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Posts Tagged ‘portland hamburgers’

Portland, OR – Veritable Quandary

The name literally is a contradiction, “Veritable” means ‘something of certainty”, and “Quandary”  means ‘difficult to predict, or uncertainty,’  and the restaurant of the same name near Portland’s waterfront, is anything but.

VQ, as locals refer to it, was created in 1971 and for decades has consistently hammered out some of the most innovative takes on America’s regional fares while utilizing local ingredients.

The menu varies from time to time, and can be found online.

I was meeting some pals for a quick lunch, and VQ was geographically desirable to their office location(s).

One of my friends said in advance he had been jonesing for the seafood stew, a rich broth full of fish, mollusks, and shellfish.  From the smile on his face and the interruption in the conversation, I can only surmise it was delicious and I have made a note to try it next time.

And me?  Why, I went with the highly-acclaimed VQ burger, Cascade Range beef on a ciabatta that leaned towards the softer side, accompanied by some pickled vegetables, and house-cut fries.

It was cooked to my medium rare preference, and plated beautifully.

One of my companions said it was one of the best burgers in Portland, and opined he thought they put some sausage or sausage-like seasonings in the meat.   I wouldn’t disagree on his judgement, but I don’t believe the burger had any sausage (pork) in it, or the menu or waiter would have stated so.   Wait-service was great, by the way.

The beef was seasoned, and the flavor reminded me of burgers I have had in the  Caribbean, tho I cannot pinpoint the flavor for you.  It’s not strong or unplesanant at all;  I may guess that the seasoning is onion-related.

The ample meat patty was crowned with a slab of medium white cheddar, and the entire experience was on the high end of the scale.

Definitely now one of my top 5 burgers in Portland.  I shall return.   A nice hot lunch for another dreary, rainy December day in Portland.

It’s said the VQ has a great weekend brunch, and it’s within an easy hike of most downtown hotels, as well.  Brunch offerings vary,  and are surprising, like this month’s blackened catfish, or pumpkin and brie quiche!

Veritable Quandary


Veritable Quandary on Urbanspoon

Beaverton, OR – Five Guys Review

20111012-FreestyleMachine-MainIt’s funny that the second time I’d end up at Five Guys that it would be the same location that I first visited, three or four years ago.   It’s when Five Guys was still rather novel, and especially to Portland, as it was the first location  – in the SW burb of Beaverton.  I apparently was not moved enough to review it the first visit, at least I don’t see it in my archives.  I do remember a couple of things about it, 1) I thought it was spendy, and 2) you get a boatload of fries.  Oh, and free peanuts.

Nothing much has changed at the Beaverton Five Guys, except there were only three guys there.  I went with the “Little” Burger;  upon inquiring as to its weight, I confused the counter help.  Who. Couldn’t.  Help.

It’s an adequate burger and still a boatload of fries.  And still spendy.  1 burger, 1 small fries, 2 drinks, nigh onto $15.   The late Mrs Burgerdogboy and I had a better burger down the road at the Fresh Grill back in the day.  Five Guys is slow, too, no matter how busy or empty they are.

But Five Guys is a better burger than many –  certainly than McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and In N Out.  I think Steak N Shake is a better value, and prefer the taste of Fatburger patties.

I do like that Five Guys has the Coke Freestyle machine, allowing you to make crazy ass mixtures of soda.  But a word of advice, skip the Coke Zero Lime.

Five Guys Review

Five Guys Review



Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – The Sausage Shack Review

Sausage Shack Portland Food CartWas feeling a might peckish after getting dropped in downtown post high-roller biz meeting at low rent coffee shop in NE.  Was determined to head straight to Alder pod, but got dropped on Naito, and threw on the foot brakes when I walked past the Sausage Shack.

I’d heard about this sausage and bacon wonderland, but short on cash, I bypassed the tubular nutrition delivery vehicles and opted for a piping hot, made-to-order mound of chili cheese fries.  They come in your choice of shoestring or curly, and I opted for the former, as I have never cottoned up to the curly variety.

The affable attendant took my $ and said “I’ll have those for you as soon as I can,”  which I actually took as a good sign, and a hint that he was going to prepare them fresh, I wasn’t going to be getting some soggy heat-lamp aging fries.

And right I was.  It took a couple minutes, but he fried up a fresh batch, ladled on the chili, sprinkled some shredded cheese on top, stuck a fork in them and called them done.

