I hereby claim this burger for the United States of ohmigodthattastessogood
Warning – the following blupdate (blog update) contains lots of love for fat, greasy foods and fizzy, sugary drinks. It will probably also contain a number of Americanisms absorbed from too many hours in front of the Food Network.
Today I drove up the Great North Road (the A1) by myself for the first time, a long, wet journey that was improved by my being able to choose where I ate lunch. No Costa Coffee panino for me – it was time for a taste of America. Dotted about the country there are a small number of OK Diners. I only know the ones on the A1, and one near Wales (narrowed it down for ya), but there are probably more. They are rather small, shiny neon-lit buildings emulating the most stainless of stainless steel designs of American diners from the 50s, packed with pleatherette booths, fake jukeboxes, the music of the rock’n’roll era, and, curiously, posters for Woodstock. It’s not only the decor and atmosphere that they’ve tried to replicate, it’s the food and drink as well, and they have done a mighty fine job.
The burger you see above is a 10 ounce Big BBQ Burger topped with griddled mushrooms, cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce and a couple of onion rings (hidden away at the back). It comes with fries (an extra 50p if you want them curly) and a fairly average tomato salsa, but you ain’t buyin’ this beauty for the sauce. The burger may not look that large in the photo, but trust me, it was a big’un. It required the full Guy Fieri Hunch to avoid dripping sauce and fat all over my nice new superdry (fans of Triple D will understand. See blupdates passim ad nauseum). The meat was perfectly cooked and you could still taste it through the BBQ sauce. That’s not to say that the BBQ was lacking flavour; it was plenty smokey, but it complimented the meat well. Above all, the burger tasted fresh – it hadn’t been waiting for me to come in and order it. The curly fries were standard fare, almost definitely frozen, and the cheesecake I had afterwards was store-bought (peanut butter and chocolate, if you’re interested), but the burger was money.
I also coupled it with another American classic that I’d never had before – a root beer. It’s just vanilla coke, really, but it’s a one way ticket to Flavourtown and no mistake. Admittedly that ticket takes you to the dentists in Flavourtown, but the journey will be enjoyable. If you like classic diner food, or just like burgers, steaks, sandwiches, grills, pancakes etc. then pop in to the OK Diner next time you pass one. You can find a full list of their restaurants here.