It was late. Way past dinner time. I just came of work, she came from a strenuous exercise of grocery shopping. Most places were already closed, at least that were in the immediate vicinity. Going further out lessened the chances, yet we took what little we have and ventured out in search of something to eat.
Out of the commercial business district, went north on the highway, hung a right at the now darkened mall, past a couple of stoplights, past the motels. A short roundabout, and we saw a hole in the wall the caught our attention. Situated next to a carwash, we went in. Despite the desperation derived from hunger at midnight, we had to admit that it was very inviting, especially if you are slapped with this…
Extensive. But not overly so. Black Angus Burger with fresh fries. Yes. Two please.
Sign says the pinkness of the burger is the sign of perfection. We decided to take their word for it and headed for a table.The outside seating were already taken. After having paid for our meal with visa (yes, they take cards. Surprising) we went in. It was difficult because of the semi self-service policy. I carried the round tray with a soda and a beer on one hand, feeling like I work here. Ah well. Place appeared not to be pretentious enough.
Narrow room. LCD TVs on both sides. Packed. We sat down at the corner and patiently waited. Orange color dominated the scene. Stainless tables. The kind you see at local cafes. Cool air from the overpowered air-conditioning units. I had to go back to the car and get Rossana’s jacket.
15 minutes and two follow-ups later, our food arrived. By then we were through halfway our beverages, and we were presented with this.
The fresh fries turned out not to be a misnomer. It was fresh potatoes. The way they used to do the fries. Not the mass produced frozen sticks they serve everywhere else. And what is for dipping? It was unexpected for a place like this to be spoiled for choice. Garlic mayo, aioli, Americana tomato sauce, Heinz Catsup, Mustard, Tabasco, all in big squeeze bottles. Ravenous, we dug in.
45 minutes later we were stuffed. The burgers were juicy. Real juicy. It was made in-house. Ground fresh everyday. According to the menu, it was never frozen. The fries were perfect. The beverages cold. The general atmosphere? We enjoyed the place as much as everybody else in the room.
Looking around, I said ‘This is a place I don’t see myself coming back in the next week’. But I will come back. Because by then the burger we just had would have already melted away into a distant gustatory memory.
So Charlie’s will be on our list for a while. Just inside Barrio Kapitolyo, past Cafe Juanita. On the border of Pasig. No reservations. Don’t bother to call. Just show up.