Little Big Burger
I discovered Little Big Burger on Urbanspoon. I had no idea what to expect, because I don’t always read the reviews prior to going someplace entirely new, if it’s popular on the site I figure that’s good enough to give it a try. I like to keep an open mind.
Blogging about food is something rather new for me. Blogging is not new. Eating, of course, is not – but discussing it is. I love food, I enjoy cooking and baking at home, but I love restaurants and eating out especially. While at first I eyed those who blogged about food with suspicion (really? nothing else to talk about in life but food?) – I quickly began to appreciate it as a forum for information about where to go, and what to try once you’re there and it’s led me to places I might otherwise not have gone, and to try things that I might otherwise might not have tried (Seriously. I choose now based on what might be photogenic as well as a certain shame associated with ordering the same thing repeatedly). I’m also learning a lot of things about myself that I never noticed in the past.
One of those things is that I have a certain indifference to food – a lack of the discernment, strong dislikes and preferences that might otherwise drive my selections. What I’m trying to say is that I’ll pretty much eat anything – once. The downside is that I tend to gravitate to the easiest and comfortable things, so I end up eating like a teenager. What I do like so much about dining out, then, since we’ve established that haute cuisine is not it – is the atmosphere and experience. Homey or elegant, hip or hippie every establishment has it’s own culture – particularly in Portland where you can find so many places that aren’t chains, that are striving to differentiate.
One thing I liked immediately about Little Big Burger was the simplicity and cleanliness. Although I felt somewhat as though I had entered a laboratory, with bottles of ketchup, fry sauce, and mustard lining the shelves, rows of bags waiting to be filled, cans of soda and beverage cups stacked neatly together against a wall by the cash register – there’s something rather factory-like about this place. Very orderly, no clutter … kind of like one of those generic things that were all the rage when I was a kid (remember “Beer” beer? – everything with white packaging and a black lettered label stating the obvious: paper towels, corn flakes, garbage bags, beer). That was my first impression of Little Big Burger. It’s saved from ordinary fast foodness by the simplicity and spartan-like decor and menu.
The menu is simple, no frills and basic – you don’t need to mull it over much at all.
This made things easy because another thing I’ve learned is I have a tough time making decisions when there are too many options. You know how the waiter usually comes by, and you send them away to give you time to re-read the menu – you know the one who lets you cut ahead of them in line because they still can’t decide? That’s me. This was just great – not so many selections that you stand there, boggled and bewildered, paralyzed by indecision – which of the 20 cheeses should I get? Bacon? Avocado? Red or white onions, grilled or raw … eye roll.
I have to admit, I was rather surprised at how, well, little the burgers are – but they actually were just the right amount. We ate there but these would be easy to eat on the go with one hand – just the right amount of mess to taste good without falling apart while you eat it.
I mean, look at it – is it cute or what? Midway through watching the cooking process, though I remembered I needed to make sure it was well-cooked, so I had to wave down one of the chefs (literally, yoo-hoo as they were right there on the other side of the counter!)… and ask them to not do it medium – this was after I re-read the menu and saw the final line (see, even re-reading THAT short of a menu – I’m incorrigible) . They were great about it, wasn’t a problem … they didn’t even fuss when I pointed the camera their way – although looking at this now, is anyone besides me a bit disturbed they aren’t wearing gloves to prepare food?
But to be honest, the reason I’m sure to go back? Besides the cute little burgers? It’s the fries. Not really just the fries exactly although they were completely yummy and very hard to walk away from even though I was full – but this establishment has fry sauce!
I absolutely love fry sauce – I mean, it’s very possible I would drink it. I have no idea what it is about it but I was so happy to see they had entire bottles of it. I considered seeing if they sold it by the bottle until I remembered I don’t actually eat anything resembling a fry at home. So I contented myself with doing a bit of decorative squirting once the fries arrived – I wanted to highlight the fries with the sauce, you see? Kind of like a glaze. Much to the horror of my changeling of a son who apparently doesn’t inherit my genetic predisposition for a love of sauces – he forgoes salad dressing, condiments and dips. He managed to wolf down enough fries without indulging in the sauce, I noticed.
Anyway, this is more of a run in and out kind of place, kind of a cross between take out and dine in – you won’t stay long if you do dine in, there’s not much to see (although they played good music on the radio while I was there) but it’s quick, simple and tasty.