What Do You Think Of This, Dealbreaker: Burgers, B-Units, Dead Sheep

Do you have a question for us? About anything? Send it here with the subject line “What do you think of this, Dealbreaker?”

Q: If you had to assemble hedge fund all-star team, that would invest together for a year or five or whatever time-horizon we decide on (the All-Star Game, it’s them versus the market), which managers would be on it?

A: I don’t think this scenario is realistic because you can’t bring together a group of “all-star managers” at this point in their careers and expect that they’ll be able to work together in a productive way. But you know what could work and should happen? We should get 10 of the top hedge fund managers to agree to artificially inseminate 10 randomly selected women who will carry the children to term. Then we set these kids up in a house together, and once they’ve reached an appropriate age, give them a bunch of seed money and have them start trading, each one with his or her own portfolio. You’ll have a Little Ray, a Little JP, a Little Jimmy, etc. We track them over 5 or 10 years and report the findings. We could determine all kinds of things like, is there a gene for trading. Aside from genetic and sociological findings there could be an interactive element with the audience, like we could RACE them.

Q: Given that Shake Shack is practically Goldman Sachs adjacent, it would stand to reason Shake Shack is the best burger in NYC, as I would find it hard to believe Goldman would stand for anything less. Yet I’m skeptical. Where does it land on your NYC burger rankings and if it’s not at the top, who is? No pressure but I’m planning a “last burgers” tour because I just got my cholesterol results back and if I don’t cut meat out soon I’m probably looking at an early death by heart attack so I need to make this count.

A: You’re right to be skeptical about the supposed greatness of Shake Shack. It’s a fine burger. It’s okay. But okay isn’t good enough, is it? Burgers are very important to me (and I sense they are to you too) so the answer is no, it is not. The (alleged) high risk to your health necessitates a high reward, not something middling that elicits only a tepid golf clap. SS’s burger is not the burger for me because it possesses only one of the four baseline qualities I want in a burger, those being: 1) the ability to order it (and have it actually come out) medium rare 2) a thick patty 3) bacon and 4) cheese. I actually feel a great deal of stress identifying, definitively, the number one, for fear of steering you in the wrong direction. I wish I were as organized and methodical about burgers as Greg Lippman is about sushi but c’est la vie. So let’s talk about my tops, plural, any of which would make a fine last meal.

I love “The Cadillac” at PJ Clarke’s but you have to get it with smothered onions. 5Napkin- yes. Spotted Pig- yes. Bill’s Burger Bar- yes. Lure Fish Bar has a surprisingly great burger– highly recommend. Burger Joint- they don’t do bacon so only in a pinch (people really get off on going there because of the “secret” hideaway aspect but: 1) We’re talking about taste, not ambiance and 2) Going behind a velvet curtain in a hotel lobby into another room that seems out of place with its surroundings does not a secret hideaway make. Give me secret passwords, doors with those tiny little windows you slide from the inside, and a real sense of danger and then we can talk about whether or not the experience enhances the food, which it very well might because stuff probably tastes better when your adrenaline is flowing and you’re thinking “I’m lucky to be alive” while eating it).

My favorite burger ever was the one at The Stoned Crow but the stupid place closed and I’m still upset. The cook came from Corner Bistro and it represented everything that was good about the CB experience minus everything that sucks (meat that’s too dry, bacon that’s overcooked, the 5 hour wait with someone’s elbow shoved in your rib cage). Peter Luger has a very, very good burger though I’ve only had it once because I find the idea of getting a burger there kind of an odd choice. You’re here for a reason and that’s not it. (I actually got into a pretty heated debate about this topic with a friend once who argued that you could/people do order it as a side, as in, “We’ll have the steak-for-two, the shrimp cocktail, the french-fried potatoes, and a burger.” He claimed to me he’d seen this happen with his own two eyes and then proceeded to make the case for why it’s probably not that uncommon. First of all, I don’t believe for a second that he really saw this happen and neither should you. But let’s play a long for a moment and pretend he did. I love meat in practically every form, particularly red (and pork but not lamb) and a few seconds ago I typed the words “burgers are very important to me” and meant it but if you’re ordering one on the side of your steak you have a problem.) I haven’t been to JG Melon in forever and while I remember the burger being quite good, the real draw for me would be the cottage fries (my second favorite type after waffle), plus the manager who I’m guessing has been there since the place opened and the last time I was there led some kid out of the dining room by the collar while telling him “In about two minutes I am gonna shut you down” for reasons unknown. A new burger I tried recently was the one from a place called Jacob’s Biscuits and Pickles and it was heaven. A friend tells me that Donovan’s makes a “fantastic” burger and while I hesitate to recommend a place that I haven’t tried myself, I trust his judgment so I think we’ll be okay here.

