When I walk my knuckles do not drag over the pavement and yet I still love a good burger. But more than lately I just can’t seem to find one. It’s not the pink slime, although I’m glad that chapter is totally (and irrevocably?) behind us. It’s not the escalating prices even though I am loathe to turn down a picturesque multi-coupon circular. (In this economy? Please!) It’s not the erratic and unreliable service you get from the drive-up window attendants. I’m all for convenience but should an unhappy employee be part of my 21st century “dining” experience? Not all that appetizing. It’s not the inconsistency from location to location. (McDonald’s, Burger King, Champs, Wendy’s, Sonic. None seem immune.) Funny how the standards of service — including the food — isn’t the same from restaurant to restaurant — even in the same chain. I’d love to be a secret shopper and report back to corporate headquarters but that’s assuming Corporate really gives a f*ck. And judging by the consistency of their minimal performance standards… need I say more?
No what really burns the bridges to these bovine palaces is what appears to me to be the cheapest and most easily changeable element that can give Poppa that Brand New Bag. I’m talking about the dreaded bread, the burger’s bun. Sure you say it’s the least of your concerns when biting into a mouthful of juicy beef all topped with enough fixin’s to qualify for a junior salad. But one terrible taste of that flavorless doughy thickness destroys any possibility of goodness the sandwich promised or could have delivered. Admittedly I’ve taken the sandwich home, swapped out the bread and hoped for a better burger. The results were solidly disappointing. Maybe I’m suffering from some distorted nostalgia versus a palate that has improved with time. The coupon circular, unhappy servers, and corporate lack of accountability. Perhaps I ignored the most important ingredient of all. The human act of caring to provide excellence.