As the United States goes, our most impactful export can’t be Coca-Cola, KFC, or even the mighty 747. No, arguably much better, I nominate the cheeseburger. The base sandwich may have originated somewhere else, but we drove its utter ubiquitousness—as well as its multiplicity of toppings and forms.
In honor of what Twitter proclaimed to be National Cheeseburger Day this week, we set out into our little beach town in Portugal to find one.
“Should we go to Hamburguesa das Maçãs, Vila Maçãs, Bar Esplanada, or the new place?” So many choices, so many places *just right here* in walking distance, in our town of a few hundred souls—all local joints but all serving up their version of the great “American” meal: a burger and fries (batatas fritas, here).
We ended up at Barmacía, with football (soccer) playing on the widescreen TV above the dining room (a feature of nearly every Portuguese restaurant, including the random football match) and funky decor evoking the beach town surrounding us. We watched the sun set on that September eve, just a few days before the equinox, and basked in its orange, fuchsia, and indigo glow—and bit into the comforting blend of cheddar, bacon, and (no lie) “Jack Daniels” BBQ sauce that meant I could be at any beach bar in the world enjoying it.