The Great Burger Mission: Portlandia


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
Portland, OR


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
Portland, OR

Killer Burger

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.

Killer Burger
4644 NE Sandy
Portland, OR

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.

Jax x

14 Responses to “The Great Burger Mission: Portlandia”

  1. Yummy Mummy Says:

    In my own defense – what’s a Momma gonna do if her baby is picky about her lunch box? She gives her what she will eat, right?
    As for fast food Sunday lunches – well NO ONE ever complained, did they? And anyway, KFC obsession is an Asian thing – a power way beyond me to combat. So I choose the path of least resistance: finger lickin’ sweet surrender – mm mm MMMh!

  2. Brian @ A Thought For Food Says:

    Ok ok ok… when you’re here we may have to go to Craigie on Main when you’re here because everyone says their burger is phenomenal.

  3. The Cuisinerd Says:

    This might sound ridiculous after all these tasty burgs…but do you have plans to visit an In & Out while in San Diego? Order off the menu – double double animal style.

  4. Vanessa Says:

    LOL Jax you should have seen the look Clara and I gave each other when you squealed “Root Beer!!! I forgot about Root Beer!!!” while simultaneously running toward the soda dispenser. It was epic. I dare say I’ve never before seen one so enthusiastic about root beer…

  5. Stephen Says:

    Saw your burger review (linked to from Killer Burger’s Facebook profile) and totally agree that Killer Burger is delicious. If you’re still in Portland, I’d highly recommend GrĂ¼ner, Tasty n Sons, and Little Big Burger as well (we’ve been hitting up different burger places for lunch for the last 2 months: http://substanceburgerchallenge.tumblr.com/).

  6. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie Says:

    You’ve seriously got my mouth watering after all those brilliant shots of burgers! It’s only 8AM here, but damn, those look good right about now! :-p

  7. Richelle Says:

    Amazing, a peanut butter burger sounds epic and quintossentially American. I love that you’re so compelled to try the weirdest thing on the menu. Looking forward to other weird and fantastical things you will doubtlessly try in your adventures.


    ps. remind me to ‘review’ ie. tell you about the burger place we went to the other day. Sam said they rivalled Byron…

  8. sophia Says:

    I have a mad, mad, burger craving at 12:45 a.m. Dear Lord. Aren’t burgers the best things on earth? But again, you really must come down to Los Angeles…we have all the famous burgers!

  9. Monet Says:

    Smile. Burgers are so good, and these look so great! What kind of food do you want to eat in TX? We have some great burger places…great Mexican restaurants…great BBQ…the choice is up to you! Thanks for sharing, sweet thing. Many blessings to you as the week unfolds.

  10. Christine Says:

    Yeah, what’s up with Asian being obsessed with KFC? (referring to your mom’s comment) I was too. My mom ate KFC 5 days a week when she was pregnant with me. Sunday lunch after church? KFC. Loved it, but as an adult, I decided I’ve had enough of it. Hahaha

  11. Katie! Says:

    Burger mission? Ahem. Native Portlander with a love of dead cows? Right here. If you ever find yourself on our shores again, I’m dragging you to Blue Hour. They have nummy nummy burgers and also homemade pretzels that are made of mouthgasms. Yum.

    Also? Punch Captain Planet in the face for me. Jerk.

  12. Jackie Says:

    Brian – woohoo! BURGERS!

    Cuisinerd – I’ve never had an In ‘N Out, it shall now by my mission!

    Stephen – thanks for swinging by, next time I’m back in Portland I’ll be hitting up your site for recommendations!

    Richelle – exciting! You’ll have to tell me about it and take me there when I get back ;)

    Monet – oooh, so much choice! Well, BBQ is a must, right? But yes, let’s find me a good burger, too! THE BEST!

    Christine – haha, it’s bizarre, right? I think it’s just an overall obsession with chicken. I’m done with it for now but could always be convinced…

    Katie – BAM! Right in the kisser! ;)

    Jax x

  13. Reeni Says:

    I have been on the search for that ‘elusive’ best burger too! Haven’t found it yet. I’m glad the peanut butter burger won – I saw Guy Fieri eat one and he didn’t like it. Since then my Dad and I both wanted to give it a try. Now I’m not so scared!

  14. Rachel Says:

    Oh, I am craving burgers & fries now after seeing this post! I found your site from a mutual foodie friend and am loving it! What a cute design and great photos! It sounds like you had an amazing trip to the U.S. and got to enjoy a lot of tasty treats. :)

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