On Saturday, my first day back in the United States, I immediately headed to Bobby’s Burger Palace or BBP, Bobby Flay’s new chain of burger joints, for an all-American beef burger with cheese, fries, and a milkshake. (I went to the one in the Bergen Town Center in Paramus, formerly known as the Bergen Mall or the dirt mall, which has recently received a major face lift.) Welcome home, welcome home, welcome home! Anyone who’s eaten a hamburger in Italy knows what I’m talking about. Pasta and sausage and chicken and rabbit — that’s what Italy should stick to.
The beef there is simply missing something. For starters, their cows are skinny little things. Sometimes, you can even see their rib cages. Then, when you eat beef — especially burgers — there’s this awful after taste. For a minute after I take a bite of an Italian burger, I’m always convinced that I’ve just eaten a hoof. They don’t know the joys of French fries and a shake either. Their fries are good but rarely paired with burgers and their gelato is delicious (in fact, I’m a recovering gelato addict), but it’s soft and therefore doesn’t hold up well when you try to make a frothy American milkshake.
But Bobby’s burgers are mouth watering bits of heaven, especially for someone who had not eaten a hamburger in five months. I ordered the classic with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle on the side. For my side, I chose the sweet potato fries, another item I had not eaten in months, and a strawberry shake. My mom ordered beer battered onion rings. (Okay, so I mostly ate those, too, but in my defense I was hungry and my stomach has grown significantly since I left for Italy in May.) In any event, the food tasted as good as it looked. And I literally did a little dance in my barstool as I feasted on it.
Anyone who thinks Bobby Flay is too highfalutin to run a burger joint should think again. “Chefs have funny dreams,” says Flay, according to Newsday. “They may have a couple of four-star restaurants, but they fantasize about opening up a hotdog stand. A lot of them think that it’s too late, that they’re beyond that, but for me, it’s the opposite: Now that I’ve gotten to this point, I can do the thing I crave the most – which is a cheeseburger, fries and a shake.” Mr. Flay, you certainly quenched my craving for that very same menu. Kudos and thanks!