I knew the moment I ordered that I had screwed up. You just don't order hamburgers served on square bread, toasted or otherwise. You see, I often drop by the Sonic drive-in out by the Winco when leaving Visalia. It's really a matter of the convenience. I do some shopping and grab some dinner and it's right there on the way out of town.
I always get tricked though by the Toasted Bacon Cheeseburger Combo I always order the combo and I never have liked. I thinks it's just the memories of my mom serving burgers on white bread at lunch when I was kid that keeps clouding my judgement. You can get tater tots with the combo and that kind of enhances its appeal somewhat.
I had skipped breakfast that morning and was pretty hungry, so I bit into the burger right away after leaving the parking lot, and right away my inner ego was cursing out my outer ego. "Well, well, well, you dumb sumbitch, you up and did it again." There was nothing tasting even remotely hamburger like in my mouth. Sure, it had some of the ingredients, like a beef patty and the fixings of a burger, but I've eaten pea soup that tasted more like a hamburger than that thing did.
Right away, I noticed that it tasted all onion ringy, so, I looked, and sure as shit, there was big assed onion ring. Once again, my inner voice felt compelled to comment on the situation. "What the hell kind of dummy puts an onion ring on a hamburger?" If it ain't an unwritten rule that you only put regular slices of onion on a burger, than it should be. If it ain't carved on the tablet of the Ten Commandments, then someone made a mistake (no names), and Congress should immediately pass legislation to rectify the error.
Most of the people I grew up with in Corcoran cut their burger eating teeth by eating the hamburger served at Chick's Cafe after midnight. They just lopped both ends off an onion and served it looking like a damn hockey puck. And once you've eaten it that way a dozen times or more, you never really go back to putting shit like onion rings and other foo foo crap on your burger. You just wouldn't think of it.
Then the fixings themselves tasted kind of like relish, with chopped pickles, tomato, and a chopped onion thing going on. That would be okay if I was eating a hotdog, but I would never eat a hotdog on a square piece of bread. I mean, for God's sake, you have to draw the line somewhere, man.
And I don't know for certain if the so-called burger had any mustard on it. It damned sure didn't taste like it, and that is a problem in itself. Mustard is the duct tape of the culinary world, it'll fix most of your problems. But you have to be able to taste it in order for it to do its magic. A Cheeseburger without mustard is something should you only eat if you are hungry, out of mustard, and the nearest open store is in Fresno.
I was already plenty mad when I reached into the bag to grab myself a tater tot, and I'll be damned if the people at the place had not forgotten to put my tots in the bag!
You see normally, I'll use the tots to fend off the urge to eat the burger on the way home. They have an immensely satisfying quality about them and never fail to put a smile on my face as I pop one in my mouth and let it melt as I look at the sunset hues from high atop the overpass out on 99 by where the Tagus Ranch used to be. It's always a great damned view from atop that overpass and when you got a hot tater tot melting in your mouth to boot, it's a Zen moment. Today though, because of the absent tots, all I could think about was how dusty shit looked and how badly the Covid has screwed everything up.
The rest of the way home, I composed the letter of complaint that I would write to voice my displeasure to the powers that be (Operating off of the premise that it doesn't help to keep that kind of stuff bottled up inside).
Dear Mr. Sonic,
I would like for you all to quit making the Toasted Bacon Cheeseburger as I can not help associating it with the burgers my mom used to make for lunch. Or, at least, suspend making it until your people learn that the things that separate a good cheeseburger from any other type of food are kind of consistent the whole world over: two buns (preferably with rounded corners), a little lettuce, a slice of tomato, a couple of dill pickles, a slice of onion, melted cheese of choice, and a beef patty slathered in a good mustard.
Next time you try to pass an onion ring off as a cheeseburger, you need to make damn sure that the tater tots are in the bag.