As for your medical results I’m not a doctor but let me just say this. In December I had a checkup for the first time in a few years, during which they took a bunch of blood as part of the routine physical. I didn’t think much of it and then a day or two before I was supposed to get the results I started panicking when I realized I was going to find out what my cholesterol and other cholesterol-related levels were and that maybe they’d be bad because of how much I love meat and bacon and all those wonderful things that are supposedly “going to kill you.” What would I do? Would I have to start a new, meaningless/just-going-through-the-motions/what’s-the-point-of-it-all life without them? I legitimately became pre-emptively depressed at the thought. Then I got my results: not only are my cholesterol levels great but my triglycerides score is “even more impressive” (average is 134, mine is 47, suck it, everyone). What can we learn from this? I took it to mean that the aforementioned delicacies aren’t actually bad for you at all and I suggest you do the same.

Q: Here’s a question for that portion of your readership that uses Bloomberg regularly and logs in with a B-Unit token. How many times do you need to swipe your finger on average before the damn thing works? How many time would be reasonable? Maybe I’m a vampire or a replicant or whatever mythical creature is known for not having fingerprints, but it takes me on average 8-10 swipes. The few days in my life I’ve verified on the first swipe I make sure to buy a lottery ticket, or do a trade with GS. How many swipes do you think it is reasonable for Bloomberg to expect me to tolerate? And, follow-up question: what the hell does “Swipe Longer” mean? It sounds kind of porn-y, even coming from a little plastic doodad.

-Guy who remembers when Bloomberg was a physical machine and you could get on a plane without showing any ID.

A: I don’t use Bloomberg but I sit across from someone who does who I assume would (has?) pose(d) the exact same question to Bloomberg Help Desk if he could get himself down to a 7 on the searing anger scale long enough to breathe and type it out. Instead he yells “Oh for fuck’s sake, Bloomberg!” on average 8-10 times a day, gets really irritated when someone calls his phone to discuss the problem (“No, just email me,” click) and one time had an amazingly awkward interaction with a technician who came to our office to fix our keyboard where he was all, “I don’t know what you’re doing here/you can’t fix this/you’re wasting my time” and the guy basically agreed but kept standing there while my colleague refused to look at him.

“Swipe Longer” does sound porn-y. I assume it means you’re supposed to swipe slower, which also sounds porn-y but I suspect you already knew that. Relatedly, while doing some research (Googling) to answer your question(s) I came across this, re: the B-UnitTM: “…our credit card-sized biometric security device gives you remote access to your Bloomberg Professional service – with the same level of rock-solid security you get on the terminal.” These people are sick.

Matt says: ” I probably only average about 4-5 swipes but each failed swipe leaves me sure that I’ll never get it right again and be doomed to staring at a blinking screen while hopelessly molesting a plastic card. I also find ‘swipe longer’ confusing though I think I’ve figured out that it doesn’t mean ‘swipe more slowly’ but rather ‘let us see a little more of your finger’. But it’s still better than using the keyboard.”

Q: How do you think Steve is coping with losing out on the Dodgers? Do you think he’ll try for another team?

A: There’s going to be hell to pay. Even if he had another team in mind, and they were available, why would he go through the process for a third time? He should start a new pro league and destroy MLB/Bud Selig.

Q: Is commenter PMCO a dude?

A: Nope, she’s a lady and, in fact, a high-powered business woman who manages and directs at one of the world’s pre-eminent financial services firm, so show some respect.

(hidden for your protection)
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122 Responses to “What Do You Think Of This, Dealbreaker: Burgers, B-Units, Dead Sheep”

  1. fanciful financier says:


  2. pazzo83 says:

    Paragraph 167, line 28, you left out a "y'know".

    – M Levine

  3. Mexi_Cant says:

    Yes! I knew he wasn't a gay because of his feelings for PMCO. Phew.

    -Mexi_Cant's father.

  4. Not Impressed says:

    I stopped reading at "thick patty".

  5. OSIntegrityQuant, MD says:

    Good stuff here.

    1. Brindle Room = best burger.
    2. Get the latest B-Unit. It is much better than the old ones and I now average 1 swipe.
    3. Why did you delete Chilton from the tags RE: SINKGATE yesterday?

