It’s been a long day and all I want to do is crash into bed. But no, I have to meet my partner to finish our script for the pilot episode we are presenting next week.
This has to be my big break! I have to make this story amazing and get a network to pick it up. I’ve been a writer in Southern California for 6 years with no luck. I’ve been slowly moving further away from Los Angeles because I can’t hold a steady job that will pay the high cost of living.
God. What a cliché I’m becoming. A poor writer in Hollywood trying to make it in the big leagues. I roll my eyes at myself for the evolution taking place in my life right now. I think even my parents lost faith in me. My last two girlfriends sure couldn’t handle it.
You don’t have time for me!
Why can’t we go out tonight?
Do you have to bring your notebook everywhere?
Wah! Whine! Me! Me! Me!
The lack of support and self indulgence from these California girls is just insulting and I’m over it. No, now I focus on my writing and getting my life in order. Girlfriends and women can come after I have my first show air on television.
I look at my phone’s clock. Hmm 10 min late. I guess I’ll order something other than water.
I’ve never been here. Umami Burger. Sounds expensive, but this is where Jesse wanted to meet. It wasn’t too far from home, but this place looks pretty fancy to me.
The menu is hard to decipher. Everything sounds so foreign. Tomato sauce? Do you mean ketchup? I sigh as I flip thru the menu. Whatever. I’m sure it will taste fine, I only hope Jesse gets here soon so we can finish up this pilot and I can go home.
I rub my eyes with my finger tips as they start to burn. Why am I so tired? I shake off the yawn escaping and wave down the waitress.
She comes by with a smile and asks if I’m ready to order.
“I think I’ll start with some onion rings and get a ginger ale.” I look towards the entrance past her and say, “Someone should be joining me soon, could you get me a second menu, please?”
“Sure sweetie!” She says with her twang accent and walks off writing on her notepad and bringing over a second menu. “I’ll have those rings right out and get you your drink.”
Sweet kid. Probably wants to be an actress.
I sigh and turn away and decide to look around the restaurant. It’s kinda cool I guess. Bottle chandeliers, open windows to let in the cool air. The bar looks well stocked. I bet this place gets crazy with drunken adults around the later evening hours.
Maybe I can start finishing up the script while he gets here and then he can just help me tweak it or make helpful suggestions. I honestly didn’t want to do this partnership, but it was the only way to get heard by a network. It’s who you know, and I don’t know nobody, so I’ll take my chances.
Suddenly, a steaming plate of thick cut onion rings are placed on my table and then my soda drops down next to it.
“Still a no show for your friend?” She says. She frowns down at me and then waves her hand, “I’m sorry! That’s none of my business! Let me know if you need anything else.” She smiles again and turns away.
Great. She probably thinks I’m being stood up like some sort of geek, lame-ass guy who can’t keep a date. I’m not gonna lie tho, I do start to feel stood up.
I look at my phone clock again, 30 min late. Should I text him? Maybe he forgot? Is it not cool to text people about making appointments? Argh! Who cares? He’s not a baby. I decide to text him.
We still on for tonight? Umami Burger?
Well, I might as well eat these onion rings before they get cold.
Out of no where a loud bang hits my table as a silver carrier is placed in front of me.
“I’m sorry!” The waitress is back, “I didn’t mean to slam that down! It just slipped outta my clumsy hands!” She looks to the side embarrassed and then continues, “I forgot to give you our dippin’ options!
‘This here red one is our spicy ketchup. And this is our in-restaurant made aioli ranch, my personal favorite! And this is the…” she crinkles her forehead and thinks intensely. “Doh! I can’t remember, give me a sec please!” she turns to leave.
“No no! It’s fine! The ranch sounds fine. If I feel brave, I’ll attempt the secret sauce or spicy ketchup.”
“You sure? I can go ask!” She bites her lower lip and stands on one leg. I can tell she’s nervous.
“Yea it’s fine. I’m a simple kind of guy. Ranch is totally fine.” I smile to reassure her and she seems satisfied. She nods okay and walks away.
I shake my head and bite into one of the rings. They are pretty darn good actually! I guess fancy places can have good food. I decide to test their homemade ranch and wow is that thing runny! Not very thick like most ranches. Eh, just try it.
