John Curtas is …

Talkin’ Malteds with Laurent Tourondel

Über-chef  Laurent Tourondel was in town this week, checking up on his tasty burgers at BLT Burger in the Mirage, and we finally might have had a breakthrough with notre ami. Yes, after years of begging and pleading, we may have finally convinced him to put a malt on the menu to go along with his superior milkshakes.

Why malt, you say?

Because a milkshake without malt is like:

- foie without gras

- fettuccine without Alfredo

- Lindsay Lohan without an ankle bracelet

- a pop singer without a coroner’s report (too soon?)

- Mitt “Claymation” Romney without a stick up his fundament

You get the idea.

In other words, a milkshake without malt somehow upsets our basic understanding of the way things are in the world. Not having the option of enhancing one’s shake with malt powder makes the entire milkshake-enjoying-experience somehow feel incomplete. Abnormal. Unnatural. Perverted…as if Greece suddenly discovered fiscal responsibility…or Harry Reid gained a personality.

So, as we’re sittin’ in a booth, the thought occurs to us that “Laurent has never put a malt on his menu!”

So, we says to LT: “LT, you need to offer malts as well as milkshakes.” The minute we say it, a waitron passes by and overhears us, and chimes in: “Good idea.”

Within minutes, a meeting is convened (easy to do when your name is on the door), and the managers and Tourondel are discussing where they can get some malt powder to enhance their already great shakes.

A few more bites of the superbly seasoned BLT burger (with bacon and a remarkably ripe tomato), a quick hug for our good friend…and we stroll out of the Mirage feeling like we accomplished something for lovers of all that is good and holy in the food world.

Like a good, malted milkshake.

“Our work is done here,” we think to ourself.

You’re welcome.

BLT BURGER

In the Mirage Hotel and Casino

3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.792.7888

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2 Responses to Talkin’ Malteds with Laurent Tourondel

  • Your work may be done there, but it’s just the beginning. I have never purchased a milk shake, never in all my years, for the same reason. I love malts! Purveyors long ago decided the public would buy these things without the tres cher malt in them. This is the same reason we have glop inside donuts, instead of the raspberry jam of my youth. All these compromises in the name of cheap fast food desertify the landscape, rather than dessertify it. Desecration, I say! These are not tiny compromises, but totally change what the item was meant to be. Because the kids have too much on their plates today, I feel I must provide a cookbook for my grandkids so they can cook for their families the comfort food they love without needing to experiment. They say, “It doesn’t matter what restaurant you go to, grandma’s food is better.” Lots of kids will never know what things are supposed to taste like. They will accept without questioning that a cake donut needs no nutmeg; how would they know otherwise? As each food item is gentrified some lost flavor experiences become available, but only in the more affluent neighborhoods. In the suburbs of Boston and NYC, where my grandkids are, malts and a good jelly donut are scarce–especially at a family price–if available at all. So offer the glop if you must, but can you please offer the original–even at a higher price? Malt, or milkshake? Glop, or jam? Take your choice. Every year we are closer to that point in time when all the new chefs will have grown up on fast food and do not have that taste memory of home cooking the baby boomers still do. Carry on, John, before it’s too late.

  • Holsteins has a great malt. If I were a high-roller, I would request the cocktail waitress to bring me the chocolate malt while playing cards. Yes, it is that good.

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