So what makes a good burger?
At The Cherry Cricket in Denver's Cherry Creek area, it's an extraordinarily juicy half pound beef patty on a squishy sesame seed bun, along with whatever you desire from a long list of add-ons. In addition to the standard cheeses and vegetables, you can request to top your patty with salsa, peanut butter, guacamole, or sour cream; drown it in green chile; or toss it in spicy blackened seasoning or wing sauce. Standard practice among ES and his friends, too, is to never skip adding a fried egg. But it's easy to overload, so on my visit I went with a more classic version: swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and grilled bermuda onions.
First, though, as part of an ongoing effort to understand Colorado's obsession with green chile, ES and I had Cherry Cricket's version, in the extra-large side portion (you're looking at about six ounces). Unfortunately, this green chile was nothing like what I expected; it was thin, lacked spiciness, and barely tasted of green chiles. (Then again, I'm not really sure what makes a really good rendition—anyone? Suggestions on where to find the best are welcome!) And there were also frings, a mixed basket of onion rings and fries, which were good enough to quickly disappear between all of us.
Then, the main event. I found my burger rather too greasy, the sesame bun so unable to stand up to the copious beef juices that the bottom half completely collapsed into sogginess. The meat seemed as if it could have been more flavorful, too, and as I ate the toppings slid this way and that, a problem of all multiple-topping burgers. Still, it's worth noting that I was alone in my struggle, being squeamish at times about getting grubby while eating; as demonstrated by the above photo, ES and his friends had no problem wolfing their burgers down—oozing yolk, running grease, glistening fingers, and all.