Yes, it happened.
The advertising hype had led me to believe it would be available all February long, but my first trip to the local Quick burger joint left me sad and black-bun-less as I learned that the new official dates of its availability would be only from March 2nd-5th. The window of opportunity would be smaller than those womp rats Luke used to bulls-eye in his T-16 back home (extra points if you get the reference).
Saturday would be my best chance to get in on the freak show, but despite all the curious anticipation something sinister had crept into my life since the time I first found about the Darth Vader burger. A few weeks ago I fell victim to the unfortunate compulsion to start exercising and eating better. And any glimpse into my checkered fitness past would clearly show that the biggest threat to each of my fragile healthy streaks has always been my arch nemesis—the burger & fries combo. Cue the sinister Imperial March theme, Mr. John Williams.
But all this aside I wasn’t about to miss such
a science experiment an opportunity. I got myself in line and allowed the flashy HD menu screens above the counter to whet my galactic appetite.
I let the unusual sentence “Un Dark Vador burger s’il vous plait” roll off my tongue, strengthening my resolve to avoid adding the workout-cancelling words of “frites” or “Coca”. As usual the girl gave me my order with a smiley “Bon appétit,” which already sounds a bit out of a place when serving low-grade fast food but considering this Franken-sandwich she’d just handed me the pleasantry was borderline laughable. I found a quiet corner of the dining room to be as alone as possible with my camera and my new subject.
My first thought was wow, when they say dark they mean dark! Before that day I had assumed two things in particular about Darth Bread—that the food coloring would turn it darkish blue at best, and that it would be a mere flashy façade masking a normal ol’ white bun on the inside. I was proven wrong one the first one, and as I reluctantly brought the beautiful abomination up to my mouth I soon found my other preconception shattered:
This is when things got eerie if I’m honest. I felt like this other-worldly bun was staring back at me, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame waiting to see if I found his hideousness frightening or endearingly charming. Honestly I’m still on the fence about it. As far as taste goes, besides the disappointment one faces when focusing on the taste of a fast food burger and realizing it has no distinguishing flavor whatsoever, this one did have some additional spiciness. You can see above there’s a little red pepper in there which was part of the zesty sauce slathered on the Hunch-bun, and a glance back at my paper place mat confirmed what they were going for: the Dark Side = very very spicy:
The bread itself tasted like it always does, i.e. nothing at all, but to me the texture was slightly tougher or resistant, not as soft and spongy as usual, making each bite a little unnerving. I suppose one could argue that’s what real bread should do in the first place, but it was a deviation from the normal burger experience you’d expect. Halfway through I started hitting the wall and whether it was dietary guilt or just plain heebie-jeebies I threw in the towel. We shared one more look before parting ways…
…and I bid farewell to what might not go down as the classiest, but certainly one of the most wonderfully odd and unforgettable culinary experiences I’ve ever had. It was just one of those once in a lifetime things that no respectable child of the 80’s could let pass him by. And as I reflect on it all, I’m left with really just one definitive conclusion—
The Quasimodo Burger needs to happen next.
*for more about French fast food, including my first reaction to the Vader burger idea, check out my post Force Fed.