipes Vodka's hand, sending one of the pennies free-falling into the back of the cash register, jamming itself in the plastic.
Trying to One-Up NYC's Prices, One Penny At a Time
"Do you have an extra penny?" the cashier asks without hesitation.  Apparently, in San Francisco, it is the customer's responsibility to take claim of wayward pennies STUCK IN THE STORE'S OWN EQUIPMENT.
We Best Get an Extra Penny's Worth of Fries, Lady
For once, not in the mood to fight over one of Abe Lincoln's heads, Vodka hands over an additional penny (so, for the record, the meal cost $13.04), and we retreat to the free water spigot to retrieve our beverages.
We Remain Irrationally Obsessed with "Free Water." This Is What Happens When Constantly Dehydrated by Booze
It is at this juncture that we encounter a truly spectacular sight: the motherlode of pickles.  Now, as has been established an obscene number of times, we love a pickle.  And when they are stored in a self-service caldron, we are never happier (and we push our inner-hypochondriacs out of our minds, as they murmur vague phrases about "germs" and "shared hobo pickle boxes").
This Container Had to Be Refilled Minutes After We Left
We take our place at the window counter of the nearly-empty restaurant, and despite the buzzer that we had been handed to alert us when our food is ready, the cashier seems to try to make up for PennyGate by hand-delivering our burger and fries.  Said burger had been preemptively cut in half for us by the kitchen -- a gesture which we find most pleasing, considering our inability to properly wield a knife.
So Essentially, We Like to Be Treated Like Toddlers
The burger is resting on a lightly-colored Sesame bun, and the meat is topped by BBQ sauce, cheese, onion rings, mayonnaise, and bacon.  Since we would not necessarily choose these ingredients as our own toppings, we take gigantic bites out of the center of our halves and prepare to be overwhelmed by flavor, and not necessarily in a good way (the plague burger in Chicago comes to mind).
How Many Is One Topping Too Many?
But thankfully for Pearl, Tyler, and all of San Francisco, we are pleasantly surprised.  The roll itself is soft yet hearty enough to withstand the burger's contents without falling apart.  The bacon is crispy and light -- not the thick strips of chewy bacon that we abhor on sandwiches.  And the BBQ sauce, while just a tad overpowering for us, is not nearly as intense as we had feared it would be.
Solid Work, Tenderloin. This Burger Almost Makes Up for Your Location
Though the cashier had asked how we would like our burger cooked ("medium"), this question seems to be a moot point, as the patty is thin, and we doubt it could be cooked to anything other than "gray."  That said, the meat is just juicy enough to be tasty, and overall, we are quite pleased.
And When You Take Us Out of Our NYC Element, "Quite Pleased" Is Practically a Rave from Us
Similarly, the French fries, though scalding in temperature and in need of salt, have a pleasant texture to them -- crunchy on the outside, and light and soft on the inside.
We Love a Twice-Fried Fry
Indeed, after our burger has been polished off, we sit looking at the half-basket of remaining fries forlornly.

"We could take them with us," Vodka suggests.
"To eat when?" Ginger asks.  "Have you seen our itinerary?"
"I just don't want to waste them," Vodka explains.
"That's a very bad attitude to have on this trip," Ginger says wisely, and against all of our better judgment, we head toward the trash can with the fry basket in hand.
Goodbye, Sweet Souls
Only in San Francisco, there is no such thing as a "trash can."  Instead, there are "compost," recycling," and "waste" cans.
And naturally, this development makes us roll our eyes in a big way.
Such Nonsense Almost Makes Us Want to Litter
We stumble out of Pearl's and skedaddle back to our hotel lickety-split, avoiding San Francisco's "welcoming committee" along Market Street all the way.
Security Camera = Somehow Not Comforting
And with that, we are off to the races on our Northern California Best Thing I Ever Ate adventure: one day in, one dish down, and one penny sacrificed in the name of phatness.

Pearl's Deluxe Burgers's Phat Bob: 4 stars

1 comment:

  1. Those fries would obviously be composted. /sighs/