- Alice + baby manatee + White Castle = Saturday night
"We should go to White Castle," I said. "Now."
It took about a split second for Veronica, Alice, and me to decide that, yes, we would celebrate Alice's last night as a resident of Brooklyn with a sack of sliders and some chicken rings on the side, among other foodstuffs that probably shouldn't be eaten at any time of the day, never mind after midnight.
Veronica and I were hanging out with Alice in her apartment the night before Alice would hop on a plane and move back to Los Angeles (sniff, sniff, SNIFF, SNIIIIFFF). How did White Castle enter the picture? While talking to Veronica about my burger blog editor status, of course:
"What do you think of White Castle's burgers?" she asked.
"I don't think I've been there in more than 15 years."
"There's a White Castle near the Graham Ave station that I meant to check out," Alice said, "but I never got around to it."
And that is how we decided: It was White Castle time.
The three of us were perfectly aware that White Castle is no gastronomic revelation of mindblowing deliciousness. Sometimes you want to eat something because you know it'll be good; sometimes you want to eat something because you're almost positive it won't be good, but you're too curious to heed the words of those who have already tried it and suffered the consequences. It's one of those things you need to experience for yourself...like durian and fermented fish. (I have yet to indulge in fermented fish. Someday, someday.) White Castle fits in the latter category, but has a few other qualities that give it "must try" status: it's the oldest fast-food burger chain in the country and it's a pop culture icon. I can't think of White Castle without also thinking of Harold and Kumar. And getting stoned.
Although Veronica, Alice, and I may not have had Neil Patrick Harris by our side, we were still a threesome of AWESOMENESS. We decided that our local White Castle was probably a 24-hour establishment, and even if it weren't, our only investment would be a 15-minute walk.
As we walked down Metropolitan Avenue, we could see the bright glow of the towering White Castle sign. Score! Images of indigestion by way of late-night processed meat patties danced in our heads. Alas, despite the welcoming glow of the restaurant's fluorescent lights, the front door was locked. Only the drive-thru operated 24/7. Crap.
Well, let's just walk up then, we so naively thought*. We looked at our options on the Giant Glowing Menu and settled on some sliders and chicken rings (because nuggets are boring), but as we got closer to the box, the White Castle God (that is, the voice from the order box) boomed: "WE DON'T TAKE WALK-UP ORDERS AT THE DRIVE-THRU."
Sadness. What kind of world do we live when you can't eat at White Castle at 1 a.m.? (An ever so slightly healthier world, maybe.) We briefly considered hailing a taxi to drive us through so we could complete Alice's residence in Brooklyn with a proper bang, but that seemed just a little...too...desperate and stupid.
We walked back towards Alice's apartment feeling mildly dejected for being unable to give Alice the White Castle meal she wouldn't be able to get back in California. But it was more about the experience and hanging out than actually eating the food. Sort of. There are good reasons for not allowing people to walk up to the drive-thru, mostly these two: safety of the pedestrians (who could get run over by cars) and safety of the employees (who could get robbed by the walk up-ers).
...But still. I guess I never thought I'd be in a position where you'd have to drive a car to get food at a place in a neighborhood where most people walk and don't have cars.
And that's what I learned on my Saturday night.
(If you're wondering about the manatee, we thought it would make for a funny photo shoot to have manatee "eating" the burgers. It just wasn't meant to be.)
*If I need to clarify, I think we all had the inkling this wouldn't be allowed...but we were already there so it didn't hurt to try.