Oh that’s good! I’m gonna take this tiny bottle of ranch home!
After about 4 of the larger rings, I check my phone again.
45 minutes late. God, these Hollywood types are going to ruin me I swear! At least these rings are good. I finish them off and hear my phone ding with a newly received message.
Sorry bro! Got stuck in LA doing a favor for a buddy and things ran late. Tomorrow?
I can feel my face turn red with anger. I knew he would do this! Ugh I’m so tired and mad I don’t even want to respond. I’ll probably tell him all the things on my mind and ruin any shot I have. Best just to reply later.
I’m trying not to look as pissed as I felt as I finish the last sip of my soda. The sun has almost set now and the place is starting to fill up with people.
Maybe I should just go. Write at home or become the ultimate cliché and go to some hipster coffee shop and succumb to the pathetic, ambitious writer that I am. Gathering up my wads of papers the waitress returns with another ginger ale.
“Did your friend not show up” she looks sad as she drops the soda on my table.
“Yea. He’s a flake. If I could get the check, that’d be great.” I start shutting down my laptop to put it away.
“Oh you should stay! There’s gonna be a live band in a few minutes! And you haven’t even tried a burger yet!” She opens up the menu and points to a burger. “This here is my favorite! It’s simple, yet daring enough to be different!”
I think about this because as good as those onion rings were, I’m still hungry.
“Sure. Why not? I’m already here, right?” I flash a smile her way and she seems delighted. Night’s already wasted, might as well eat, right? I’m also trying to calm down. Getting angry is starting to really exhaust me.
The band starts playing before I get my burger and they are alright. The place gets all lit up at night. Makes my loneliness that much more awkward.
I decide to get back to writing on my laptop to avoid looking too pathetic.
“Here ya go sweetie!” The waitress places a steaming plate of fries and plump burger on my table. My mouth salivated a little as I realized how hungry I was.
“Thanks! This looks great!” I tell her. She looks satisfied and bounces away.
I don’t even think I breathed much when I ate the burger to be honest. I was starving apparently because I ate it all in like 4 bites and left the fries for last.
I start to see the line outside growing and I guess that’s my queue to leave. I make the check sign to the waitress and she brings me the final bill. I decide to text back now that I’m calm. And full.
Alright, tomorrow. But I get to pick where we meet up.
That seems friendly enough. Send! I have everything packed and add some cash to pay the bill. Eh, I’ll leave a little extra for the waitress. She is probably the least fake person I’ve met since moving to this state.
I walk out and look back at the place. It definitely looks Hollywood, and feels a little fancy, but at least the food is good.
My Personal Review
I was definitely enthralled by Umami Burger. It looks really cool and had this edgy vibe to it. I realized that the Unami Burger location I visited was not the only one, so I hope the cool vibe is in other locations!
The onion rings really were a show stopper tho! They were delicious and so good! The options for the sauces were also super delicious! I didn’t attempt the spicy ketchup because I’m good with spicy, but the runny ranch was definitely finger licking good! I’d go back JUST for those!
Now the burger, it was good, but a little weird. I ordered the Cali Burger and I swear the menu said tomato sauce but on their website it says roasted tomatoes. So when I originally read “tomato sauce” I thought that meant like a tomato paste or something or like roasted tomatoes. But it was literally like a tomato sauce. To be honest it ruined the burger for me because it was sweet and threw off the flavors for me. It was if spaghetti sauce was added to my burger.
But the meat was expertly cooked and seasoned! It broke easily as you bit into it and was super tender. I ate the meat mostly and left the tomato sauce and some of the bun on the side. The fries were thin, crispy and well seasoned. Super delicious! And that runny aioli ranch was so good! I mean it was just… ugh I don’t want to say heavenly, but dang it was so delightful! If our bottle hadn’t ran out, I’d have taken it with me. It was seriously, that good!
I think I would go again and order a burger without the tomato sauce, I mean roasted tomatoes… But if anything, for sure the onion rings to dip into that soupy, scrumptious ranch!
Umami Burger, 527 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618