Friday, January 13, 2012

Burgers and Sushi at Yakuza

奇妙なコンボ; The burning question that I needed answered; Who goes to Sushi restaurants for burgers? The answer I could have guessed; Good looking, well dressed twenty and thirty somethings with excellent tastes. I hope one day I can control my snark enough to stop asking stupid questions about amazingly conceived restaurants. Well, we'll see...

BURGER; The skyscraper of a burger claimed to be made from the beef of legend; Kobe. Having experienced legit Kobe but once in my life, and having it melt on my tongue like a ephemeral sheet of beef chiffon, I had my doubts. Regardless of what does or does not constitute American Kobe beef, this burger was tender, full of rich, earthy flavor and complimented almost romantically by fried shoestring potatoes, light, sweet and delicate chevre, and a house ketchup that brought the whole scene together better than Lebowski's rug. It's worth it to mention that as I looked around from table to table, almost everyone in the place was eating this burger. And damned if most of them didn't start with a plate of sushi. Oh Portland, you're so hip.

FRIES; You know this place is too classy for a pile of greasy fries, besides, there are actual fried potato strings heaped on the burger. And they are awesome. Burger is served ala carte, hence the proliferation of sushi starters.

SERVICE; I have mentioned in previous reviews that there is a select class of Portland servers. They are impeccably dressed, remarkably well coiffed, and you get the distinct feeling that they are better than you. I have been to no other city where this phenomenon occurs. Yakuza's chic and attractive staff was paired perfectly with the chic, attractive dining space. Though I felt like our server was painfully cooler that I, her service was friendly, if a bit spacey. Great place for a date. Full bar, kid friendly, patio in the warmer months.

5411 NE 30th Avenue Portland, Oregon

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pause on Interstate With Miss Heather Mae

Hello… I’m a “guest” blogger!; I really just wanted to eat a burger and get drunk with Brianna (ed. note; she's talking about me!). Friend of the Burger Blog, Fiona, affectionately pointed us in Pause’s direction. I had been to Pause a time or two before and felt a bit ambivalent about it. The food was fine, the drinks were fine, there are holes in many of the booth seats which is fine, but it’s just not one of the places that pops into mind when going out. However, I am always open to having my mind changed, and a big juicy burger was just the thing to do it!
BURGER: It’s no stretch to say that I LOVED this burger’s well-crafted, thick, tasty meatiness, made perfectly medium-rare (which is what I asked for). There’s no real “frills” or b.s. with this burger, it’s pretty straight up tasty. The Thousand Island dressing and the homemade pickles were a nice, thoughtful touch and made me feel kind of special without overdoing it. They serve it on a potato bun (again, no frills here, but it works) for easy handling and I liked that they stack the tomato, lettuce and onion on the side so you can choose your own “topping” adventure. My burger came with Tillamook Cheddar cheese and I felt like the cheese match didn’t quite do it, I couldn’t taste it. I did go back a week later and got the burger with blue cheese and the flavors seemed to stand out better.
FRIES: My salad was your standard mesclun mix with balsamic vinaigrette. My companion’s fries (ed. note; she's talking about me!) were REALLY FRIGGIN GOOD: thickly cut, house-made, fried morsels of starchy, salty goodness. I wanted to shove them all in my face, but that negated the reason for getting a salad in the first place.
SERVICE: I’m a little split on the service. We almost lost our table to a larger group that arrived seconds after us and the scene got weird. Aside from feeling a bit unwelcomed upon first arrival, our waiter was pretty right on. Drinks were promptly refilled and burgers were delivered piping hot. I’m pretty sure that kiddos are welcomed; I’ve seen them there for lunch before. However, the evenings have more of a drinking spot feel.
WHERE: Pause is south of George’s and north of the Alibi on Interstate. You might drive by it the first time, but I highly suggest you turn around and go back. 5101 N. Interstate Portland, OR
ABOUT OUR GUEST; Miss Heather Mae is a blogger, zinester, linocut artist and all around amazing person. Her brand, DonutDisco, is based in Portland but her 'tude is pure South Boston. Check out her awesome linocut prints on Etsy/DonutDisco, read her funny tumblr blog, and follow her on twitter. She's just been accepted to Linfield School of Nursing. Congratulate Her.

Jam on Hawthorne, Now Serving Dinner!

AND THEIR HAPPY HOUR IS AWESOME; Jam, one of Portland's most beloved breakfast spots recently took over "Imbibe", it's former neighbor. Portland 'hoods all have their own breakfast spots, and I think on the whole, we stay pretty dedicated to the breakfasteries in our quadrants. Being a hardcore noreaster, I have yet to remedy a hangover at Jam on SE Hawthorne, but, when on a random drive-by I saw this newfangled dinner cafe attached to the reputable name "Jam" I finally had the time and the reason to patronize the establishment I heard so much about.

BURGER; The happy hour presented 3 or 4 burger choices including a veg/vegan option. My choice was Hawaiian themed with grilled pineapple, teriyaki and swiss cheese. The half pound of beef, thick chunks of pineapple, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and huge handfull of grated cheese measured nearly 5" high! Go look at a ruler, that's seriously tall! Estimated mastication difficulty aside, this burger was totally ridiculous. The entire burger was dominated by huge morsel of grilled, melted butter/parmesan attached to the bun. It was a strong, salty piece of pure flavor and it attacked my mouth with such intensity that I had to quit the burger about 2/3 of the way through. I would order this burger again but I will have the crunchy melted flavor bomb left off. It was just too much. I will say that I respect it's intentions, because otherwise this burger was pretty good. Great flavor in the nicely cooked beef, interesting assemblage of toppings, and though I suspect it was dressed with bottled teriyaki sauce, I thought it was fine. It didn't taste hella-cheap.

FRIES; Went for the sweet potato fries as opposed to the standard french. Light and crispy without a lot of grease and salt. And a perfect compliment to the Hawaiian burger.

SERVICE; There were more people that appeared to be working here than eating here and it still took over 20 minutes for our food to arrive. Similar waits were experienced for water and the bill. The extraneous staff hanging around was a put off. One (very nice and easygoing) server was bartending, serving, and busing, while one staff member removed decorations from the Christmas tree. Another staff member revealed himself drinking in the bar area and still another chatted up the kitchen from the hallway. Lots of staff standing around, but only one seemed concerned with patrons.

WHERE; 2229 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland Jam on Facebook