lundi 28 janvier 2008

the burger experiment

i went home for the holidays (i'm still planning on writing about my orgasmic gastronomic experiences in new york) and after two weeks of fine american dining, i came back to france and realized that if i wanted a decent burger, i wasn't sure where i could get one.  so alas, i embarked on ... the burger experiment.  

charlie birdy
84 bd montparnasse

this place has one huge advantage over any other bar or restaurant in paris for me: convenience.  i live directly above the charlie birdy and thus, i witness on a daily basis people looking ultra cool and comfortable on the lounge sofas, sipping their happy hour monacos and sinking into (what looks like) their delicious and juicy burgers.  

so one day, i finally decided to try out the charlie birdy with my work dudes julien and marc and celia (and pilar).  all of us ordered cheeseburgers.  the frenchies ordered a bottle of wine but i refused.  burger and wine?? that is sacrilege!  instead, i got a nice cold beer (ok, it was a monaco, but man i'm addicted!!).  i was starving and so stoked to try my first burger in paris.  i was thinking to myself, "french people know how to cook beef.  and they definitely know how to make a damn good loaf of bread.  this has got to be good".  after about 23984872 hours (this place is not known for its service), the burgers finally came out.  i placed the top bun on my burger, squeezed it a bit to keep it together, and guided the burger into my watering mouth.  i closed my eyes and took a bite of... 

CARDBOARD!  it was total shit.  the beef was mediocre.  and the bun was abysmal!  it was dry and tasteless.  definitely no "miracle of science" bun.  it was then that i realized that a big part of a good burger is the bun.  mcdonald's has better buns than the charlie birdy.  i was so utterly disappointed.  not only in my burger, but in FRENCH PEOPLE!  they pride themselves on their quality food (which i agree is one of their strengths), yet they tolerate- no, they ENJOY this horrible creation.  shame shame shame.  

conclusion: charlie birdy is good for two things- the happy hour and the couches.  if you want a good burger (and/or at least standard service), avoid the charlie birdy at all costs.

bar on rue de sevigné

hm, right this bar did not leave the greatest impression on me seeing as though i didn't even note the name of it.  but you will notice that i know what street it's on.  that's because it's parallel to rue malher which is where the rive droite Breakfast in America is located.  that's right.  i was with remi and vincent and we were intending to go to BIA on saturday early afternoon (or morning to them), but they weren't willing to do the 40 minute wait.  so we went to the bar on rue de sevigné.  it was a cute little bar/resto, with cool photographs all along the wall and good music playing.  and though the burger wasn't exquisite, it was enjoyable (and infinitely better than what we ate at charlie birdy).  the meat was quite tasty but... the bun sub-par.  again, i was a bit shocked at how french people can swing and miss ... on a burger?  

breakfast in america
rive droite, 17 rue des ecoles

two days after the first attempt to eat at breakfast in america (you guessed it.  this "experiment" is not so good for alki's diet), i finally got my chance to dine in this fine establishment.  i knew as soon as i walked in that if i was gonna find a good burger in paris, this would be the place.  i think i found a new happy place in paris (**as well as marché aligré where i went yesterday-- i'll save another blog for that one too).  i ordered the BIA burger - burger with cheddar cheese, peppers, pickles, onions, and bbq sauce.  i've become such a fan of bbq sauce since i've moved to paris.  yea don't ask... laurent got the same thing but with bacon on top.  yeaaaa, the real american experience.  and we both got dr. peppers!!  ahh, i love dr. pepper.  "docteur pePERHH".  haha.  
i had high expectations going into this one, and as i sank my teeth into it, my expectations were met.  i almost cried (ok, not really).  i finally found a DELICIOUS burger.  and the BUN!  i finally found a nice, soft, sesame-sprinkled bun.  i'm still not gonna claim this is a bartley's quality burger, but if i have a craving for a burger, i'll know where to go to satisfy it.  

the burgers were followed by a scrumptious chocolate milkshake.  mmmmmmm......


the experiment is over for the time being seeing as though a) i successfully found my burger joint, and b) if i continue going at this rate, i will gain 10 kilos in the 10 days.  

i'm still going to keep my eyes out (indiana, hippopotamus), but for the time being, if you want a good burger, go straight to the source.  breakfast in america.  

upcoming posts: a comparison of dining in new york versus dining in paris + highlight on marché aligré.

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