I spoiled myself last night. I spoiled myself rotten. It's been a very, very long time since I filled up on comfort foods like that - and boy, did I need it! I've been suffering from a pretty serious case of culinary depression the last few days, and last night's dinner felt like debauchery to the extreme. Fries, burgers, and a table full of desserts!
Anne and I met Fatemeh, Sam, and Molly at Luka's Taproom in Oakland. When I first heard about the place, I thought it was a tap-dancing place, but it turns out to be beer-tap tap place. English. Keeps me on my toes. Luka's is part bar, part lounge, and part restaurant, but it's restaurant portion is quite impressive in both the variety and the quality of the food they offer . For savory plates, I'm inferring that the quality would be good from my experience with the burger and fries. For sweet plates, I can speak with more confidence that quality comes with the variety, since I had at least a substantial bite of the four (out of five on their menu) desserts we got. Didn't I tell you earlier on that I was in a sweet week now?
We started with a large order of fries (frites), and these were so tasty that I changed my mind on the sides that were supposed to come with my dish from the salad option to the good ol' side of fries.
I am one of those people who love EXTRA crunchy fries. The kind that can crack your teeth? The kind that's so soaked in hot oil, it's almost turned orange? Yeah, I like it like that. Some people call it burnt, but I call it delicious. Yum. Yum. It makes me hungry thinking about it. Prozac for my culinary depression. Anyway, I color-screened the Prozac versions and munched along happily. These were seasoned with some kind of beefy flavor. It reminded me of the story of how McDonald's got in trouble for serving beef essence on its fries without telling vegetarians about it. It had that bouillon aroma and flavor, I thought. The scary thing about blogging about dinners I share with bloggers is that they will point out my erroneous interpretations...
The fries came with three different kinds of sauces, but I only remember the smoked-paprika catsup. This was catsup to me, not ketchup. Damn, this was good. It was so good that I asked for a second serving and then polished it off single-handedly. I don't think any of the other ladies had a single dip of the goods. Not only did I finish two condiment bowls, I proceeded to LICK the first bowl clean during the course of the evening. The only reason why I didn't finish the second one? The busser took it away from me before dessert, as I stared at it longingly... I probably would've licked the second bowl clean too if it weren't for him.
The burgers were THICK. This was an intense burger. And juicy too. It was more juicy on the outside than on the inside, which was sort of strange to me. I got mine medium rare, since I like it pink in the middle, but what I got was raw. It had the same texture as steak tartare. I hesitate for a second, but then rationalized that if Sam was eating it medium rare too, it was probably OK, and if I did get serious GI issues, I would be getting a caloric freebie out of the meal. Fatemeh reassured me that the meat was really high-quality, and so I chomped along. I think if it were a bit more done, the inside would have been more juicy, but this was a luxury burger. It was a different species than most burgers I've ever had. Yum.
Writing this post, I'm getting a hankering for the paprika catsup. The Papa Bear just came home. The Papa Bear did not go yesterday... Maybe the Papa Bear would like to try some frites. I still need my Prozac... Maybe I can convince the Papa Bear into a trip to Luka's...