Inspired by a blog post by David Lebovitz about a visit to San Francisco and the places at which he’d eaten, I slavishly ventured out across the bay in classic “monkey-see; monkey-do” behavior to savior my own Roam Burger as he had.
Though Roam Burger has several locations, I chose the Union Street location because that’s the one that Mr. Lebovitz visited; and if you do anything as a foodie groupie, you do not vary in replicating experiences.
The location also provided entree to a photo tour along San Francisco’s waterfront; the idea being that I’d wile away the rest of the afternoon after lunch to arrive at Pier 7 around sunset to take pictures of the Transamerica Pyramid and the Embarcadero Center lit up as they are every year for the holidays.
At Roam Burger, you order first and then elbow your way to a seat. As I was dining alone, I made a beeline for the last seat left open at the bar and waited for my French & Fries—a beef burger topped with truffle parmesan fries, gruyère, avocado, caramelized onions, watercress, piquant sauce, and whole grain mustard on a traditional sesame bun—sipping a prickly pear artisan soda.
On my last sip, the burger finally arrived, daring me to take a bite out it. It was quite tall with the truffle parmesan fries on top, too tall to be able to wrap my lips around it from top to bottom. Facing burger failure, I removed a few of the fries and then smooshed everything together.
Still, would it rate as the best burger I ever had? That’s a challenge because the best burgers I ever had will always be the ones I ate at some eatery in the mall near my house in sixth grade when I would go for lunch by myself on Thursdays when we had half-days at school. Not that the burger was anything special. It was a frozen patty cooked on a flat top. But I remember how the juices would always fall off it, pooling on the plate before they would be soaked up by the bun and crinkled french fries. And it always tasted so good, every single time. It was awesome.
Granted, my recollection of the burger is inextricably linked with getting out of school before noon mixed with the headiness of the freedom that that entailed at the ripe age of 12. So while Roam Burger’s French and Fries was likely the better tasting and prepared burger, nothing will ever beat out those defrosted Thursday-afternoon patties.
Back at Roam Burger, I must have added a milkshake to my tab at some point during my meal because by the time I spilled back out onto Union St., I was buzzing from something, most likely, contentment.
The bright sunshine casting long shadows kept that buzz going as I walked down Octavia to Bay St and then over to Hyde St. Pier, where I dawdled for so long that I began doubting that I’d get to Pier 7 in time for the “orange hour.”
Hustling, I forlornly left Hyde St. Pier and headed along the Embarcadero, spending a few minutes with the colorful fishing boats moored at Fisherman’s Wharf glowing in the afternoon sun.
Where there is a will, there is a way, and I made to Pier 3 in the nick of time, albeit a bit more sweaty and dehydrated than I would have liked to be able to watch the light change over next two hours comfortably.
How we suffer for our “art.”