I Tried a ‘Rick and Morty’ Burger and It Was Actually Pretty Good
Served with Szechuan sauce and a Pickle Rick, of course.
Image courtesy Adult Swim.
If you haven't seen the news recently, here's a quick summary: men in positions of power are sexual predators, we're all going to die in a nuclear furnace, and a sci-fi cartoon caused riots across America when a bunch of weirdly dedicated fans got angry about a fast food restaurant not having enough of a sauce that a character from the show briefly mentions in one episode.
Yes, that's right. Over in the US of A, when McDonald's announced that it would be selling a limited amount of Szechuan sauce—a condiment it had sold previously as a promotional gimmick for the 1998 Disney film Mulan— Rick and Morty fans, hot on the tail of main character Rick Sanchez and his love for said sauce, drove for miles and queued for hours just to get a taste of what is basically a sugary teriyaki. When McDonald's inevitably ran out, they got so upset about it that the police had to be called.
I mean, I don't want to get too OTT here, but if you ever need an indicator that we as a species are destined to eat ourselves alive, it's a bunch of adults rioting over a fucking cartoon sauce outside a Maccy D's, while the rest of the planet vividly drowns and suffocates around them.
Anyway, back in the only mildly dystopian UK, you don't have to take part in a collective tantrum to get your hands on that sweet, sweet Szechuan sauce. That's because the canny folk at London restaurant group The Blues Kitchen have capitalised on the frankly worrying fervour over a cartoon by coming up with a Rick and Morty-themed burger. Comprising of a chicken fillet layered with Szechuan sauce (natch) and stuffed in a sesame bun, the Rick and Morty Burger is being sold at all three Blue's Kitchen restaurants throughout October.
"We came up with the Rick and Morty Burger a while ago, due to the team enjoying the show," a Blues Kitchen spokesperson tells me. "We love coming up with concepts for our 'Burger of the Month' and for us, the most important thing is to have fun and bring some levity to it, because, at the end of the day—it's just a burger, isn't it?"
You're absolutely correct, Blues Kitchen Spokesperson, it is just a burger—even if grown adults are willing to riot over the condiments you put on it. So, being the grown adult and avid Rick and Morty fan that I am (please don't tell anyone), I decide to go down to the restaurant and have a crack at this just-a-burger.
I arrive at The Blues Kitchen in the stodgy grip of an insidious hangover (same as the drunken scientist from the show!) and order the burger and a pint. Before I've even had a chance to lovingly whisper sweet nothings into my beer, there it is, my date for the day: an oversized crispy chicken fillet, doused in the Szechuan, wedged between a sesame bun with a whole-fried chili placed on top, and served, obviously, aside a big fat pickle called Rick. It's Pickle Rick. Like in that episode where the main character, Rick, turns himself into a pickle? Pickle Rick. You got it.
So, how did my sesh with the Szech go? Well, actually, eating the thing is quite hard. I guess in an enjoyable way, because the chicken thigh is so hench that when I finally manage to take a bite, it triggers some kind of idiotic sense of pride in me at the fact that I was able to shovel a massively oversized food portion into my mouth, which is nice.
And I mean, if this is what the death throes of late capitalism tastes like, I'm here for it, because the Rick and Morty Burger is great. The chicken is tender, the bun is all nice and soft, the fried chili is just the right level of heat and to be fair to all the oversized babies crying about missing out on a cartoon sauce, the Szechuan is pretty tasty. It's basically just a teriyaki/hoisin amalgamation but y'know, people have to feel passionate about something and if that thing is threatening bemused McDonald's workers about a throwaway culinary joke made by a cartoon character, then more power to them.
"The reception has so far been insane, with lots people coming in to try and rave about it," the excitable Blues Kitchen spokesperson went on to tell me. "We're really pleased that so many burger lovers and fans have come to our doors for it and for the Szechuan sauce."
And fair play to the excitable Blues Kitchen Spokesperson, I do notice an awful lot of chili-topped burgers being bandied about on my visit. My waiter explains that the kitchen has a special chef allocated to make the Rick and Morty Burger, such is its popularity, which I guess makes me vaguely proud to be from a country where people act with a normal level of excitement about novelties, as opposed to feeling disturbingly and rabidly entitled to pretty much everything within a consumerist sphere.
Is it weird that a quip from a cartoon has inspired an IRL restaurant menu item? Well, yes and no. It's strange that people have gone so mad over such a minute detail from a show on the telly. But then look around you. Western civilisation is essentially at that point in the Wile E. Coyote cartoon when he air-walks off a cliff but hasn't noticed that he's about to plummet to his comical demise. We build and destroy trends and fashions in weeks, if not days. The zeal we have for whatever is "in" at the moment burns incredibly brightly for a few moments, then dies almost as soon as it starts, like a rubbish firework. Right now, Rick and Morty is in, but soon it will fizzle out and something else will need our piercing, fleeting attention.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the burger was pretty decent, yeah.