For me, the pursuit of the perfect hamburger is a lot like the pursuit of happiness. It’s a constant work in progress. On any given day I might think I’ve found one or both, happiness and/or the perfect burger, but the search is never over. Just because you’ve found what makes you happy—maybe the love of your life or a great apartment or a dream job—doesn’t mean you stop, right?
Well same goes with burgers. Especially in New York. Why stop looking just because you’ve found the softest bun or the juiciest patty or the crispiest fries to complement your burger (because a burger with no fries just isn’t complete)? The burger with the tangiest pickles or the thickest melted cheese might still be waiting to be found.
I’ve had delicious burgers in New York and out of town but I’m always looking for a new great burger. My latest search took me to Paul’s Da Burger Joint in the East Village, where I was served a delicious monstrosity of a burger and some of the best sweet potato fries that I’ve had in recent memory. (In fact, until I find ones to top these, I’m naming them my new favorite sweet potato fries.) The burger consisted of a fat, juicy, medium-cooked (I like it a little pink) beef patty with a thick, gooey layer of melted cheddar and caramelized onions on a plump, soft, sesame seed bun. The waitress asked if I wanted the onions raw or cooked and while I love the fesity kick of a good raw onion, I thought that if they were cooked their sweetness would play well against the saltiness of the cheddar and beef. (For the record, I was right. Caramelized onions? Totally the way to go.) There was tomato and onion and a dollop of mayo, to add those classic supporting flavors. The fries, which are making me salivate as I think back to them, were the picture (and taste) of perfection in sweet potato fries. Soft on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, with just the right balance of sweet and salty… they were basically happiness embodied in a fry.
This burger might not have been the end-all to my pursuit of the best burgers, but like I said before, there isn’t ever really an end-all to the pursuit of happiness.