"Hunger is good discipline." -Ernest Hemingway
The past two weeks have been some of the most emotionally turbulent I’ve ever experienced. Details may be divulged at a later date, but there was one day that tears welled up in my eyes and I had to suppress a full-on emotional breakdown twice, in two different public locations. I’ve gotten myself mostly under control, and I’ve come to terms with embracing the uncertainty that the next couple of years are going to bring for me as I dabble in various areas of the food service industry after deciding that I do not want to pursue a career as a chef in a restaurant.
Over the course of dealing with my existential crisis, I fought the urge to eat my stress away reasonably well. Yesterday, I was craving a burger and a milkshake and I decided to treat myself. I figured I deserved it, and I went full-YOLO.
Moe’s Crosstown Tavern is rumored to have the best pub food in Charleston as well as one of the best burgers. I can say that I truly was not disappointed. I ordered mine with cheddar cheese, bacon, and a fried tomato on top with a side of fries. The fries are hand-cut, but not crispy. They reminded me of the homemade fries my dad made when I was little. Not the tastiest, but just fine after I doused them with malt vinegar. I wish I would’ve chosen the hand-cut chips, though. The burger bun was thick, making it somewhat difficult for me to get my mouth around the entire sandwich to take a bite, but I managed to hinge my jaw wide enough. The burger patty was juicy, and the fried tomato added a really nice textural crunch to the overall mouth feel. I wanted a really good burger in a come-as-you-are setting, and that’s exactly what I got. Moe’s caters to sports fans; I think I saw at least 4 different sports games playing while I was there. The appetizer section of the menu includes Papa T’s Pierogies, and the specials board listed Zywiec, highlighting that it was a Polish beer. I have plans to return and find out if the owner is Polish. And try the pierogies.
The picture of the burger, admittedly, sucks. I haven’t gotten over the stigma yet that comes with taking pictures of your food with your cell phone. You know, I might end up end up on some Tumblr making fun of me, given that there are dolts like this who rebuke people for being excited to remember their food. My response to Katherine Markovich would be: Get over it, take a little more joy in the food you’re eating, and maybe you’d be inspired to write something more valuable than a cynical, judgmental criticism. On top of these Markovichian pricks, Dr. Oz is over here saying that food porn is making people fat. Newsflash: Sedentary lifestyles and a failure to understand portion control is making people fat. And the icing on the cake: a professor at the University of Toronto is saying that taking pictures of your food may be a sign of mental illness. I happen to like seeing people taking pictures of their food. Food memories are some of my favorite memories, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to document a moment I’ll want to remember, just like I’d want to document any other happy moment? I remember seeing the chef at Senate, a hotdog-centric gastropub in Cincinnati, beaming with satisfaction when he saw a patron “foodstagramming” her brunch. Capturing a visual memory of a meal is a sign of appreciation for something that brings us all joy, individually and communally. To quote the oh-so-quotable Oscar Wilde, “I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.” While Dr. Valerie Taylor might be more credible than a television “doctor,” I say she can just get off of her high horse and go conduct a more valuable study. But hey… I’m just the girl who decided not to go to medical school, so what do I know?
Anyway, I wanted a milkshake to drink with my burger, but Moe’s does not offer those. This was my only qualm with the establishment, and the qualm wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t been in the mood for a milkshake. So after I ate my entire burger, I carted myself over to Ben & Jerry’s, of which I am an unabashed megafan. Seriously, every time I go to the grocery store, I check the Ben & Jerry’s section for a new flavor, and I think I can boast that I’ve tasted every flavor that the grocery store has to offer. Before I lived in a city with a Ben & Jerry’s, I would scope out Scoop Shops on vacation to try the flavors that are only offered on site. So I ordered the Addicted to Chocolate milkshake that I was craving. Candy Bar Pie is the new Scoop Shop-only flavor, and it’s peanut butter ice cream with fudge flakes, chocolate nougat, and a sweet/salty pretzel swirl. Those pretzel swirls were calling my name, and I went ahead and ordered myself a scoop of it in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone. Like I said, full YOLO. And yes, I did consume the entire cone and the entire milkshake, after eating my entire burger. Sometimes it’s fun to stuff yourself to the gills.