Friday, February 27, 2009

Birthday burger—mmm, mmm!

Food is very important in our office, and whenever it’s someone’s birthday, we go out to lunch to celebrate at the place of that person’s choice.

Lissa’s birthday is next Tuesday, but without even asking, I knew where she’d want to go: the newly opened Counter in Kahala Mall. She loves a good burger! Lucky for her, Kara and I graciously went last night, just to make sure things would be up to Lissa’s standards! Needless to say, they absolutely were—so I told Lissa to mark her calendar for lunch next week. I even called Mari and Mel to join us.

Well, as the morning progressed, Lissa announced, I’m hungry. Forget next week, I want to go now! I guess her stomach rules over her heart, because she didn’t even care that Mari and Mel couldn’t join us on such last-minute notice. So Kara, Melissa, Lissa and I dropped everything and headed out.

The place is pumping day and night. Fortunately we didn’t have too long a wait before we sat down to order. Lissa could not stop smiling!

Let me just say that as much as I love The Counter, I was not all that thrilled about going today. After all, my tummy was still recovering from last night’s hamburger, shoestring onion rings, fries and fixings!

The menu, for a first-timer, is pretty easy to grasp. You build your own burger. Pick your toppings from gourmet cheese to standard lettuce-tomato-onions to exotic shallots and homemade guacamole and dried cranberries.

We started off with the fifty-fifty combination of the sweet potato and regular French fries, and got a full order of the light, crispy and mouth-wateringly delicious shoestring onion rings—which can also be a topping for your burger, by the way.

Those delectables were almost gone by the time our burgers arrived. Birthday girl Lissa selected a pretty safe burger of grilled onions, mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes. Kara was a little more daring with her Gruyere cheese, shoestring onions, guacamole, honey-cured bacon and tomato. (Why don’t you just save yourself some time and pack it right on the hips?)

Melissa opted for the mushrooms, guacamole, sprouts and Gruyere with honey-mustard dipping sauce on the side. And I was trying to be good, in light of last night’s bacon cheeseburger, so I decided to try their turkey burger in a bowl over greens. I added some feta cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions and tomatoes. It was good, but I have to admit, the beef burger with bacon was better!

We had a quick lunch because there were tons of people waiting for our table. Later, when Mari heard about the sinful thing we had done, she made sure to lecture Lissa about how it’s bad luck to celebrate your birthday early, so we’re just going to have to repeat the tradition all over again next week. That’s fine with me—let’s just not make it tomorrow!