When I first learned of Padma Lakshmi doing a commercial for Hardee’s, I knew I would have to eat whatever she did. Luckily, her burger of choice was the Western Bacon Thickburger.
Now here is where things get a little confusing. In California, there is no Hardee’s. Instead, there is Carl’s Jr., which is almost exactly the same as Hardee’s. A quick look at their websites reveals only a change in the name. The logo and layouts remain the exact same. There is, however, another twist. At Carl’s Jr., there is no such thing as a Thickburger, rather, it is called the Six-Dollar Burger.
I went to the Carl’s Jr. in El Segundo, eager to take a bite out of Padma’s burger. Strangely, I found that all the Six-Dollar Burgers cost about a dollar less than their names would suggest. Fine by me. I asked the cashier what was in the burger and she told me it was bacon, cheese, onion rings and barbecue sauce. I could tell by the pictures of the other burgers that there would be no better unvegan options. The Western Bacon Six-Dollar Burger was so close to being a deliciously unvegan burger, but despite the fact that the onions on it were deep fried to a level of unhealthiness, I could not allow for them to be on my burger.
When my number was called, I grabbed my burger and began to eat. The loss of the onion rings made the burger a whole lot smaller than I would’ve liked. It didn’t look nearly as sexy as the one I had seen Padma eating, but upon biting into it, I felt that I could no longer complain. Rather than the typical cookie-cutter fast food burger, the consistency of this patty felt like it had been hand-compacted. The rest of the ingredients mixed pretty well with the beef. Sadly, it was over all-too quickly and I kind of wished the burger had been bigger even if it meant that it would have cost me six dollars. Most importantly, though, was that once I finished, I felt a connection with Padma Lakshmi that could never be broken.