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Tabelog Reviewer burgerdogboy

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon cheeseburgers’

Salem, OR – Rock N Rogers 50′s Style Diner

Rock N Rogers, Salem, OregonWe were rescuing a new “hot” dog from a shelter in Salem, to add to our family, so Mrs. Burgerdogboy suggested I “rescue” a burger on the way home to add to my waistline.

Point taken, mission accomplished. I’d been to Rock N Rogers once before, and for this old guy, RNR fits the bill for old timey diner.

I went with the “International” burger, so named because it is two type of cheeses, cheddar and the “international” Swiss. I opted to upgrade the side to an order of O-Rings.

You’ll read in other reviews that service can be a little pokey and the prices are a little spendy. Right on both cases, but neither drawback contributed to my enjoyment of the hand-made patty cooked and dressed to my order, as well as the over-sized crispy rings.

A new dog, and a great burger. A fine day all around.

Rock N Rogers, Salem,, Oregon

Rock-'N-Rogers on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – Davis Street Tavern

Davis Street Tavern, Portland OR

Davis Street Tavern, Portland OR

Mr. Hot Shot Portland business lawyer Will Du Val and I ventured down 5th Street looking for  mild repast, and passed by Hamburger Mary’s and Theo’s in favor of Davis Street - a joint neither of us had experienced, but both of us had heard good things.  From whence, we do not recall.

Neither of us seemed to be in the mood for a “food experience” but rather the mundane task or eating to live (not living to eat).

So we did, perusing the menu and each of selecting 3 or 4 things we couldn’t live without, before figuratively throwing darts at a disinterested waiter.

The lunch menu is:

Davis Street Tavern Menu, Portland

Davis Street Tavern Menu, Portland

 The attorney at the table went with the Mac n Cheese, after dithering over possibly selecting the fish tacos.   I sample his pasta, and it was downright tasty. It was labeled “three cheese bechamel”, and at least one of the fromages was on the tangier side which gave the noodles a nice bite.

And BurgerDogBoy?  I really, really DID think of ordering something else, but I got the burger, adorned with Tillamook sharp and braised pig belly ( a tasty ham-like cut).  The burger was prepared as specified with an ultra-soft yet study sesame bun, that I have sampled before on other Portland burgers, so probably a selection from one of our great artisan bakers.  Garnish included paper thin pickle chips, perhaps house-cured, slightly sweet., shredded lettuce, and “tomato jam.”  

Fries were thin and crispy.  Curiousity note:  Once again, another eatery w/o salt & pepper on the table.

Service was ‘business lunch perfunctory”, and today, that’s all we were looking for.

I’ll try them again.

Davis Street Tavern Cheeseburger

Davis Street Tavern Cheeseburger

Davis Street Tavern on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – The Crab Bowl

 
 
 

Crab Bowl, Portland, OR

Crab Bowl, Portland, OR

Finding a good burger is always a treat; finding one in the most unlikely of locations is a double delight!

Saturday Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I were out on some of the last minute holiday rounds; stop at a thrift store for ugly sweaters for the Yelp party (SCORE!), Target, and then scooting home, I suggested we delay our return in favor of lunch out. When she asked “where,” I replied “Crab Bowl” which is kind of an inside joke with us, it’s another place we have driven by thousands of times, and never stopped in.  It’s on Barbur in SW PDX.

So off to Crab Bowl we went. She pulled into a parking slot and said “is it open?” The open sign was on, but the joint was dark and devoid of any activity. I said “I’ll check,” and went to try the door, fulling expecting it to be locked. But it wasn’t. I went in, yelled “hellooooooooooooo” (in my best “Tigger’ voice), and there was no reply. There was a light on in the kitchen, so I checked that out, as well. I went to the stairwell, and started upstairs, and did the Tigger call again. A woman’s voice answered “can I help you,” and I heard her start down the stairs.

When I finally spied her, I asked if they were open, and she replied “sure, sit anywhere.”

I went to open the front door and give the OK sign to Mrs. BDB, who came in.

We sat in a booth by the window, and surveyed the room. It’s chock a block full of excess furniture, mostly in the memoralbilia genre. Old radios and such, an ancient Singer sewing machine. They are either in the process of redecorating, moving in, or moving out. There were no lights on in the dining room, and it was chilly – tho a small gas fireplace in the corner had been turned on.

The woman brought menues and took our drink order. We perused the menu and lingered for a moment over the Crab Bowl – a melange of seafood, at $25 (add $2 to share), before Mrs. BDB chose the Maryland Crab Cakes with smash, and I opted for the burger, which had some superlative attached to the description, as well as “hand-formed patty.”

