Monday, August 11, 2008

Jo'Burger? No'Burger!

Thumbelina's duvetAn Spailpín Fánach has a lean and hungry look. Because cooking for oneself is generally more trouble than it’s worth, your faithful narrator is constantly on the lookout for places to eat in Dublin – not the high end Paddy Guilband effort but someplace where you can go in, drop ten sheets and not be hungry anymore. This is more to ask than may be immediately obvious.

Over one month ago, certain ladies, whose level of cosmopolitan chic is to mine as Chateauneuf-de-Pape is to Buckfast tonic wine, told me of a restaurant in Rathmines. A house where one could dine on the finest of burgers while reading back issues of the Bunty magazine. It is called Jo’Burger.

And so it was thither that An Spailpín repaired on Monday, June 30th last. I entered, and found it was true what they said about the Bunty – the menus are printed on old comic annuals from the 1970s, and as such are cool as. I smiled an impressed smile and shouted a burger, coke and chips.

Things started going pear-shaped when the waiter brought my coke. My silver canned Coke.

“Sorry boss,” I said, “I asked for regular, not diet.”

“This is the house cola,” said the waiter. “We don’t serve Coke or Pepsi.” Because it’s beneath us, you oik, was the unspoken implication.

Oh dear. I studied the can. Made from nuts. Never a good sign. A took a slug. It reminded me of the little bottles of Tesco cola you could get for ten pence when Tesco’s was still Quinnsworth, only flat. A grim and ominous foreboding swept over me, as I stared into the kitchen, wondering at what would emerge.

The waiter emerged, bearing before him a wooden salver containing an enormous apparatus. Was this the burger? Well, yes and no.

The apparatus looked big, but that was because under the bun and on top of the actual burger was a great big leaf of lettuce. Which is great, if you ordered it. An Spailpín, as mentioned above, ordered the burger. What the hell was I meant to do with the other thing? Farm it?

The Jo’Burger charter stipulates that their burgers are never flattened, to keep them moist. Not flattening them also helps people not notice that what they are, chiefly, in their primary characteristic, is small. It’s a tiny burger under a lettuce duvet that would smother Thumbelina. It’s a joke. You can see it up in the picture above, thanks to some kind Flickr photographer. Where’s the beef? Sadly, the beef exists in the nominal plane; the deal in Jo'burger is not the food but the scene. This could explain its currently popularity, as Dublin has long been a poseurs' town.

And, as is so often the case, the sickest joke was the price of the medicine. Over ten sheets for a four ounce burger, fries and a “coke” sir. The lady behind the counter saw how much greenery remained on my plate behind me. Was everything to sir’s satisfaction?

You know how it is. You hate to tell them. We’re still grateful that the blight hasn’t been back since 1847. So I said oh yeah, sure, I guess I’m not as gone on greenery as some people.

“We like to accommodate all tastes,” smiled the bean a’tí, taking the full price. Except carnivores, she didn’t add. An Spailpín left, head down, dejected and dragging the feet.

On the other side of the world, there is a famous bar in Chicago, IL, USA, called the Billy Goat Tavern. A burger costs about three US dollars, and you can have a beer for five bucks. A photograph of same sits happily on your right hand side currently. Eight dollars for a burger and a beer - five yo-yos, give or take. Now you tell me hungry reader – who’s zooming whom?

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