I loved them. The fries were crisp and salty, the chili steaming and meaty (a few beans, too), and the cheese cold and ample. $4.00, and worth every farthing.

I polished them off standing at one of the “USA Today” al fresco dining tables one finds scattered around every city (nice of Gannett to put them out for us, eh?)

Perusing their menu after the fact, I know I’ll be back.  Get me some of dem bacon wrapped delights!


Sausage Shack Portland Food Cart

Chili Cheese Fries


Sausage Shack (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon


Sausage shack review

Hillsboro, OR – Rachel’s Classic Burgers

According to their Facebook page, this restaurant has now closed.  Too bad, really nice people, great heart, great food.  They deserved to succeed.

Nationwide – Wendy’s Son of Baconator

Wendy's Son of BaconatorIt’s big (yet smaller), full of bacony and beefy goodness.  It’s Wendy’s “Son of Baconator”, a smaller version (on everything except flavor!) of the popular ‘big’ baconator launched last year.

Two fresh beef patties, four strips of bacon, a buttered, toasted bun. Topped off with mayo, ketchup, and American cheese.  700 calories and 40 carbs, but lose the bun (would be a shame, but some of us must), and it weighs in at 490 calories and only 4 carbs).

As you probably know, Wendy’s has moved in to the #2 slot in the US burger hierarchy, and they deserve it, with their new offerings and innvovations.

I liked the burger, tho next time I will skip the ketchup, just not my thing.

Also got to try out the relatively new chili cheese fries, which tops W’s new natural cut fries (with sea salt) with their traditional meat chili and a gob of shredded cheese.

As far as I know, Wendy’s is the only national fast food chain offering this.  Now if we could just persuade them to offer poutine, as well!

I liked the Son of Baconator, and I’ll have it again.  The chili cheese fries?  Big enough to share!

Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries

Wendy's on Urbanspoon

Nationwide – Carl’s Jr. – The Six Dollar Something Burger

I remember when Carl’s first came out with this, the pitch was basically a “burger that tastes like it costs six dollars, but at a lower price,” or some such.  Apparently  that six dollar burger will cost you close to six dollars now, and in a small combo? Seven bux plus.

I rolled into our brand new neighborhood Carl’s Jr., today, to fortify myself for a road trip I am leaving on shortly (yes, many burgers will be consumed!).  This  gleaming structure opened a couple months ago, replacing a KFC (which we miss, actually).

The counter girl mumbled something about “Would you like to try our XXXXX six dollar burger?”  And I replied, “why yes, I think I would.”

I glanced at the menu board and ordered the Original Six Dollar Burger combo (about $7.50), which is described on the Carl’s website at charbroiled 100% Angus beef patty, two slices of melted American cheese, two slices of tomatoes, mayo, mustard, pickles, ketchup and red onions on a toasted sesame seed bun.

I was the only dining room customer.  The counter lady gave me my number and I waited – about 8 minutes.  No sweat.   Now, the difference between what I ordered and what I received?  I received the big beef patty, between toasted sourdough bread, a couple kinds of cheese, and bacon.   I know they used to offer something like that in the six dollar line, but I don’t see it on the current menu.  Whatever.

It’s pretty tasty.  Unlike the “big 3″, this patty actually tastes like beef.  It’s a shitload of calories and carbs, for sure.

Carl’s also features “natural cut fries” now (I have never figured out what “unnatural cut” would mean), and they were pretty OK.  Better than Wendy’s product of the same ilk.  They still taste similar to an extruded product to me.

Would I have it again? I think so.  But maintaining my girlish figure would require me to skip the bread and fries.   With a fork, the six dollar burger would be quite nice.  I’d like to pay less, of course.

And by the way?  100% Angus beef?  Yawn. 80% of the beef cattle in the US are Angus.   If it was 100% “Certified” Angus, that would be something to brag about.

Carl's Jr Six Dollar Burger

Carl's Jr on Urbanspoon

Nationwide – Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill

Well, I’ve officially flipped over – to dirty old man status, where leering at the waitress and hanging on her every word becomes one of the more important elements of my dining out.   At least I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m the kind of guy making the disgusting suggestive comments.

Point?  My waitress was the highlight of my visit to an Applebee’s yesterday.  Everything else is a blur. Almost.

