The time is just days before Thanksgiving. We’ve planned a midday truck food adventure that has been diabolically foiled. The truck – which for the moment shall remain nameless – believes in “democratic eating” and asks fans to vote on its stop of the day. A group of college students up at Columbia has stuffed the ballot box, and the truck is now up in Morningside Heights. Drat! We need a “Plan B.” Fortunately, the Frites’ N’ Meats truck rides to our rescue – just outside our office lobby.
Zany and I are standing on the street, staring in awe at the glossy canary-yellow truck that looks like it just roared out of the pages of a DC Comic book. On the side is a heroic bull dressed in a red and blue faux Superman costume, perched atop an All-American burger and grasping a paper cone full of some of the most enticing French Fries this side of the Atlantic.
Zany is on a slow burn. Our partner in crime, Marie Antoinette, is late. We’ve decided to order without her, and make a mental note to mention the tardiness issue at her next evaluation. Now, with all distractions put aside, we’re focused on the food, an intriguing fusion of American, French and Belgian cuisine.
“We have to expand our stomachs in preparation for Thanksgiving,” says Zany as she examines the “weighty” menu. She fills out her order card and points out that they ask for “Your Superhero Name” at the top of the card. She writes in “Zany.” That’s her superhero name.
I wish I’d been more quick-witted and written “The Avenger” or something cool like that on my order card. Instead, I’d written my plain-old first name. I might as well have written “Clark Kent” or something equally mild-mannered.
We’re enjoying the carnival atmosphere. Beatles music is blasting from a megaphone, and it’s attracting a crowd. Zany is getting in the spirit of the dining occasion.
“I can’t tell if this should remind me of my honeymoon in Paris, or when I was 8-years-old,” she says.
I order the special of the day – The Bymark, a seasoned grass fed angus patty, covered with melted Brie, sliced grilled mushrooms, garlicky lemon aioli and topped with a brioche bun. Zany builds her own burger – a Wagyu - which starts with American Kobe. To that, she adds cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard and mesclun greens topped with the brioche bun. She believes in truth, justice and American Cheddar. Of course, it all comes with Handcut Double Fried Belgian Frites and some socko dipping sauces.
As we wait, our thoughts turn to super friends. “Who’s your favorite super hero?” asks Zany.
“Batman,” I answer immediately.
She scoffs at my lack of originality. “Batman? Everyone like Batman! Now He-Man and She-Ra – they were cool!”
Our orders are called. Lunch is all wrapped up in a brown bag with a colorful Frites’ N’ Meats sticker on it. “It’s just like your superhero lunchbox,” says Zany.
Back at HQ, we examine our loot. The Belgian Frites are like a strange and wonderful visitor from another planet – super crisp and salty on the outside and molten potato goodness on the inside. It’s must be that double-frying technique. On the side are Sassy Frites Sauces – Garlic and Spicy Chili.
My burger is cloaked in delectable melted Brie. Zany’s burger has some perky greens peeking out from under the bun, just like a smart-aleck teenage sidekick.
At this point, Marie Antoinette shows up clutching her bag full of lunch. She’s managed to apprehend us and she’s packing an American Kobe burger with gruyere, tomato, mesclun greens and ketchup on a sesame seed bun.
We discover that the fries come with utensils – a tiny plastic fork. “I feel so classy eating French Fries with a fork,” says Marie Antoinette. For someone who was more than fashionably late for lunch, she seems to have a funny fixation with etiquette. Is she actually sticking out her pinky?
Soon, the smoke of battle has cleared, and the lunch is just a memory.
“I’m ready to leap a tall building in a single bound,” I note.
“Not after that burger,” moans Zany. “Maybe after I finish the sauce."
“No, seriously,” I say. “I feel like I could fly to Krypton. Don’t you just want to do something heroic?”
“I made my own burger. Isn’t that enough?” asked Zany. “I built it from the bun up, since that’s what superheroes do.”
©2010 T.W. Barritt all Rights Reserved