The woman busied herself in the kitchen as well as making a phone call, apparently seeking some guidance in preparing our food. About ten minutes later, a car pulled up in front, and a man got out, entered the restaurant, greeted us, and said “I’ll get the lights on and get you some eat.”

Our drinks arrived, an iced tea for Mrs BDB and a fountain Diet Coke for me.

Hustle and bustle continued behind the scenes in the kitchen, it would appear to the non-informed (like me), that the cooking was to be a team effort. Either the woman was not one of the regular cooks, or we had chosen two items she didn’t know how to prep.

I’m guessing it took about 40 minutes for our food to arrive.   The man would periodically walk out and make small talk with us, mostly about the various antiques in the room.  I inquired specifically about a 1950s vintage AMI jukebox, a subject that is of interest to me.

We really had zero expectations, based on our experience so far, in the restaurant.   But guess what?  We were blown away by the prep, quality, taste, and aesthetics of the presentation.     The crab cakes were crab meaty, the real smash astonishingly creamy, and some steamed vegetables added a nice touch to Mrs. BDB’s selection.

The burger was pretty, hand-formed as promised, tasty, and smothered with Tillamook cheddar and a couple of amply thick slabs of bacon.  It was complimented by a tab of mayo, lettuce and tomatoes, a good pickle spear, a pepper, and an orange wedge rested on the plate, as well as what the menu called “English fries”, I’ve more commonly seem them called “cottage fries”, or “home fries“,  elsewhere, crisp, thick slices of whole potato.  I like cottage/home/English fries as much as tater tots, and these I dug.

The meat patty was tasty in its own right.   I liked it.  Ultimately I dug being the only customers.  In the process of writing this post, I looked at a lot of other online reviews from over the past several years, and they are certainly inconsistent.  But that follows the old adage of “opinions are like xxxholes, everybody has one.”   As do I.   One can take any experience and find ways to nitpick how it was to them, and you have certainly seen me do that as well.

But as for Crab Bowl?  I liked it.

Crab Bowl, Bacon Cheeseburger

Crab Bowl, Bacon Cheeseburger

 

Crab Bowl on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – Renner’s Grill Experiments on Us

Renner's Grill, Portland, Oregon

Renner's Grill, Portland, Oregon

Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I were invited by the affable owner of Renner’s, in Multnomah Village, to stop by and do a taste test on some new food he’s playing with.  No, it wasn’t a “blind” taste test, but I can tell you honestly, one of those came later in the night. (Inside joke).

Marshall was playing with different burger and fries recipes, and we were delighted to be his lab rats. First came two different orders of fresh cut fries, sprinkled with sea salt. One was twice-fried, (as masters say one MUST do for great fries), one was not. Both were made with Yukon gold taters. The twice-fried got two thumbs up from us, even though it took us eating two giant baskets of ‘em in their entirety to make that decision. (OK, we didn’t NEED to eat two baskets, we WANTED to). The fry intake was lubricated by one of Renner’s generous pour Lemon Drops for Mrs. BDB.

Next up, Marshall laid on the burgers, and laid them on thick. Thickburgers. 6 oz of lean ground, a fine dense grind, topped with two hefty slabs o’ cheese, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, purple onion, garlic aioli, nestled between a bakery soft, sesame-studded, grilled brioche. And with another mound o’ fries, this time from the Russet family.

I was in burger heaven. Even Mrs. BDB, who severely limits her annual burger intake (balancing me, I guess), enjoyed the mass o’ meat.

Renner’s is a great neighborhood hangout all on its own, but they are working hard to develop some new signature food items;  I’m not privy to which of these items, if any, will end up on the menu.   I’m just a lab rat, not a confidante!  So you’d best check in there 3 or 5 nites per week to see what’s up.

Tell them Mr & Mrs BurgerDogBoy sent you. That may not get you any special treatment, but it will us!

Renner's Grill, Portland, OR

Renner's Grill, Portland, OR



North Plains, OR – Rogue Brew Pub and Eatery

Rogue Brew Pub and Eatery

Rogue Brew Pub and Eatery

In the midst of elephant garlic territory (you missed the festival last week, btw), in the center of town….ok, in the center of the one block of town, sits the Rogue Brew Pub and Eatery, which i don’t believe is any relation to the Rogue Ales brewer type guys. Tho they do serve those quaffs.

