Where to Eat in Redding and Shasta County, California
Recently Femme de Joie paid a visit to Bonney's Burgers. To protect innocent eyes and sensibilities, she issues a Caution: Graphic Language Ahead.
It's likely most locals have never even heard of Bonney's Burgers, much less driven by it. It's off the beaten track, out in Happy Valley, down the road from the fire hall and across from the elementary school. It's been there for untold years, long enough that the light-up sign by the road no longer lights up, which is just as well considering they no longer serve Pepsi (now it's RC Cola). Apparently Bonney's survived all this time away from the bright lights big city because it's handy for parents and visiting teams to grab a bite after the softball game.
It was a bit of a slow day at Bonney's. No cars in the parking lot when M. de Joie drove up. She could see a woman working inside while Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" blasted from a radio. Despite the window being closed tightly, Mlle. de Joie could also hear the woman's one-sided phone conversation very, very clearly:
"So after this I've gotta fucking get groceries. What? No! He fucking doesn't know what fucking shopping is. Shit! He doesn't fucking clean the house either, I gotta fucking do everything. I fucking gotta get fucking water, that's how fucking lazy he fucking is...."
It went on like that for another three or four minutes. Whether Potty Mouth Burger Gal was unaware she could be plainly heard, or she knew and just didn't care, is unknown. Femme de Joie is no stranger to the better Anglo-Saxon phrases of both scatological and sexual nature, but generally she prefers them served separately from her cheeseburgers.
But then once PMBG got off the phone, she opened the window and suddenly was all sugar: "Hello, Honey, what can I get you?... small, medium or large, honey?... That'll be $10.01, honey..." While waiting for her order, M. de Joie heard PMBG make another phone call: "Hey, it's me again. Matilda's having a baby! Yep. She's been keeping it secret, but it's no secret no more.... blah blah blah.... Gotta pull the burgers...."
When you sit at the picnic tables, the first thing you will notice is the nailed-in-place benches are really close to the table - close enough that a junior-sized second baseman can belly up, but more than a bit of a tight squeeze for parents.
For dogs. The dogs are not provided with a trash can so they have to leave their plastic cup lids lying around.
Super Bonney Burger, small seasoned fries, RC Cola, $10.01.
After that rather surprising introduction to Bonney's Burgers, the test would be if the product was worth it: it was.
The menu says the ground beef comes from R&R and is hand-shaped into patties daily: this was definitely not a pre-made burger. Frozen burgers seldom if ever attain a crunchy brown exterior, and this one had just that. The downside was that it was cooked really, really thoroughly - probably because PMBG was discussing Matilda's impending bundle of joy - so that the edges were starting to crumble off. Also, probably because PMBG was busy talking, she didn't salt the burger. However, the grease factor made up for much of the deficiencies: this was an authentic old-time burger, hefty, unashamedly full of fat, and flavorful. The seasoned fries were pre-made seasoned curly fries, crisp and hot, but not really a match for the Real Genuine Cheeseburger, either.
Other menu items include the usual you'd expect - Tater Tots, hot dogs, shakes. More interesting items include a Super Jalapeno Burger for $5.50 and a Guac[amole] Burger for $4.95. Shakes and such are made from Dreyer's Ice Cream.
M. de Joie would go back to Bonney's Burgers: the burgers are the real deal and worth having to listen to Seven Words You Can't Say on TV. However, if you're of a delicate nature and have tender ears, don't say you haven't been warned.
Bonney's Burgers, 17415 Palm Avenue, Happy Valley (Anderson). 530-357-2011. Open Monday-Friday 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ample on-site parking. Bring your own earplugs.
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint, and Hamburger Helper. Currently she resides in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more.