One of my all-time favorite television series is M.A.S.H. I loved the movie as well and I think I read the book, but the TV series went on for 11 seasons (1972 – 1983) and continued in syndication . . . well, actually, I just checked my DirecTV listings and it’s still around. Now, while I think the show was incredibly important for the anti-war message it conveyed, I’m actually bringing this up because of something completely different.
I could not watch a M.A.S.H. episode, especially in the later years, without craving a Martini. Well, maybe not every time the show was on, but every time Hawkeye and Trapper (or Hunnicut) would repair to their tent for a libation. I was seldom able to actually pour myself one during the show, but the urge was always there. It was a kneejerk reaction I had little control over, especially after I discovered the Smoky Martini. I’ve been a Scotch drinker for decades, but there’s something about the immediacy of a Martini I really like. For a while (and it’s been quite a while since I’ve had one) I was prone to order one made with Absolut (I prefer Vodka) and a splash of The Glenlivet . . . with two olives. Three of those and I had dinner knocked!
Of course I’m much older now and have a rather young family to boot, so those kinds of shenanigans are no longer available to me. However, something similar (and entirely non-alcoholic) happened yesterday. Even better, I was able to scratch the itch fairly quickly. I don’t recall how I came about it, but I’m pretty sure it was from a link in Facebook. Probably from Mashable or Lifehacker. It was to a story listing 12 hamburgers you can enjoy in Los Angeles. Now, I don’t currently live in L.A., though I was born downtown and lived in its suburbs for most of my life. I do live nearby. Just not close enough to have a casual meal anywhere but the North San Fernando Valley, which is just over the hill from Simi Valley. However, this is the U.S. and burgers are ubiquitous, with many unheralded places that make a pretty mean burger, as well as some well-known ones that didn’t make it to the list. There’s a couple of both in town here, and I’ll get to that in a moment.
Interestingly, the story points out that National Geographic had just named the hamburger at The Apple Pan (in West L.A.) as the best burger in America. As a native, I have eaten at the Apple Pan . . . though I’ve had a Smoky Martini more recently than one of the Hickory Burgers they’re best known for. Meaning it’s been a long, long time. Of course, you can’t have a burger there without topping it off with a slice of Apple Pie. Still, it’s been a long time. Regardless, despite it being a very subjective thing, I’m inclined to think NG’s selection was a bit biased by history and nostalgia.
Final piece of this story. My wife has Shotokan Karate classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, leaving me and our daughters to our own devices for dinner. Normally, I’ll make something for the three of us, but last night it was In-N-Out Burger time. I just had to scratch that itch (Animal Style!). I shouldn’t even be eating the damn things because of type II Diabetes. Plus, I added fries and a chocolate shake. Horrors! The hamburger was excellent, but the fries were rather pedestrian. They did not taste fresh to me. Maybe I’m somewhat jaded, but we got a mandolin slicer recently and I made some french fries here and, even though I didn’t get it quite right, they were way tastier than what I had yesterday. Also, the shake wasn’t bad; nice and thick. Frankly, I prefer malteds.
I can’t end this without paying homage to the hamburger I would give my personal lifetime achievement award to . . . The Bob’s Big Boy. I’m pretty sure the Big Mac was designed to emulate it, which I don’t think it’s ever come close to doing. I recall getting a Big Boy burger, fries, and a Silver Goblet Chocolate Shake many times in my life. It’s one of those taste combinations I can still evoke in my mind and it’s heavenly! Sheesh. I’m getting hungry again. Time for a salad . . . or a Martini.