Unfiltered Commentary: The Perfect Burger

Alexandra Strausman/THE REVIEW
The Classic Burger from Wynwood Diner in Miami, Florida.


Have you ever ordered a burger at a restaurant where the waiter promised it would be the best ever? I have. Many times.

They promise you the popularity of this order—they scold you when you attempt to remove its counterparts and wince when you ask to add something, let’s say, avocado perhaps.

You do it anyway. You add and take away the ingredients you love and the ones you would rather do without.

After 21 years on Earth, I’ve got to say that I’ve had some burgers that I wake up dreaming about. But the memory of one particular burger has really stuck with me.

It happened last Sunday, my last day of spring break. My friends and I were in Miami. We were exploring the Wynwood Art District and had been advised by many to not pass up the diner on the corner, Wynwood Diner.

Its cool atmosphere offered itself to the outside world with its open doors and large windows. Casual family dining represented itself in red button booths. Past the booths was a casual open bar with live music flowing into an outside socializing scene. It was intriguing. The purposely unfinished wooden ceilings with uncovered air piping, hanging lamps and tiled floors really brought the outside art inside this little nook.

I searched the burger section of the menu. The waiter wavered over the table like a greasy cook impatient for a customer to place an order. He recommended two burgers: The Fat Boy and The Classic, as if his recommendations exceeded the menu itself, making me trust him.

The Fat Boy had bacon, egg and gruyere. The Classic had tomato, lettuce, pickle and onion. I opted to add avocado and gruyere to the classic. Visibly wincing, he wrote it down.

I rewind time and remember I watch as burgers pass me. I cry internally as my stomach seems to eat at itself and the smell of burgers fill my nose. Finally, it comes toward me. It was beautiful. I dump loads of ketchup onto it, pony my hair and pick the burger up in my hands. It is enormous, yet delicate. It juices out under itself as my taste buds collide pressing down on lightly toasted bun, bun sticks to wet burger. Heavenly.

The avocado was a good addition, as was the cheese. I regret nothing except the way my stomach filled up too fast, leaving me with five bites of untouched burger, admitting defeat at the edge of my plate as the server takes away what was the best burger I’ve ever known.

I dream of it. I zoom in on the picture that does it no justice on my phone. Shot at 4:32 p.m. and stored in my “Favorites” album in my iPhone photo gallery.

These are bites of life. We take them as they are—add pieces to them and devour the moments as they come toward us, undressed waiting to be caressed and known as our own.

We pick up the bites and leave moments left over sometimes and that’s O.K.—those extra scraps sometimes deserve not to be known. Sometimes life is not meant to be taken in all at once and sometimes these leftovers are the reasons these moments are some we forever long for.

Life is impermanent but permanent, in individual moments, and that is what is so beautiful about moments in their present state.

We dream of them, we recreate them in our minds and that is the brilliance—the knowing that we were a part of something worth remembering, over time and time again.

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