This is a neighborhood bar w/o a neighborhood, out in the middle of elephant garlic heaven, Oregon. We were on our way to the coast, when hunger pains struck, but regretfully, far past the exit for the Helvetia Tavern.

So it was either grab a couple of burgers from the AM/PM mini mart, or check out this place. It was mid afternoon, so the place was empty, but that didn’t deter the waitress from popping the top on a new case of attitude, just for us.

You know what I mean, the waitress (or waiter) who rolls their eyes so hard, you think you can HEAR IT, when they say to themselves, “oh great, customers.” After delivering the menus, and taking our drink orders, she had to return a number of times to get our order, and despite being the only customers, despite repetition, despite her successfully (one assumes) passing it off to the cook, after a considerable length of time, it was at last delivered……wrong.

Fuck it, we say, let’s eat, and we did. I ordered the elephant garlic burger, a 1/3 pound food service patty adorned with elephant garlic pureed with a little basil, wine and mayo. This was plopped atop an over-sized slice of genoa salami, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and raw onion.

While the menu cautioned this burger is for “garlic lovers only,” elephant garlic is not really a member of the garlic family, closer to leeks, and thus milder in flavor. I didn’t find it entirely unpleasant, and will try and concoct same at home, but using a higher quality meat, and a harder salami. Just personal preference.

The burgers come standard with run of the mill chips, fries or rings $2.00 extra. We tried the rings, and they weren’t particularly memorable, either.

There were three of us, two burgers, one rings, two beers, one soda, one calamari, one side salad, $33, plus tip.

Kind of spendy.

I’m glad I went, so I can go “oh, pshaw,” when someone brags to me about what a good burger this place has.

It’s a good burger if you happen to be in North Plains and run out of gas or get a flat tire, maybe. Otherwise, “this isn’t the burger you are looking for, move along.”

Rogue Brew Pub Elephant Garlic Burger

Rogue Brew Pub Elephant Garlic Burger

The Rogue Brew Pub & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – Tasty n Sons

Tasty N Son PortlandPortland is big on brunch, and Tasty n Sons aims to satisfy those urges, offering a “brunch only” menu all the time (open 9-3), which is both interesting AND tasty!

Brought to us by the fine folks who gave us Toro Bravo, Tasty’s menu is so fascinating to me, I think I could eat there over and over again and not get bored. However, being that I am the “Burgerdogboy”, I was invited by Portland’s rising star attorney, William Duval, friend and counsel to small business, to have a burger at Tasty, and since this man has impeccable taste (in both burgers and friends), I took him up on the suggestion.

The burger on the menu is not described, as Portland restaurants are wont to do, lately, that is, they don’t say it’s “house ground blended blah blah.”

Nope, the menu says simply “house bacon cheeseburger with cheddar or smoke bleu,” not even mentioning where the bacon comes from (who cares, anyway?) or that the sandiwch comes with a side of incredibly tasty, fresh-cut, nicely cararmelized fries.

The menu doesn’t even describe the standard dressing, chopped lettuce,Tasty N Sons Portland “sauce”, onion, bread and butter pickles, one of the softest, sweetest burger buns you will ever encounter, and a dollop of thousand on the side.

We both requested the burgers to be medium rare, but the server cautioned us the patties were thin, and it was tough to keep them on the rare side. Nonetheless, the chef mastered whatever he had to and accomplished this on our burgers.

This is now easily in my top five of Portland burgers. I’ll have to have 6 or 13 more before I decide on its ultimate placement.

The space is ‘cavernous’ and has a number of ‘family style’ tables, and with an open kitchen, can be pretty damned loud.

But just like looking at a pretty woman, put a beautiful burger in front of my face, and I go deaf, anyway.

So thanks, Wil.lia.m, for turning me on to “one tasty burger!”

If there is a single problem with Tasty, it’s the location.  Oh, it’s not bad, but rather, it’s a few doors down from one of my other favorite Portland restaurants, “Eat- An Oyster Bar.”

Damn, folks.

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Tasty n Sons Bacon Cheeseburger

Tasty N Sons Bacon Cheeseburger



Tasty and Sons on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – Lunch at the MAC

When my colleagues said “Let’s meet for lunch at the MAC,”  I was excited.  I didn’t know what the MAC was, but I thought it might stand for “Mighty Academy of Cuisine.”   Or perhaps I didn’t hear them right, and they said “Let’s meet for lunch on the MAX,” which is the local light rail system.   But it turns out, the MAC is the Multnomah Athletic Club, a hoity-toity establishment for local blue bloods seeking fitness, companionship, or ogling.  They only open membership on occasion, and you have to be nominated to join, and pass somebody’s muster.  I only like places where the only thing  I have to pass the is the mustard.

