Friday, July 10, 2009

The Jucy Lucy

First off: No, that is not misspelled. Well, yes it is, but it's intentional. Sic. To spell it correctly is to get the Jucy Lucy all wrong.

Second, the picture just doesn't do this hummer justice. People, listen up. There's cheeseburgers. And then there's cheeseburgers. But this? Hot DAMN, the Jucy Lucy reigns supreme o'er all. A cheeseburger with the cheese (American or Velveeta, of course!) placed in the center of the burger. Then cooked until the cheese is liquefied and the temperature of the earth's core.

Somehow, during my six years of tenure in Minnesota from 1993-1999, I evaded the gravitational pull of the Jucy Lucy. Seems like hotdish, wild rice soup, and the belly-busting fare at the Minnesota State Fair (a demimonde all unto itself), may have kept me in check. My loss. Years later (like 2004, I think), I finally found my way to Matt's Bar at 3500 Cedar Ave S in south Minneapolis, home of the original Jucy Lucy. And began doing penance for my decade-long sin of omission.

When you go to Matt's, there will be a wait. At least 15 minutes, more like a half hour. The whole restaurant is the size of an old 1950s style icebox. Sardines is the word you're looking for. As for the decor, it's all vinyl seats, wood paneling, and laminate table tops. Lowbrow kitsch seldom gets better than this. Once you jimmy yourself into your seat, order a pop. Only don't expect a glass. If a can's good enough for Matt's, it's good enough for you.

Now, when I said I did penance, here's how it happened: I received my Jucy Lucy, grabbed it, and immediately took my first bite. And squirted molten lava all over my hands and into my mouth, cauterizing most of my taste buds in the process. Lesson learned: No matter how hungry you are, you do NOT eat a Jucy Lucy when it first arrives. You'll look like a rube. Stuff down the fries that arrived in the basket. (Oh yeah, no plates here, either...they don't need no stinkin' plates.) Look around and enjoy the people-watching. Take your time. The cooks sure did, didn't they? But it just takes that long to make the perfect Jucy Lucy. And if you can evade the tongue-searing effects of the liquid cheese, then you'll taste a Midwestern carnivore's idea of heaven.

No comments: