The Ole Switcharoo

2010.Sep.18 Saturday · 6 comments

in Books & Other Media, Restaurants

Ray Kinsella: I think I know what “If you build it, he will come” means.
Annie Kinsella: Ooh… why do I not think this is such a good thing?
Ray Kinsella: I think it means that if I build a baseball field out there that Shoeless Joe Jackson will get to come back and play ball again.
Annie Kinsella: [staring in disbelief] You’re kidding.

– from Field of Dreams

Spell Cafe - "Spell Burger"

It was the ole bait and switch, only they weren’t involved. No intention on their part whatsoever. I think. You may remember I’ve started this strange little search for a decent veggie burger here in town, and the first round of nibbles didn’t fare so well. But I did get a few tips… not many… on some possibilities. One of those was Spell Cafe, Av. Moreau de Justo 740 in Puerto Madero, where several people asserted there was an amazing roasted vegetable burger. It sort of makes sense, the place is a tourist haven sports bar, so their specialty is a variety of burgers and sandwiches, salads, that sort of stuff. And strange cocktails. [This place has closed.]

And there apparently was. But there isn’t. And there may be in the future. But not now. The conversation went something like this, after I’d perused the menu and found no such item….

Me: “Someone told me you have a really great veggie burger, but I don’t see it on the menu.”
Waitress: “We don’t have it anymore. It was amazing.”
Me: “It was really that good?”
Waitress: “People ask for it all the time – I get more than a dozen requests for it every day.”
Me: “So why isn’t it on the menu?”
Waitress: “The managers said that too many people were coming in and ordering it.”
Me: “I don’t get it, that sounds like a good thing.”
Waitress: “They thought we were getting a reputation for the veggie burger and they don’t want people to think of us that way.”
Me: “That just seems really strange.”
Waitress: “We think so too, we’re all pushing for them to put it back on the menu. Maybe they will for summer.”
Me: “So how’s the regular burger?”
Waitress: “Really good.”
Me: “But not amazing?”
Waitress: “No, not amazing.”

I ordered it, the “Spell Burger”. Actually, it’s really darned good. I’d put it up in the top three I’ve had here in BA, along with Tucson and Kansas… maybe tied for third place with Hard Rock Cafe – and a hell of a lot cheaper (Spell’s is AR$28, while HRC’s burger is now AR$45. It’s a big, juicy well seasoned burger, they cooked it to the temperature I wanted without question (actually, as things have changed in town here over the last few years, it’s no longer an argument, or even that difficult, to get a burger or steak cooked rare or medium), and it was topped with plenty of fresh lettuce and tomato, cheddar cheese, smoky, crispy bacon, a perfectly fried sunny side up egg, and, to boot, no upcharge for swapping out french fries for a big pile of onions rings. The rings could have been slightly crispier, but were really good. Only criticism, the bun is one of those soft, pillowy types that starts to fall apart as soon as the burger’s juices hit it – I ended up two bites in having to switch to knife and fork. Oh, really good iced tea too.

So now I’m going to pull my own little switcheroo on you. When I started this veggie burger quest, I mentioned a book….

Veggie Burgers Every Which WayNot long ago I came across this little gem, Veggie Burgers every which way, by Lukas Volger, who writes the Veggie Burger Madness blog. Now, the book isn’t available here in BA, but it is available in electronic format, so I picked it up for my Sony Reader (yes, I have one, yes, I think it’s amazing, yes, I still prefer a print book when I’m curled up on the couch, yes, they have problems, and yes, I think ebook readers are the direction most everything will head over time). Unfortunately, just in terms of the conversion, it was really poorly done. The biggest hurdle was that it appears that whomever did it, used a character set that is incomplete – so things like fractions on the recipes are rendered out, for the most part, as question marks. It would make it very difficult for someone who cooks via recipe, and/or who wants to try out his, to follow pretty much any of them. Some of them end up being little more than lists of ingredients with “?” in front of them and no hint as to quantities. [See comments below for publisher’s response.]

That said, the combinations that he’s come up with, at least of the half dozen that I’ve tried making, are delicious. On my end it took some experimenting to figure out those quantities, but the results were worth it – of course I’m left to wonder if his quantities are the same as mine and therefore are his recipes actually as good as they seem or did I just take his ingredients and come up with my own? I’m going to assume the former, because the recipes he posts on his blog turn out well, so he seems to know what he’s doing. However, I’d have to recommend, other than as an interesting read, which it is, not to buy the ebook version. A shame, because it means someone didn’t bother to proofread it when it was converted (which, by the way, has been one of my criticisms of other ebooks that I’ve picked up – more than one book has suffered from similar flaws.) Anyway, if the topic interests you, pick up a copy of the print edition, it’s well worth it.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

fede September 18, 2010 at 12:12

buenisimo el post

el titulo de seinfled con una parte de una peli epica y la historia de la hamburguesa vegetariana buenisima. saludos

dan September 18, 2010 at 15:58

De Seinfeld? Nunca vi. Es un expresión muy común en los EEUU.

fede September 19, 2010 at 10:14

en arg no existe obviamente
es de un capitulo que seinfeld en el cual george esta saliendo con una mina pero quiere salir con la roommate

dan September 30, 2010 at 20:49

Received this from the publisher, along with an offer to get a copy of the print version to me:

I’m writing from The Experiment, the publisher of Veggie Burgers Every Which Way. Thank you for your kind words about the book on your blog!

Please accept my apologies for the trouble with the ebook you purchased. We do look over our converted titles—but each title is converted to multiple different ebook formats, which may display differently depending on the particular reading device being used. Your blog post has brought the flaws in the Sony reader version of the Veggie Burgers ebook to our attention—so thank you for posting!

We are now troubleshooting the ebook…. Thank you!

dan October 15, 2010 at 11:42

Hard copy arrived today – gorgeously photographed book, and, not surprisingly, the graphic stuff that didn’t translate well in the ebook version is fine in the print version. Most of it tends to be symbols – next to the recipes indicating things like Vegan or Gluten-Free, and some of the fractions didn’t translate – simple, but not automatic things to correct in the electronic versions.

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