Sunday night, we had originally planned on going to Taste of Randolph. But somehow, we ended up spending the day cleaning out my wife’s closet. Then, we went to The Counter. It is one of my favorite places to eat. And this time, we actually got a seat outside.
My wife and I have been going to The Counter since it opened a couple years ago. Back then, this corner just off Diversey and Broadway was pretty empty. The Barnes and Noble was closed. The Pier One was empty. Now, there is an Urban Outfitters and a Trader Joe’s. Same shit. Different decade.
When you go to The Counter, they give you a form. You get to pick your meat, your bun, your toppings, and your sauce. It’s a lot of decisions and a lot of boxes to check off. It’s like homework. Delicious delicious homework.
The burgers are a la carte, so my wife and I always split an order of 50/50 fries – half fries and half sweet potato fries. Normally, I hate shoestring fries. But for some reason, these are a tasty exception. They come with a lovely dipping sauce that my wife insists is not their garlic aoli sauce.
The fries always come out before the burgers for some reason. This is good and bad. Good because the fries are delicious and come out super quick. Bad because we tend to eat most of the fries before the burgers come out.
Earlier that day, I had been watching America’s Test Kitchen, and they had made a french onion and bacon tart. So on this particular evening, I got a burger with brie and caramelized onions. As I’ve said before, I’m easily prone to suggestion.
I got my burger on a pretzel roll. I love the pretzel rolls at The Counter. They started out as a special bun option but were so popular that they are now permanently on the menu. The Counter was one of the first places I had ever eaten a pretzel roll. And it is because I loved them so much that I learned to make my own.
Before they had pretzel rolls, I would always get my burgers on their super big English muffins, which are also quite tasty. English muffins, which I have loved since I was a kid, are next on my list of baking projects.
My wife ordered a mushroom and swiss burger. But I prefer what she usually orders, which is a blue cheese burger with bacon. She says she only likes a hint of bacon flavor, so she always picks off the bacon and gives it to me. She never started doing this until after we got married, which turns out to be a nice marriage bonus.
The burgers at The Counter are huge. Even if you pick the smallest patty size, at 1/3 of a pound of humanely treated beef, it’s a large amount of food. And once I pick a burger up, I don’t like to set it down. So usually, I cut it in half before I start. This ensures that I take at least one breath while eating the thing.
When I first started going to the Counter, I couldn’t eat the whole burger. These days, I routinely scarf the whole thing down. I’m not sure what that says about me. My wife usually eats half and then takes the other half home. I think she does this mainly so she can get the box. She has a predilection for take-out packaging.