Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Top 5 Burgers To Eat in Portland Before You Move To Brooklyn (or Austin, or Minneapolis, or Los Feliz or Whatever)

I get a lot of burger based questions, but none more often than -So what's your favorite burger? After 3 years of burger exploration, I think I'm finally ready to answer that oft uttered query, and compile my first "Best Of" list. Let's take a trip down burger avenue AKA memory lane.

5. Best Sunday Afternoon Brunch Burger - BAR BAR

This low key burger is a perfect way to round out a debaucherous weekend. Between 2 moderately dense potato buns is some serious upscale faux fast food paydirt. The supple, cheese swaddled patties, crisp shredded iceberg and thoughtful tomato jam will soak up your residual party juice from last night while giving you the fuel you to continue day drinking. Bonus points for Mississippi Studios being a great place to patio-relax with your hungover self. Click Here For My Original Review
Where: BAR BAR 3939 N. Mississippi

4. Best Lunch Break Burger- Killer Burger

With a handful of locations to serve your meat hungry palette, Killer Burger is nailing the daily afternoon
burger experience. They have a menu that is equal parts "Oh hell yeah" and " WTF?" with burgers to please even the most dangerously adventurous pallets, that is to say they have a peanut butter bacon burger AND a burger so spicy you are required to sign a waver before ingesting it. Click Here For My Original Review
Where: Flagship-4644 NE Sandy Blvd

3. Best Happy Hour Burger - East Burn

I love this burger. It is some of the best seasoned meat in town, served on a cibatta roll with a quadrillion nooks and crannies for  ultimate juice absorption. Embellished with fresh, hyper green butter lettuce, thinner than paper red onion and tomato so succulent that your first bite will result in maaad tomato ejaculate. The service is stellar, the patio is an oasis, and the basement arcade is a really fun place to deal with your lifelong claustrophobia issues. Click Here For My Original Review
Where:  EastBurn 1800 E Burnside 503-236-2876

2. Best Burger To Feed To Your Out-Of-Town Buddies- Slow Bar

Consistently on every foodie's top ten Burgers of  Portland list, and with good reason. Slow Bar's Slow Burger is a game changer. The impossibly thick patties are like fleshy cushions, yielding a spectacular arrangement of flavor that seems to grow more complex with each bite. The flagship burger is topped with a ridiculously huge onion ring, but the summer slow burger (shown here) was a masterclass in thoughtful restraint. I await it with baited breath each summer season. I mean, c'mon, look at those pickle slices. They are perfection. Click Here For My Original Review
Where: 533 SE Grand Ave

1. Best Burger In Portland- Foster Burger

From the moment I first walked into Foster Burger I just had a great feeling that I would be eating the burger to end all burgers that day. And while it's insanely close to Slow Burger in terms of life change-ability, it's comes out ahead for one reason; fatback. Their ground beef recipe is so neck snappingly delicious that I restrict myself to one foster burger a year. For fear of breaking my neck. With a signature burger based on the Australian standard of burgers, topped with pickled beets and a fried egg, Foster Burger is doing something so different, yet so friggin familiar that it borders on crazy magic. Also, they framed all of their worst Yelp reviews and that's funny to me. Click Here To Read My Original Review
Where: 5339 SE Foster Road

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Tardis Room; A Bar Full of Inside Jokes I Will Never Understand

What is a Tardis Even? Apparently it has something to do with Dr Who, the long running BBC sci-fi series with an enthusiastically dedicated fan base. The Tardis - and I'm sure I'm going to get corrected in the comment section on this one- is a time machine shaped like a phone booth and The Tardis Room is a Dr. Who fanboy's bedroom shaped like a labyrinthine bar in North Portland. It's a strange mashup between niche-theme bar and old timey fish and chips pub but despite the amount of black lights, it's not as clumsy at it might seem. An abject curiosity, yes, but deftly conceived. I never fell into science fiction, and at this point I'm not holding out hope that someday I will, but that didn't stop me from appreciating the amount of weird effort it took to put this bar together. Bottom line - some people are going to love it and never set foot in another bar as long as they live, but I will be fine visiting maybe once or twice a year. Spoiler alert; it won't be for the burger.

