Sunday, December 4, 2011

The $350,000 Synthetic Beef Burger. Weird or Gross?

First of all, somebody needs to get me one of these burgers! Second of all, I know it must taste like juicy, beef flavored styrofoam! Third of all, what is the vegetarian response to the question of synthetic meat? This recent article on Gizmodo outlines the groundbreaking science behind "in-vitro meat" or meat grown without the animal, a technology that, with cultivation, could grow to usurp the current farmed-meat industry, providing higher quality meats for much lower costs. Of course the question of quality, heritage and diversity of flavors and textures for the connoisseur must be answered. But for the chicken nugget and whopper consuming American masses, this could be the best thing since the McRib, which, lets face it, is pretty friggin close to synthetic meat.


Bridgeport Brewery and What I Can Only Assume is an Overpriced Donkey Show

OH, COME ON; Cavalia, Cirque Du Soleil's newest spectacular is attracting affluent horse enthusiasts from all over the tri-county area. It's stark white tent glowing beneath the Fremont Bridge like a chimerical used tissue attracted me as I ambled around the Pearl District. I repeatedly wondered aloud how hard it could really be to sneak in while I unconsciously zombie walked toward it. Thankfully the smell of beef char and fresh beer emanating from the queerly tucked away Bridgeport Brewery snapped me out of Cavalia's spell and probably saved me from a hard-to-explain arrest.

BURGER; Of the 5 burger options, I settled on the basic burger, figuring it would give me the best insight into the burger strength of the brewpub. The wheat bun was just a tiny but stiff, not quite stale but particularly close. The 1/2 pound of cascade natural beef was right in the dead center of the road, provoking no soft, happy moans or eye-rolls. Bread and butter pickles, fresh from a plastic jug, one mealy, insignificant slice of tomato, red onion and green leaf lettuce graced the white cheddar topped patty. The basic burger was disappointingly, well, basic.

FRIES; Frozen, generic fries, with no remarkable attributes, other than price-point perhaps. I would avoid them. We supplemented our meal with a roasted beet and hazelnut spinach salad that was prepared beautifully, and leads me to believe that maybe this is not the brewery to be ordering burgers and fries in...

SERVICE; Great servers with fun, sunny attitudes. We arrived at peak Saturday night rush time, and though we didn't receive ultimate service (I hate waiting for water refills), I thought everyone worked together fairly well and all in all our experience was pleasant. When our bill arrived, a brochure for Cavalia was inserted in the guest-check sleeve. One of the promotional quotes read "The world's best show about horse love" which is why I named this post what I named it.

WHERE; 1313 NW Marshall Street, Portland
Bridgeport Brewpub & Bakery on Urbanspoon

BarBar, Best Burger West of Mississippi

OH SNAP; BarBar, the new(ish) incarnation of the Mississippi Studios restaurant half, is delivering fat balls of awesome grease and cheese into your face and the faces of your loved ones. Their fast food-esque paper wrapped burgers and fresh cut fries are seriously similar to fast food industry luminaries In-N-Out, a parallel made even more parallel-like when you see their menu, styled almost identically to In-N-Out's famously short menu. Of course there are a few surprising vittles on the BarBar menu that make it truly unique, but that's not what were here to talk about, we're here to talk about burgers. So brace your face.

BURGER; These joy bringing burgers are cooked to resemble the classic fast food burgers of days gone by. They're stacked either 1 or 2 patties high, dripping with American cheese and "special sauce", bursting with shredded lettuce, onion and a sweet/tart tomato relish, and smooshed beautifully between two perfectly butter-grilled potato buns. The burger patties are 1/3 lb, pressed thin and wide, and cooked medium well. Perfect for lazy afternoon lunches with your friends who also relax on lazy afternoons with burgers in their mouths.

FRIES; Shoestring cut potatoes carrying the trifecta of greasy, salty,and crispy that true fry aficionados are contentedly nodding about as they read this. Onion rings are another fun, classically greasy option. The portions are huge, so make sure to wash your hands because you better be sharing.

SERVICE; Generally hit or miss. On show nights, especially summer evening shows on the patio, get ready to settle in for a while. Servers can be either snarky and jaded or sweet and attentive, typical for staffs serving this particular young, tattooed, hip contingent. Full bar, great cocktails. Kid friendly patio.

WHERE; 3939 N. Mississippi, Portland
Bar Bar on Urbanspoon