Good burger thoughts

Did you ever had a good burger?  I did.  I do prefer other kinds of good, of course.  But a good burger is a good burger…

Burger being a cornerstone of the fast food industry, there are plenty of places around where you can get one.  But, surprisingly, finding a place with good burgers isn’t easy.  Back in college days, Olga and I used to eat in one such place.   We found it by accident, although it was right in the middle of all roads.  No, not in Rome.  It was in Kanika (popular area in Limassol).  It was called Chicken Rooster or something like that.  It was KFC wanna be, but smaller, more personal.  And they were cooking chicken.  But I never particularly liked chicken.  So I don’t even know how I ended up there.  And what I saw once was that they cooked beefburgers.  I think they were mostly doing it for themselves, the staff.

When I tried that burger, it was like magic.  It was beyond words.  It was large, but not huge.  The meat was delicious.  There was some onion inside, and a perfectly round slice of tomato.  And they added some special sauce to it.  It was hot and juicy…

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good burger good.  There are several components, of course.  But the main one, I think, is the juice.  The juice is the key of a good burger.  I guess this is because burger juice is a delicate combination of meat juice, juice from vegetables in the burger, and the sauce.

And getting the right proportions for the taste only is not enough.  Eating a burger is an experience.  Of course, for many people that might be a daily routing which they barely notice anymore.  But not for me.  When I eat a burger, I want to enjoy every piece of it.  And enjoying its juice is a part of the process.

There should be enough juice in the burger for me to eat it without a beverage, although I will definitely have one nearby.  But there shouldn’t be too much juice.  If it starts dripping all over the place, it can spoil the experience.  A few drops here and there are OK, but they shouldn’t be flowing, and especially they shouldn’t be flowing when I hold the burger parallel to the table…

Once the juice is under control, there are just a few other things to care about.  The bun is the last of them.  Burgers are usually hot, and any warm bread tastes good.  Difficult to spoil.  Although there is some room for discussion as some people prefer flavored buns, with or without nuts, soft or crispy, etc.

For me, the vegetables are more important.  Cabbage.  It should be gone.  It has no business with the good burger.  It spoils the taste, smell, and texture of the burger.  Cucumbers shouldn’t be in there either.  But some pickles are OK.  Tomato is a must.  Any meat benefits from onion, and good burger is not an exception.

Cheese.  Cheese is a difficult topic.  There are so many kinds of cheese, with such a variety of tastes and smells, that it’s safer to avoid it altogether.  If the choice is good, I love cheese in the burger.  But there are only so many people in the world who can make the right choice.

Plate.  Trying to be a civilized person, I like eating food from the plate.  But burger is an exception here.  Burger tastes better when it’s hot.  The hotter, the better.  Plate is an open space.  And serving a burger needs time.  Each second that passes serving the burger, it gets cold, and the colder it gets, the less tasty it gets.  So, my preference for burger base is a wrapped paper and a plastic box.  These two seem to do the best job at protecting the burger’s temperature.

Beverage.  As with plate, beverage is not a part of a burger, but rather a part of the burger eating process.  So it is also important.  I’m trying to keep my beverages as healthy as possible. That’s water, fresh juice and tea instead of coke, concentrated juice,  and coffee.  But when having a burger, I make an exception.  I can’t fully enjoy a burger without killing a small part of myself with some coke, squash, or coffee.  And I get extra joy of not actually needing a beverage, but drinking it non-the-less.  Fast food at its best I guess.

Now, that pretty much rounds up my idea of a good burger.  Did I miss anything?  Do you know of any place where I can have one?

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The touch of Euro

Cyprus is about to join the Euro zone.   The preparations are here and there, and this thing is in the atmosphere.  Back in June (or was it July?) the exchange rate was fixed by the Central Bank.  It will remain static until the Cyprus Pounds will disappear.

Starting from the 1st of September all prices must be displayed in both currencies.  Cyprus Pound is still the main currency, but the Euro must follow.   Most places follow the regulation, and indeed you can see the CYP and EUR all over the place.

On the 1st of January 2008, Euro will become the main currency, but all prices will have to display Cyprus Pounds equivalent for the next month (until January 31st 2008).   After that, the Cyprus Pound is gone and it’s all in Euro.  Or it’s at least how I understand the process.

Anyway. There is a lot of confusion in the masses, and that, I believe, is expected to a certain degree.  One thing for example, is that many people don’t realize how to convert the currencies back and forward.  The Central Bank gave the fixed rate of  0.585274.  That means that for each 1 Euro you can get 0.585274 Cyprus Pounds.  Or 59 Cyprus cents.   But with one rate, how does one get conversion the other way?  That’s pretty easy.  Instead of multiplying the amount by the rate, you need to divide it. So, for each 1 Cyprus Pound you’ll get  1 / 0.585274 = 1.70860144138 Euros.  Or 1 Euro and 71 cents.

That was easy.  But still many  people have problems with this.  Or with remembering the rate.  Even a rough one.

There are shops that make it ever harder on us.  Intentionally.  Or maybe they are just trying to make it easier and it just comes out like this.  Example.  Today I went to the cinema.  (I wanted to “The Simpsons movie“, but my timing was wrong and I ended up watching “Seraphim Falls“, which started of as a good movie, but slowly lost its way and closed as a bunch of non-sense).  The K-Cineplex movie theater got me by surprise.  And I’m sure I’m not alone.

The usual price of a ticket is 4 CYP.  Today I paied 4.39 CYP.  At first I didn’t realize why, but my attention was quickly drawn to a new price list, where 4.39 CYP was followed by a nice 7.50 EUR. Wow!  A price update.  Nice.  Though if others will follow this lead, I’ll have to carry a lot of coins with me.  Once inside, I decided to buy a small bottle of water.  A surprise again.  Instead of the usual 50 cents, the cash register was showing 59 cents.  1 EUR.  Coins again.

It’ll be interesting to see how people and business react to a change like this.  One thing that will ensure lots of fun is that it is illegal to round the converted price (from what I heard, no sources though).  That means, that if a real estate agent has a house for 200,000 CYP, he’ll have to show  the price of 341,720 Euro and 29 cents somewhere nearby.

Have you had any fun with Euro yet?