Part 2/10 in our San Francisco Series
Sometimes people worry to much. Is my steak charred beyond recognition? Does my burger resemble a hockey puck more than meat? Is that pink I see in my chicken?
People are so worried about getting sick from food that they forget about the fact that smoking, drinking, and even walking down the street can be more hazardous. In fact, the story goes that in Canada it is illegal to serve a rare burger, or any burger that doesn’t hit at least 160 degrees all the way through, although all I can find from regulators is recommended temperatures, nothing written in stone. Perhaps the rare burger fear lies more with restaurants than it does with consumers. No restaurant wants to tempt sizzler fait with an ecoli breakout.
Lets get real, there is just as much of a chance you will get sick from bean sprouts as you will from beef. You can also get sick from spinach, cantaloupe, cured meats, and any other number of sources. The most common cause however, improper food handling. So that begs the question, if you know how the food was handled, should you have any fear ordering it uncooked? Ippuku doesn’t think so.
Ippuku is a fairly new restaurant in the San Fran area, their claim to fame is their raw chicken tartare. Yes, raw chicken. This delicacy is supposedly completely safe, having been dipped in boiling water for a mere 30 seconds, rendering it salmonella free. However, Ippuku’s raw chicken is not really the subject of this article.
What is really on our mind is the rare burger. Practically outlawed where we come from, it is a treat to go to a food forward city like San Francisco and be asked that most beautiful question, “how would you like your burger cooked today?” Moist, juicy, more like a steak than a hockey puck, the rare burger is a the best burger you will ever eat. Furthermore, It is a pleasure to pull up to a restaurant like Thermidore and be offered a $5 burger (from a restaurant that is one of the most popular in the area might I add), cooked exactly the way you want it.
Furthermore, Thermidore served their $5 burger from a street stand set up in front of their restaurant. Not from a high end kitchen, but from an impeccably clean cart, which goes to show that cooking a burger rare has less to do with the tools, and more to do with the food handling. The street stand enticed passers by to try a cheap burger, or a taco. They were literally taste testing their food. Testers turned into customers, and customers ended up buying drinks and appetizers from the servers on the patio. All thanks to a burger cooked the way the customer wanted. Try that with many of the hockey pucks served on the red mile.
What kills me however, when I think back to that burger at Thermidore, is Canada’s food regulators desire to regulate burgers, when poison in a stick can be obtained from any convenience store or gas station in the country. You can smoke and kill yourself and those around you, but don’t even think about eating raw ground beef mister! Why is it that in San Francisco, you have the choice to eat not only rare burgers, but raw chicken, and in Canada we have no right to choose how our beef is cooked? We say we have the best beef in the world, let us enjoy it. Perhaps regulation should have less to do with limiting choice, and more to do with ensuring health standards allow us to have choice instead so we can really have our burgers our way.