Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Burger Diaries - Part 3: Rick's Burgers, Dame Street

Not up to much. That is what I have been. When I slipped into the ebb and flow of duty and fatigue I hardly noticed. I started getting the hours I wanted, cash for everything, time for nothing. I was meeting co-workers, flirting with friendships, bounding social hurdles. But the honeymoon is over. Now I'm either working or in bed or drinking in the cold. I don't even write when I used to. I can lie down. Do nothing. Be warm. Nobody's around, nothing to do, no ideas. It rains or it chills.

I met a friend the other day. It was after work, I was tired, so we went to Rick's Burgers.

An ageing man in a grey coat, well kept with wispy white hair, sloppy blue eyes, a slice of a mouth and the ruddy cheeks of an angry drunk, pushed his face close to mine and asked, 'Where are you from?' I didn't respond. None of his business. Couldn't face it. Leave me alone.
'Where are you from?' he insisted.
'Dublin,' I replied, eventually. He paused, staring through drink.
'I hate Dublin,' he spat and shambled away.
He left and I watched him ask again. I joined the queue. The place was a carnival. Drunks of all castes, all ages, all moods and fancies. There were gorgeous Italian drunks with layers of jeans and badged jackets, there were Afro drunks, knacker drunks and tottering drunks, all leaning and swaggering and shouting in discord. Nobody knew the real scene. They all saw it through maniacal glassware and hooted with the joy of it, like skinny children with chocolate bars. I ordered the 'Original' and sat with a heavy heart. All this excitement falling over itself, it offered the truth of Dublin, an empty, loathing city keen to annihilate itself, a purging chaos of falsity, toppling with insecurity. What is it to be Irish? To be drunk and to fight and to shout at foreigners? To be drunk and to dance and to howl with glee? To be drunk and to parley and to lay debate? They say that in Ireland if it is not raining it is just about to. Or that if it's not getting drunk... To be Irish is to forget yourself, forget it all, brag about it. Every sin can be washed away.

I ate my burger among the battery of conversation. A fat thing in a nurse's uniform wobbled at me, explaining she didn't normally dress like this. It was a superhero and super villain night, she was that chick from Kill Bill. Lose a few pounds, thought I. Her friend couldn't get in, she was taking care of him, wanted me to come with her. Get fucked, thought I. She had been drinking wine all night, used to drink Vodka but now she's allergic, makes her swell up, you know. Had all the vodka too then, thought I. Despite the vulgarity, I tried to eat. It was a closed nosed burger, difficult to discern, trapped in greaseproof paper. I gave it a sniff and took a chomp. I was rewarded with a sweet, open attack, sodden with relish. I could tell it was tacky, but it had punch. It passed slowly into something else, the crumbly saltiness of burnt rag├╣, giving it a savoury middle but the bun was airy and a little soft. Where the beef was thick it was full, where it was thin it was fatty and broke apart like minced meat, but it tasted of cow. A pity about the finish, a brash, metallic thing that left you wondering. Overall though, a big sandwich for such a tiny place.

Attack: Sweet relish, Beefy flavours -> 3.1
Middle: Tasty fat, Crumbly in places, Medium to Full bodied -> 2.9
Finish: Bitter length -> 1.7

DIARIT: 7.7/10

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