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Little Big Burger / Portland, OR

“It is ridiculous how succinctly the name of the place describes the burgers they sell.”

Everything in this place is simple and unfussy - the interior is plain red and white, in a mid-century diner fast-food joint stylee.

The menu is as bare as it could be. Even the font they use feels simple. They’ve arguably nicked some tricks from the Five Guys and In ‘n Out playbook (even to the point where bacon is available, but not on the menu), but then Portlanded it up to match the ridonkulously hip district it’s situated in.

The burgers are strictly no-nonsense. And they are incredible.

The first thing you notice is how fresh everything is: the lettuce is alarmingly crisp, the onions are uber-crunchy, the tomato is taut and full of flavour, the swiss was melty, but not greasy at all. The patty was cooked medium to perfection; the meat was soft and seasoned well. Even the brioche bun tasted like it had just been baked, and is exemplary.

What made it all the more surprising was they used English style rashers for the bacon, something we usually frown upon at B/A, but in this instance seemed to work well. As did their take on ketchup, which rounded out the burger’s flavour brilliantly.

It is ridiculous how succinctly the name of the place describes the burgers they sell. When they arrived, we both commented on how small our burgers were, but their size belies how much is actually there - by the time we’d eaten them, we were both more than adequately full.

I’m practically gushing about this place, but honestly, it was the burger of my trip. You know a burger joint is good when a queue forms at 11.30 in the morning.

…and I haven’t even mentioned the truffle fries, which were terrific too.

  • Rob.
Little Big Burger on Urbanspoon



Cha!Cha!Cha! Taqueria / Portland, OR

I only had a mouthful of this because friend of B/A Irish Paul ordered it, but seriously, it’s THE BEST chimichanga I’ve ever tasted. It kicks any British attempt square in the balls, and then calls it a *verga*.

It was huge, I mean ENORMOUS - packed full of the juiciest meat, jammed with crazy-fresh guac and properly oozing lashings of cheese from the first cut. And it only cost $5.95, which is insane considering the size. I was the most jealous, like when-my-friend-at-school-got-Castle-Greyskull-for-his-birthday jealous.

I had the taquitos, which were fresh-n-tasty good. But if you go here, get the chimichanga. PLEASE.

  • Rob.
Cha! Cha! Cha! Mexican Taqueria on Urbanspoon



Voodoo Doughnut / Portland, OR

“…so sweet it actually hurt my teeth.”

If Krispy Kreme are the jocks sitting on the bleachers boasting about how much they bench, then Voodoo Doughnuts is the gathering of goths sitting beneath them, smoking weed and attempting to ignite the letterman jackets above with their Pentagram Zippos.

Everything about this place is brilliantly irreverent and suggestive, from the tagline (‘The magic is in the hole’), to the names of the doughnuts (there’s one called Butterfingering) to the staff.

Our waitress went to put our doughnuts in a bag, so I asked ‘Do you have a box?’ With the deadpan sardonicism of April Ludgate, she replied ‘Of course I have a box’, pausing.

Cue plummy Brit embarrassment.

We had queued for around 20 minutes before we got served but, dang, was it worth it. The selection of doughnuts they have is mind blowing, and with a queue of baying sugar-fix seekers waiting, as a first time visitor you feel pressured to pick almost randomly.

We went in the afternoon, which was probably why they had already sold out of the Old Dirty Bastard. But I reckon we could have picked any of them and left happy; they were all so good:

The signature Portland Cream was stuffed with the aforementioned, encased in a fluffy dough shell with a soft top of milky chocolate icing.

It was stick-your-middle-finger-in-the-face better than any similar styled doughnut I’ve ever had. The maple bacon bar also deserves mention for brazenly sticking two slices of bacon on top, and being so sweet it actually hurt my teeth.

Despite the incredible array of toppings and fillings, the lightness of the dough is the champion here. Goth-smokingly wicked. It’s essential Portland.

  • Rob.
Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon



Henry's Tavern / Portland, OR

Points go to this Bar-cum-Craft Beer Mecca-cum-Restaurant for having a Happy Hour that runs from 9 till close pretty much every night, and for putting a burger on their Happy Hour menu. We were slightly hesitant as the place looked a touch on the expensive side, but we were flipping starving and so pleased to see the Happy Hour Cheeseburger come in at a very budget-conscious six bucks.

The burger wasn’t too shabby - it was a good size, if a little dry due to condiment shyness. The plentiful cheddar complimented the onion bun really well creating a pretty good flavour combo. I mean, cheese and onion, who’d’ve thunk it?

I wolfed it down. I then spent some quality time with some of the local Oregon beer offerings, of which there are maaaaaany. I recommend the Widmer Drifter.

Henry’s Tavern

  • Rob.
Henry's 12th Street Tavern on Urbanspoon