Conspicuous Consumption

| April 13, 2006 | 7 Comments
  • 7 Comments

The above? $4.95 tops, and very delicious, though I do say so myself.

It’s just…why? No, really, WHY? Why on L. Ron Hubbard’s green earth would you drop ten thousand frickin’ dollars for something that is in your mouth for all of thirty seconds and — Oh, please! Look away if you have delicate sensibilities! — stays in your system for all of twenty-four hours? Is it just for the bragging rights? Sorry, I guess I just don’t need those.

So, there’s the Martini on the Rock at the Algonquin in New York that costs you ten THOUSAND dollars and comes with a loose diamond, there’s Hubert Keller’s five thousand-dollar FleurBurger in Las Vegas, and now, the newest overpriced blue plate special to hit my consciousness, is a roast beef sandwich being served out of Selfridges’ kitchen in London for one-hundred-fifty dollars. This saddens me. I don’t know why, but I sort of thought the Brits would be above such excesses.

The unfortunately-dubbed McDonald’s Sandwich — named for the chef — stacks the purportedly beer-fed, sake-rubbed Wagyu beef with Brie de Meaux, black truffle mayo, foie gras, mustard confit, and some veggies between thick slices of “24-hour fermented sour dough [sic] bread.” In a BBC article, the Selfridges food director is quoted as saying this about the McDonald’s Sandwich, “I think if you are a food lover, this represents good value for your money.” I’m a food lover and I think Zingerman’s range of roast beef sandwiches represent good value for my money.

Look, I love my food. I really enjoy my food. If it weren’t considered taboo, I might just take a flaky piece of Aziza’s basteeya and rub it all over my body. Furthermore, I consider it a wasted meal if I’m not quietly chair dancing by time I lay down my fork for the last time. However, I see no earthly reason why I should go into debt for my food. I see no earthly reason why ANYone should go into debt for their food. Be they Donald Duck or Donald Trump, five thousand dollars is too damn much to pay for a burger. A BURGER PEOPLE! Fine, it comes with a bottle of Chateau Mr. Fuzzypants and is made with Kobe beef, foie gras, and truffles. And there is something about keeping the china on which everything was served, but I’ve already got boxes of wedding china that I don’t unpack more than once a year, so why would I want a single mismatched setting?

Here’s an idea, instead of flying to the place that my father-in-law dubbed the “cultural Chernobyl,” why don’t I take my five grand, fly to France, go to Petrus, drink some wine, and eat some beef and truffles. Rolling hills, lovely cheese, sexy French accents…I might just get a bit more out of it. And if I miss the nicotine-drenched air of Vegas, well, I’ve heard the French smoke a bit as well. As it is, I have absolutely no problem with my new favorite martini. Not only is it smoother than Jesus, but it also manages to not be a dental hazard.

If I were forced to order this Hummer of a burger/sandwich/martini, my only question would be, “So…can I write this off?”

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink

About the Author ()

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED's Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED's Emmy-award winning show "Check, Please! Bay Area." Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater's Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called "hilarious" and "the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn't think he or she wants to read a popular science book." Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport
  • Sam

    I am sure that the Brits don’t buy it. They probably called it Mcdonald to lure the American tourists at Selfridges!

    In fact – does anyone buy any of thsoe silly expensive foods we read about in the press?

    Funny article, you had me chuckling over breakfast!

  • Amy Sherman

    I think it all started in 2004 with the $1000 dollar price tag on the “Zillion Dollar Frittata”, an omelette with lobster and 10oz of caviar served at the Meridien Hotel’s restaurant Norma in NYC. Apparently you could also get a $100 version. Not sure if it’s still on the menu. Probably not.

    Ridiculously priced dishes are just a publicity attracting gimmick. Seems to be working…

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    Thanks Sam!

    Is it working, though? Because last I checked, no one had ordered that martini. Sure, they get play but is it netting them anything?

  • Amy Sherman

    You know the saying “all publicity is good publicity” if you buy that, then they are certainly getting their money’s worth!

  • MizShrew

    I’m inclined to think it’s all for publicity too… but the problem with the martini in particular is that you do have to have a diamond or two on hand, just in case somebody with more money than brains orders the thing. And that’s a lot of money to have tied up in diamonds (even if it’s a couple of crappy stones) for a publicity stunt.

  • Cheeseball11
  • Cheeseball11

    Let’s try that again.