  6. This was delightful says:

    Dodger's dugout, stadium lights on, Homeland playing on the jumbotron, surrounded by candles, The Cadillac in one hand and the new $26 Rangers Hot Dog in the other, muttering "I am gonna shut you down"

  7. pazzo83 says:

    Five guys > Shake Shack

    – Virginia native

  8. Burger Expert says:

    There are 2 categories of burger: Peter Luger's and OTHER. Shake Shack and Hillstone FKA Houston's are excellent OTHER burgers as they have additives in the form of sauce and/or seasonings. Not lesser burgers, just OTHER burgers.

    The purist Luger burger is transcendant. First bite sparks the neanderthal regions of the brain and lights them up like a Christmas tree / Fourth of July party in Vegas.

    Luger's burger should be a fucking appetizer not a fucking side dish you moron. That is all.

  9. Whoops says:

    While I am overjoyed to share many of our esteemed editor's tastes in burgers, I am a bit concerned about the implication Bess orders the bacon cheeseburger at 5-Napkin rather than the original. As a side bar, their shakes are heavenly.

  10. guest says:

    Jules: Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast. What kind of hamburgers?

    Brett: Ch-cheeseburgers.

    Jules: No, no no, where'd you get 'em? McDonalds? Wendy's? Jack in the Box? Where?

    Brett: Big Kahuna Burger.

    Jules: Big Kahuna Burger. That's that Hawaiian burger joint. I hear they got some tasty burgers. I ain't never had one myself. How are they?

    Brett: They're good.

  11. Not Me says:

    Be the boss and the secretary at the same time is the definition of fucking one's self.

  12. Laxbro says:

    In n Out burger is the best burger I’ve ever had. But most new money bankers think something needs to be expensive to be deemed great. Fuck that, double double for $3.50 > any NY burger

  13. PermaGuestII says:

    The Jackson Hole doesn't get enough credit. Not going to put it up there w anything from Lugers but they've got one– the Eastsider, maybe?– on an English muffin with Canadian bacon and cheese that's pretty damn good.

    Bearnaise burger at Clarke's is fantastic.

    Pretty sure Bobby the manager at Melon's is a part owner of the joint, and I think he has indeed been there since Day One in 1972.

  14. Left Koast says:

    In N Out is second to none

  15. J. Morgan Slade says:

    In-n-Out double double animal style

  16. J. Morgan Slade says:

    also the Stodge @ the Porch in Dallas

  17. Guest says:

    Bess, why won't Matt enlighten us by adding his commentary?

  18. Bababooey says:

    Robert's Steakhouse makes a great Pastrami Burger.

  19. JS Overton says:

    You haven't been to JG Melon in forever!! For the record he said "In about two minutes I'm going to shut you down." Which is a much cooler threat, like "hey I'm busy now, but I'll be back in a few to work you over. Think about it, come up with a plan, brb."

  20. KennyPowersCFA says:

    Bess, if you're ever in the mood to play secretary again, hit me up.

    Hell, if you're in the mood to play boss, that's cool too.

    What I'm saying is, call me.

  21. Guest says:

    Bess is totally the Bill Simmons of finance. Except funny. And smart. And not from Boston. And sexy. And not an obnoxious donkey. And a chick. And cool. And not a sellout. And not a pussy.

    Bess is totally not the Bill Simmons of finance.

  22. Guest says:

    Bess, love that you enjoy bacon cheeseburgers. Kosher as Christmas. It's a dumb rule anyway.

  23. Guest, Duh says:

    Bess talking burgers soaked my panties. And I'm not even wearing any.

  24. oy vey says:

    Bloomberg login tip: swipe the fingerprint reader clean with a tissue or cloth or napkin or whatever. Do this regularly. The accumulated oils screw things up something serious.

  25. guesticles says:

    Wait, swipe the fingerprint reader?? Just hold your finger on it until validated. Simple. 1 and done every morning.

  26. InfiniteCheeseburger says:

    Great work! We don't need more unwashed masses crowding out Burger Joint!

  27. Ashleyriegle says:

    I had a burger at Melon's today and it was tasty as usual, as are the cottage fries like you said. My all-time favorite burger though is The Redhead burger at The Redhead in East Village. It's delicious. DE-licious. It comes with white cheddar cheese and optional bacon and cooked just as you specify. Must try. So damn good. If you're trying to feign healthfulness while burger-eating, I recommend the burger at Westville East.

  28. Mike B says:

    The best way to solve the B-unit problem (and save 000s per year) is to get rid of your Bloomie "terminal". Do you really need a $2000/mo glorified e-mail system?

    Use a free e-mail service on the web, and read instead

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