Bottomfeeder: Mad Cows

Taking the four-patty challenge at Burger Madness.

From its SoDo parking lot, Burger Madness looks nothing like an insane asylum, or a place where urban loons would congregate. Yes, its design is a bit antiseptic; all strip malls' are. But it sits behind a Costco and next to a faux-rustic Starbucks on a thoroughfare utterly unpopulated by pedestrians. It could be anywhere that a floor manager with a paunch and a pair of khakis fuels up on the bookends of a workday. (Snohomish County, take note: There's a franchise in Monroe, too.) But inside, Burger Madness is pure lunacy, a one-grill mission to get Man v. Food host Adam Richman to book a return trip to Seattle after he failed to take down the 12-egg omelet at Beth's. (By the way, isn't it amazing how swiftly Richman's turned Guy Fieri into the culinary equivalent of the late, not-so-great Ron Silver?) Basically, you can stack as many patties as you want between the buns. If you consume a quintuple-pattied monster or more with a side of fries in less than 30 minutes, you get your photo on Burger Madness' website. If you knock down a "12-stack" or more (the record is 14 patties), a gift certificate roughly equivalent to the price of your meal gets tossed in—so you can do it again, the very next day! (There's a franchise in Monroe, too.) Setting aside the medical concerns about attempting such a feat, there's the simple question of the meat. Ever tried dropping a Triple Whopper? It's tough—not because of stomach-capacity issues, but because the meat totally overwhelms whatever else is in the burger. And when the meat tastes like shit, which is what you get at a Burger King (even though the creepy Kong-sized King ads rule), that'll do you in right there. But Burger Madness' patties taste sensational, with a meatloafy essence, even when stacked four-high. They're cooked well-done, which is crucial, since the more you cook meat, the more fat gets cooked out. The burger is served with lettuce, pickles, American cheese, and fry sauce for dunking. The only thing that'd improve the behemoth is onions. But to the certifiably insane, such minute details don't much matter.

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