Monday, December 6, 2010
This is a double cheeseburger.
No, that is Louise Autry. We’ll get back to her in a minute.
Look to the left. That is a double cheeseburger.
Okay, actually it’s two balls of raw meat. However, I feel that if my pregnant friends can show me an ultrasound of an 8-week old embryo and call it a baby then I can call my balls o’ meat a double cheeseburger.
Not only is this a double cheeseburger, it is quite possibly the best double cheeseburger on the planet.
Why is this the best double cheeseburger on the planet you are probably asking yourself? The answer is because this burger is made the right way. You see, a proper burger starts out as a ball of meat, not a patty. The ball(s) of meat is placed onto a flattop griddle, not a grill and definitely not a flame-broiler (note to self: write Burger King to learn and blog about what exactly a “flame broiler” is), where it is flattened, as it cooks, into an inconsistent shape that doesn’t really resemble your typical fast food burger (nor the one that your bbq crazy uncle has been perfecting since college).
If you wanna know why this is the best way to make a burger, look it up; this blog post is dedicated to the burger and the burger maker, not the process.
Now, back to Louise.
I was lucky enough to meet Louise after a fortunate fender bender brought us together. Most people don’t consider fender benders fortunate, but I’m not most people. Louise asked me to come to her place of business so that we could take care of our business; which quite frankly is none of your business. While there I watched Louise press sizzling beef onto a hot griddle and immediately knew this was the burger place for me. Without hesitation I placed my order for a double cheeseburger.
Louise has been making burgers at Pender’s Café since 1956. The café itself has been open for 80+ years. So what does that mean, you ask? It means they are doing something right so don’t go in there telling them about the shit you ate last night at Fudruckers or how they make burgers in Texas. Louise and Pender’s know what they are doing.
To call Pender’s a café is an insult, Pender’s is a diner. A good old-fashion diner. Red stools line the counter; part of a motif that appears as if designed by the Coca-Cola Company. A couple of other friendly folks work the counter with Louise and help give Penders all the charm one would want from a southern diner.
The burgers at Penders are special. They take one back to a time when life was simpler. When a burger was just a burger. There were no special sauces, portabella mushrooms, deep fried onion rings or organic grass fed beef to choose from. A time when a cheeseburger was a meat patty and American cheese on a white bun with lettuce tomato and onion bringing it together as a sandwich to satisfy all four food groups.
The Pender burger, as it is aptly named, is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had simply for its unassuming nature. There is no seasoning in the meat, (culinary sin numero uno for any food put to heat) yet that is part of its beauty. When one takes a bite of the double Pender burger one tastes, meat, cheese, grease and no-frills, white hamburger bun. Top those flavors with crinkled cut fries and wash it all down with a fountain Coca-Cola and you’ve got the best lunch one can have for $6.99.