Monday, October 09, 2006

Cheeburger Cheeburger

Today, Mark Leedom asked me if I'd be interested in a decadent lunch. What a silly question. He had the thought of going to "Cheeburger, Cheeburger" on his mind, and soon, so did I.

The restaurant, named after a John Belushi SNL sketch, was in one of those tarted-up strip malls on the periphery of the much larger tarted-up Brier Creek Strip Mall, off US-70 between Raleigh and Durham, and near the RDU airport. I'd heard of this place a while ago, but had never been. It had a sort-of retro diner-meets-Miami Vice decor, the appeal of which was totally lost on me. But we weren't there for the decor. We were there for the burger. Cheeburger, that is.

It goes like this; you pick the size of the burger you want, specify how it's cooked, choose one of maybe eight or nine cheeses to top it, then zero to about 15 or so "included" toppings (like salsa, avacado, A1 sauce, and the usual suspects), and a few premium toppings (bacon, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions) for an extra $0.99.

We both started with the smallest basket of fries. They looked fresh-cut, and had some kind of seasoning in addition to salt and pepper. These came right out, so we could enjoy them without distraction by the burger. Kind of a cool concept.

For his burger, Mark ordered the 1/3 lb. Semi-Serious burger, cooked medium, with Swiss cheese, lettuce, pickle, black olive, and Heinz 57 sauce.

(Mark added the knife and fork to the shot, for scale reference. Good thinking, Mark)

I think Mark would've possibly substituted the 57 sauce for A1 were he to do the burger again.

I had the 1/3 lb. Semi-Serious Burger, cooked medium-well (just the way Grandad used to make them) with alleged jalapeño cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo, with the addition of ketchup and mustard tableside.
It was pretty good. What would I have done differently? Probably sprung for the sauteed onions. I think I'm on the quest for the perfect burger, so at first I probably order them pretty stock, California Burger style, for even comparison purposes. This was a good burger, and I will dine here again, but I think In-N-Out is still leading the competition in my book.

As an aside, they serve a "Pounder" which is actually a 20-oz burger. If you can finish it, you get your picture on the wall. If you're a kid, they have a scaled down 8-oz burger with the same reward for finishing. Like Mark said, at least they're steering our American pride toward what we're truly good at: overeating.

P.S. Since I didn't know in advance that I'd be in a food-photography situation today, all the food pictures were taken with my phone. Not that I'm claiming that any of my camera-obtained food shots are any great shakes, they are at least superior to these. You get the picture.


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