BURGER; Since we're already turning the WTF knob to 11, I actually ate a deep fried burger. The whole thing wasn't deep fried, just the patty. The batter was the very same that they use for their brilliant fish and chips, a light flaky masterpiece that, in burger form, was nearly inedible after 5 bites. Though the burger had an interesting depth of flavor, a well seasoned patty and the aforementioned batter, it became an obvious mistake after bite 5 when my dining companions implored me to stop eating it. They could no longer bear the smell. Topped with grilled mushrooms, iceberg, swiss cheese and a smattering of pickle coins, you have to be a brave mofo to ingest this in it's entirety. Otherwise it's just an abject curiosity.

FRIES: Aww yeah. Not just fries, but english style "chips". Thick, fresh cut, and perfectly greasy. A good reminder of what is good about the eats at The Tardis Room, the fish and chips are great, but they should back off of the experimental american comfort food.

SERVICE:  Well, I could go a few ways with this one. I had a fiercely uncomfortable interaction with the server over the course of this visit. I honestly don't think he knew how racist the things he was saying were, because no one ever explained to him WHY certain slurs are racist. I won't go so far as to insinuate that he, or any of the other bartenders or servers are racist, that's crazy. This particular dude just didn't understand the words "That's offensive." I won't go into how weird this got for for me (I'm half black) because this is my burger blog, not my deep social commentary blog.
Just, if you don't like hipster racism, maybe don't sit near the bar.

WHERE: 1218 N. Killingsworth St.  503-232-3344 The Tardis Room on FB

Monday, July 8, 2013

Whatever, Satan. I'm Just Here For The Burger.

Repent Sinner, Put This Burger in Your Face; Church is a new little watering hole on NE Sandy. It's an unassuming storefront, the corner unit of an unassuming little strip mall, stashed in an unassuming area of Sandy Blvd. The whole deal is very drive-by-able. However, after missing the turn for the new Slowburger outpost on 24th and taking the next turn I was all "waitaminnit- lookit that unassuming little corner unit..."-you get it. Enter; Church. The second you cross the threshold, you get a faceful of "big concept". The building is new, but the interior of this bar has been furnished to look like that of an old, country church, possibly one you'd find in the backwaters of Louisiana. It looks, quite literally, as if a church was disassembled, shipped across the country piece by piece, and then (sorta) reassembled in a strip mall so we can get our tongue in cheek sin on. The sacrilege is great, and I love the spot for it. But seriously, when is Portland's penchant for satire going to bite it in the ass? I mean, there's a "confessional" in the bar where anyone can take naked pictures of their junk. Whatever, if Satan had showed up while I was eating I would have been all, "I'm just here for the burger, man."

BURGER; Possibly the most over-thought burger I've consumed in 2013. Gorgeous ingredients, respectably prepared, and beautifully presented. But much like the interior of the bar, painfully high concept. The burger is a perfectly seasoned half pound, cloaked in aged white cheddar and then piled high with an alarmingly tart pickled slaw, a healthy slathering of sweet, smokey house made bbq sauce, and --this is almost flip-- a handful of fried onion straws. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, your typical bar burger. The first bite is a wild ride, full of weird emotions and burger based feels. Therein lies the discord, everything about this place- including the burger- is like a strange harmony, discordant yet mellifluous, traditional yet shockingly nontraditional. Bottom line; This is a delicious burger, but it is not for the faint of mouth.

FRIES: As per usual these days, I went for the mixed greens. However, a side dish of fried okra met the requirement for salty, crunchy burger accompaniment. It's popcorn-like appearance threw me, a bit blonde for a deep fried snack, but overall, quite satisfying. Great bar nosh.

SERVICE: Ladies and gay dudes, read closely; this bar is well stocked with hunky mens. As if the person in charge of hiring took note of every adorable Portland archetype and then hired the best of each one; Vaguely ethnic gentlemen with a well coiffed mustache? Check. Gloriously bearded faux lumberjack? Double check.  Adorably twee choir boy? Check. They are here y'all. Come and look at them.  I doubt they care if you're creepy, I mean, you're drinking in a fake strip mall church for God's sake, I think you'll be forgiven.

WHERE: 2600 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland.