Today, I woke up thinking about a burger I had three years ago. In fact, I had the Fu Manchu burger on March 10, 2008, at Kuma's Corner, a metal bar that is said to serve Chicago's best burgers. They also make some killer Bloody Mary's with their own pickle- (or jalapeno?) infused vodka. I went there with two friends after getting my tattoo and felt like my back, still wrapped in saran wrap from my ink session an hour prior, gave me instant citizenship in this fine establishment.
The husband has Spring Break this week, and our children do not. We look forward to this week every year, as we always seem to get a ton of stuff done around the house and manage some quality time with each other. Today's plan included making some phone calls, getting on the roof to see why small chunks of rock and mortar are tumbling to the sidewalk near our side gate and to take a field trip to Kuma's by noon for a burger. I had even arranged for a friend to pick our kids up from school so we wouldn't have to rush our lunch.
My first status update made my daily intention clear: Fu Manchu. I didn't even need a verb. With a Fu Manchu, verbs are unnecessary. And while Carlo was making phone calls and finishing our taxes, I hopped online to get an address for Kuma's and to scan the menu.
Problem #1: No Fu Manchu. That pissed me off. The Fu Manchu, as I remember, had those thin, stringy breaded/fried onions and wasabi -- a lot of wasabi. I don't understand how anyone could remove a burger that included wasabi as a fixin'. "Okay, it was three years ago," I thought. "They have to update their menu. Maybe there is something comparable." A quick scan didn't reveal anything with wasabi, but the Led Zeppelin - a burger topped with pulled pork sounded good. Lair of the Minotaur, a burger with carmelized onions, brie, pancetta and bourbon soaked pears had some definite possibilities and Goatwhore, featuring fried salami, provolone cheese and a giardinara olive salad topping, seemed like something my husband could get into. And then I saw the fine print. "All burgers served on a Pretzel Bun."
Problem #2: Are you fucking kidding me? ALL burgers on a PRETZEL BUN? Why? Why? Why would they do this? Why couldn't this be offered as an option? I'd pay extra to NOT have it on a pretzel bun, but my money for a regular bun isn't good at Kuma's. It's a pretzel bun or nothing, bitches. I don't understand it ... I don't understand it at all. How could someone ... someone who must have lovingly created the Lair of the Minotaur, a burger all dressed up with brie and pears ... decide to kill the complex depth of flavor of that creation by insisting it be served on a dense, overpowering, yeasty pretzel bun? Does anyone understand this? Because it's 9 hours later, I've had two full meals since this discovery, and I still don't get it. For the record, Twisted Spoke, serves their burgers on Pretzel Buns...as an OPTION.
I blame all of this on Hannah's Bretzels. They rolled into town a few years ago and started serving high-end deli sandwiches on pretzeled bread. My entire office was all over this shit -- pretzeled this and pretzeled that. It all smelled like yeast to me. A year or so ago, Leona's moved to an all pretzel bun scenario for their burgers. That ended ever ordering a burger at Leona's for me, but with a pretty expansive menu of completely mediocre food, I'm able to find something else when we find ourselves hungry and at Leona's (which is about 300 yards from our back door).
My husband, trying to salvage the day, called Kuma's around 11:25 am. He started the conversation like this: "I have an important question for you." Instantly, I knew we couldn't go to Kuma's after he said that. He continued ... "I have a serious problem with the pretzel bun." Well, now ... even if they do have an optional non-pretzel bun, we can't go. Because the second we show up and ask for a burger without a pretzel bun after this phone call, we may as well request that the cook wipe his ass on our burger before he serves it to us. Kuma's died right then. And then died a second time when they confirmed that they only had pretzel buns or rye bread. Nothing else.
I would like to lodge a complaint. Where do I start? I think the pretzel bun has to go and not just at Kuma's, but everywhere else, too. If YOU want a pretzel, eat a fucking pretzel. But don't make me eat YOUR pretzel with MY hamburger.
Pretzel buns are fascist.