Maybe it is a throwback to hundreds of Archie comics read during childhood; staring goggle eyed at Jughead demolishing obscenely loaded ones from Pop Tate’s; maybe some karmic connection to my past life; or maybe just gluttony, but I just love love love burgers. While this love is difficult to quantify, the fact that I almost missed an international flight because I refused to board without picking up a Whopper and the queue at the Burger King was awfully long, should be indicative of my devotion! Soft bread, juicy patty, caramelized onions, crisp fries….I could possibly, no…..I could definitely write a poem on burgers! And this is why it is the hero of my first blog post on food.
While good food gets me all dreamy and lyrical, sub standard food gets my Leo juices very riled. I realize I have always waxed eloquent about delicious food, never mentioning the avoidable stuff and have remedied the error this time, further down this post.
I had posted a picture of this burger a couple of months ago. Indigo Deli definitely knows how to make an amazing burger, ‘with all the works’ as promised in the menu. A visual dream in a riot of colours, this burger is as good as it gets with bacon rashers, fried onion rings, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion and oodles of cheese with sides of fries, beetroot slaw and salad.
However, this post is not a result of the delightful burger at Indigo. Actually it would not be in existence had it not been for the very mediocre burger I ate last week. A long shopping trip to buy clothes for the son at InOrbit Mall, Malad, resulted in serious hunger pangs. After a lot of discussions we walked into Chili’s, being in the burger and steak mood. We ordered what sounded like a dream – a southern smokehouse burger with smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, blah blah and blah. The couple next to us were tucking into their meal with gusto and the sight of food made us even more hungry. After about 20 minutes, which is what the establishment warns you is the average wait time, we got our food. My hunger pangs screeched to a halt at the sight of the burger, below. Bugger!!!
My gastro intestinal system is very closely connected to my optic nerve and what I do not visually like, my palate does not enjoy. And this I did NOT visually like, not one bit. Not even the near perfect French fries, a topper in my list of comfort foods, could quell the feeling of absolute betrayal at the sight of this burger. The taste was correspondingly banal. I have tasted better burgers at little bakeries and kiosks down Bandra lanes. The bun was medium soft, the tenderloin patty just about alright, a few tiny bits of bacon did not add to the taste, the sauce inadequate and pickle insipid. To say I was severely disappointed would be an understatement.
Bad food stays with me for a while. So I pondered over this insult to burger-dom for a week before deciding to make some at home, from scratch. I know this will sound funny to a lot of my friends in the US because it is an everyday thing for them. But for us, making a burger at home is about frying a frozen patty and putting it inside a bun with some vegetables. I wanted to do it differently and decided to make Independence Day burgers “with the works’.
The enterprise took me a while because once the brain had decided on ‘the works’ it would not be satisfied with cutting corners. So I made everything from scratch, other than the buns. Minced meat was marinated overnight, vegetables cut and salted and pickled, mayonnaise made (did this after decades of using bottled mayo off the shelf), items grilled, fried, tossed, and finally assembled for lunch on Independence day, with buns bought from the local bakery within minutes of coming out of the oven.
Here is the final dish, burgers with mayonnaise, lettuce, mince patty, tomatoes, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, fried egg and cheese inside, with sides of tossed lettuce, carrot and capsicum slaw, chilli potato wedges, pickled beetroot and onion rings.I tried to have the Indian tri colours, orange, white and green running through the meal. Necessity being the mother of invention, the humble potato masher had to come on the table since I do not possess an onion ring stacker. Note to self: Buy one if you want to make burgers regularly!
There was definitely some room for improvement in the home burgers. I missed putting bacon rashers and the onion rings could have been more crispy. The lettuce was a bit weepy from the word go, but no complaints since the customer service department of Big Basket were super prompt in responding to my email pointing out the quality issue. So my burgers, while pretty tasty, were not as good as the one I had at Indigo. But they were way better than what we paid a fair bit for at Chili’s. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate Indigo at high 9, Chili’s at 3 and yours truly at a high 7. The aim is to get closer to 9 next time 🙂
In conclusion: Indigo, you remain very high on my love list. And no more visits to Chili’s!