Though it was a four-day work week, by the time I woke up this morning, I felt as if I had already worked a full week. When lunch time rolled around, I knew in my heart that the only way I would make it through to the end was with a Bistro Burger from Bagby's TenTen and an IcedGems cupcake. It was a lunch reminiscent of former bad dietary habits and unfortunate weight fluctuations. But dammit I earned it.
I have indulged in the Bistro Burger a couple of times. It is indeed a perfect burger. It's a little large at 8 ounces. (That's, like, half a pound. And, every time, I'm, like, really?? Half a pound?? Remember when McDonald's launched the Quarter Pounder like it was a lot of meat? That was 30 years ago. What happened??) But it is local beef decked out with the classic trimmings of bacon and cheese from local sources; lettuce, tomatoes, and onions from their own farm, and an extra bite from their own crispy onions, lightly battered and fried on site. Plus they will cook it for you rare. Not medium. Not medium rare. Rare. Served on their amazing brioche rolls, this is truly the burger you must be worthy of. And today I ate the whole thing. Really.
They will also give it to you with a side salad if you like. This is usually the wise choice to avoid the afternoon drowsies as fries are the best sedative I know, especially when consumed in the middle of a hellacious day. The TenTen side salad is a thing pf beauty. Consisting of the standard side salad mix of lettuce, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and tomatoes, theirs is executed in a manner that makes you realize why someone thought this combination was a good idea in the first place. The lettuce is a bed of mixed baby greens, including frisee and spinach (two of my favorites). The cucumbers, radishes, and grape tomatoes are cut into a manageable size. (Why anyone would drop a whole grape - or worse, cherry - tomato directly into a salad with nothing for the diner to manage with than a dull butter knife is beyond me. And don't get me started on the dreaded tomato wedge.) The salad is topped with a crown of freshly grated carrot that still snaps. Their house dressing is a light, tangy, brown vinaigrette. It balances out the salad and even makes the radishes taste good, one of the few veggies I have a long-standing negative food bias against. The TenTen house dressing tames the most offensive flavors of this root and leaves only a slightly bitter after flavor it its wake.
Dessert was obtained at the IcedGems truck, long a fixture on Fleet Street on Fridays, if now reduced to every other Friday due to their ever-increasing success. I got the Caribbean Coconut, a coconut cupcake with lime-flavored butter cream icing and a candy lime wedge. The cake was a very nice white cake with shredded coconut and a very natural flavor that was complemented by the tangy lime in the icing. But, after a few bits, I noticed that it was too sweet.
Wait, what? Was it the icing that was too sweet? Maybe..... My preferred method of eating cupcakes is to separate the iced crown from the base. This makes the whole thing so much easier to handle, plus it provides the hedonistic pleasure of the dietary equivalent of mainlining the icing with very little cake to disrupt the direct delivery of butter and sugar into the bloodstream. So, I abandoned the crown, took a drink of water to cleanse my palette, and tried the base.
Yes, the cake that had tasted so refreshing just a few bites ago had become sugary-sweet. When I returned to the icing-coated crown - usually my favorite part - it was too much. I had to quit. Even the gummy lime wedge was too much.
This is nothing against IcedGems. I think I have been away from cupcakes for so long that I have lost my sweet tooth.
Well, not entirely. I still like the caramel sauces I get at home. But maybe that's it for me now. Maybe this is the natural progression of things. Back in 2009, as my father lay dying and I comforted myself with Ferrero Rocher conveniently provided by a niece, I realized I no longer liked chocolate. Not just Ferrero Rocher, but almost all chocolate. Except for what I get at home. Maybe it just doesn't taste right to me unless Gareth makes it. Maybe this is true for all sweets. This is a revolutionary concept for me and one I will explore in greater detail at some point in the future.
The only other remarkable feature of today's lunch is the introduction of my new phone. I finally gave up the iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy Note. Yeah, that's that big phone that's half-way between a phone and a tablet. I used it for my Honey Pig post, and our 17-year-old Korean busboy said it was cool, so I feel as if I have some sort of street cred on this. It also has an 8 MP camera with a flash and actual depth perception. I'm quite pleased with it. Here are the shots of today's lunch.
Is that the project file for my 1:00 meeting under there?
A close up of that burger