Colleague and I stopped by for lunch, he suggested I’d like the “Cowboy Burger,”  which features a patty topped with onion strings, cheddar, bacon, and bbq sauce.

The waitress (what did you say?) overruled him and suggested I go for the Bourbon Black and Blue – with blackened seasoning, blue cheese crumbles, bourbon caramelized onions,  mushrooms, bell peppers, jack cheese, Applewood bacon, with smoky mayo.

I had her leave the vegetables in the kitchen, and the burger, in and by itself, was pretty good.  Obviously hand-formed, served to my preference when she asked “do you like it pink or not?”

The fresh toasted buns are a nice touch at Applebee’s too.   I don’t think I have been in one of their restaurants (there are about 1300 worldwide) for a couple decades, and it’s as good a choice as any in the fast casual arena.

The fries were doused with a seasoned salt, a little too much for my taste, the taters cut on the chubby side, bordering on crispy.

Service was prompt and friendly, with the burger weighing in at just over a sawbuck.

I’d go again.

Applebee's Bourbon Black & Blue Burger

Portland, OR – Guild’s Lake Inn

Guild’s Lake Inn is a diner/cafe located in the heart of NW industrial Portland. Near to the establishment I am currently spending my days at, it’s a favorite of colleagues for both a quick lunch or take out.

Guild’s prides themselves on locally-sourced artisan breads from Marsee and Grand Central, produce, as well as burger patties from Fulton Provisions.

Today was quick bite day with Portland organic garden consultant extraordinaire Sara Pool.  In case you were wondering, yes, she manages the set-up of Burgerdogboy’s annual effort at a condiment garden at home.  Almost time to plant the seeds!

I went with the bacon/blue burger @ 7.95, which comes with a side, the choices include  Homemade Pesto Pasta, Dill Macaroni, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Green Salad, Chips, or a Piece of Fruit.  Pool opted for the chicken Caesar.   The burger patty was great, the bun was over the top, and I went with the dill macaroni (cold), which I surprisingly enjoyed.

Menu and take out order forms are online.  They also do catering.

Guild Lake Inn Portland Oregon

Guild's Lake Inn on Urbanspoon

Hillsboro, OR – Rachel’s Classic Burgers

As we used to say in the news business, it’s time to rewrite the lead.  Or maybe I buried the lead in this story.  In any case, after a long talk this afternoon with Mrs. Burgerdogboy, she pointed out some things to me I should have written about.  And of course, she’s right.  She’s always right.

My first posting of this story dwelled on the obvious, the food, quality, service, décor.  But I completely missed telling you “WHY”, and I want to and need to.

In your life, you’ve probably heard as many times as I have that there can be no greater sorrow a parent can’t endure than losing a child.   From time to time, when I’ve had occasion to worry about my own daughter, and that thought has crossed my mind, well, I couldn’t imagine what I would do, or how I would survive.

In a tragic event, on a family vacation, the Powlinsons lost their precious daughter Rachel.  One thing that is sure uncertain in life is how we handle grief in any situation, and the loss of an innocent life, one’s child, is unfathomable under any circumstances.   People handle grief in all sorts of ways, some positive, some negative.  I remember when my mother passed; my father came home from the funeral and threw out all her clothes.   A talk with a minister and counselor let me know that this was OK, that people need to work through grieving in their own manner.

Some of us in this situation would shut ourselves off from the world, the rest of our family, our friends, and our community.

People with far more strength than me, like the Powlinsons, took the “opportunity” of grieving to band together as a family, to build a tribute to their Rachel, to turn sorrow into something good for their own family, and a community. You might say, “It’s just burgers and fries,” but it’s more than that.  The Powlinsons have created a family oasis, and what better way do we as Americans, have of spending quality time with our children, than sharing a simple hamburger with them?

It took my wife to point this out to me today, for me to come downstairs and rewrite this post, and urge you to celebrate our love for our children, whether they are in your own family, or a Little League team, a school debate class, Scouts, whatever, by paying tribute to the love of parents, all of us for the innocence and love that children bring into our lives.

For this reason alone, I want you to flock to Rachel’s.

I knew I admired what Dale and Rhoda had built.  But it took my wife to explain to me why I felt that way.

