There are miniscule burger of various description You got you your: Shopsin's, your "Hackensack" White Manas, your Little Owl meatballers... all good in there way. But then there is the archetype. I of course speak of White Castles. How many food items do you crave, that at the same time makes your mouth water and your stomach churn? There are nothing like White Castle burgers; when you NEED White Castle burgers. Even the esteemed Jonathan Schwartz after spinning hours of Frank has a ritual of going to White Castle to "come down" after his radio show. I'd bet even The Chairman, not that character from the Food Network, but the one and only, The Chairman of the Board, ol' you know; had the craving from time to time. He of course probably had them delivered, but we mortals...
The problem with White Castles are; if for whatever reason you want to eat them in the privacy of your own castle; be it the unexplainable possible embarrassment (I can't understand that one, but have heard it said), the reek of last nights patrons... it just can't be done. About 25 seconds after they come off the grill, they begin to lose their; what do you want to call it; their oniony White Castleness. Their um um goodness. As they cool they don't just lose heat, they as if by alchemy become deadly weapons; heavy, grainy, cardboardy. The speed at which they go from ethereal to "almost" inedible is extraordinary. Even if they become so; they never are really inedible, I've never thrown one in the garbage I'm proud to say. Now that would be scandalous!
Many foods don't travel well and that should always be a consideration when ordering anything; "to go". White Castles are interesting in that, on the move, nothing smells as good. Have you ever been in a bus, with a sack... everyone salivating, the air thick with White Castle greasy-onion. Everyone knows what you have. Nothing on Earth smells like it. You may even feel a pang of guilt knowing what it's doing to your fellow riders. You flash back to the 3rd grade, when you were scolded by Mrs. Kirshner; "if you don't have enough for everyone..." But as this relentless beautiful aroma permeates the environment, your clothes; everything, the deliciousness is simultaneously quickly fading. I'm sure there, in nature; must be an equation which can express this phenomenon.
I'VE CRACKED THE CODE! After exhaustive research, I've discovered the secret not only to maintaining the quality; the taste and texture of White Castles, but improve upon it. I won't even go into radical additions / toppings, such as the filling of a Sahadi's mushroom leek pie (filling only), but only what comes out of those beautiful little boxes.
Here it is > you simply remove each White Castle from it's box fold a single sheet of paper towel around it as you would wrap a tamale, place it in a microwave (3 for 111 seconds) and out comes a piping hot, steaming White Castle of indisputable perfection. As I said, better then at The Castle. The grease is not simply warm, on its way to solidification, it's hot and it glistens as it permeates the bun. The texture of the bun remains soft yet toothsome. This consistency of the bun has been a major obstacle in the past. Without wrapping in a paper towel, if you want the burger hot, the bun becomes rubbery. I "assume" the paper towel allows steam to heat the burger while keeping the bun tender. During the process; the onions melt into the bun and cheese (got to be Whites with cheese). The ketchup and pickle warm together to create a garlicky tomato vinegar "sauce".
Then you sit in front of the tube, watch The Simpsons and be glad to be an American while waiting for the belly bombs to explode.
Make sure you've got a clean path to the bathroom.
Ain't life grand!
187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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