Culinary Capers 2: The Reckoning

Since moving into my own place, I’ve realized the challenges of eating well. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, when I was either living under my mom’s roof or in the dorms. After working as a server at a fairly upscale steakhouse for a few years, my standards of the average meal went up a few notches. The typical server meal would consist of some left over rotiserrie chicken, some rice and old salsa, a bowl of old soup and all the garlic bread I could eat. Sometimes, I’d get a leftover prime rib and much on it with the back of the house guys. And I could always make myself a customized cappucino to top it off… maybe throw in some gingerbread syrup or caramel or maybe a few dollops of milk chocolate.

Now that I live (and cook) on my own, my standards for the daily meal have dropped precipitously. Here, in brief, is a fairly comprehensive list of just about every meal I’ve ever cooked myself at my apartment in the past 3-6 months:

– Cereal

– Cereal with Bananas

– Grilled Cheese

– Grilled Cheese with ham

– Fried egg and soysauce

– Omlette Rice

– Rice with Fried egg

– Mac and Cheese

– Ramen

– Salad that comes from straight out of the bag

– Tuna Helper

– Ham Casserole from back of Cream of Celery Can

– Spaghetti

– Rice and Kimchi

-Kimchi Chigae

– Hot dogs

– IKEA frozen meatballs

– Frozen and canned vegetables, microwave prepared baked potatoes

– Celery

– Grapes

– an attempt at stir fry with frozen vegetables, frozen chicken

– Rice with korean side dishes

– Bibimbop (essentially the previous plus fried egg and frozen bulgogi)

– Vegetable Bibimbop (essentially the previous once I run out of bulgogi)

– Pork chops and steak and bratwurst cooked on forman grill

– hot pockets

– Frozen pizza

I think that’s pretty much it… depressing huh? No prime rib in ages! Sweet cappucino to wash down my supper.

Anyways, sometimes I just get really hungry and am too cheap to buy food, so I’ve occasionally waited till after work (sometimes 9, 10) to go home and fix something). That I would delay my hunger is shocking, I know. But the problem is… by that time I’m famished and that underscores even moreso the mediocrity of my homecooked meals…

And all this has done mysterious things to my hunger psyche. My appetite is all jacked up now.

And all this by way of introduction, brings me to the main topic of this blog, perhaps one of the single most tragic culinary decisions of my lifetime: The Loaded Steakburger.

It was friday afternoon 5pm, I had a long but satisfying day of work… meeting up with some cool people, shootin the breeze and talking about cool things, life, career, college, faith… all good stuff… but of course all that sitting down and moving my mouth makes hungry, and compells me to want to sit down and move my mouth with food in it… and so I’m walking to my car from the norris parking lot and trying to decide in my head, where should I eat today. And here’s where the problem started.

Here were the choices and the reasons I considered:

– Subway: PROS: cheap, healthy and pretty good. I think I could go for a italian BMT rite now. CONS: No parking

– J.K. Sweets: PROS: Natural, homestyle Korean food… I don’t get enough of that these days. CONS: No parking

– Burger King: PROS: Parking. Nothing else. CONS: EVERYTHING.

And ok, the parking situation isn’t HORRIBLE in Evanston, and I could always park at my office parking lot and walk 10 minutes. But I made a huge mistake… I led with my change purse and not my head/stomach. Its true I didn’t have any spare change, but I could have made change and eaten at the other choices, I was just stupid. I don’t even really like BK, tho I like the commercials.

So anyways, I drive up to the parking lot and conveniently park… enter the store and my first idea was to get the 2 whoppers for $4 special… that would def. satisfy my raging appetite and I actually don’t mind the whopper’s flame broilled goodness.

But here’s where the results of months of a duller appetetie leads me astray. For some reason my mind is drawn this monstrosity on a poster right before me. Its called “The Loaded Steak House Burger.”

Here is the official description:

The New Loaded Steakhoues Burger from BK is just that, loaded up with crispy onions, baked potato topping, bacon, A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce and a slice of American Cheese on a 100% all beef patty. Load up.

Now that should have scared away any rational thinking human being. A BK burger with “baked potato topping.” I don’t know how visible it is, but there is this pasty sour cream and chive sauce that is dollopped all over this unholy mess. I should have ran for the hills or hidden under one of the King’s precious crowns.

Yet I didn’t… my eyes were drawn. I can’t even begin to tell you WHY I chose this crapwich deluxe. I just wasn’t thinking straight. I was just possesed by some nefarious fast food demon. And to make this worse, I picked ONION RINGS instead of fries, and their tasty, yet sickening ZESTY! onion ring sauce. What was I thinking?

I don’t need to tell you the result. I bit into this festering sack of calories and saturated fat and immedaitely felt my love handles wobble around. The potato-like substance was starchy and dry. The A1 sauce had a weird hint of preservatives. The patty was rubbery and a far cry from the generic sam’s club patties you get for 10cents a pop. The BK onion rings are like a blooming onion’s dirty cousins from Appalachia. And the Zesty sauce is delicious, but its the mayonaisy quality that really didn’t sit well with me, particualrly after ingesting that sour-cream-and-chive sauce nightmare.

So I down this whole meal because I am hungry and try to wash it down with BK’s unusually waterred down Dr. Pepper. Even the good Dr. Couldn’t save me from this mess!

And for the next 6 hours, through focus and the few hours after of mingling, I’m hopelessly on the verge of throwing up and/or collapsing in a sickened, tired state.

I still have no idea why I didn’t go to Subway, it seemed so difficult at the time… but I should ahve opped for the $5 footlong, you can never lose! I think I learned my lesson… don’t lose your head when making impulsive culinary decisions. You can definitely indulge in choice and options, but there are some extremes that should always be off the table: THE BK LOADED STEAKBURGER BEING CHIEF AMONG THEM.

Anyways, perhaps I can take solace in that in a few hours I’m leaving for San Diego for a family wedding. Hopefully I can have some delicious Mexican food. And if not, I think BK sells Tacos… and they’re open late nite!!!!

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