Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Left My Heart in Wallhaven

Having lived in France the past two years, people often ask me what I miss most from back in the old US of A. Is it your family? they inquire. Oh no, not even close! Could it be your friends? Please, don't make me laugh! How about the Cleveland Cavaliers? You're getting warmer, but there really is only one thing that makes me ache for the motherland, one thing I regret every waking hour, one thing that has such a hold on my heart that I just can't let go:

Two cheeseburgers with everything, a side of rings and a medium mocha shake.

That's right, McBoners, it's Swensons, the greatest burger joint in the entire world. Now, I know what you're thinking: he's living in the food capital of the universe and all he can think about is a hamburger! How American can you get? Oh, but those sweet, buttery cheeseburgers with everything, just as I like 'em. That's everything, mind you: mustard, onion and pickle. And don't forget those crispy, thick onion rings. And, oh dear lord, the 17 available flavors of milkshake! Which one do I choose? Why, mocha, of course. Chocolate and coffee in perfect harmony.

I don't know anyone from Akron who hasn't had the same revelation that I once had, at, oh, around the age of seven. Come on, Akronites. You know what I mean. It's that moment when you realize there is absolutely no reason to go to McDonalds ever again, because Swensons has just made you realize one of life's great truths: McDonalds is nasty.

For all of you McBoners out there who have never been to northeast Ohio, or who have been and somehow have never pulled into the hallowed parking lot of a Swensons drive-in, I have nothing but pity. I mean that. And it's not just the food. It's the carhops too, who always make you feel like you're the most important customer of the day. Pull into a Swensons in your 1974 Pinto and you'll be treated just like the guy sitting in the Lexus one spot over.

Getting hungry? I know I am! Check out the online menu.

Since 1934 Swensons has been feeding the greater Akron area its world-class burgers. That special recipe has survived the Great Depression, McCarthyism and even the Nixon Administration. That's 73 years of juicy burger perfection, and that's why we are proud to call Swensons the Official Hamburger of McBone.

See you soon at one of their seven locations! Well, maybe not, since I'm over here in France. Alas!


I do have one Swensons horror story I feel compelled to share with you. It happened when I was in seventh grade, a still innocent boy of 13. We decided to pick up Swensons one winter evening--some Friday night take out. Mom was jotting down our orders, and I requested the usual: two cheeseburgers with everything, rings and a milkshake (I can't recall the flavor, though I favored cherry in those days).

It was shaping up to be a great meal, but when I took my first bite, I was greeted with a, shall we say, unpleasant surprise. There was more than just mustard, pickle and onion on my burger with everything. There was tomato and lettuce, too. What was that doing there? And ketchup? There's no ketchup on a burger with everything! Then I tasted it: something slimy in my mouth, something terrible. Yes, friends. My burger was coated, nay, drowning in the white menace itself. Mayonnaise! Just like that, my dream had become a nightmare. How could this have happened? My mother had ordered my cheeseburgers, it turns out, not with everything, as I specifically asked for, but with the works. I immediately spit out the bite, threw up, and spent the rest of the weekend in convulsions. Thanks, Mom, for (deliberately?) poisoning your first-born son.

McBone tip: Beware of the Galley Boy (2 special sauces)!

McBone tip 2: Please, in the name of all that is holy, don't confuse with the Swensen's ice cream chain.

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