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Archive for the ‘Burgers’ Category

Last Saturday evening, my family and I were on our way to Green Lake and decided to grab a bite at Uneeda Burger. For years, I’ve always seen this place brought up in “best burger” discussions, and finally decided to check it out for myself. Located on Fremont Ave N, Uneeda Burger is a casual restaurant with a nice sized patio and open walls, that make it a perfect spot for a summertime meal. It was a packed house when we arrived and as we  stood in line, the warm and welcoming vibes were palpable. We were fortunate to have a party finish their meals as we were scanning for a table and gladly took theirs. It is a self-seating establishment so during rush hours, expect a short wait for a table, or to share one with a friendly stranger.

 

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

off fremont ave n. & 43rd

place your orders

place your orders

 

The Food:

 

 

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

#6: monsieur $9 & onion rings $3.25

Note: All their burgers are listed as 1/3+ lb. beef patties made with all-natural painted hills beef. I decided to order the Monsieur, which included black forest ham, dijon-mayo, gruyere and truffled shoestring potatoes. To my surprise, this burger was served between two slices of potato bread. It almost looked like a patty melt upon first glance with a perfectly buttered & golden-brown crust atop each piece. The burger patty was well seasoned, juicy, and cooked to a perfect medium. The ham added an additional savory element to each bite. I also really enjoyed their dijon-mayo which provided a subtle enough kick to let you know it’s there, but did not overpower. Unfortunately, the shoestring potatoes didn’t add anything for me – they were lost in the burger and I could have done without them. Also, the gruyere wasn’t as melted as I would have preferred – maybe if it would have gone onto the burger sooner? I did love their onion rings though, which were thick-cut, generously battered and fried to perfection. The first time Cherry saw them, she asked, “You got donuts?!” The onions also did a great job holding fast after each bite. They didn’t all come out  with the first like some lesser quality onion rings.

 

My Conclusion:

 We had an excellent meal. The food was delicious and despite being a busy Saturday evening, they were able to push the food out quickly. The staff were all extremely friendly and did an awesome job making sure tables were cleaned and dirty dish bins were clear (you bus your own table). Uneeda Burger is a great family restaurant as well, with plenty of strollers and kids throughout. My only regret is not having a big enough appetite to sample more food but we will definitely be back! I’ll update this post as I add more of their offerings into my belly.

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After a long afternoon meandering through the Oregon Zoo in 95 degree heat, we sluggishly made it to Brunch Box to refuel and rehydrate.  Originally a food cart, Brunch Box is now small brick and mortar on SW 9th Ave between Alder and Morrison. Upon entering, I immediately noticed their huge menu above the front counter and a few tables along the wall. We were greeted by the woman behind the counter, then grabbed a few menus off the counter and sat down. After a few minutes looking over the menu, I placed our order at the counter.

 

entrance off sw 9th

entrance off sw 9th

order when ready

order when ready

 

burger royalty

burger royalty

 

 

The Food:

 

 

youcanhascheeseburger $8.5

youcanhascheeseburger $8.5

Initially reading the description, this burger seems like your typical backyard bbq burger; ¼ beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, ketchup, mustard & mayo. Not so bad, right?! Oh, all those basics were nicely nestled between two texas toast grilled cheeses sandwiches! From the small bite I sampled, everything came together as you’d expect. The beef patty was well cooked while rich gooey American cheese filled every bite. I especially enjoyed the texas toast, which was toasted perfectly and had necessary strength to hold everything together.

 

omg $12.5

omg $12.5

I ordered a burger named OMG, and rightfully so. Besides the basics, it also came topped with bacon, ham, spam and a fried egg. I made the mistake in taking the burger out of the wrapper, because as soon as I took my first bite, both top and bottom buns pretty much disintegrated – like a wet tissue against a boulder.  As the ingredients started falling out and with mustard running down my fingers, I contemplated finishing with a fork. I had to put the burger down and re-strategize my approach. Watching in my struggles, Cherry made the suggestion, “Why not just wrap it back up?!”  Genius!  So I wrapped what was still left back in the wrapper and used it as my burger blanket. Despite the disappointing bun, everything inside was solid. The bacon was thick and crispy, the egg added a nice creamy flavor and the spam added an extra savory and salty kick that was delicious. Unfortunately, the ham got lost amongst everything else.

