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Posts Tagged ‘Chili Fries’

Portland, OR – Bird Dog Review

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The “Bird Dog” name doesn’t come from any of the conventional or urban slang definitions of that phrase, but rather, one would imagine, as an homage to the cafe’s signature dish moniker, a hot dog prepared in the way occasionally people are used to hearing a different cut of meat prepared in some parts of the country.

The “Bird Dog”, is a “chicken-fried” hot dog, smothered in a rich, creamy sausage-laden gravy. It’s hard (for me) to imagine a more creative mash-up of some of my favorite foods.

The joint offers a wide variety of hot dog, burger, and sausage preparations, which increases in size with the addition of unique one-offs as daily specials.

Sausages are made in-house, hot dogs are 100% Carlton Farms pork, and the burgers Silvies Valley Ranch grass fed beef, no hormones or antibiotics.

The quality and care in prep shows throughout.

I’d been meaning to get to Bird Dog for some time, and had the opportunity when I was in their part of town around lunch time the other day.

I wanted to try a variety of things, including the signature dish, a side of chili cheese fries, and, having relocated to Portland from New Orleans, I was intrigued that they had a “muffaletta” dog, a tribute to the signature classic sandwich of New Orleans.

As I was already deep into committing to one hot dog with the Bird Dog selection, I asked that they prepare a plain burger patty with the olive tapenade from a muffaletta and a slice of provolone;  they happily agreed to my non-menu request.

The Bird Dog is an ample pork hot dog, immersed in a corn-meal and other flour batter, and deep fried, to produce a crispy coating; placed on an oversized, ample bun, with a generous topping of pork sausage gravy, all on its own, it’s a very satisfying and filling meal.  The ‘tubular nutritional delivery vehicle’ is a tasty frank, mild in seasoning, and the sausage gravy is some of the best I’ve had in Portland, creamy, no hint of a floury taste, with nice chunks of sausage throughout.

The burger patty was massive, hovering between 1/3 and 1/2 pound, I would imagine, obviously hand-formed, and the olive salad I asked for, spot on reminiscent of the New Orleans recipe.  A bakery-soft, but sturdy, toasted bun cradled the patty.

My side of chili cheese fries was notable, also one of my clear favorites in Portland.  A “hot dog” style chili, very meaty, good flavor, no beans, burying a mound of crispy shoe strings.

Dining in, you have access to a wide selection of toppings you can add yourself, from a pickled vegetable bar to a host of mustards and sauces.   Bird Dog’s website says all of the side dishes are made in house, and I imagine the toppings are as well.

This is a place, that if it was closer to my work, I’d hit all to frequently.  I’d like to try a number of their house made sausages, and might opt for the sausage sampler plate in the future.

Or a chicken fried burger?  Mac n Cheese dog?  Cuban?   They also offer their take on the Sonoran Dog, a regional favorite from the Southwest.

Too many choices of too many good things.

Perfect for Burgerdogboy, and you.

Bird Dog is snuggled  amidst a couple of long time hot dog competitors on East Hawthorne,  so now you have a choice of the old timey guys that wrest on their laurels and rep, or some bright, innovative, quality cuisine that dazzles.

I say the choice is obvious.

Bird Dog Portland Oregon

 

Bird Dog on Urbanspoon

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Chili Fries Round Up

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I’ve been in a chili fries state of mind, lately, odd for me, usually it’s a twice a year kinda treat thing, but lately I’ve been imbibing every time they show up on a menu.   First time in this round was in Ukiah, CA, late at night on the current version of this road trip, which started a month ago, and has continued with a couple of brief hiatuses in the middle.

At Be Bops Diner, the chili was hot, meaty, the onions fresh and crispy, and the cheese bountiful.  I’m not usually a cheese guy on chili fries, tho I love it, a girl has to watch her figure!

The next stop was Boulevard Burgers in Woodland Hills, CA.  This was a food service type chili, the one that has that undertone of cinnamon, as I have mentioned so often, this is a popular food service offering, but I am not sure who it belongs too.  I’m starting to think it is from Vienna Beef.   It’s a good one, but I’d like it jazzed up a bit, and no, I am not sure what that means.

On to Jack’s Classic Hamburgers in North Hollywood, where they goofed a little, and gave me the chili on the burger, instead of the fries.  I had to do a little self-service relocation on that one, but fortunately, the chili on the burger was ample, so there was plenty to adjust.   I won’t make you suffer through the pix of that ordeal, it wasn’t pretty in the end!

Johnnie’s Pastrami in Culver City, Cailfornia, served up a nice order, again, I think this was Vienna’s product, but this might have been jazzed up a little.  It was the perfect accompaniment for the famous Pastrami dip.  I do love freshly diced white onions as my topping of choice!

Then it was on to the I-15 trek from Los Angeles to Vegas, and stopping at Original Tommy’s in Barstow, just for a side of their chili fries, on my way to lunch, needed a little something to tide me over.   Their presentation is usually a little prettier than this, I take responsibility for dumping them over in the sack and trying to make it good again on my own.  I failed, obviously, at the aesthetics, but won during the consumption round!

On my recent trips, by far my favorite chili, was the little local hot spot in Tulsa, Ron’s,  where not only the fries, but the burgers, are buried under pounds of deliciously meaty, mildly spicy chili!  Yep, there is a burger under there somewhere!

Chili fries.  It’s what’s for dinner.


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Southern California – Original Tommy’s

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Last time I wrote about Original Tommy’s, I compared it somewhat to “Original Ray’s” pizza in NYC. Lots of folks put “Ray’s” in the name of their pizzerias in NY, lots of folks put “Tommy’s” or some variation of it, in the name of their burger joints in SoCal. There is the “original” Original; just plain Tommy’s; Tom’s Thom’s: Thoma’s”, and on. Accept no substitute, only the “original” Original Tommy’s will do. You know it’s them if they have a pic of their original stand in the logo!

They’re everywhere, it seems. (see location map). Lucky for me, cause I was a might hungry on the way to lunch, and a small order of Original Tommy’s chili fries is just what the doctor ordered. (Actually, my doctor would be horrified, but my lawyer – that’s a different story!)

Now in its seventh decade, Original Tommy’s is the go-to place for burgers, dogs, and fries, smothered in their delicious, original recipe of chili!


Tommy's Original World Famous Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

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Los Angeles, CA – Boulevard Burgers

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Sometimes, the very best burgers you can find are what I call “proximity burgers.” It’s like the woman who says “I’m not looking for Mr. Right, I’m looking for Mr. Right Now!” Such is the case with proximity burgers, the path of least resistance, the closest burger you can find (that’s not fast food), or in the case of today, a burger that one can stagger to and from near one’s hotel room.

Boulevard Burger has been around as long as I can remember driving around this neighborhood, which means at least 20 years.

The grill woman today was a trainee, a former resident of Portland and other environs, who kept peppering her co-worker for instructions.

I went with the standard bacon cheeseburger, with pickles, onion, mustard, and a side of chili cheese fries, w/o the cheese (a girl has to watch her figure!)

The burger was a standard food service frozen patty, and I’d venture a guess that most of the food in the joint was similarly supplied.

I’ve had the same cinnamon tinged beanless chili in a hundred locations, you can make whatever jokes about the appearance that you want, you can be sure I did.

The burger was fine, charred on a grill. Boulevard takes a hint from IN N OUT, and piles on fresh cut condiments. This was definitely a “mustard-pickle-ONION” burger, and I couldn’t finish it, nor the fries.

Glad I stopped by. Nice people, do a brisk business, and a menu that includes a few other sandwiches and breakfast items.




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Boulevard Burgers on Urbanspoon

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