Sometimes it’s not about the burger, it’s about the experience and I’m not here for a review, just to sit back and the enjoy the ride…I arranged for a lunch with one of my all-time favorite radio DJ’s, Adam Xii of WFNX, and formally of ‘BCN. I’ve been listening to him for years. When he asked me to meet him in Lynn for a quick burger, I jumped at the opportunity. We first ventured to the Capitol Diner, a retro spot in every sense of the word. Originally built in 1928, I doubt its even changed that much since. If you’re looking for servers to come and wait on you hand and foot and serve up some bullshit gourmet burger, you’ve come to the wrong place. What you get is two seemingly cranky, but pleasantly charming, and mature waitresses. They literally holler at you from a few feet down (the interior is no more than 20 feet long anyway) to get your order. One cheeseburger, plain, will set you back about $3.75. And you know what? It was actually cooked a pretty good medium-rare, (cooked literally 1 minutes less than Adam’s Medium request) the American cheese was actually melted, and it had that familiar and greasy taste that only a Lynn diner can have. And it was exactly what I was looking for. The beef wasn’t amazing, but it was nice and loose, barely held together and literally crumbled in my mouth as I ate it. It was perfect for what it was, and many Boston restaurants should be envious of the structure of this simple patty.
Next up was Charlie’s Junction Deli, a family run joint with a pretty engaging husband and wife team running the operation. Unsure of whether or not they had any tomatoes left, the waitress put a question mark next to it as she took our order. It couldn’t have been any more adorable. Another solid and cheap burger, this time dunked in mustard, it was satisfying in every sense of the word. Crispy bacon and a nice evenly charred burger were modestly done, but respectable like any good burger should be. Some people don’t care about the fancy-pants burgers, there’s no need for additional pretentious toppings or to dissect our meals in an arrogant way. Of course I’ve made an entire life built around doing just that, especially the arrogant part. But I think I’ve learned when to hold back, when it’s less analyzing and more on the focus of a great conversation with someone who’s as passionate with their craft as I am with mine.
The parallels between the food world and the music world are obvious. Being a chef, I have to just go with the flow more often than not; sure it’s still my food and my style but I have to be mindful of what my clients request. Same goes for Adam Xii, who may not always have the final say on all song selections, but he’s still doing what he loves. Playing music all day, talking on the air to a very devoted fan base hardly seems like a tough day at the office. He’s a lucky guy to be so fortunate to have his hobby also be his profession and career. In the same respect, I feel exactly the same way about what I do.