NEW ORLEANS, La. -- For at least three days, pictures of the King Cake Burger circled around social media, all comments questioning and critiquing this very out-of-the-box, but very New Orleans-like, sandwich.
The unmistakable purple, green and gold sugar painted on a small but fluffy brown bun by virtue of a light white icing, it beckoned.
So, on a beautiful New Orleans Friday – one in which parades really get into full swing – I came into work without my usual brown bag lunch.
Because it was the day a couple co-workers and I decided we had to try this delicious, but frightening-looking burger.
Because it was the day we wanted to put the questions aside once and for all.
A producer and I set out for 1100 Poydras Street in the CBD where the Food Drunk food truck would be serving lunch, and most importantly, the King Cake Burger.
We weren’t alone; a quick trip turned into somewhat of an adventure.
What you couldn’t miss was that on this normally quiet and business-like corner was a line of about 20 people queued up in front of the food truck’s window.
Knowing it would be a bit of a wait, I dropped off my co-worker and found a parking spot. And as I rounded the corner to join her in line, I noticed it had surprisingly doubled!
However, my co-worker was up much farther than I’d expected so I knew the guys in the truck were moving fast and we’d be back at work in no time.
P.J., the owner of Food Drunk, was at the helm, taking orders and money while remaining extremely attentive and friendly, stopping to chat but making sure business was running smoothly.
When we got back to the station, the six burgers were handed out.
Suddenly, much like when a big trial finishes or a storm is impending, the newsroom was abuzz, this time with questions of our daring purchase instead of queries about verdicts or hurricane paths.
Each of us, it seemed, was nervous to try it before the others. After all, while there's no calorie count that came with the sandwich, a quick Internet search (and we all know you can believe it if it's on the Internet!), shows that a typical slice of king cake comes with 350 calories, while a typical 8 ounce cheese-topped burger with dressing is about 650 calories. All told, the sandwich was probably close to 1,000 calories.
After pictures and tweets, we all dug in and, after a second to process what we had just done, each had the same reaction – it was good!
I’m not a food critic so I’ll just tell you simply what the King Cake Burger consists of.
It’s an average burger; you can tell the meat is fresh. And it’s grilled, with some slight seasoning.
The burger is topped with cheddar cheese, with the addition of bacon optional. We went without.
The patty sits on an ordinary bun. Ordinary, except it’s topped with king cake icing and purple, green, and gold sugar, exactly like what you would find on a king cake.
I’ll admit, it sounds strange, and the concept sounded stranger, but the flavors actually tasted like they went together nicely. It’s like eating a bit of dinner and a bit of desert, all in one bite.
One of my co-workers described the burger by saying “the sweet goes to one side of the mouth, while the savory goes to another,” and I completely agree because that’s exactly what happens.
The flavors don’t blend per se, so those thinking, ‘Wow, I wouldn’t want those food groups mixed,’ shouldn’t be concerned. I found that while my taste buds naturally separated the savory and sweet tastes, the overall taste of the burger was quite enjoyable.
Yes, it sounds unhealthy, and of course, it’s not the healthiest lunch choice, but Mardi Gras is in full swing, it’s Friday, and it’s New Orleans.
And that’s exactly what this burger is – a burger from a food truck, with a very New Orleans twist. It’s amazing we hadn’t heard of this King Cake Burger before!
Kudos to Food Drunk on this amazingly unique creation.