The ‘Teemah’ at Killer Burger, NE Sandy Blvd.
We interrupt this regular travel update series to bring you a feature on that great American classic: the burger!
I love burgers. When I was a wee thing and had to take packed lunches into school Momma Lee would sometimes give me a Cheeseburger or Filet O’Fish from Macdonald’s – I kid you not. Every Sunday we would gather around the table to feast on Burger King or Macdonald’s – the burger culture was engrained within me from a young age. It was a real treat and a half… but there was always something missing about these burgers. They were limp… too onion-y, too processed. After a time we moved on to KFC for Sunday lunch (God we were a healthy family) and burgers became a thing of the past, and now… well now I don’t eat them all that often, if ever.
You see, having been over to the Burger Dark Side, a good burger has become a thing of legend and lore. I’ve tried many, believe me, but a good burger? It doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. So I decided that whilst travelling through Amurika, as I like to call her, I had to start my own little mission: The Great Burger Mission, one to find the best burger possible in every State I visit in the US.
Now I know, it’s a guaranteed way for me to return to the UK as big as a house, and that is why whilst on this journey I will not necessarily eat the whole burger (unless it’s so damn tasty it leaps into my mouth), and I’ll also endeavour to live as healthily as possible otherwise. So grant me this indulgence as the search begins in Portland OR!
Burgerville is so very Portland. Or maybe so very Oregon. At least so very Pacific North-West. It’s a fast food chain that prides itself on good local ingredients and, let’s be honest, if I’m going to eat at a fast food burger joint, I want it to be as good as possible. I went to the branch by the Lloyd Centre in NE Portland and had the Tilamook Cheese Burger (of course) basket, with fries and a root beer (I adore root beer in so many unhealthy and unnatural ways; you cannot find good root beer in the UK!).
But why should I include a chain in my search? Well, you’ve gotta have a control, right? And hey, as far as chains go, this one ain’t all that bad.
435 NE Wasco St
A couple of friends had recommended Violetta to me for two reasons: firstly they apparently did great burgers with local and organic ingredients, and secondly they had made the transition from food cart to actual establishment but in doing so had only moved maybe fifteen feet from where their cart used to be. Sold. I headed down there with a friend where we shared their signature Violetta Burger (burger patty with ‘burger sauce’, lettuce, red onion, pickle and their “ten hour tomatoes”) and a portion of their white truffle fries.
The burger was decent – the “ten hour tomatoes” really made it – but the fries? Oh my goodness, the fries. I can’t even describe how wonderful they were – each bite felt like a thousand white truffles were exploding all over my tastebuds. It was beautiful. I hear their Turkey Burger is great, so you should try that, but next time I’m down this way I’m ordering a huge portion of the fries and dying a very happy lady. If burgers aren’t your thing they also have chef’s specials, sandwiches, soups, chilli and a whole host of local beers. No wonder they transitioned well!
877 SW Taylor
A new friend had suggested that I try out Killer Burger in NE Portland for a mind-blowing burger. I was somewhat dubious – ‘mind-blowing’ is an adjective you shouldn’t use lightly – but he guaranteed that I’d love it so I decided to give it a shot.
Already heaving when we arrived, we browsed the chalkboard menu mounted from the ceiling with some trepidation – ‘The Marine’ specifically suggested that you do not order it (oo-er). All the combinations were clearly well thought-through but I could only see one that I wanted to try: the ‘Peanut Butter Pickle Bacon’. This is me, we’re talking about, how could I not order the strangest thing on the menu?! We hopped up to the counter, I for my PB burger and my girl friend Clara for the ‘Teemah’ (blue cheese) burger. Both came with fries, bacon (though mine already had bacon, and we all know how I feel about bacon), smokey house sauce, grilled onion and sliced dill pickle. It definitely helped that our server was incredibly cute to boot, but at the same time made me feel a bit self-conscious ordering the peanut butter burger…
It took a bit of time to arrive (which I forgive them for as they were very busy and everything was made fresh) but when my burger came it truly was a thing of beauty. Wrapped lovingly in a paper blanket atop steaming fries, the peanut butter and house sauce oozed out from the lightly toasted bun seductively, begging me to take a bite. So I did. And then another. And another. The burger was, without a doubt, total perfection. I have never eaten such a messy, delicious, juicy, sweet, tangy burger – love at first bite.
I finished the entire thing with much eye-rolling pleasure, ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s, leaving only a few fries at the bottom of my basket (which were a tad too salty for me, but still very pleasant). Clara loved her blue cheese burger, too, and vowed to return to try more of their menu. I made the same promise… but for me it’ll have to be later rather than sooner. See you next year, Killer Burger.
4644 NE Sandy
And so there we have it! My best burger in Portland was from Killer Burger! If you’re in town I insist that you head on over, give them a try and tell them I sent you – they’re far too good to be missed out.
So beloved PB Burger, let’s see how you stand up against the rest of Amurika… Until next time, peace and love.