On Tuesday, CultureMap posted about a new restaurant that will open next month in the old Junction Craft Kitchen space in Deep Ellum, at Elm and Malcolm X. They report that the spot is named Off the Cuff, and will crank out sandwiches, wraps, and cocktails. Cool, cool.
What caught my eye, however, is that they’ll also be offering burgers—served upside down. So, basically, the bottom bun is on the top and the top bun is on the bottom. My initial reaction was “pffffft, gimmicky.” But then I clicked on a link, which led me to a Los Angeles Magazine story, defending upside-down burgers. The writer’s stance: the bottom bun is typically smaller than the top bun, and the weight of the patty and toppings causes the bread to get soggy and crumble. (Pro tip: if you stick lettuce beneath the patty, it’ll catch the juice and grease, and prevent excess bun soggage. (Is soggage even a word?))
Anyway, this got me thinking about food items, which could potentially taste better when consumed upside down. Sushi is meant to be eaten this way, so that the fish hits your tongue first. But what else?
On Wednesday, for research’s sake, I decided to eat every snack and meal upside down. Here’s what I discovered:
First thing I ate that day: a green apple from the office fruit basket. Although the weight felt disproportionate in my hand, this was basically the same as eating an apple right-side-up.
Next: one Most Stuffed Oreo. I’ve somehow ended up on an Oreo mailing list and they keep sending me cookies. I don’t think there’s a top or a bottom to an Oreo. It’s the same no matter which way you flip it. So, this doesn’t really count.
Next: a handful of pistachios. I examined them closely before deciding that pistachios don’t have an upside or downside. I just popped them into my mouth.
Next: a miniature plain bagel that I found on the free table in the office kitchen. I slathered the top of it with a packet of butter, which I also found, and ate it upside down. Tasted great. The butter coated my tongue before the bread touched down. I recommend this.
Next: two Everything Crackers, which I also found on the free table. This was awesome. All of the onion, and garlic, and caraway seeds, and salt, and poppy seeds hit my ‘buds first. Honestly, I would have been happy just licking that stuff off the crackers and throwing the rest away. But that’s wasteful. So, I ate the entire thing.
Next: half of a Southwest egg roll from Whole Foods, which was left over from an office event the night before. I microwaved it. It was soggy and when I bit into the bottom, it forced the blistering pinto beans and corn to ooze out of their casing and onto my thumb. It didn’t necessary burn, but it was messy and uncomfortable, and I was annoyed that I had to get up and wash my hands. I do not recommend this.
Next: a lychee martini. Impossible to drink upside down unless you’re a southeast Asian gibbon. Which I am not.
Next: green curry with tofu. I twirled bell peppers, rice, and tofu around with my chopsticks for a bit, in an attempt to find the upside and the downside. I don’t think I ever did.
These findings didn’t leave me feeling one way or another. I was still curious, though, if a burger tasted different upside down. So, the next day (yesterday), I walked to Shake Shack for lunch. I ordered a ShackBurger and flipped the sucker over. Honestly, it worked. The lettuce and tomato, which were on the bottom, formed a grease trap. The patty, which was now on top, was snug in my grip. I pierced the mound with my chompers; ShackSauce spewed, melted American cheese gushed.
Yes, yes, yes! Oh, shoot. Where was I. Oh, yeah: the upside down burger was delicious.
I am no longer eye-rolling Off the Cuff’s decision to serve their patties in an unconventional manner. There’s so much more that goes into a good burger than bun placement, though. And I’ll let these factors determine whether or not this place is worth frequenting.