DAY 3: I’m Gentrified Punk now
I’ve reached the official halfway point. I’ve had some surprisingly high ratings early on. Somehow, I haven’t suffered from the meat sweats yet. What’s to come next for (unofficial) San Francisco Burger Week?
Adam had to “spend time with his kids” or whatever, so I’m stuck waiting alone at the restaurant. We decided to meet at Cavalier to try the Marlowe burger, one that was held in high regard from a few of our coworkers. The Marlowe burger is offered at 3 different restaurants around the city, and we picked Cavalier because it was the closest to our office.
Unfortunately, my worst nightmare came true: I’m seated next to a San Francisco Tech Bro™. I can tell immediately from the look that screams “wealth without regard”: expensive jogger pants, sneakers, navy sweatshirt (it’s always navy for some reason?), and purposefully unkempt hair. Typically, I don’t have the misfortune of meshing with these types since I live in a neighborhood Tech Bros don’t frequent, and I avoid them like the plague. In this instance, I’m not so lucky.
I’m forced to suffer alone through his fluency in buzzwords, reminding me why I immediately swipe as far away as possible from anyone who has “entrepreneur” in their dating profile.
“It’s me and my computer, that’s how you make your money,” he drones on to the angel investor about coding.
I have no idea what any of this means. The investor also seems disinterested and asks for the check. Looks like today is not your day, Tech Bro.
Adam FINALLY arrives and we comment on the Cavalier decor to try and drown out the noise of the investment pitch next door. It is tastefully British, and as our office’s resident Englander, Adam describes it as “what Americans would think England is like if they only watched Downton Abbey.”
The waiter comes around and places a fancy knife on the table. I give them a bit of an eyebrow raise because I will not be using it. Every true burger aficionado knows that burgers are not meant to be cut in half, but devoured in full, disregarding all formal etiquette.
Our burgers arrive, and to my dismay it’s already cut in half……………………
(Extreme use of ellipses for emphasis of my melancholy).
I try not to twitch as I pick up HALF of my burger (ugh). It’s aesthetically pleasing and has all of the components of a good burger, but somehow it falls flat. It’s strangely lacking in flavor and each bite feels like a mechanical response in the brain to chewing, but not truly enjoying. More like the MEH-lowe burger, ammirite?! I can’t deny the use of high quality ingredients, but overall it’s severely missing any form of seasoning, so I rate it a 7/10.
My friend invited me to her birthday party at a bar called Zeitgeist, but of course I could only RSVP with a yes if burgers were available. Thankfully, photos online show the evidence I need.
Zeitgeist’s 42 year old history began as a scruffy biker bar back when there weren’t any other restaurants in the Mission. Now, as the Mission experiences an onslaught of gentrification, the resulting clientele at Zeitgeist is a mixture of bikers, cyclists, skaters, stoners, and of course, yuppies. My coworker so perfectly described it as: “Gentrified Punk”. But handlebar mustache or scene hat aside, everyone can agree the patio is one of the greatest gems in San Francisco. It reminds me of my favorite dive bar in Portland, Paymaster’s (formerly known as Moonshine, or as my friends and I lovingly call it, “Moonballs”). I immediately fall in love with Zeitgeist.
“If this place ever shuts down, I’m moving. San Francisco is completely dead beyond repair if this place goes,” expresses one loyal customer, and my birthday girl friend, Olivia Weir.
Like my favorite Portland bars, the staff has absolutely no time for BS, which is something I appreciate wholeheartedly. While I wait in line for my drink, a girl wearing a large brim hat and sunglasses inside (i.e. signature look of the yuppies) hesitates on her order. Meanwhile, I am wearing Doc Martens, which I famously bought before I went to a punk concert in effort to fit in, only to show up and realize I looked like a wannabe costumed caricature version of a punk.
The bartender rolls his eyes at the girl, points to me and says, “YOU. Do you know what you want?!”
I thank my Doc Martens for providing me with the guise of a punk, when in reality I sway yuppie.
The only other “creative” burger option on the menu is a blue cheese burger, which I had last night, so I decide to roll the dice with the Volcano Burger. I’m extremely intimidated about the spice level since this burger is a fire alarm of jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, and volcano sauce. I don’t usually like burgers with a lot of heat. But since my new identity is “Gentrified Punk” I find the courage to consume the Volcano Burger, even if it kills me.
My burger arrives and I nervously take the first bite. It’s not too hot, so I get a little cocky. After a few bites of growing confidence, I’m surprised with a bite that is so spicy I turn into a cartoon and steam comes out of my ears. I start coughing, but of course, I’m punk now, so I’m trying to keep my cool. After that bite, I give up and take the jalapeños off. I guess I should sit back with the yuppies because I’m clearly not anarchist enough for the volcano burger. I rate it a 6/10 but likely this is a case of me not enjoying the hotness of the burger.
I feel compelled to explain that although I didn’t love my burger, one of Olivia’s friends ordered a classic burger, and allowed me to take a bite. With just one bite of hers, I would rate the classic burger an 8/10, giving me hope that even if I can’t handle the punk rock Volcano Burger, perhaps someday I can return for a classic.
Even though it’s a day of lackluster burgers, I go to sleep happy because I finally found a small piece of San Francisco that reminds me of Portland. Zeitgeist helped me feel at home amongst the hipsters and unenthusiastic vibes. Even though I’m missing Portland Burger Week, I still have a slice of Portland in my new city.