By Richie Nakano | Burger via Instagram

 

One of the worst things about online life (aside from like, Nazis on Twitter and your racist cousin on Facebook) is how every click and view becomes a wrinkle in your internet fingerprint.

The places I occasionally stray inform Instagram of my supposed interests; videos of LaVar Ball yelling at his children, videos of Salt Bae creepily slapping cuts of meat around, videos of drunk people doing literally anything. Too many errant clicks and suddenly your phone thinks you’re a child-abusing, meat-smacking alcoholic and there is literally nothing you can do about it aside from deleting your account, moving to a monastery in Nepal and meditating the internet out of your poor, beleaguered brain.

My online experience includes all of these horrors, with the added layer of poison frosting that is Instagram hype-beast rainbow-colored cheese-dripping awfulness. I hate this kind of stuff, and yet every time, I click on it, screenshot it, and DM it to my friends. My phone reads this as: “Man, this guy REALLY loves raclette melts garnished with gold leaf,” so that’s what it shows me. Over and over again.

And that’s how I came across the avocado burger. Now you may be thinking, I love avocado on burgers! My local burger place calls it a ‘California Burger’ and I order them to overcome the daily sadness that racks my soul, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is an avocado, halved, with two thick cheeseburger patties sandwiched in-between, garnished, curiously, with sesame seeds.

Now picture me, stumbling across this hate sandwich, thinking it would be a funny thing to tweet. Now picture me, a few days and 94-plus replies later, questioning not only my place in this world, but my very sanity.

At first, the replies to the burger were what you might expect from the echo chamber that is the immediate circle of people that follow you—puke face emojis and replies solely consisting of “gross.” A couple folks popped in and said it looked good. That said they wanted to eat it.

I tried to reason with them. Firstly, a burger is to be eaten with the hands. Have you ever held a peeled avocado in your bare hands? They are slippery in the best of times, squishy in the worst. Second, structurally speaking, the build here is fat/fat with melted fat/fat with melted fat/fat. There is no starch here to keep order, to marshal this lawless mess into something that a person could eat with any form of dignity. The absence of sauce, of pickles, of ANYTHING to cut through the richness of this mess means that the eating experience would lead immediately to a fit of gout, followed by a mild to severe heart attack. 

And yet, common sense did not prevail. My mentions were newly flooded with foodie bros (“I would smash”) to #keto lovers to people saying they would eat it if they could use a knife and fork to an alarming amount of people referencing Sponge Bob pretty patties. I became very tired.

So in the name of science, I decided to make the avocado burger. And eat it with my hands, the way a burger was meant to be eaten.

I gather the ingredients: extra lean ground beef (because do we need more fat in this dish? I think not), an avocado, bacon, a red onion, sesame seeds, American cheese, and lettuce. The pictures show a bed of greens surrounded by halved cherry tomatoes. The burger patties are thick (this will be a problem later, but let’s stick to the script). At first glance, the sesame seeds sprinkled over the top are glaringly white, but on further inspection, they’re magically burnt and raw. I summon the culinary scientist within me.

I crisp the bacon and sear off the burgers. Then, I assemble the pedestal of greens and tomatoes and place half of the avocado on top. It kind of wobbles, then slides right through the greens, to the edge of the plate. I move it back and try to kind of press it down, but it’s like trying to get an egg to not roll around. I place one burger down, then the other, and the whole meat and avocado pile just falls over. A couple of attempts and several “OH FOR FUCKS SAKE” later, and I manage to get the whole thing to stand up. Kind of.


I hate myself.

I pick up the burger. My fingers immediately sink into the avocado where the pit used to be and the bacon slides down the side. I try to take a bite, but avocados are big, dense. Where a bun might compress, avocado cracks and caves in, sliming your fingers in the process, sending everything inside spilling onto the plate. The avocado burger cannot be eaten with hands. Onto the fork and knife.

It’s worth noting that at this point, we are not dealing with a burger anymore. What’s on my plate more closely resembles a salad…a…cheeseburger salad. No one would ever make a cheeseburger salad. In real life, you either are eating a cheeseburger or a salad—or if you hate yourself a cheeseburger with a side salad—but never would you combine these two items into one, unholy combination. (If you want to bathe in a pool or culinary horrors, google ‘cheeseburger salad.’ I dare you.)

With a fork and knife, I manage to get all of the ingredients onto the fork for one bite, but the ratios are so far off that my mouth gets so confused and disoriented I worry it will wander off of my face and stumble into traffic.

You know how when you’re eating a burrito and you get into a pocket of guacamole, and it’s like, the best part of the burrito? This is nothing like that. This is more like when you poorly assemble a salad, and the avocado you add to it isn’t cut small enough, so you get a giant bite of unseasoned avocado, then you decided to cram beef and bacon into your mouth at the last second.

I’m not entirely opposed to food built entirely around aesthetic—who doesn’t love a sundae with like, 15 different toppings on it? But the avocado burger/salad has no place in this world, my friends. We need buns. We deserve buns.

 

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