My boyfriend just came back from spending two weeks in the motherland (Italy) and I wanted to make sure that his return to the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave was great so he felt happy to be back. And nothing says Welcome-to-America like a juicy hamburger topped with bacon and smothered in peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. On a burger. With bacon.
Thursday during work, as I sat at my desk daydreaming about it being Friday already, a burger-obsessed friend sent out an email saying that while she would be out of town, she encouraged the rest of us to go to Shake Shack in the Upper West Side on Saturday for a one-day-only event. Apparently, Shake Shack tried out a peanut butter bacon burger recently and it was so popular that they decided to try it out again this Saturday and only at the UWS location.
I love peanut butter, bacon and burgers but I wasn’t so sure about eating them all together. Even by my standards it seemed like too much. Yet the thought of missing the opportunity to try it and decide if I thought it was delicious or disgusting was motivation enough for me to put visiting Shake Shack on my Saturday to-do list.
With my friend Vanessa and my volcano escaping boyfriend in tow, I headed west. The line at Shake Shack was the usual packed, snaking line that wrapped half-way around the block. As I scanned the menu while we waited, I had second thoughts on this whole peanut butter bacon burger business. Would it be too sticky? Too dry? Too fattening? But as the three of us made our way to the register to finally place our order, I thought, oh to hell with it, I’m doing this.
“I’ll have the Peanut Butter Shake n’ Bacon Burger please,” I said with authority.
Not long after, as we sat on the steps of the nearby American Museum of Natural History I hesitantly unwrapped the burger. Flaneur scrunched his nose and shook his head incredulously as I chomped down on the burger.
Chew chew chew. Stop. Contemplate. Savor. Swallow.
Vanessa and I, who were both eating the one-time-only burger, looked at each other with full cheeks. “Hmm. This is pretty good.” Flaneur, meanwhile, eating his uber cheesy, portobello burger probably thought, “Crazy Americans. When will they learn.”
If it became a regular on the menu, I’m not sure that I would order it often, but for a limited time burger, it was pretty good. The beef patty was salty and juicy and the bacon was thick and crunchy, just as good bacon should be. The peanut butter wasn’t as overbearing as I had expected. When it was smeared on the hot patty and sandwiched between the warm, soft buns, it melted slightly making it smooth and creamy between bites. It did have a bit of that mouth-filling stickiness of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but mixed with the other ingredients, the subtle sweetness of it complemented the salty, savoriness of everything else.
Sitting on the steps, basking in the afternoon sun, I thought to myself, “Who needs to be anywhere else when you have a good friend, a good boyfriend and a good burger you could only find in America?”