The Counter: Adventure in Blind Dating

by janet on October 6th, 2008

In case you missed the awkwardness [you know, the jumping around of ConsumerMachine, this new MTFB site, etc.), I have now been single for seven months.  Being single, apparently, is completely intolerable to all of my friends who insist on pushing me to fall in love with someone and have babies yesterday.  I had been reluctant until I got an email from Saxy, who has impeccable taste in men (well, man – her husband is a doll) and is smart and usually has good judgment.  Her email extolled the virtues of her friend Christopher [“surfing, yoga-ing, bass-playing lawyer” who is “a total catch”] so I agreed to be set up on a blind date.

A BLIND DATE?!  I have never been on a fucking blind date!  My boss at the gym found me flat-ironing my hair in the locker room in preparation and said, “Good for YOU for putting yourself out there!”  I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say and I felt somewhat like some sort of elderly divorcee who is weary of men but was encouraged by her therapist to be brave and meet new people.

Christopher and I had agreed to meet at The Counter – an excellent choice on his part!  Cute, casual, but with a full bar – critical to socially lubricate the situation.  I got there 15 minutes early and then my brain started freaking me out.  I realized I had no idea what he looked like (he knew what I looked like kind of because apparently I had been at a party where he was?).  How was I supposed to figure out who he was?  I dreaded the awkward moments of making slighty-too-long eye contact with every youngish guy in the restaurant to see if it was him.  I sat in my car and wailed “Why DID I put myself out therrrrrrrre?!?!?”

I indulged the panic for 5 minutes, listened to some soothing NPR for 5 more minutes, and walked in. There were no guys hanging out by themselves so I figured he wasn’t there yet.  I waited outside, Facebooking on the trusty iPhone, until someone walked up and said, “Versatile black dress?”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I had told him that even though I should be wearing, according to blind date custom, a dress in a distinctive hue or holding a book with a rose as a bookmark, that I would be wearing a black dress which is sooo versatile that it would surely work for a blind date.

Anyway, I looked up… and up, and up to see a super tall, extremely cute guy.  Phew.


We went inside and sat down with our burger checklists.  Oh, great.  An opportunity to reveal the depths of my neurotic indecision craziness within 2 minutes of the date starting.  I mean, a choice of ten cheeses, EIGHTEEN toppings, ten premium toppings, another EIGHTEEN sauces?  Jesus. Good start, good start.

Luckily, however, C was just as much of an indecisive freak as I was, and we struggled over our choices for many many minutes.  In fact, the table next to us sat down after us, ordered, got their burgers, and started eating before we even figured out what we wanted. I wavered between Danish blue cheese, horseradish cheddar, Tillamook chedar, back to blue, then to Gruyere, then on to herb goat cheese spread, then back to horseradish.

Then toppings? Avocado (a premium topping) was a strong contender.  4 toppings are included, and I had to resist the urge to exercise my right to all four.  I saw myself easily creating some disgusting monstrosity of a burger by combining pickles, cranberries, roasted corn & black bean salsa, and sprouts or something.

As C veered sensibly off into traditional burger territory with cheddar, bacon, lettuce, pickles and roasted garlic aioli on a turkey burger, I ended up somewhere completely weird (despite my intense efforts described in the previous paragraph) with Danish blue, dill pickle chips, tomato, grilled pineapple (which I planned to take off and eat as dessert – a plan which he copy-catted), and apricot sauce on a turkey burger.  C politely cheered on my choice of pickles, saying that the crunch of a pickle is essential for a burger.  A TEXTURE EATER?! A man after my own heart!

We also got the “fifty-fifty” which required ANOTHER devastating choice – fries & sweet potato fries OR fries & onion strings OR sweet potato fries & onion strings.  Here I bucked up and made us get the two fries, pictured above.


So here is the burger, after I dragged off the pineapple. The blue cheese was SO INTENSE – it looked more like guacamole than cheese! It was so sharp it made my mouth tingly~!  I scraped off a little more than half of it and doused the whole thing with the runny, sticky apricot sauce, which was super with the turkey.  The turkey may as well have been veal, with that smoooth nice texture.  Still, the whole thing was weird and I regretted all my crazy choices.

Christopher enjoyed his more, I think, though he took issue with the lettuce, which was not a nice sheaf of lettuce but rather shredded strips.  Once again I silently approved of his nuanced appreciation of crunch, not to mention his knowledge of the word “sheaf.”

Anyway, there were no awkward silences, except for a moment where I looked like a total fucking douchebag when I left to pee right before the check got there and returned after he had paid. I was intending to go splitzies, I promise!  Then we went to the Joker, a nearby super dive bar (“A great place to go if you don’t want to talk to anyone” says one CitySearch reviewer), where he scored major points by putting More than a Feeling in the jukebox in honor of the blog (singing more than a food bloooooooog).  All in all, a total success – so glad I put myself out there.


The Counter
2901 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica CA 90405

The Joker
2827 Pico Blvd Santa Monica
CA 90405-1919

3 Responses to “The Counter: Adventure in Blind Dating”

  1. James says:

    See, this post would have been beyond awkward if you were still on the old website. You’re welcome.

    The Counter is okay but incredibly overpriced. 25 degrees, which is the same concept, is just as horrible on your wallet but way better on your tongue and way more impressive on a date.

  2. […] (schmancy!), iceberg, tomato, pickle, white onion, and 8 oz. special sauce.  We rehashed our lettuce sheaf conversation but otherwise I loved the dark toast on the bun and of course whatever magic the salt-tiled locker […]

  3. […] You didn’t get a crazy, foot-shooting weird burger like you always end up getting at The Counter.  It’s just a clean, simple, utterly satisfying burger that leaves you feeling happy, not […]

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