Saturday, June 10, 2006
Daily & Gluttony Go To Fatburger
I don't mean to lead you on.
I don't mean to make it sound like there were raging parties at the university with girls playing Battle-Shits in the bathroom. In fact, there were no "Extreme" guys taunting me inside the convenience store. I was not stuck at some tow yard with some scary dude with crossed-eyes, boils and missing teeth. Doogie Howser did not steal my car while he was high on E. There was no jail, no doobage, no giant walking bag of doobage, and no riding on the back of a stoned cheetah.
No perhaps none of this happened. But just like our friends silver screen friends Harold and Kumar, I was on a quest one Saturday night for the one thing I just couldn't get out of my mind. They wanted their White Castle and I wanted my Fatburger. And I set out on a quest to get it.
I don't know what suddenly gave me the urge to go on the hunt for this particular burger on a bun. Perhaps it was how the smokiness of the grilled beef patty seems to dance in harmony with the melted cheese and special thousand-island and relish based sauce. Or maybe it was how the top of the toasted bun gleams with the slightest bit of oil and breaks with a faint crunch when you first bite into it. Whatever it was, I was obsessed, even if only for one night.
Unlike Harold and Kumar, I had no partner in crime that Saturday night as Isaac had already made other plans. Under other circumstances, I'd normally tell myself to forget it, to wait until I had someone to go with me, but I already knew the consequences of self-denial. So I set out on my journey solo, unbeknownst of what adventures lay ahead of me.
First stop: www.fatburger.com to see where I'd be headed exactly. Because that night I'd typically been a "like totally fer sure" Fatburger Valley Girl, getting my fix at the Fatburger locations near my old office, namely, the Studio City locale or, before it closed down , the one on San Fernando in Burbank. I entered my zip code into the "Find the Nearest Location" box. Aha! What's this? There's a Fatburger near downtown on Figueroa? Of course! What USC student wouldn't want Fatburger? I'm there!
So I have eaten by myself, eh, probably four times since I got over my phobia of dining solo several months ago, but in my pathetic mind there's just something pathetic about a girl having dinner out alone on a Saturday night, so this girl would be taking hers to go. I therefore picked up the phone before leaving my house and dialed the newly discovered Figueroa location to call in my order.
(Repeat about 20 times)
OK, there must be a mistake. What burger joint would be closed at 7pm on a Saturday? So I told myself to be patient and wait another 5 minutes to call again. I dialed. No answer. Each 5 minute wait quickly became intervals of 30 seconds, and each time I failed to get an answer. Almost half an hour had passed and though this supposed location was only a couple miles from my house, I just couldn't risk it. What if I drove all the way there and it was closed? What if it had gone out of business??? So I set out for the Fatburger that I at least knew existed.
I jumped in my little car and headed towards the 5 freeway which would take me to Los Feliz, home of the Fatburger on Vermont & Hollywood which, because I had driven past it just a few days prior, would certainly be there. Except instead of getting on the 5 North, brilliant me gets on the 5 South. And I drove...and drove...and the next closest exit seemed like an eternity away. When I finally found an offramp, I suddenly found myself in one of those seedy cities that borders downtown LA and the industrial wasteland known as Commerce. Logic would tell me that if I get off the freeway and go under whatever overpass the freeway forms, that I would eventually find a sign directing me to the freeway entrance for the opposite direction. I felt like Fred Flinstone running through Bedrock, always passing the same palm tree and house as he kept running, only in my case, it happened to be that I was indeed passing different houses--it was just that they were all very similar. They all had crappy chain-link fences around them, they all had broken down cars out front, and they all had people and dogs that stared at you when you drove by. Uh, not a neighborhood I'd like to be stuck in.
The mere thought of Fatburger, however, kept me motivated--I still had a mission to accomplish after all--and in time, I found the freeway entrance. With one hand holding the "Fatburger Locations" printout AND holding the wheel, my eyes alternating between the road and reading the phone number, and the other hand dialing, I was well on my way to burger-land. Except...
Oh fuck me, I thought, was this a national Fatburger holiday??? Now that this newly dialed number was in the dialing memory of my cell phone, I started redialing every 20-30 seconds with no luck until I was exiting the 5 freeway at Los Feliz Blvd and SOMEBODY finally bloody answered.
"Fatburger, can I help you?" the guy on the phone answered as I had already exited the 5 on Los Feliz Blvd.
"Yeah, you can go fuc..." JUST KIDDING! I wouldn't drive all that way just to tell somebody off, would I? (Well, actually...) I figure the poor people working there were just so busy catering to other obsessive and hungry freaks like myself that they could answer the phone. He told me eight minutes; I was there within one. As I waited I fantasized about Doogie Howser returning my "love stained" car and then buying my entire Fatburger meal. Unfortunately, I had no such luck. Fortunately however, the Fatburger was in my greedy little hands after about ten minutes and I was on the way back home. I propped the bag up and open so as to not let steam get trapped inside the bag and make everything soggy.
About an hour and a half after I had originally left the house in the first place I was back at home, comfy and cozy, and quite content with Fatburger in hand. The reward in front of me was representative of my usual selection: Fatburger with cheese, hold the onions, add bacon (sorry, no egg this time). Add chili, but on the side. Skinny Fries.
I like that all the parts work together in unision; I like that the bun isn't too bready, but still substantial enough that when you bite through its slightly crispy edge, you don't get too much grilled beef patty or too much special sauce or too much cheese. I like that the lettuce is shredded and the tomato isn't too thickly sliced so as to not get pulled out in sheets with your teeth. Everyone has their own preference regarding the fries, but I prefer the crispiness of their Skinny Fries over the meatiness of their Fat Fries. And the chili, my friends, is not for the burger, but to dip the fries in. A whole order of chili cheese fries would be a little too much, so instead, I do it my way.
OK, so maybe my quest was nowhere near as interesting as Harold and Kumar's, but the outcome was the same: I got what I set out for and was completey satisfied. How far would you go for something you crave?
1611 N. Vermont Ave
Hollywood, CA 90027
Many other locations thoughout Southern California, but I can't guarantee they'll pick up the phone!