It’s been two months now since the July 2005 issue of GQ has been out, but I am only just now getting to gather my thoughts about it. On the cover, it’s all-American girl, Jessica Simpson in a very patriotic barely-kini, dogtags nestled between...blue and white stars on one little triangle, red and white stripes on the other, and a pair of camoflouge cargo pants unzipped and hanging by a thread to her hips. Awww, isn't she super cute and confused, donning military camo, but holding up a peace sign? ;) Oh well, the July issue probably sold out of newsstands pretty fast anyway.
I will admit to loving this girl, but Mrs. Lachey is not the reason I have a copy of a men’s magazine on my desk. I don’t read that many magazines to begin with, and after Bon Appetit this month, well, I can now safely say I will not be read any at all. (Don’t ask about the stack of FHMs in the corner – they are not mine.) When it doesn’t make me too mad to put logical, coherent thoughts together, I will post my feelings about the September 2005 Bon Appetit issue in a few days, but for now, I’ll just hint at the subject: LA and sushi. *breathe* I don’t even want to get started right now.
So it’s about GQ’s July 2005. Way down in the lower right hand corner of the cover, there’s a tiny headline that I can’t even imagine any guy who actually reads GQ would care about – "Cheezboiger! Cheezboiger! In Search of the Greatest Hamburger.” To think that all this time, I thought Alan Richman just fell off the face of the earth after co-hosting a tv show about restaurants. That was eons ago – and I must have been a newborn at the time ;) No, Alan Richman, now a “GQ correspondent,” travels the country, samples hundreds of hamburgers, and picks not just the Top Twenty, but the Twenty You Must Eat Before You Die. Wow. Before I die? That's pretty intense. And I thought I was melodramatic and hyperbolic.
Before I even opened the magazine, I thought that the article would simply catapult me into an amateur discourse on all things burger-theticcal, which I have attempted a few times with to-dine lists for burgers in L.A. and other such things related to purple dinosaurs. Certainly, in my mind, I can envision the perfect burger – hundreds of tiny gems of choice ground beef softly packed into one thick jewel, not so much a thin, uniform patty, but more a just barely flattened softball; the meat perspiring a simple shimmery pink potion that is one third gravy juices, one third shiny translucent grease and one third pure blood, that soaks into the bun that’s been daubed with butter then toasted to golden tan on the outside but at soft and sweet as Wonder sanwich white on the inside. On top, there is cheese, right at the oozing point that it starts to take on the divots and bumps in the texture of the ground beef, edges of the cheese just beginning to curl over and hug the edge of patty. Thinly sliced onions made caramel sweet on the grill, juicy red tomatoes, fresh crisp iceberg lettuce, and if I’m feeling especially naughty, slathered all over with creamy dreamy white mayo, swirled with spicy mustard.
The article talks about burgers, what Alan did and where he went, what makes a great burger, blah blah blah. There was nothing too outrageous or unexpected in the narrative, but I’m pretty surprised that among fifty states, with hundreds of cities to choose from, two of his twenty choices (that’s 10% for the poets out there) were in L.A.! Not just anywhere in L.A., either, but both of them in Santa Monica. Strange. The last thing I think about Santa Monica is big and fat, neither food like a big fat juicy burger, nor physique, like what you weigh after ditching yoga to go grab a burger with the boys every night. But the biggest surprise isn’t that there were two establishments in L.A., nor that they were both in Santa Monica. No, the biggest surprise is that one of the chosen establishments in L.A. is, I cringe to type it, Houston’s. The other one is The Counter, which I will leave out of this commentary because I have not yet eaten there.
Houston’s! *sigh* Alan ranked the California Burger at Houston’s as number six! Houston’s burger is in the top 10. I’m sure Alan’s burger was delicious while he was sitting there at the top of 3rd Street Promenade, possibly influenced by his catching a glimpse of majestic Pacific Ocean glittering like sapphires on his way from Parking Structure 2 to Houston’s front door. But I guess I was just shocked and awed that the number 6 comes from Houston’s. Houston’s is a chain restaurant. Houston’s has restaurants in California and Texas and maybe other states in the south and west. I’m not saying that just because they are a chain like Applebee’s and Red Lobster (oooh, that was a low blow, Sarah), that the food is necessarily bad. The food can be good. But Houston’s is a see-aych-
ay-ai-enn, chain. I just sort of wish that Mr. Richman had picked the California burger from Houston’s, but pinned it to a different city. Like Houston, Texas for fox ache! Which they can't even do anyway because Houston's doesn't have a restaurant in Houston. Fakers! Focking chain-ass fakers! *sigh*
In case you have neighbors like mine and your GQ was was permanently “borrowed” from your mailbox last month, then along with Houston's at number six, here are all of Mr. Richman’s rankings, one through 20:
01 Sirloin Burger, Le Tub, Hollywood, Florida
02 Luger Burger, Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn, New York
03 Not Just a Burger, Spiced Pear Restaurant, Chanler Hotel, Newport, Rhode Island
04 Rouge Bruger, Rouge, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
05 Kobe Sliders, Barclay Prime, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
06 California Burger, Houston’s, Santa Monica, California
07 Buckhorn Burger, Buckhorn, San Antonion, New Mexico
08 Hamburger, Miller’s Bar, Dearborn, Michigan
09 Cheeseburger, Burger Joint, Le Parker Meridien Hotel, New York City, New York
10 Number Five, Keller’s Drive-in, Dallas, Texas
11 Grilled Bistro Burger, Bistro Don Giovanni, Napa, California
12 Hamburger, Bobcat Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico
13 Cheeseburger, Whita Manna, Hackensack, New Jersey
14 Hamburger, J.G. Melon, New York City, New York
15 Build Your Own Burger, The Counter, Santa Monica, California
16 Hamburger and Fries, Burger Joint, San Francisco, California
17 Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese, Red Mill Burgers, Seattle, Washington
18 Hamburger, Poag Mahone’s Carvery and Alehouse, Chicago, Illinois
19 Our Famous Burger, Sidetrack Bar and Grill, Ypsilanti, Lichigan
20 Hamburger Sandwich, Louis’ Lunch, New Haven Connecticut
I doubt I will get to even half of these restaurants listed here. But I mean, if Houston’s is number 6, then I don’t think I’ll be missing much from burgers number seven through 20 anyway.