To the Bold and Foolish Lambs (Part ‘C’ is for Cookie)

This store was the closest approximation to heaven I can think of.

Speaking of Jimmy Buffett, for someone who’s dedicated an entire restaurant to a food-themed song, he sure has some lax standards. I know Key West is famous for being laid back, but ten minutes before anyone took our drink orders? If our waiter had spent half of the time he was apologizing actually taking our order, he wouldn’t have had anything to apologize for!

Buffett’s famed “Cheeseburger in Paradise?” The one heard about on every Oldies station, every day, across the nation, even before Clear Channel had standardized the playlists? A total misnomer. Unless your idea of paradise involves watching others eat, drink, and be merry while you wait to be acknowledged. Perhaps Jimmy was just playing with us, “Cheeseburger in [Sartre’s] Paradise?”

Just as I was about to list my other, voluminous complaints, I noticed that Buffett anticipated said criticisms, and shrewdly separated “Cheeseburger” and “Paradise” with an all important “in.” Serving as a semantic side door from which to escape from the relationship being implied from both “Cheeseburger” and “Paradise” being paired so close together.

As these cheeseburgers aren’t heavenly, divine, or paradisiacal. They’re not bad either, just bland; which, when dining, could possibly be worse.

Now, the pickle tasted good. (It’s a vegetable, so it’s kind of hard to remove its innate awesomeness.) The “cheese?” Impossible to distinguish. You wouldn’t notice it was there except for its yellowy hue and position in the titular spotlight. The burger? Also completely invisible. Which puts it on par with most other beef dishes I guess.

Okay, that last criticism might be more about me than the actual burger, which is fine ‘cuz it’s my name at the top of the blog here. Truth be told, I just don’t know how to distinguish between different beef products anymore.

I’m (obviously) not a vegetarian/vegan, mainly ‘cuz I don’t enjoy following rules, even the ones I establish for myself. There’s enough rules in life to constrain you without going out and making new ones to legitimize actions you would naturally take anyway, even if they weren’t officially titled. Personally I just can’t be bothered.

The one good thing about the vegetarian/vegan mindset? They actively miss out on just how complicated meat is? My sister’s boyfriend and her landlord were talking about cooking when I was visiting, and I was completely lost in the conversation. (More lost than usual I guess.) It was a total “dude” conversation: “Isn’t steak great? Don’t you love the blahblahblah-type cut?”

Me: “Uh, yeah…,” as my mind wanders off to ponder pork-butt-on-a-stick. (A food that is “pork,” but (ZING!) not actually “butt.” Who knew?)

Conversation continues regardless: “Steak is best when the outside is cooked well enough to be a little crispy, with just a little pink inside.”

“Pork? You want to make sure it’s totally cooked before you eat it!”

See? This stuff’s more complicated than understanding roller derby!

So you can imagine the utter fear I was beset with when our waiter (finally) arrived and asked how I wanted my burger cooked. All I can ever answer is “medium rare,” ‘cuz frankly I’m not comfortable with either of the cooking extremes to go with them. Most times I can’t even remember what the terms are anymore, so I just listen to whoever’s ordering before me and frankenstein their response into something (hopefully) plausible.

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