An Englishman and a Scot Walk into a Korean Burger Joint ...
I am taking burger week seriously, everybody. Very seriously. Do you know how seriously? Normally, I do no research, display a startling lack of expertise, write a couple of swears, tell a crass joke and then insult everyone in the comments. That won't fly during this crucial period. I've got in a hired gun, an expert who writes about burgers all the time (but the opposite way to how I write about food), to sit across from me and tell me what I should be looking for, what's going on, what it is I should be thinking, where I am and what my name is. Oh, and he's British too.
- Snuffer's Gets Snuffed on Serious Eats
It is of course the Englishman's natural enemy, a Scot, more specifically Ewan MacDonald, of A Hamburger Today, previously featured here on City of Ate as a guy who knows what he's talking about. Thrown together unceremoniously on Reddit by Ewan's sister-in-law, I decided to enlist his help when it became clear how important Burger Week is on this here blog.
After a week spent insisting that he take me to the strangest burger place he's ever seen, because I thrive on awkwardness, we eventually settled on LA Burger in
Irving Carrollton ( 10045 N. MacArthur Blvd. 1017 E. Trinity Mills Road) for its interesting fusion of the whole Americana/Korean thing, and the prospect of kimchi all up in my burger. Apparently there is a burger place in Plano so terrifying that Ewan won't even discuss it. Maybe next year.
I began by asking Ewan what it is I should be looking for. He reeled off a list of things so long that it was immediately clear to me why I am not a very good food critic. A lot of the time, I can barely dress myself in the morning, let alone remember to mail things or buy a light bulb or whatever. Ewan knows more about burgers than I do about the layout of my own apartment.
Suffice to say, I can't remember much about what he said, in line with my usual commitment to sucking at this job. Apparently the burger is very important, as is the bun, and the stuff inside the bun that isn't the burger is vital too. All these things go together to make a good burger. As to what aspects of them I should specifically be praising or condemning, well, like I said, maybe next year. I tried, guys.
The K-Burger (Krocodile? Kanine? Kow? Whatever meat it is, the spelling is atrocious) was $5.95, and came with jalapeños, kimchi and a teriyaki glaze as well as the usual suspects like lettuce, tomato, and onion. I also got the K-Fries (Kucumber? Kabbage? Kantaloupe? The country needs to know) at a somewhat steep $5.95, surely the most anyone has paid for fries in the history of all mankind.
Soothed by the lilting tones of Ewan's Scottish accent and the rush of warm meat (!), I enjoyed my burger a lot. Ewan, however, was not so pleased. Unable to comprehend the notion of displeasure at food, I inquired as to what was up to find out that the jalapeños were overpowering, the bun was too sweet, and that being Scottish made you angry at the world (two out of these three things are what he actually said). Mentally introspecting for a minute, I discovered that I too found the jalapeños obscured all other flavours, and that I was confused as to why the bun was sweet. I had had critical thoughts, but pushed them aside because, well, everyone loves food (alternate blog name perhaps?). Maybe the instincts are there. Maybe I can be a food critic. For instance, this burger is no Off-Site Kitchen. There, a critical engagement with my subject.
No, not really, I'm awful at this job. However, I can tell you that the K-Fries are delicious, there is a lot of them, and they are smothered in cheese, onions, and bulgogi meat. I was reminded of the gravy/cheese/fries apocalypse favoured by my drunken compatriots on the way back from the pub. Go for the K-Fries, order a burger without jalapenos, and take an expert with you to provide an opinion for you. Thanks Ewan. Whenever I need to know what it is I'm actually thinking, I'll give you a call.