Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bovine and Barley Ruminations, How it Behooves Us

Courtesy Pete Gilbertson, BTOM Chief Intelligence Officer

What goes into determining the best beer and burger combo in the Twin Cities? Factors, man. Lots of ins and outs and what have yous. If you merely want the most supreme beef-n-bun amalgamation in existence, I’d wager you could go all mad scientist and, in time, devise the nigh perfect blend of herbs and spices with your preferred brand of beef, squish it all together into patty format, and grilled ‘em up in the backyard, fry a few in a hot skillet, or bake some in the oven. And while you’re at it you might as well dedicate a few years to brewing your own batches of beer down in your cellar while refining your formula until you’ve achieved elite status and become a world renowned brewmaster and beer sommelier.

It may take awhile, but man what a journey!

However, my spin on the “Beer and Burger Quest for Men” proposed be El Jefe Maximo seeks to bend the laws of space and time and accelerate the resolution of this culinary crusade. I’m of the opinion that this meaty endeavor began long ago--approximately a few milliseconds after the dawn of ground beef and the invention of sliced bread--by vast legions of humans and subhumans alike. Now, while it has been often said that there are multiple commonalities between myself and my neanderthal forbearers, in this instance--the pursuit of truth, justice, and the perfection of the hamburger way--I am not insulted. Fact: humanity has been pursuing the ideal cooked meat sandwich for eons, and many of the people who continue this pursuit today are indubitably more skilled with a spatula than I am, employ their skills in hamburger creation on a daily basis, and offer their beer and burger discoveries for sale to the public--sometimes even at “special” prices! Even Darwin himself would fast-forward through time to partake in the endgame of humanity’s natural selection of the greatest hamburger of all-time!

And why shouldn’t I?

Since that questing beast of a sandwich could exist anywhere, we might as well start looking here in the Twin Cities. What am I looking for? Primarily? Transcendent flavor. The perfect combination of meat and bread and a cool, refreshing beverage that will accentuate the taste of that wonderful freshly cooked juicy mass like no other beer could. After that I’m looking at the establishment’s side dishes, ambiance, and aesthetics: big screen tvs showing sports, pool table, potato vintage and selection (ie fries, skins, tots, wedges, etc.), jukebox, clean bathrooms, interesting decor, patio, view, friendly service, and affordable pricing to name a few.

Our first stop was at the 5-8 Club. Renown for their award-winning “Juicy Lucy” and sordid past of being a speakeasy joint during Prohibition, the 5-8 still offers a tasty sandwich stuffed with cheese, cold beer, and three kinds of potatoes! Fries, potato skins, and the nefarious Extreme Jojos that are served with chili (and apparently the secret ingredient in extreme flatulence production!) However, there are a few flaws. The service suffers at the 5-8 more so than their competition when they are busy, the patio is fantastic except for the lack of TVs and that you have to fight through a narrow hallway to get in and out of it--uncool if you need to find a urinal in a hurry.

Was it the best burger I’ve ever had? No. But it was a great place to start, and a good place to check out again.

‘Til next time: may the burger be with you.

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