Some time ago, a group of my friends decided to have a once-a-month “Culture Night”. The idea was to broaden our horizons a bit by doing something other than the usual dinner and a movie or hitting the local sports bar. Our first few excursions ranged from seeing an art exhibit to attending a ballet. I guess we all tend to think of “being cultured” as being familiar with high society. In other words, Culture = Expensive; and broadening your horizons, means only doing so in one direction: up (so to speak). For whatever reason, this concept of pairing the word culture with caviar, didn’t sit well with me. So when it was my night to host, I knew right where to go to break this mold. White Castle.
As we walked in the door, my social experiment went off without a hitch. White Castle did not disappoint. We were immediately greeted by a guy who sounded a lot like this: Click here for a excerpt from my conversation. You see, I’ve always thought of White Castle as more of a societal melting pot than as a fast food restaurant. You’re often going to see a vast array of what society has to offer: businessmen in 3-piece suits, drunk college kids (OK, raise your hand if you’ve never been to White Castle sober… good, I’m not the only one), homeless people, and yes, many of us who are scared out of our wits because we’ve spent our lives sheltered from this kind of “culture”. I think what I like most about White Castle is that they aren’t afraid to be in the worst neighborhoods and they aren’t afraid to serve the least of our people the same way they serve a ballet enthusiast.
I was here to try the A-1 Slider. I know it’s been out for a while, but I had yet to find the occasion. Being a big fan of A-1 on my steaks (here come the steak purist comments), I thought it would probably be pretty good on a classic slider. I was about right. It was pretty good. Not great. Not terrible, but pretty good. They were judicious with the quantity of A-1 on the diminutive burger. A fear of mine, going in, was that too much A-1, given its powerful flavor, can dominate just about anything you use it in or on (BTW, it’s pretty good in a Bloody Mary). All in all, a little A-1 on a little slider is a little something worth trying at least once.
The Saver Sack came with 3, A-1 Sliders, a saver size (small) fry and drink, all for $2.99. Don’t be confused by the pictures, I also ordered a medium Onion Chips ($1.99) and a 6 piece Chicken Rings ($2.39). The slider sack only comes with the fries. I don’t believe you can substitute.
It had been so long since I had been to White Castle, that I couldn’t resist the Chicken Rings and Onion Chips. I know what you’re thinking: Hey, don’t you mean Onion Rings and Chicken Nuggets? No, White Castle has flipped these standard offerings on their respective heads. You heard me right: Chicken Rings and Onion Chips (Nuggets). The first time I saw Chicken Rings on the menu, I have to admit, I wondered what part of the Chicken they use to make those things, but then again, I suppose one could wonder just as easily where Chicken Nuggets come from.
If you’ve never had the classic slider before, I suggest you try a few straight up before bastardizing them with A-1. They’re like nothing else you’ve ever had before. They are a tiny, thin burger, with five holes in them, grilled on a bed of onions. The taste is difficult to describe, without also describing the texture, which takes a little getting used to. If you’ve ever eaten a slice of braunschweiger (liverwurst), you’re halfway there. Just steam it and put it on a bun and I think you’ll be about as close as you can get. Not something I’d eat every day, but definitely a once-in-a-while must have to make sure you’re still living; still in charge of you’re own destiny; still able to get outside of your normal decision tree (sorry, I just watched The Adjustment Bureau).
The fries are middle of the road by fast food standards, but remind me of when my mom used to bake frozen Ore-Ida fries on a cookie sheet in the oven. The Chicken Rings, beyond the novelty of their shape, aren’t bad. They have a breading similar to Wendy’s nuggets and a consistency somewhere in between McDonald’s and Wendy’s with McDonald’s being a bit too rubbery and Wendy’s being a bit too mushy. Sauce options are BBQ, Ranch or Buffalo. The Onion Chips are my favorite White Castle side. The onion petals are well done and sweet with a classic onion ring style breading and a zesty dipping sauce (I think it’s horseradish based). There are so many more stories to tell about White Castle, but I’ll save them for another day. I’d love to hear some of your adventures.
Pros: Saver Sack (3 Sliders, saver size fries and drink)