Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Despite Their Facade, TILT Does Indeed Serve Burgers and Not Vacuums

SWAN ISLAND FOR BURGERS? REALLY? Heck yes. At the confluence of the Columbia and the Willamette rivers, Swan Islands's terminal is a bustling center of commerce. Everything is coming and going, being exported and imported. Needless to say, it's flush with container ships, big rigs and millworks, but devoid of any culinary fulfillment.  Enter TILT, a rouge eatery, ingeniously located in Portland's highly employed shipping epicenter, where no other eatery has dared to inhabit.

BURGER; Tender, flavorful and well armed with cheddar, iceberg, tomato, pickle and signature TILT onions (mildly pickled, sliced onions). For an extra kick in the pants I wear in my mouth, I added their housemade jalapeno slaw to my burger. Satisfaction achieved. It's worth mentioning that aside from some seriously decadent menu burgers, they also offer a small version of their 1/3 lb burgers, which are admittedly pretty hard to get your mouth around. Companions were thrilled with their smaller burgers, while I fought what felt like an epic battle with mine. Don't worry, I won and it was the best fight I've had in a while.

FRIES; Classic batter fries were crispy and salty goodness. And apportioned generously. Perhaps a bit too much so, but when your main consumer is a dock worker, warehouse worker or ravenous office worker, I suppose it makes sense to pile 'em on.

SERVICE; I had a real hard time with the structure of the menu, but the counter person was so patient. She essentially had to hold my hand and walk me through the ordering process, which says something more about the strangely structured menu than it does about my reading comprehension. Otherwise, the team seemed chipper, and attentive, without hovering.

WHERE; 3449 N.Anchor St., Suite 200 Portland.

Summer Slow Burger; Probably No Longer Available, But Make a Note for Next Year

RAD SUMMER OF THE MIRACLE BURGER; I vote yes on Slow Bar's Slowburger. It continues to be in my top 10 places to send folks for a solid Portland burger. The meat is always supple and perfectly seasoned, the seasonal additions are always thoughtful and balanced, and the atmosphere is pure Portland; gorgeous servers, sexy, private booths, and a badass bar. I was late to the party, not receiving my summer slowburger till the last week of August, but damn, it was worth the wait.

BURGER; The classic, sky high, hand formed patty, swollen with it's own perfectly seasoned juices, accompanied by sharp white cheddar, an heirloom tomato, slim, sandwich sliced dill pickles and crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce is the complete embodiment of a foodie's summer bbq. Next summer can't come soon enough. Though, I'll be singing a different song when the Fall Slowburger takes it rightful place on the Slow Bar menu.

FRIES: Slow Bar has solid fries, but I will always opt for the salad with it's gorgeous vinaigrette and house spiced nuts. Besides, look at the size of that beast, who needs fries with that?

SERVICE; Pretty, witty and on top of their game. Slow Bar has a great cocktail menu, a solid bar menu and an atmosphere that is at once intimate and social. High marks all around, Slow Bar. Good Job.

WHERE; 533 SE Grand AV,  Portland.

WOW Burger Does Indeed WOW Me

I SERIOUSLY SAID WOW WHEN I WALKED IN; The new WOW Burger outpost at Cascade Station, near PDX airport is jammed inconspicuously between a Leatherman store and a Starbucks in a shopping center that boasts an IKEA and a Best Buy. It's a weird scene, this outdoor mall on the outskirts of town, and one cant help but think that every eatery there exists only to service the employees of the myriad shops, boutiques, and department stores at Cascade Station, and possibly, the odd airport employee on their way to or from work (I'm looking at you, shitty IHOP). I even saw a coyote walk across the parking lot one morning, no joke. Anyway, let's talk about why this  burger is worth a trip to what really amounts to the IKEA parking lot.

BURGER; This is a very basic 1/3 lb patty, cooked medium well and served with an upscale fast food aesthetic (tantamount to a faux dive bar). The wow factor manifests itself as a freaky amount of optional toppings, buns, cheeses and sides. For a person with a modicum of self control, this should pose no problem, but if you're American, like me, you go for the whole kit and kaboodle and end up with a burger taller than your face. Therein lies the one and only problem with WOW burger; excess. True, deep fried, cheese covered, butter grilled excess. Overall, the experience was delicious, a salty/sweet spread, fresh iceberg leaves, and a great assortment of fresh toppings. Aside from an overly buttered bun and a  "nothing is too much" philosophy when building your WOW burger, you can count on a great burger from this unassumingly modern little shop. Healthy options like veggie, turkey and chicken were available, and toppings covered the spectrum of the acceptable, only going a bit over the top (notice the three types of onion on the burger pictured above: raw, grilled and deep fried.  Delicious as it was, that just shouldn't be allowed to happen. I stank like o-rings for a week)

FRIES; I tried the basil parmesan fries and was dissatisfied with the dried basil flakes and canned. grated parmesan that barely crusted the otherwise boring, frozen fries. The onion strings, however, were a toothsome, well seasoned joy. Served in a shareable portion that could easily satiate 2-3 burger lovers, with housemade fry sauce that is finger-licking good.

SERVICE; WOW Burger is new on the scene, and without a steady stream of customers, the WOW team is left twiddling their thumbs, so to speak. The friendly staff was a little too attentive considering the  "fast food aesthetic" they're conveying. When more than one server approaches me when I am struggling through a mouthful of food, irritation will ensue. I'm sure once the place picks up and the many hands are busy juggling orders, they can back up off the hovering, unnecessary table service

WHERE; WOW Burger Cascade Station; 10107 NE Cascades Parkway
Portland, OR. 503-841-5948