 

 

My Conclusion:

Brunch Box definitely appeals to those who aren’t afraid to get a little messy.  Despite being enormous, these burgers are tasty and well made. I didn’t realize it until I was done with my meal, but you can substitute the burger bun with texas toast at no additional charge, which may be a better option for some of the bigger and messier burgers.  They also allow you to substitute your beef patty for a turkey, fried chicken or veggie patty. If the monstrosities described above frighten you, never fear, there are more modest selections to choose from too.

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The other night Cherry and I went to pick up our finished pieces from a “blow your own glass” spot in downtown Renton. As we were walking back to the car we were hungry and spotted this newer looking building standing out against the much older buildings nearby. Sitting on 4th Ave S between Williams and Wells, Whistle Stop Ale House is a locally owned and operated neighborhood pub serving American style foods accompanied with a nice selection of European beers and local microbrews. The first thing I noticed walking in, were the vintage bicycles hanging from the ceiling and the large old-fashioned wooden bar. There’s also a little wall separating the bar from the rest of the restaurant lined with old bar taps across the top. We were greeted when we entered and immediately seated. Before you read any further, I apologize for some quality of the pictures, I had to work with my cell phone camera which couldn’t handle the dim lighting too well.

whistlestop.entrance

entrance from 4th ave s.

whistlestop.bike

decor

whistlestop.bar

bar

The Food:

whistlestop.pestobread

toasted pesto bread: baguette topped with basil-pesto, tomato, red onion and melted provolone $6.99

Very simple but tasty appetizer. The 6 slices of baguette, which had a nice crunch, were stacked upright on a huge bed of mixed greens – like how you stack logs before a bonfire. The cheese was nicely melted and the pesto wasn’t overpowering. The onion and tomato added nice countering flavors each bite. The amount of greens they used under the bread was enough to be a full dinner salad! I should’ve asked for a side of dressing 😉

whistlestop.burgerdejuor

burger de jour: 1/3 lb. misty isle natural angus beef, roasted red peppers, crispy onion fries, provolone lettuce, tomato $10.99

The open-faced presentation was appealing in that it allows you to see everything inside the burger. The burger tasted fresh and clean but lacked seasoning. The seasoning it lacked however, was compensated by the onion fries which were crispy and salty and roasted red peppers which had some spice. The burger didn’t need ketchup or any sauce for that matter because of how moist the red peppers were. The provolone was also perfectly melted and blended everything together nicely. Aside from having a nice crunch, the fries were average.

whistlestop.windorstation

windsor station: 1/3 misty isle natural angus beef, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, *honey smoke bacon $ 10.49

The Windsor Station is your quintessential cheeseburger. It normally costs $7.99, but I splurged and paid an extra $2.50 to make it a bacon cheeseburger. The honey smoked bacon was thick cut, very flavorful and the burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare.  The cheddar cheese was nicely melted and everything else came together like a solid burger should. Normally a good thing, the burger buns were a little too soft for my liking for both Cherry and my burger. The mere lifting of the burger in my hands caused major imprints in the buns and I worried they’d begin to fall apart. I was able to finish the burger without the bun falling apart but it did require a the delicate handling of a professional.

My conclusion:

The Whistle Stop Ale House is a fun and family friendly pub that offers good local food and a beer selection that will please the masses. The best part of this visit was actually on our way out. I struck up a conversation with the restaurant owner, Jeff, who happens to be an awesome guy! He gave us a little background of how he got started and even offered a handful of recommendations for other mom & pop restaurants in the downtown Renton area. It’s always a gratifying feeling for me, when supporting the local businesses – us lil’ people gotta stick together! If you’re at all interested in finding out where else to eat in Renton (aside from Whistle Stop), then come by and ask Jeff yourself!

