Thursday, March 25, 2010

Philosophical Differences Over a Hamburger

I hope this doesn't seem like too much of a rant (it is almost 1 am as I'm typing), but a recent Chowhound thread has gotten under my skin to the point where I can no longer keep my mouth shut. I would have posted on Chowhound, but the moderators would have seen through my dripping sarcasm and almost certainly deleted my post, with a nasty letter about relevancy. In the thread entitled, "Worth The Wait?" the OP asks if in fact Shake Shack is worth the wait. The responses thus far have taken more time than the wait at SS on a sunny, 75 degree day... on Memorial Day weekend.

Double Shackburger

The thread is still going very strong. By the word "strong" I of course mean circling the drain of back and forth yes or no answers. Responses have varied from "yes it's totally worth it" to "SS blows." Mostly it seems as if Chowhounders repeatedly reaffirm their core beliefs on each new relevant (and sometimes wholly irrelevant) thread. This happens a lot with Shopsin's too.

Well I'm here to say that questions like this are bullshit and I'm tired of reading them. Let me first state that for something as subjective as food, I claim to speak for no one but myself (and occasionally for my client). Second, I understand that people are firm in their beliefs, and the more you present them with contrary evidence, the more they stick to them. Third, why convince someone else otherwise about something as subjective as the decision whether something is "worth the wait."

These arguments are similar to the health care debate which is beyond hysterical at the point. It is painfully obvious (especially now), that one party will always say black while the other party insists on white. They may or may not be principled disagreements, but good fucking luck if you're going to convince either side of the rightfulness of their position. Joe Biden astutely (yes I'm betraying some core political views by calling something out of Biden's mouth astute) stated during the health care summit that "I'm always reluctant... to tell people what the American people think. I think it requires a little bit of humility to be able to know what the American people think." He's fucking right, I don't claim to tell people what they should think-- I speak for myself-- and never try to force my beliefs on others (on the other hand I have no problem ridiculing them).

The difference between me and some other posters, is that I know I'm not going to convince someone white is black (unless I'm retained for that, and after much research), and won't waste my time arguing it. Personally, I would wait for SS on a nice day (probably not much more than an hour, but you end up downing the thing in 2 minutes anyway). Yet some people claimed that 10 minutes is too long. Fuck that! Slow down, relax and enjoy your life instead of hating on hamburgers, especially one that raises the game for "fast food" by serving a burger with one of the most flavorful beef blends I've ever had.

Plus, who are you to tell me what my priorities should be? Of course I want to eat an In and Out burger when I go out west. I did and it was delicious. I don't regret it for supposedly "wasting" a meal at a fast food restaurant. It was a personal choice, weighing my priorities (I love hamburgers) and the likelihood I would be on the west coast again soon (slim to none). As I sat there, stuffing a double double animal style into my mouth, I regretted nothing because I knew I was eating something I could only experience there. Why worry if it was fast food and not Eleven Madison Park. I'll go to EMP when I feel like a four star restaurant, not when I want a burger. This is wholly about MY priorities and what I look for in a meal.

To the lady who asked whether it was worth the wait, I say: go, if you can to Madison Square Park (not in the middle of the lunch crush, that would be stupid). It's even better if it's a nice day. If not, go to the UWS location and eat (apparently) much quicker. Then decide whether it was worth the wait.

How can I tell you?


  1. Totally agree with you on the white/blank thing.

    And your hamburger photo is now my new wallpaper.

  2. Thanks for the post! I think I would be too distracted with that as my wallpaper, I eat enough burgers as it is.

  3. the next time you make it out to SF, make sure you try the 4505 Meats hamburger, served only on Thurs & Fri farmer markets @ the Ferry Bldg. it's a "fast food style" burger, ala SS, uses aged meat, etc; aside from the Minetta Tavern burger, it's probably the best I've tried.

  4. @ChuckEats: Interesting, you prefer the Minetta Burger over the Black Label Burger?