Now, whilst my body is normally something akin to a temple, I must admit to the occasional guilty pleasure. I still, for example, have a craving for Butterscotch Angel Delight from time to time, despite the fact that a/ it is no longer 1986 and b/ I am now old enough to know better; similarly, Mr Liz marked my departure for a holiday to Italy without him one year not by filling the house with scantily clad ladies but by purchasing and furtively consuming a Fray Bentos pie. Surely the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures, though, is *whispers* the dreaded M-word, the place with the golden arches; NOTHING good can come of a visit here, and yet somehow, it continues to exert its pull over most of us on an at least occasional basis - often on those dark, grey days when perhaps too much wine has been consumed and some kind of emergency fat/protein/carbohydrate package is required, urgently.
Anyway, in a completely unrelated train of thought, SoLIta - that estimable purveyor of all that is good, and tasty, and can be slapped on an Inka grill - has a new burger. It's called The Big Manc, and Mr Liz - quite a Big Manc himself - wanted it the second he saw it, pictured here in all its mighty glory one morning on the SoLIta Twitter feed, towering over some other, clearly inferior burger:
So we had one each for Sunday lunch last weekend, and it was amazing. Two six ounce beef patties, nicely charred on the outside and blushingly pink on the inside, shredded ice-berg lettuce, home-made pickles (the gherkin always was my favourite bit) and generous amounts of the richly addictive "Big Manc" sauce, all served up in a light, sweet brioche bun brushed with smoked butter and then sprinkled with toasted seeds. Oh, and some of SoLIta's almighty fries on the side, just in case one remained still hungry afterwards. It was quite simply the most enjoyable burger I have ever had, and although on the edge of too expensive for a burger at £14.50, I enjoyed every last, heart-stopping (perhaps literally) mouthful of it. Indeed, when the waiter took my plate away he at first refused to believe it had ever held a Big Manc burger - "that's the best I've seen a girl do" he said, bringing about my proudest moment of 2012 without a doubt.
The Big Manc burger is a special, and as is the way of SoLIta, it is unclear how long it will remain on the board of glory - to be on the safe side, you'd better go and have one this weekend. Now, if I can just persuade them to serve up Butterscotch Angel Delight for pudding, I think I'll really have found my guilty food nirvana...
- SoLIta is on Turner Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter, M4 1DW; tel. 0161 839 2200.