Ask a Dilettante – All it Takes is Money, Honey

Is it true that the New Orleans Poboy lot is going to be turned into a Barnes & Noble?

You’re getting your Houston landmark bulldozed for crappy chain store story confused. I’m not sure what will be built on the lot where Original New Orleans Po-Boy served up some of the best burgers in Houston. Whatever it becomes, it won’t be as interesting as a cash-only burger joint with saucy counter help who made you so nervous, you’d rehearse your order in your head prior to being asked for it. And, inevitably, you’d stumble and forget to say “no mayo” and then get some attitude when you corrected your order. It will be sure to lack metal-capped chair legs that made a horrible screeching noise when the uninitiated scooted back on the tile floor without rising out of the seat. It won’t have individual wedges of Sock-it-to-Me cake wrapped in plastic next to the register. Count on it.

There are rules to having a good burger experience. The place has to be the type of establishment most likely described as a “joint” – no fancy restaurants serving up expensive yuppie burgers. The place has to have at least one really bitchy employee. The place has to be in or near a neighborhood and at least half-populated with regular customers. The place has to have a slight layer of grease on the walls that could be removed with a fingernail, if you dared. Of course, you don’t dare. You’re not crazy, just hungry.

The last year in Houston has been a sad one for burger lovers. In addition to Original New Orleans Po-Boy, the Pig Stand on Washington Avenue closed down. Just as with the po’ boy place, there was no warning. Dedicated customers were not given the chance to come by for one final bite, weeping into their burger baskets as yet another piece of Houston history bit the dust. So my suggestion to all burger lovers is to enjoy the few legit places that remain, knowing that each time you go might be your last.

So Dilettante, how’s the presidential race going? Are you raising a lot of money for your campaign? Have you picked a running mate yet?

Yeah, about that bid of mine…things aren’t progressing as well as I’d hoped. I wasn’t invited to participate in either of the recent debates. As of today, I have raised roughly $63.75. It is being estimated that the 2008 presidential election will cost over $1 billion for the first time ever, with each of the two main candidates spending $500 million. Seems in order to be considered a “serious” contender, candidates will have to have $100 million in their coffers by the end of the year. That’s seven months away, so I really have my work cut out for me.

As for the running mate, I’ve been thinking hard about my options. Since I don’t have enough money to buy my way into office, which is the American way of late, I was thinking of asking an adorable little puppy to be my second-in-command. Who can deny a furry, cuddly little fuzzball? The timing has to be just right to get the biggest bang from the cute factor, though, because those things grow really fast.

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]