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I’m finally gonna share this lil’ gem of a burger joint that I’ve proudly proclaimed as my numero uno burger spot: Li’l Woody’s. Sittin’ in Capitol Hill off E. Pine and Minor, Li’l Woody’s is a small independently owned burger spot serving delectable burgers using hand formed Painted Hills ground beef. As you step through the wood-framed glass door, you’ll notice their menu on the right wall. Ahead you see a small ordering counter followed by the the kitchen/grill area. On the adjacent wall, there are two soda coolers offering various bottled sodas. There is a small dining area atop the stairs and even fewer seating on the ground floor.

lilwoody.entrance

entrance off e pine

lilwoody.menu

lilwoody.menu2

menu

IMG_0389

order/pick up counter & kitchen

The Food:

lilwoody.fries

basket of fries $3.5

These hand-cut fries remind me of the kind you get at Dick’s – minus the oil seaping through the paper bag. They’re crispy, well seasoned, freshly made and tasty. For a little extra, you can get them topped with homemade queso sauce or with a side of Molly Moon’s milkshake for dipping… aka crack.

lilwoody.goodmornin

good mornin’ woody: 2 eggs, hills bacon, tomato, tillamook cheddar , rooster mayo $4.5

Despite being a “breakfast” sandwich, the good mornin’ woody is very hearty.  It’s essentially a complete breafast meal between two buns. The bacon was thick cut and crispy while the gooey cheddar melted over the egg. The tomato adds a nice flavor contrast and the rooster mayo (spicy mayo) had the adequate heat to wake those taste buds – acting like the hot sauce you pour atop your eggs.

lilwoody.lilwoody

li’l woody: 1/4 lb. burger, tillamook cheddar, chopped onions, pickles, ketchup, mayo $4.5

Cherry normally goes with the Li’l Woody and rightfully so. The one thing that always stands out with Li’l Woody’s, and a main reason why they’re my top, is quality of their beef. I’ve had several off their signature burgers and each and every one has been fresh, flavorful and juicy. In these cases, juicy does not mean greasy. That being said, the cheddar cheese is perfectly melted while the onions and pickle add both texture and countering sharp and pickled flavors. It’s a perfect burger for those who prefer a more classic cheeseburger.

lilwoody.picnic1

 lilwoody.picnic2

picnic burger (burger of the week): potato chips, pepperoncini, cheddar, coleslaw, ranch $8.5

Li’l Woody’s has a rotating burger of the week menu that’s usually creative and a li’l out there… and this week just so happened to be the picnic burger. I actually had to read the menu twice just to make sure I was reading it correct: coleslaw and potato chips in a burger?! The friendly woman behind the counter assured me it was “delicious” and highly recommended it. When they called my name for my order, I was expecting to see a sloppy stack of ingredients between two buns itchin’ to be an accident on someone’s shirt or pants. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this burger was cleanly made. I did however, have to excersize the  hand press technique to be able to fit everything in one bite. The first thing I noticed was the crunch of the potato chips and then a bright mild spice of the pepperoncini. Adding to this picnic, was the cool crunch of the coleslaw. The ranch provided a creamy flavor, while unfortunately, the cheddar was someone lost in the shuffle. A second reason why Li’l Woody’s is on top is their buns – which seem like potato buns to me. In an article in Seattle Weekly, owner Marcus Lalario would only share that their buns come from Tacoma. Wherever they come from, they’re always very delicious, soft and stable enough to keep from falling apart.

My Conclusion:

You know that feeling you get when you stumble across something great and want to share it with everyone so they can experience it too… but at the same time, feel torn to because you want to keep it all for yourself?  That’s how I am about Li’l Woody’s… hence, why it’s taken me so long to write this review.  Everything on their menu is delicious and highly satisfying. If you’re one that doesn’t partake in the eating of meat, don’t shy away – they also offer a black bean burger, which I haven’t tried personally but I’m sure won’t dissapoint. I’m sure there are countless arugments of who has the best burger in Seattle, however Li’l Woody’s sits atop that category for me… and frankly, anyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter 🙂

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Ask any Seattleite where to find a great burger, and I bet  9 out of 10 people will mention Red Mill Burgers. Opening its doors 1937 (originally on Capitol Hill), Red Mill’s has been a local favorite for over 75 years! They currently have three locations; Phinney Ridge, Interbay and the Totem House . The Interbay location has a combination of old 50’s drive-in and modern decorations. There’s a large menu board above the counter and several booths to sit at. The service is friendly and their burgers are a perennial contender for Seattle Weekly’s  “Best Burger.”

redmill.muralmural outside

 

redmill.entrancemain entrance

 

redmill.counter ordering counter

 

redmill.decor retro decor

 

 

The Food:

 

 redmill.cheeseburgercheeseburger: american cheese, lettuce, mill sauce $4.09

 

redmill.grease just lil’ something extra for those arteries

Cherry went with the classic cheeseburger. Everything came together like a traditional cheeseburger should, but nothing stood out… nothing made it shine among others. The cheese was melted nicely and the meat tasted fresh, but the patty was extremely greasy! By the time cherry was done with her burger, there was a puddle or dark oil that accumulated and even a large section that saturated through the wrapper!

