Food Memory Better Than The Food

When I was in college at U.C. Davis it was a real treat to go to a burger diner named Murder Burger.  It certainly wasn’t gourmet but good burgers, amazing onion rings and wonderful shakes.  At least that’s what I remember from the late 80’s.  My husband went there too as a student and had the same memory.  Since living in the Bay Area, we would pass Murder Burger on the way to Tahoe over the years and talk about how we should stop on the way home.  Strangely it just never happened.  One of us would be too tired, or we’d just eaten or just not up for a burger meal.  Later the excuses were our kids – sleeping (no need to wake on a long drive) or cranky.

One time we noticed the name had been changed to Redrum Burger.  Apparently there were some people in a neighboring town who thought the name was too violent, but noting else was changed.  (I thought the change was more about the Jack Nicholson movie.)

However last weekend we did it.  On our way back from skiing in Tahoe, we decided to take our kids to our old college favorite.  It was exactly the same from the looks of it.  And by this I mean they hadn’t done anything to change or improve in almost 20 years.  Reading the menu on the table with a story about the restaurant, we realized they opened in 1986.  My first year of school!  No wonder it looked clean and new then.

We still had high hopes.  Our kids were as patient as possible, but it took over 20 minutes for the food to come.  It food looked pretty much the same.  However I don’t remember so much grease.  When I bit into the onion ring, I was sorry.  The big dark thick, once crunchy rings were all but a skinny onion and all doughy inside.  My daughter even asked “is that a doughnut?”  We were so dissappointed.

I had been saving the thought of the four of us sharing a shake – choco banana, my college favorite.  Afterall the only time we have a shake is if I make them.  The menu still boasted of fresh season fruit in their shakes.  I though maybe this would be the redemption.  However when I went to order one, there was no one behind the counter.  We waited another 5 minutes and gave up.  Finally I decided the memory of the shake could be preserved as the best I’d ever had, if I didn’t have another.  The kids were dissappointed, however they didn’t want to wait all day either.

When I told my friend about my past favorite turning to a present dissappointment she asked “Do you think your standards are higher now?”  She had a good point.  Yes, I’m sure they are.  I wasn’t a food snob back then and certainly didn’t wat as healthy.  But I still like to think it was better back in the 80’s…like many things.