The sign on the front door says “Private Property, Members and Guests Only, Video Surveillance on site.”  Hmmmm.   Kinda brings to mind the Groucho Marx quote, “I’d never join a club that would have someone like me as a member.”   I relate.

OK, all bullshit aside, I have been here before and it’s really nice.  The dining room is tastefully decorated in flat screen tv’s and photos of athletic type activities from days of yore.  Ambiance is accented by an aroma therapy system that pumps in the odor of locker room sweat and old gym shoes.

BUT.  We’re here for the burgers, and they don’t disappoint.  A half pound fresh ground beef, on a bakery roll, with your choice of cheese, or whatever cheese the waitress thinks you said, lettuce tomato, grilled onions,  a schmear of thousand island on the bottom bun, and a couple of bread and butter pickle chips.

Mine was cooked to my specification of medium rare, and other than the lettuce, tomato, pickle chips, and thousand island, it was superb.   I used to order burgers on these excursions “plain”, but I have taken to ordering the “special” to see what the burger they brag about it like.  OK?

Fresh cut fries accompany the sandwich, and if you want tartar sauce on the side (some do), go ahead and ask for it.  Other condiments are table-side, to your own taste.

The MAC burger is a fine one.  Thanks for lunch, Willie.  I’d say I’d be back, but then, it’s not really up to me.  ( I didn’t include a map, because if you get invited, your host will tell you where it is!)


Portland, OR – Stanich’s

You know I am loathe to go into any place that is “the best in the city,” or as Stanich’s would claim, the “Greatest Hamburger in the World.”    While I am all about places 50 years old, most times, my personal experience is that the rep they made their bones on, a couple decades ago, is long since a memory of days gone by, as owners, ingredients, methodologies have changed.

Certainly a place like Stanich’s, when they opened in the 40s, was using fresh ground beef, and the meat would have had a distinctly different taste to it than today’s institutionally prepared, hormone injected, meat patties.   Back in the day, the cook probably had a Lucky hanging from his lip, perched above his stubbled chin, as he took a fistful of ground beef, and squished out a patty in his armpit.  Or something like that. Or so I would surmise, since I wasn’t in there 50 years ago.

Nor was I in there last year, the first time I tried to visit this Portland “institution.”   They were closed for vacation.   Wish they would have told me before I drove over there.  Easy enough to put up on their website.

So I went back today, for a biz lunch, it was as convenient a location as any for the both of us, the crowd was thin at high noon, and the old bar stools worn from the posteriors of neighborhood regulars.

We both ordered “The World’s Greatest Hamburger,” which the menu describes as fresh ground chuck patty, cheese, ham, bacon, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, onions, etc.”    Turns out the “etc” was pickle chips perched in the basket.

These thin patties are griddle-fried, flipped once, not smashed, as the sesame buns toast along side of them, and a heapin’ helping of onions is sauteed next to them.  The ‘fixins’, the meat, cheese, and such,  are on the dress table to the left of the griddle.

Service can be described as ranging from “pokey” on the good side, to “can I get fed before I qualify for Medicare, please?”   And this on a slow day.

Fortunately, there are picnic tables out front for one to enjoy a rare sunny day in Portland, so the wait is made more pleasant with that.

Is it the “Greatest Hamburger in the World,” as the menu claims?  No.  Is it the “Greatest Hamburger in Portland,”  as the menu does not claim?   No.    It doesn’t even make the top 5, for me.   That’s not to say it’s not a perfectly adequate burger, and a good value for the price.

Fries come on the side for a little more dinero, they are fresh cut, unseasoned, and pleasant enough.  I did see people that had ordered the “large” fries, and that would keep a family busy for awhile.

Will I return?  Doubtful.  Not because anything was really “wrong,” but because each week, it seems, Portland has a new sexy burger to discover.

My top five?   Foster Burger has dethroned Violetta for the number one spot, Bamboo Sushi at number three, and I’ll have to muse over the other two for a day or two.

The weather is beautiful.  Lots of Portland restaurants have outdoor patios, for these few rare days the sun DOES shine.  Get out there and support the local food economy, folks.  Menu below.




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Stanich's on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – Foster Burger

Oh, you know how hesitant I am to go into someplace called “the best” anything. Foster Burger has been open a few months, lots of local raves, and today was named one of the ten best new burgers in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine.

