I wanted to wait until after Labor Day to write this article. It emanated from the firing of Ann Curry from “The Today Show.” I started thinking, “What if for some reason, I am terminated from contributing to Dan’s Papers?”
I thought about sending each decision maker at the paper a fruit basket. Then I realized that after the fruit was eaten, I might be forgotten, just like the very fruit that was sent to cement my place among my fellow writers.
Then I realized that the best way to secure my continued recognition was to write a hard-hitting article that would uncover some Hamptons fact or condition that was previously unknown. I spent days contemplating t
Shortly after the discharge of Curry, the answer came to me. While patronizing one of my favorite East End restaurants, I ordered a Jumbo Burger and, after receiving it, I had occasion to steal a glance at the people dining at the table next to me. They were talking loud and I overheard them telling the waitress that they were visiting from Ohio. I also heard them order the Jumbo Burger, same as me. The only difference was that when their burger was delivered, it appeared to be smaller than mine.
To that extent, my observant companion told me that since I ate there often, the chef probably supersized mine, as a courtesy for my continued patronage. That sounded plausible, but as a journalist, I needed proof. So the next night I recruited two sets of my neighbors, Bill and Joyce and Mike and Dottie, to go to the restaurant and order identical Jumbo Burgers. I instructed Bill to tell the waiter that they were locals. At the same time, I told Mike to make it known they were tourists from Nebraska.
Both were instructed to take one of the burgers, secure it in a hermetically sealed Tupperware container and immediately return it to the Sneiv house. If my suspicions were correct, the local’s burger would weigh more, at which time I would have the proof I needed to reveal the injustice that was being heaped on those non-natives visiting the Hamptons. I envisioned my Dan’s story getting picked up and maybe even featured on the very same show that released Curry.
I was aware that this type of hard-hitting story could possibly earn me a coveted journalism award. I also knew I had to be careful because there are some pretty damn good food reviewers working for Dan’s Papers. They might seek to find a gap in my research and scuttle the story.
After purchasing a scale that was advertised to be accurate to 1/10,000,000 of an ounce, I weighed the respective burgers. And guess what? The tourist burger weighed an ounce less than the local burger. This was the proof I needed. To document my findings, I recorded the entire process, just like they do on NBC’s hit show “To Catch a Predator.”
Now all that was left was to confront the Burger Cheater, force a confession and go to press. When I arrived at the restaurant the next day, with my cameraman close behind, I demanded to see the chef. His name was Philippe and he promptly presented himself, obviously unaware that he was about to be exposed for his crimes against humanity.
“I have some video tape I would like you to watch,” I stated with authority. “Sure,” was his naive response. So I showed him the footage, including the weighing of the burgers.
After the viewing, his face showed no emotion. He was obviously a skilled criminal. So I asked in my most journalistic voice, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
His response shocked me. “Mr. Sneiv, I do not deny your accusation. In fact, I am proud of the evidence you present to me this day.”
There it was. I had my confession. But then he added, “The reason there is a difference in the weights is easily explained. For tourists and sometime visitors, we offer the finest burger on the East End. For locals we add an extra ingredient and that is what accounts for the weight difference”.
“And what is that ingredient” I demanded.
He responded with a single word.
I told the cameraman to stop rolling tape, tore up my notes and sat down in the corner booth and ordered us both a Jumbo Burger. It was delicious and I even think I tasted a hint of Love. It’s great to be a local in the Hamptons.
Note: Mr. Sneiv does hereby submit that he will never again write about any restaurant or food related topic. To the management at Dan’s Papers: the fruit baskets will be arriving this week.