There Will Be Fatburger

Yesterday marked the end of yet another loooong week, and I finished it off with a good burger and an even better movie.

It was 7PM, and I was going to South Edmonton Common (our city's 300-acre lot of big-box/factory outlet stores) for a movie already, so I decided to find some food there. My original plan was to stop at Superstore for something light and economical, but as I drove up Gateway Boulevard I noticed a Fatburger sign.

When on the quest, the chivalrous knight will often find signs and wonders which lead him off his intended course. Being a knight on a quest, however, means that the course isn't really very well fixed to begin with; after all, questing is just what knights do when they get bored. What else are you going to do with all that land and wealth and stuff? Just sit around a watch profits grow? Trade with/conquer other landowners? Take up a hobby and find out how chickens freeze? These things, I think, bring about a transition from feudal economic systems to mercantilism, from medievalism to renaissance. That is, knights who once ran around questing became wealthy merchants and aristocratic proto-scientists. I fancy myself more a cavalier than a capitalist, so I spurred my charger and followed the red neon sign off the highway and into the mysterious forest of warehouses.

Fatburger has a prestigious history, starting with a "we were the best 'burger stand in town" story and moving to a "value-added" retail concept, working their way into yuppie-traps across the continent. This is exactly the same concept used by Starbucks/Second Cup, only with Hamburgers.

The ordering system at Fatburger is a bit different than what you might be used to: You give your order, pay, take your drink cup and a little sign with your number on it, go get your drink, and sit down to wait for the food. It sounds complicated, but really it's the same thing that Dairy Queen has always done, only with the staff brining your food instead of calling your number. Again, a comparison to Starbucks could be made...

Fatburger was very busy. I suppose this is to be expected at 7PM on a Friday, but I very nearly didn't get a seat. I spotted an opening in a booth, and asked the occupant (name of Rick, surname unknown) if he would mind my company. Sir Rick grunted something which I interpreted as a "yes, but I'm just reading this newspaper so I'm not gonna stop you," and I sat.

None of these details really answer the most important question, though; the most important question for any knight in search of Hamburger is always "howe goode wast this beef sandwiche of Hamburg, m'lord? Wert thine leafes crisp? thine tomatoes ripe and juicy? thine patties beefy?"

The produce was indeed fresh. Crisp lettuce, ripe tomatoes. The relish was good, and in just the right quantity. I didn't notice the onions, so they probably weren't caramelized/raw enough to distinguish from the burger/relish.
The beef is indeed 1/3 of a pound of top-quality lean ground beef. Compared to a fast-food patty from, say, A&W, there's more resistance when chewing, less of an "oatmeal" texture--almost like a nice piece of roast or a rare steak. Flavour was excellent, charbroiled to perfection. Like Harvey's, only with better beef.

The fries do indeed taste more "real" than the batter-coated fries you'll get at most fast-food places, but I kind of like battered fries... These were excellent for what they were. I was really hoping to try Fatburger's onion rings, but they were out. ;_;

The washrooms were so-so. Toilet paper is two-ply, but a bit coarse. Of note were the "tasteful" pin-ups, including Cadillacs, Grace Kelly, Vivian Leigh, and Britney Spears. I left a note on a feedback card that either Britney or Grace Kelly should be removed; Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco deserves better company.

All in all, Fatburger is a great place to eat. The breaker, though, is in the price: Fatburger is expensive. Plan to spend more than $12 if you want the whole works. That means you're the price of a drink away from eating at Red Robin's or a restaurant where your non-hamburger-eating friends could order something else. Really, the biggest difference between the two experiences is in having/being able to get your own drink refill. (I know a few people who would see this as a bonus...)
So, Fatburger is worth your while if you want to refill your own drinks.

Basically, the Starbucks of hamburger chains. You can do better, for the same price, if you know where to look and have the time to wait for service.
I didn't think to try the milkshakes... maybe it's worth one more trip next time I'm at SEC...

There Will Be Blood was the highlight of the evening. As the credits rolled, all I could think was that this is the Citizen Kane of our generation. It'll bore some people, but if you've ever wanted to watch a man fall down a mineshaft this is the film to see. The ending was a bit frustrating, but the plot made far more sense than Punch-Drunk Love. (The other P.T. Anderson film I've seen.)
I don't want to say more than that; it's really just a great movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what? you haven't seen magnolia?

go. watch. now.