...Where your hosts, HT and MD, blog together! What craziness will ensue, dear reader?!
HT: I was due for a visit to Shake Shack; I hadn't been there in 9 months, and I had heard that they had made some changes -- most notably, a new french fry supplier. And hell, it was high time we made a concerted effort to not only eat outside our burger comfort zone, but to eat outside, period. It's summertime, people. Make use of your al fresco dining establishments. Pronto.
That said, Shake Shack requires a wee bit of patience. Even with the live Shackcam to let those of us leaving the office know how long the line is, there's really no telling how bad it's going to be until you actually get to Madison Square Park. When MD and I got there, the line looked like it might use up 30-40 minutes of our early evening. We braved it anyway. I was mildly dying for some red meat.
Some 45 minutes later, our food arrived: A double hamburger for me, a single shackburger for MD, two orders of fries, a bird dog (chicken and apple sausage), and a lemonade. And ... huh. Something had changed. I mean, the burgers were still pretty good, but something was missing. The oomph. The joie de vivre. And the fries -- overdone! They used to be something close to manna, and now they were just ... serviceable. The bird dog, however, was a thing of beauty: the dog itself had such snap! Such life! Probably the best thing we had all night.
As disappointed as I was with the meal, my body was clearly happy. So happy, in fact, that when I got home around 10:30 that evening, I promptly passed out. For 11 hours. No joke. I apparently went into some sort of red meat/protein shock (you try to eat two burger patties and half a hotdog the day after consuming the largest porkchop on the planet and see what your body does). I hadn't slept that well in years.
MD: I had actually planned to write about Shake Shack awhile back to kick off my "Overrated" series of posts. I never got around to it and discovered how much HT loved Shake Shack and decided to back off. So when HT suggested a trip to the Shack, I was thrilled -- we could finally exploit the full potential of team blogging. We could be Point and Counterpoint! It would be like Crossfire but no one would be wearing a bow-tie and annoying sh*t-eating grin.
We arrive and the line seems to stretch for miles. Luckily HT and I have steeled ourselves for this with a couple drinks and some amazing onion rings at a bar that shall have to remain nameless. (It is a chain. It is in Midtown. We are not proud. The drinks were free.) We wait about a half hour and get our food. I bemoan the fact that today is "Salty Caramel" custard day and not "Strawberry Rhubarb." We sit and start to eat. The food was ok. I have not so much to say, honestly. The dog was amazing and the french fries were a crime against G-d.
However, one thing was amazing and horribly distracting. At the table nearest to us were two men in matching outfits -- dark shirts, khaki shorts, leather footwear. Both were late thirties/early forties. Well-manicured, beefy, presumably gay and the tension between them was palpable. But the tenor of the tension was unclear. The man on the left sat back, coolly, but jutted his legs forward, but together into the other man's space. They shared a beer and their hands almost touched as they traded it back and forth.
The other man was clearly more eager. He held the beer with his arm extended into the other man's personal space. His legs fell open with another hand upon his inner thigh. At this point HT asked a question I won't repeat about who played which sex role... but it was unclear if they had ever had sex. They were talking about mutual acquaintances but were they friends? Coworkers?
In the end we decided they had "loved" physically and guy-on-the-right wanted a repeat, while guy-on-the-left was probably playing it cool (although I have no doubts he was going to give in that night unless something better came along). While it was fascinating and intriguing, their inchoate relationship upset my stomach much more than the poorly done burger ever could.