Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finnish In N Out

I guess at some point in time I was bound to find a mom 'n pop hamburger chain that resembled something from back at home. I just didn't expect to find it out in the middle of Espoo.

So in the middle of celebrating the Scottish queen (read last blog entry), I got incredibly hungry. Having shopped until I dropped, I used up all of my energy and had forgotten to eat most of the meals of the day (this is an unfortunately frequent occurrence...something I'm attempting though failing to remedy).

Having asked the Espoo inhabitants of our crowd what our food choices might be (it was a Saturday night after all, we Helsinkians assumed there should be plenty), we were given two choices: McDonalds, or a local chain called Snackys. The grocery stores in the area closed several hours before (yes, it's true, grocery stores really do close before sundown on weekends).

Loving McDonalds (see previous posts about adventures therefore of), but curious about the local fooderies, our group voted for Snackys after some particularly high praise from one of my American brethren. He compared it to Jack in the Box. Interesting.

Curious to know where this place was, and seeing it had a website, I started reading a little more about this place. This remains my favorite quote from their English front page:

Snacky’s customers encompass among others Finnish ministers, top athletes, policemen as well as workers involved with manual labour. Snacky has had its own fan club for many years, and its slogans are in a class for itself: “The Police is your friend!”

Apparently this place is super friends with the po. And the fire department. And every other law enforcement department there is in the country. It's so friendly with them, in fact, that they have burgers named after the various types of awesome service men.

The decision was clearly made. We were going to Snackys.

Walking there in the freezing cold (we're talking in the 40's F already...jesus, doesn't this country ever get warm?), we quickly shuffled to get to food faster. In the not-so-far distance we began to see the outline of a small burger shack. And I do mean shack. This thing had the equivalent of maybe 10 seats inside (which was really just a bar that was fitted along the outer rim of the ordering area) and three or so outside picnic tables. Whoever thought outdoor seating was a good idea in this country should be shot.

After talking loudly about getting food, our group to get Snackys grew quite a bit on the way over there. By the time we arrived to order we were around 8 people. Clearly too large a group to eat inside (which was a shame because it really was pretty cold outside).

In my whisky-casked cider-haze, I stared at the menu with no luck. Naturally everything was in Finnish, and despite the pictures, I wasn't making any quick decisions. Instead I decided to go with instinct and ask the (rather young) cute register boy what he would order. Without a second of hesitation he said the Polissi combo. And so it was ordered without a second glance.

I probably should have glanced though because the thing was a massivore of a burger.

Think those are large? The polissi burger is two patties with an extra slice of bread, cheese, special sauce (sort of like thousand island dressing with mayo mixed together), an egg, and all of the normal hamburger accouterments. Did I mention I ordered the combo?

Generally speaking I didn't want the drink (only the fries) and said outloud as such, but the register boy assured me that I was getting a better deal with the combo, so I paid up and shut up.

Take a look at this burger glory:

Yeah. That's what I thought. Amazing, right?

It was just as tasty as it looked. Snacky's definitely has the right to brag. Incredibly fresh, which was the odd thing. Little shack in the middle of Espoo? High quality burger. Comparable to In N Out, which is saying something. Fries were perhaps more of your diner-quality rather than fresh-cut, but everything else screamed homemade.

And I ate the whole thing, minus a few fries. And I felt glorious about it.

Just goes to show you never know what you're gonna find out in the middle of nowhere. In Finland. In the cold. When you're starving. Just remember that you need to be around during business hours, otherwise you might be royally screwed.

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