As I have previously mentioned on this exact blog (one which I am now kind of figuring out the ropes of [though I still dunno what whitespace is]) burgers are a wondrous thing, especially when they allow you the opportunity to spend time with someone you care about, especially when you both are experiencing it together for the first time!
I went to New York, New York, the big city of dreams with a dream of my own. The dream I was chasing involved, as usual, a girl. But, what better place to try to cement romance than the city that never sleeps? I arrived on a rather pleasant July 29th of last year (2009) having barely slept the night before, anxious to be reunited with Julie and get to spend five days with her in a place I wasn’t very familiar with. I was always of the opinion that New York was a shitty place, I had never had a good time anytime I went there and really didn’t care to try to be friends with it after two bad impressions; but you gotta suck it up for the sake of love, no? When I landed I walked down the jet way and out into a strangely battered and worn down concourse. I dunno why, but I was expecting it to be a little nicer, perhaps it’s just because I’m more used to CVG and O’Hare, but this place just struck me as a Greyhound station. I walk up through the concourse into the terminal proper and there was Julie, looking as beautiful as the sunny, windswept day outside the windows and smelling twice as lovely (because let’s face it there isn’t much good smell coming from Flushing Bay). There are certain days when you cannot believe your luck, you feel completely amazing and energized by another person because that’s how full they make your heart and how wound up your brain, every day that I’m around her is like that, just to give you some background on why I would fly to a place I wasn’t really into in order to see someone.
We went to her apartment and I dropped off my bags, we had some lunch at little pizza place downstairs called “Pizza Park”, which I could have written about but it really wasn’t an experience in particular; though I will give them that they had kiwi strawberry Snapple, a delicacy I had been looking forward to since I knew I was going there. We went back and had a nap until somewhere around dinner time and so I decided to look up something to eat on UrbanSpoon. She said she wanted to have a burger and, after much arm twisting (sarcasm), I agreed. This is when I found the Joy Burger bar, it was about a fifteen minute bus ride from her building and couple block walk to the place, but who cares about that, any excuse to sit next to her is a good enough one for me. We talked on the way there and actually missed our stop, I’m sure the conversation was of little importance, it was probably just us verbally jabbing each other as we do from time to time. We got off at the next stop and hopped off the metro and walked up a few blocks to 100th street and Lexington Avenue where the establishment is located.
What a charming location, it has this nice black awning, it’s well lit and it has these cool windows that open up wide with bars you can sit at overlooking the street, it isn’t much of a view but it was just a cool, little accoutrement. I walked up to the front to order and was immediately struck by the colorful blackboards that were showing the names of the beers and things they carried, the burgers were listed on a slide letter board; I am guessing this is so they can change out the specialties. There were four guys working in the back, one on fry duty, one on the grill and two preparing all the stuff for the other fellas. It smelled absolutely incredible, they had so many spices and sauces and things flying around and they used a charcoal grill right in front of you so you could see flames spouting up all over, cooking the hand pressed patties of beef to a crispy perfection. An order of fries would net you a whole potato cut into circles, not too thick and not too thin, fried up and then put in a salad bowl and tossed with their blend of spices. I ordered a half pound bacon cheeseburger, fries and a root beer from the guy working the register and was handed a playing card, a king of diamonds, which once your order is ready you will see the matching card from your table and go up and grab it; normally this procedure bugs the shit out of me, but the way it was done there was so charming that I couldn’t help but be taken in by it.
We sat down to wait for our food to be prepared and presented and we talked about how neat the place was, about the decorations of old beer signs on the wall, about how hungry we are and how much hungrier the smell of that place made us. She told me about how a lot of places in NYC have those windows that open up, but not many have bars you can sit at by them, we would have probably sat at one too but the weather had taken a turn from earlier and it was raining a bit out. She told me about a place she wanted to take me called “Jackson Hole” (which we went to later) and said they had amazing burgers and she hoped this place would have just as good of ones. I always love listening to her talk, it’s soothing to me in a way that I don’t recollect ever feeling; often times on the trip she would ask me “what?” because I would be looking at her and it was just that I didn’t feel like saying anything because I wanted her to continue speaking. We end up talking for awhile before the food comes out, finally it is time to eat something!
The burgers are served on buns that are just the right size for the burger they contain, they tasted kind of like grilled Hawaiian rolls, but they were probably just normal flour-enriched buns. The meat was fresh and juicy and delicious, not too drippy but just enough that you needed a napkin. Crisp bacon, not real thick like I like it, but very good nonetheless and a good amount of it on there. Then you come to the fries, absolutely perfect, their seasoning had the salty goodness of a Cajun seasoning without all the burning after taste, they were addicting and definitely up there for me with some of the most perfect fries I’ve ever had. We finished eating and sat for awhile letting the food settle because it was extremely filling. We talked a little more about things, mostly about how good our food was and what a wonderful place we had found tonight.
We got up and realized the rain had stopped and it was cooler now, we decided to take a walk down Lexington and see what was around before we called it an evening. I walked next to Julie and she put her hand in mine and we continued strolling until she fidgeted and complained that my hand should be in front of hers, which I found odd since she was responsible for the current configuration. She situated her hands and laid her head on my shoulder as we continued walking. As corny as it is Joy Burger Bar had really filled me with happiness, I was happy to be where I was, I was happy to be so full of good food and I was happy that my heart was so full of someone that I find to be tremendous. I guess, all in all, that’s what’s great about going to dinner, it’s being able to enjoy the company you keep, to learn that there are more and more things you do have in common and to find out, above all, that someone finds you worthwhile enough to share experiences with.