12 May 2008

Burger time

"It's a celebration of the new trend of meat as a condiment," says the PR flak in trying to sell me on a press conference to unveil the new Prime Rib Thickburger at Hardee's on Sunday. Much as I like the beefs, that alone wouldn't have gotten me to make the 45-mile drive to Auburn. But this sounded like an event: tables draped in linen tablecloths with rose centerpieces, a stack of promo tees proclaiming "Burger Slayer," waitstaff wearing tuxedo T-shirts, and a live string band.

What could make it more interesting? How's about I take along my wife, Jenn, who's a vegetarian?

The Hardee's folks had a rough go at first. A cop is in the parking lot, lights flashing, making a traffic stop on some putz. The chain's field marketing manager has a flat tire en route and literally jogs the last mile there. The Mayhem String Band's van has broken down somewhere, and they're nowhere to be found. Plus, turnout's a little thin. It is Mother's Day and all...

But it all worked out. The marketing guy, Nick Ulmer, made it in time. The cop, with his menacing lights, cleared out. And soon enough, the Mayhem boys arrive — in a stretch limo, as you see here.

Here's a bit of their performance...

The burger? It's a big slab of angus beef atop a bedding of thinly sliced prime rib — that's the condi-meat. (At first we were told the burger would be atop chopped liver, or, as a co-worker prefers to call it, "schmaltz." But that turned out to be not exactly right.) There's a tangy sauce on there, too. The whole thing is on a square of soft-ish ciabatta instead of a bun. It's quite good, and not as decadent as it sounds. So no heartburn. Jenn even had a couple of bites, as she's a ciabatta whore. Mostly she just at the fries, though, and we took the other burger home.

They'd ended up giving away the burgers and T-shirts to folks willing to sign up to an e-mail list that night. So I didn't even have to feel guilty about the swag.

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