As much ire as the McDonald's corporation has drawn from anti-globalization crusaders, litigious customers, and a filmmaker named Morgan Spurlock, burgers will always remain a staple of the American diet, for better or for worse.
But if you're going to stuff your face with a hamburger while also cramming greasy french fried potatoes down your gullet, only to wash it all down with a chocolate milkshake chaser, then you might as well as make it good one. Why eat something that's bad for you and bad-tasting?
When I need a good, cheap, fast-food burger, I go to either In-N-Out or Fatburger, two chains that beat the Golden Arches by a mile and a half. And they make no apologies that they peddle burgers; fast food burgers which are fatty, luscious, grease bombs, dripping in shiny coat of melted American cheese -- not Fruit and Walnut Salad.
In-N-Out had the right idea when they recruited the ample-figured actor, John Goodman as their spokesman. His gravelly, baritone voice-over crooned about a perfect In-N-Out lunch on L.A. radio drive time -- the kind of meal that only a fat man could credibly endorse. But they stopped short of showing Mr. Goodman on television with a Double-Double in hand. In-N-Out marketers may be direct, but they aren't stupid.
My favorite fast-food chain burger is found at Fatburger. This is the kind of place that harkens back to a time when a burger was good wholesome food for good wholesome people. Red, shiny soda fountain bar stools, chrome accents, and a jukebox pleasantly distract from the fact that the word "fat" is actually in their name.
But more ballsy than that is the option they offer of putting a whole fried egg in their sandwiches. This tasty addition amps up the cholesterol and saturated fat count to...well, I don't wanna know. Point is, it's such a perfect combination that I wonder why other joints don't follow suit. The egg complements the ground beef patty, not masking but enhancing the beefiness in a way cheese never could.
Ordering the "Baby Fat" is the usual way I mitigate eating a burger with an egg. Slightly bigger than a White Castle slider and also a lot heftier and thicker, the "Baby Fat" is still the smallest of the brood at Fatburger -- but it's enough of a meal for me when accompanied with a mound of crispy Skinny Fries and those delectably crumbly Homemade Onion Rings.
Bigger eaters can order the name sake Fatburger or the regal-sounding but gut-busting Kingburger, which will put anyone on a fast track to look like the Man himself, John Goodman.