March 25, 2009

Double Squeeze, Double Disappointment

When I moved to Sac I was immediately on the hunt for a good burger joint. Many names were thrown out.

“Try Hamburger Mary’s," (which, now I guess, is Hamburger Patty’s) they said. "Try Sparks by ARC or Nation Wide,” others shouted.

But one name kept coming up whenever I inquired. Squeeze Inn…Squeeze Inn…SQUEEZE INN.

Many told me, "You’ve gotta try Squeeze Inn, man. You can’t go wrong."

“It was on the Food Network. It’s one of Sacramento’s gems. Guy Fierro was there!”

“Squeeze Inn saved my life, bro! And it will save yours, too.”

So, I set trajectory towards that much talked-about hamburger heaven.

It was a Saturday just before noon, and already there was a line out the door. I knew it had to be the right place, judging by the “Dive” look it had. Plus, you can’t miss that ugly neon orange edifice from a mile away.

Fortunately, the line wasn’t as long as it seemed. The foyer was as small as an outhouse and led to the hardly comparable bar, where if you are lucky, you just might get a seat. If not, you can find a place outside next to the dumpsters . . . (Literally, there were tables and chairs set up next to them). Bon app├ętit!

I’m always up for an adventure so I was eating this whole experience up. I sometimes get overzealous when I’m excited about food. This situation was no different, so I order a Double Squeeze (a.k.a. heart attack in a bun) and fries.

What I thought was going to be at most a 20 minute wait, turned into 30, then 40, then 60. Standing that long in such a tiny place can bring attention to the little details about a dive that most people miss when they are normally in and out.

For instance, the years and years of accumulated dust on the signs to the point where the dust and grease in the air congeals into a harmonious dark gray smudge. You see the bun dresser wash her hands from a bucket of murky water on a table beside her. You feel the musty tint of air-born oil, where the grease wraps itself around your skin and enters your pores, so much that it caused a platoon of pimples on the chins of all 4 employees and even yourself.

I try not to be a downer in these situations, because like I said before, I’m up for new food adventures any time. So, after an hour of observing, I finally get my food. Miraculously, a stool became vacant, and I went in.

So what makes Squeeze Inn so special? Many will say, “It’s the cheese.” And it is. It’s the staple to each burger. They engulf the patty with a mountain of cheesy fury. But that’s not all. They add ice cubes to the flat-stove and cover with a top. This allows for the heat from the steam to fry the cheese to the flat-top, creating a skirt of dairy that hides the goodies of the burger, the patty. After witnessing this, my heart literally packed a suitcase and threatened to leave. I called its bluff. However, I did regret ordering a Double Squeeze. Double meat, double cheese.

After the long wait, I finally took that first “mouth-watering” bite. By “mouth-watering,” I mean a tsunami of grease swished through my mouth upon impact. What’s that all about?! I ordered a Coke to quench my thirst!

With all the hype, and the time it took to get the order, I was expecting something glorious. I was expecting greatness, and nothing less. Instead, I ended up shaving off 5 years of my life for a burger that wasn’t even worth it.

My opinion? If you care about experiences, go and see for yourself. Go, so you can say “I’ve been there,” next time you see the place on The Food Network. But you will save your time if you take my word and grab some In-n-Out. They are tastier, cleaner, and you don’t have to eat next to a dumpster.