Monday, January 26, 2009

The Cure for Hunger?

I am not what you would call a huge fan of doctors. Trust me, it's not some highfalutin moral outrage over the cost of medical care but more an irrational view reinforced by my own personal experience through the years. Specifically, an illness during my freshman year in high school that the doctor originally said I was "faking". Turned out to be non-viral hepatitis resulting in me spending a week in the hospital being poked, prodded, injected and isolated, then sent home with little more than some drugs and a note that said I could only go to school half-a-day for the next few months.

Guess I wasn't "faking".

So forgive me if the idea of eating in a medically-themed restaurant doesn't exactly appeal to me.

I might be willing to overlook my feelings for a good burger, but I'm not sure if Arizona's Heart Attack Grill is a good eatery or just a good concept. In an era where you can't turn on a news report or fire up Drudge or CNN without reading something about health (today's insight from the UK is that obesity might be a virus that you "catch" like the common cold), the folks behind the Heart Attack Grill have thrown caution to the wind and serve up their signature Bypass Burger (available in multiple beefy tiers) and fries cooked in lard with a knowing wink.

Owner "Dr. Jon" patrols the eatery in a white lab coat and stethoscope while the artery-clogging delights are served up by busty waitresses in the kind of naughty nurse costumes you can purchase from Adam & Eve... or, uh, so I've heard.

A quick perusal of some reviews suggest that I need not book a flight to Phoenix in order to check out the burgers at Heart Attack Grill (one write-up suggests "If you like less than mediocre food while porn is being thrown in your face, you'll find it here"). Even the positive reviews suggest that the patrons are not going here for the food, but the chance to oggle a busty babe without fear of being seen in a strip club.

While the Heart Attack Grill playfully uses its medical theme to poke fun at the experts and pundits who rage against a little food that's bad for you every now and then, a restaurant in Latvia embraces the whole medical concept to such an extent that even the photos make me uncomfortable. Like I'm watching HOSTEL and I'm just waiting for the dopey American tourist to be taken away and eaten by some Eurotrash cannibal!

Welcome to Hospitalis (even the name sounds like a crappy direct-to-video HOSTEL rip-off) where waitresses in stark white nurses uniforms, white stockings and red wigs serve up food in operating room dishes (I hope they don't use bedpans!) and drinks are delivered in syringes.

The eatery's stark, creepy design is heavy on bright whites and sterile-looking steel, not to mention booths that look like beds from a 1940s movie and clear tables adorned with large medical illustrations of skulls and anatomy.

Personally, I don't want to be reminded of medicine, hospitals, illness or the potential effects of what I'm eating while I'm dining. How about you?

1 comment:

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I find that a good burger is a combination of taste and sense memory sprinkled with a little nostalgia. Case in point. When I was a little kid we grew up in Battle Creek and had relatives in nearby Urbandale. There was a 50's style burger joint called Ritzee's that served the best burgers and long, crinkle cut skinny fries that were to die for. Recently, we happeed to be driving through and I made my wife stop. I got us both some brugers and fries. The burgers still used bread and butter pickles and the fires were exactly like I remembered them. I looked at my wife with a big, stupid grin and she just said they were 'okay'. You know, in that wife voice. I was flabbergasted! How could she belittle the awesomeness of Ritzee's? Then I remembered; she hadn't grown up on them.
I fear to take her to Barney's Tavern in Bedford because she might mock the Holy Grail of bruger's, The Barney Burger. So big they cut it in half for you while it towers with every condiment known to man and a thick slice of pepperjack cheese. Hmmm, I might need to make a trip to Bedford in the near future.
Yeah, Dan, I don't think that boobies are going to make the burgers taste any better.