Wow. I thought I had better get there fast, before I can’t get a seat. Hoping it’s not another Umami (Los Angeles), which was also on this list, and is absolutely dreadful.

Well, spoiler alert folks. Not only is this one of the ten best in the country, this is in the top ten, nay top three, perhaps, of the greatest burgers in history! And I don’t say that lightly. Not at all.

Foster starts with a patty of house round naturdal beef and pork backfat, placed on a slightly toasted sesame roll from the An Xuyen Bakery, which is right next door.

That’s fresh.

The offer a variety of toppings, as well burgers of the lamb and turkey variety, but I went with the “works”, the Foster Road Pile Up. Note: Cheddar (or Swiss), Applewood smoked bacon, fried farm egg, caramelized onions, pickled beet, house-made pickles, lettuce, tomato, thousand island on the side, and hell, if you want, add your own ketchup and mustard. That’s a burger!

Burgers come with your choice of fries, slaw or side salad, and I upgraded to the “Black and White” fries, hand-cut fies with Parmesan, truffle oil, and squid ink aioli. Never had black mayo? Me, neither. Have now. Will crave it now.

I could not navigate this monster topside to my piehole, so I set about bisecting, then dissecting it, in order to savor each combo individually.

Fabulous. Don’t change a thing. Even with beets, which I ordinarily loathe, the combination of crunch, soft, sweet, tangy is an experience not to be missed.

Foster Burger is only open for dinners during the week, but they add lunch weekends. What? You want to know about the service, ambiance, decor? Who cares?

The food speaks for itself.  Menu is on this site under the Menu “drop down” tab.

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Foster Burger on Urbanspoon

Hood River, OR – Charburger Country

A sunny day, driving East through Oregon’s gorge, majestic waterfalls on my left, the Columbia River on my right…..and billboards everywhere touting the wisdom and benefit of taking a lunch at Charburger Country in Hood River. Who am I to argue?

I pull off the ramp and into the parking lot, where the sign says “great food, better stop”. It must be “better” as the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet next door is suffering from a parking lot completely empty.

Charburger Country is a fairly large place, with ample seating for tour buses, it would seem. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while specializing in charburgers, it has a fairly large menu, including breakfast, and a tastefully appointed salad bar as well.

Today’s special is Chicken Fried Steak, so I am faced with the dilemma of choice. DAMMIT!

I peruse the menu of burgers, and I spot it – man, I love with some of my favorite foods are combined (except that dreaded coney island pizza in Wichita), so before me, the choice is easy: The DipBurger, a charred burger on a french roll with au jus. Fries come with it, and for some reason which I cannot fathom, I also opt for a bowl of chili.

I go with onions and cheese on the chili, of course, and the stewardess gives me the cup on a tray, and two packs of genuine Saltines, a bottle of water, and I go sit in the back room, which has large windows and is sunny. Should I have chosen to, I could have passed my time playing Keno, but the sun was glaring on the TV screen and I couldn’t have seen if I had won, anyway.

On the way to the table, I pass the burger condiment bar, chock-a-block full of tasty toppings, every kind of squirty sauce, onions, several peppers, kraut, pickles, relish, veggies, nicely filled trays, and a clean presentation. “Well, I’ll have to go back when the burger comes,” I think.

I dive into the chili and it’s very nice. It may have been doctored up out of a can, they may have made it, I don’t know, it has a nice cumin flavor, and irregular sized chunks of beef, which makes me think maybe it was made in-house. It was ladled up from a crock pot behind the register, and my only complaint (and this is an odd one from me), is it could have been a little hotter (temp). But no skimping on quality here, with real Saltines on the side, and not some poor institutional food service substitute!

My burger arrives, and I examine is from all perspectives, taste the au jus. The very obviously hand-formed patty has a nice char, is lean, and has a lather of American on it, perched on a French roll. The rest of the design is left up to me, should I choose to head back to the condiment bar.

The au jus is the standard powder or concentrated kind, which is actually fine with me, it’s what I prefer.

I dip the burger, and get a nice bite of a juice soaked bun, crispy beefy burger patty, and creamy American. Nice.   One minor carp, fries were a little undercooked.  No big deal.

It was a good choice to stop here, I’ve driven by it many times, never at the right time of day. But having been there, now I know anytime is the right time of day at Charburger Country. No website, and they did not have takeaway menus. There were business cards on the counter tho, and they list an email address of salmonfly21@yahoo.com, if you have any questions.


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Charburger Country on Urbanspoon

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