 

 redmill.bluecheesebleu cheese & bacon burger: crumbled bleu cheese, pepper bacon,
lettuce, tomato, mill sauce  $6.79

Opting for something higher in the calorie count, I went with the bleu cheese and bacon burger. I immediately noticed the two large pieces or pepper bacon protruding from the bun. The bacon was crispy, flavorful, and went well the sharp and salty bleu cheese. All the vegetables added a nice freshness to the bite as well. T’was a tasty burger, but nothing blew me away. The side of fries, which will put you back $2.09, came, hot, crispy and seasoned.

My Conclusion:

Red Mill Burgers offers a classic burger with a small selection for those looking for something other than cheese and bacon. I know I am in the extremely small minority when I say, Red Mill Burger is overrated! If you read anything related to Seattle and burgers, you will undoubtedly find Red Mill at the top… however after three visits, I’d beg to differ. Call me blasphemous, but I tell it like see it…or in this case, like I taste it.

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Located on the corner of 1st and Bell in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Local 360 is a very nice spot for a fresh and hearty meal. The unique thing about this restaurant is that all of their food is sustainable and the majority of it is sourced locally, within 360-miles of Seattle. The interior is quaintly decorated with the wood tables, seats and walls providing a farmhouse sense for guests.

 

anyone speak french?

 

a little wax

 

menu

 

 

The Food:

 

raw oysters $3/each

Only three words to describe these; fresh, clean, delicious! Raw oysters fit perfectly in my foodie philosophy: simplicity is key. The vinaigrette was slightly overpowering for my taste, but still delicious nonetheless.

 

wood grilled pork chop, potato hash, apple gastrique $18

When this dish was served on our table, an immediate smile grew across my face. 360 serves two full chops  that looked like a club Fred Flintstone would swing in his day. These chops were perfectly cooked with a good char and extremely tender. I especially enjoyed the chopped green apples that they cooked with the potato hash, which provided a countering tartness to the savory potatoes. The gastrique sauce, which is a caramelized sugar deglazed with vinegar, had a very rich and sweet flavor – almost like an apple cider glaze. One major critique I did have with this dish was that the pork was way too salty. I love savory flavors, but the saltiness of the meat overpowered this dish and I found myself trying to scrape every last drop of the gastrique sauce on each piece of pork to cut through it. 

 

butcher’s grindhouse burger with cheese & bacon $15

I find myself in an oxymoronic state describing the flavors of the burger as, clean yet full of flavor. Flavorful burgers tend to be associated with a greasy and/or patties with a higher fat contect. Local 360 proves that notion wrong with their grindhouse burger. The meat tastes extremely clean but at the same time you don’t forget you’re eating a burger… if that makes any sense. The rest of the ingredients all contributed to provide one of the better burgers I’ve ever tasted. The bacon was thick, crispy and carried smoky flavor while the cheese contributed a nice richness. The french fries were well cooked and perfectly seasoned with salt. There’s a certain comfort knowing that everything you’re eating is fresh, local and hormone free. Having tasted such an awesome burger here, it will be extremely tough to ever go back to a fast-food burger chain… It’d be like having the best steak you’ve ever had for lunch, then having a frozen dinner steak for dinner.

My Conclusion:

In my book, Local 360’s stock just made a significant jump. The food is prepared well, locally and sustainably sourced, and the prices are very reasonable. Cherry and I are going to add this restaurants to our list of places to revisit and rightly so, since her job is literally across the street! On a related note,  Seattle Restaurant Week is currently in full effect and Local 360 happens to be one of the participating restaurants. You can find their Restaurant Week Menu here.