Now here’s the original review:

I’ve been hearing about this new place  since they opened a few months ago, and readers have encouraged me to check it out. Yesterday, I had my opportunity, as owners Dale and Rhoda invited Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I out for a lunch.

The Powlisons have been selling their burgers at the Beaverton Farmer’s market for some time, to rave reviews. They thought it was time to move into the business full time, and they took the plunge, in a neat and tidy new location in a small strip mall at 2991 SE 73rd Avenue, off TV Highway.

Some of the readers that have pushed me to get to Rachel’s have crowed about how much it is like a certain California-based chain that has an almost ‘cult-like’ following. That chain is known for their simple menu, made-to-order food, and a unique ‘off-the-menu’ ‘insiders’ way of ordering, as well.

I’ve been to that chain a number of times, and few people would argue it is the favorite of millions. Their expansion has been calculated and slow, and they don’t stray far from California.

It was Dale and Rhoda’s late daughter’s favorite fast food, and they named their restaurant as a tribute to her.

The first thing you will notice entering Rachel’s is that it is spotlessly clean. Approach the counter, and peruse the menu board, which is very straightforward and simple: single burgers, double burgers, fries, soft drinks, and shakes.

The emphasis is on hot, quality, fresh, cooked-to-order, and the prices are very reasonable.    What does quality mean to me?  Fresh ground chuck patties from Fulton Provisions;  shakes with Alpenrose ice cream;  the availability of Tillamookcheddar;  Kennebec potatoes for cut-on-the-spot fries, the very same potato the California chain uses.

Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, onions, and signature sauce, with grilled onions and pickles available upon request.  I’m rarely a fan of “special sauces”, but I liked Rachel’s a lot – it’s subtle, yet complex, was good on the sandwich and we got a bit of dip for dipping fries!

The “off the menu” ordering includes the “Chief” burger, and the “Fire Chief”; I ordered the former, which is a cheeseburger, lightly seasoned, grilled with a mustard schmear, and I absolutely loved it.

Mrs. Burgerdogboy went with the standard single, and we had fries, which are crispy outside, and soft inside, and the milkshake Mrs. BDB had was divine.  She barely left me have a taste!

In our work and lives, Mrs. BDB and I are all about supporting mom and pop enterprises, and Dale & Rhoda deserve your business, not only because they serve great product, but from the ingredient list above, you can tell they are all about supporting local businesses as well.

We loved our lunch at Rachel’s, and wish them all the success and prosperity their hard work and dedication deserves!

They are open Mon-Sat from 11A-9P.

(Ed. Disclosure:  the owners of the restaurant comped our meal).

(Update:  10/15/12 – according to their Facebook page, this restaurant has closed).


Rachel's Classic Burger on Urbanspoon

Portland, OR – C Burger Reprise

Went back to C Burger  today, on Couch, between 3rd and 4th.  If you haven’t been, it’s a door front take out burger in the back of the Couture Club.  Strictly al fresco, without seating.

I have had a great burger there before, today, I had a good burger. I ordered the Couture, at $8, with Cascade Natural Beef, applewood smoked bacon, a couple of cheeses, tomato “jam”, crispy shallots, aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion, house pickles.  Also got a small order of fries for $10.

He said it would take 8-9 minutes, and that would be on the speedy side, I realized, as I was the first (and at that point only) customer.

I walked down the street to the mini mart to get a couple other things for the new office (also on Couch!), and meandered back to wait for my burger, which was ready in the time he promised.

Went back to the office, dug out a paper plate, and some napkins, took the burger out, lifted the bun (I asked for a bun, the menu says this is an English muffin type burger), and poked around.

Hmmm, everything seems to be in order.  Except?  What?  A case of porcinus missingus.  No bacon.  Hmm, no crispy shallots either.  Oh well.

Bit into this baby, and it is surely an explosion of flavors.  Great beef, and quality condiments.  I’m usually not a ketchup guy at all, and I could have asked for no “tomato jam” and personally would have been happier.   It’s just too sweet for my personal taste, but lots of people I know rave about it.

Lots of aioli, which I love, could be stronger for me, and I love the house pickles, and should have asked for a pile more of them.  They are paper thin.

Will I be back?  Hell yes, this is a damned fine burger within spitting distance of the office.   I like to try things as the chef intended, but next time, I’ll order it to my own liking.

Hit up C Burger.  Worth the trek.


C Burger Portland

C Burger Portland


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