MS: I can count on one hand the number of times I have consumed a baguette from Taste Café. One was Portuguese Chicken, which had none of the flair of the Portuguese and all the blandness of chicken; another was a tofu variation from the fifth day of my five-day stint as a vegetarian. So imagine my surprise when I noticed the sign on Taste’s counter, loudly advertising a new Burgette. Was this the Star of Bethlehem that would guide my transformation from baguette heathen to baguette disciple?
JC: Sitting outside Taste next to the lawns with my Burgette, I felt like I was experiencing some long-awaited family union. It was the amalgamation of baguette and burger — two offshoots from the sandwich genealogical tree, each having evolved from their shared sliced-bread ancestor through generations of sauces and fillings and breads, one elongating while the other grew corpulently round.
MS: Unlike Jayce, I unfortunately failed to appreciate the evolutional serendipity underlying the Burgette. Each passing bite merely confirmed my desire to be eating a burger instead.
JC: I think that there is an inherent sense of adventure in the Burgette. It isn’t for the tourist who takes the hop-on hop-off around Berlin, or even for the tourist who meets the locals. It’s for the tourist who has gritty sex with the locals on mattresses without sheets and sneaks out afterwards to line up for Berghain.
MS: I once read a VICE article titled “Photos of People Who Didn’t Get into Berghain”. It featured eleven pictures of nocturnal rejects clad in all black, smiling against all odds. We didn’t get so far as the holy grail of Berlin’s nightlife for this article but the similarly named Burgette also left me with an identical sense of exclusion. My culinary sensibilities weren’t patrician enough for this portmanteau of a burger and a baguette, and much like a Berghain hopeful, I was left dreaming of better days.
JC: Like an archetypal VICE contrarian, Michael is denigrating what will undoubtedly become a popular masterpiece. Biting into the burgette was surreal. It was the same sensation I imagine British B-list celebrities feel when they bite into Heston Blumenthal’s egg and bacon ice-cream — a complete dissociation between sight and taste. A deception as enticing as any white lie. It was a far cry from the usual Taste baguette which is merely a law student status symbol of slightly dry bread and mostly damp salad. It had an identity of its own.
MS: That’s an undoubtedly bold claim — to say a few pieces of hamburger meat hastily shoved into a bready pocket with miscellaneous salad vegetables and mustard possesses any sort of divine quality is a stretch — but granted, Jayce is correct in the visual-gustatory disjunct that accompanies the Burgette. If played correctly, it could’ve been a sensory symphony that shocked and delighted. But make no mistake, this Burgette is no Blumenthal: it’s a cacophony of ideas, all style over substance.
JC: For those who relinquish their preconceptions, the Burgette offers not just substance but subsistance beyond traditional gastronomic parameters. Like a platypus, its Frankenstein existence — an unlikely fusion of seemingly disparate bodies — fulfills a unique niche. If this creation cannot unite the burger-scarfing bargain-hunters of Manning and the Francophile misanthropes of Taste, then nothing will.