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Cherry and I finally made it! Located in the Georgetown neighborhood of South Seattle, Katsu Burger specializes in Japanese influenced Katsu-style burgers. For anyone unfamiliar with the term katsu, it essentially means breaded and deep-fried. Traditionally, you can find tonkatsu (deep-fried and breaded pork cutlet) at Teriyaki restaurants and chicken katsu (chicken instead of pork) at Hawaiian restaurants. But what the heck is a katsu burger?! Exactly like it sounds, a breaded and deep-fried beef patty between two buns with a variety of Japanese influenced ingredients. I know… gluttony incarnate. Meats used here, are growth hormone and antibiotic free and their beef patties are all hand formed. It is a fairly small restaurant only seating about 20-people comfortably. The walls are brightly painted with Japanese-themed art and a large World map where visitors can pin where they’re from.

  

environmentally conscious!

The Food:

nori fries with wasabi mayo & miso honey mustard sauces

The nori (dried & seasoned seaweed) fries were a refreshing alternative to traditional salted fries. Seasoned nori has a nice balance of sweet and savory flavor, and atop the crispy fries, worked great. I personally love wasabi, but for those unfamiliar with the flavor, it is very similar to horseradish or Chinese hot mustard. So too much can definitely get your eyes watering! The wasabi mayo was well made – it carried a good strong flavor and was countered well by the mayo. Cherry’s favorite dipping sauce is honey mustard, so naturally she gravitated towards the miso honey mustard. The sauce had a very subtle miso undertone and overall was fairly sweet.

godzilla attack: fried beef patty, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, spicy mayo & tonkatsu sauce

This burger was a behemoth! I mean just look at the picture!! Lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles also added to the party, to provide a tower of goodness.  Cherry had to exercise the “hand smash” technique in order to fit a bite in. The first thing I noticed when biting in, was the spice. Since the jalapeños were layered on the bottom with the spicy mayo beneath the patty, you feel an immediate kick. The next thing I noticed was the beef patty. I don’t think meager is in Katsu Burger’s dictionary, because under the bun was a huge (what seemed like half-pound) beef patty that was breaded and deep-fried. I don’t know how they managed to stack everything between the two buns without requiring rebar throughout! The tonkatsu sauce, which in my opinion tastes somewhere between a tangy BBQ sauce and a sweet and sour sauce works well. You get a soft sweetness to each bite that isn’t as bright and tart as ketchup. Katsu burger was smart in adding this sauce to help offset the heat that comes with the jalapeños and spicy mayo. The one thing I would say about this burger, is that the katsu-style patty doesn’t work for me. Ground beef doesn’t hold the crunch very well and the breading lost it’s texture halfway through the burger. By the end, its texture was like a regular patty.

ninja deluxe:  fried pork cutlet, cheddar, bacon, japanese mayo & tonkatsu sauce

I love Ninjas! When I was little, I wanted to be one when I got older…  it’s still a possibility… So when it came to ordering, I had to go with the Ninja Deluxe burger! I feel this burger is a great example of American/Japanese Fusion.  Everything that that is loved about a bacon cheeseburger fused with the deep fried goodness of tonkatsu.  Katsu Burger really hit it outta the park with this one – the tonkatsu was fried perfectly with a dark golden brown color and a crunch that could be heard at the next table. The Japanese mayo added a nice creamy texture to everything and the tonkatsu sauce was perfect in blending everything together. Unlike the beef patty, the pork cutlet maintains great crunch and texture through the last bite. Unfortunately, the bacon, although present, was lost in translation. Writing this, I am surprised in not remembering the bacon flavor! I guess this is a great example of fighting fire with fire. Bacon, a normally with a strong flavored ingredient was unfortunately overtaken the only other force worthy and powerful enough to do so – deep-fried pork cutlet.

 

no names, just pictures

 

My Conclusion:

Off the beaten path and in an industrial part of the city, is the small and uniquely Seattle, Katsu Burger. If meat is not you’re cup of tea, tofu is also offered as an alternative. One thing that was nice to see here is that they will substitute any type of meat/tofu in any of their burgers at no charge. Aside from beef, pork, and tofu, chicken is also offered as an option. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find places that offer free substitutions. Also offered here, are uniquely flavored hand-dipped shakes. The special flavror at the time was green tea & pineapple. One word to describe it – amazing!  Despite the the katsu beef losing it’s crunch and lack of bacon flavor, I can easily overlook all that due to the overall impression Katsu Burger has made on my taste buds and my stomach. They are officially jumping into the #2 spot of my Toppings! The only thing keeping me making Katsu Burger part of my daily routine is my cholesterol level!

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