DAY 3-5: BURGERLESS IN THE BIG APPLE
Day 3: I wake in a fit of meat sweats. Only two days of Burger Week passed, and I already felt defeated. Instead of continuing on my journey, I must board a plane for New York. It hurts to leave so many great burgers behind, uneaten and unknown.
Our flight is delayed. I look to see if there are any burgers nearby the Portland airport. Just when I spot a potential option, the burger gods spite me, and we’re told to stay at the gate. Another one bites the dust…
We arrive late, and only have time to grab a quick bite at the hotel bar. To my dismay, it’s an Italian restaurant. A full day without burgers. What a tragedy.
Day 4: Since we’re with a larger group, most of the restaurants are pre-planned, leaving me helpless in my burger quest. We go to a place called The Farm on the Adderley. Following suit with my preparations, I must try a burger if it’s available on the menu. I spy a burger, but I’m not liking what I see… It starts at $15 for just a patty and a bun, and to add anything else (cheese, tomato, etc) it’s an extra $2 per item. This formula is a disgrace to burgers everywhere – I should not be forced to construct my own. It’s like going to a clothing store, but they only give you fabric and a sewing needle and tell you good luck. I’m already unimpressed. What’s even worse is that it comes on an ENGLISH MUFFIN. I have a real beef with this (...see what I did there?).
My burger arrives. As anticipated, it disappoints. There’s no flavor, no sauce, and seriously, ENGLISH MUFFIN?! I’m not even sure if this should be categorized as a burger. They’re lucky that the meat is seasoned well, otherwise this would be a truly scathing review. I’ll say it one more time: ENGLISH MUFFIN. WHY. I rate it a 4.25. To be fair, all of the other food options looked delicious, and it’s probably my fault for selecting a burger at an artisan restaurant.
Day 5: Another day without a burger. Although I was totally disappointed in the NYC burger quest, I did gather a list of restaurants from seasoned burger pros to try next time when the meals are within my control. On the plus side, I also enjoyed some excellent pastrami from Katz’s Deli and a delectable taste of Lombardi’s pizza. But alas, I feel weak without burgers in my bloodstream. GET ME HOME TO MY $5 BURGERS!
DAY 6: BACK 2 BURGERS
6:00 AM: I arrive at my terminal, and go to a weird restaurant that only lets me order on an iPad. I can’t find any burgers. Since the menu is divided into categories, I ask the waitress if I missed it – maybe I just can’t figure out this futuristic robot way of eating food. She looks at me like I’m crazy because I want a burger at 6 AM and kindly explains that it’s only available on the lunch iPad menu and asks if I want a breakfast sandwich instead. That’s cute. NAH GIRL, BURGERS ONLY!
6:04 AM: I begin plans to formally petition for burgers to be on every breakfast menu in the United States.
10:45 AM: We begin our descent into Portland. Maybe I’m hallucinating, but I’m pretty sure I can smell the burgers through the air vents.
11:30 AM: I’m finally on the ground, weaving in and out of people milling about the terminal. They probably think I’m late for a flight. Silly tourists! I’m late for something even more important: BURGER WEEK.
11:38 AM: I’m in my car, trying to decide where I should go. There’s a lot of pressure on me – this is my last chance to experience Burger Week. Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize every burger you ever wanted, in one moment – would you capture it? Or just let it slip?
11:39 AM: My palms are sweaty. Knees weak. Arms are heavy. There's burgers on my mind already, want some meaties. #Remix
11:41 AM: At first, I was going to go to Slowburger because they had the Hawaiian 503, and I felt like that was fitting for me since I am part Hawaiian and from the 503. However, due to some “meh” reviews, I decide to look into other options. I heard raving reviews about the Thunder Roadhouse Burger, but upon further investigation, I’m not sure if I can handle the jalapenos.
11:42 AM: After looking through the list, something about fried avocado speaks to me. I throw my suitcase in my car and head straight to Migration Brewing for the Mole Madre burger.
11:46 AM: I made a critical mistake and used Apple Maps for my directions. It takes me to an office building. I do a couple of circles around the block, blaming it on faulty GPS. It still says that I’ve arrived at the location. I wander around the building, unsure if I should enter because it doesn’t look like it has a kitchen. Just as I’m about to kick down the door and scream “WHERE ARE THE BURGERS?!” I glance at the numbers on the door, and realize I’m at the wrong address. That could have been mortifying.
12:00 PM: I finally arrive at the REAL migration brewing and order my burger.
12:13 PM: In true burger BFF fashion, Nick surprises me for moral support, so I don’t have to eat a burger alone!
12:15 PM: The burger arrives. It’s a beautiful creation made up of a beef patty covered in mole ketchup, cotija, pickled onions, tomatillo dressing, and fried avocado. Yes, FRIED. AVOCADO. "Incredible" is an adjective that doesn’t seem to do it justice. The fried avocado is a great touch, but the mole sauce is the true winner here. It has so much flavor and everything works well together. The bun is fluffy and light, but still provides enough bread to keep the burger intact. It receives a high 9.5 rating, my highest rating yet. The Mole Madre brings me back to life after only 3 hours of sleep. This is an amazing burger, and it absolutely stole my heart.
12:30 PM: I should go home, take a nap, and get ready for a friend’s wedding. But my Burger Week competitiveness strikes again… And I can’t stop now, knowing that I didn’t give it my all. NO RAGRETZ.
12:45 PM: We arrive at White Owl. There’s a slight line, and we make conversation with the group in front of us. Nick casually drops the fact that he’s had 20 burgers so far this week. This blows their mind.
12:52 PM: Our burgers arrive. Nick takes his into the photo booth to go take some pics with it. This is what makes him a legendary burger weeker.
12:53 PM: The White Owl burger is a take on the McDonald’s Big Mac. It’s called the McSqueeze Me, and it’s made up of Walla Walla onions, pickles, lettuce, special sauce, and cheese. It’s a very simple burger, but I have to be honest – I’m a bigger fan of the McDonald’s version. I feel like it's a bold statement to compare yourself to the almighty Big Mac, and it doesn't deliver. Nothing stands out about this burger to me. It’s okay, but it’s not too exciting. I rate it a 7.
It’s time for me to bid farewell to my beloved Burger Week 2016. Although I was only able to experience 3 days of it, I think I made the most of my short time and even made some lifetime memories. I’m not crying, it’s just… I’m… chopping onions?
First Place: Migration Brewing’s Mole Madre Burger
Second Place: BTU Brasserie General Tso Burger
Third Place: Kell’s Shepard’s Pie Burger
While the Kell’s burger started out as an 8.75, it was my first burger, and as such it did not have a fair rating in comparison to the other burgers. After a full week of reflection, it beats out the Next Level burger. Also, I can’t live with myself if I let a vegan burger make the top 3.
Total burgers eaten: 11
Total money spent: $61.70
Number of times venue sold out of burgers: 0 – A BURGER WEEK RECORD!
Total number of burger photos: 27
Total pounds lost/gained: 2 pounds lost. Again, I proved that the burger diet is a real thing!
Total amount of times throwing up: 0 – ANOTHER BURGER WEEK RECORD! (But very close after the Delicious Donuts burger…).
Completing Burger Odyssey, Year 2: PRICELESS.
Until next year...