What A Dork {Burger}

Somehow, I have been mysteriously sucked into a vortex of burgers.  It started over the holidays while I was tootling around Santa Barbara and saw an In-N-Out standing quietly on the side of the road.  I felt compelled to go in, since I never had before.  I’d heard rumors though.  Then, once I was back in the great Pacific Northwest, I was inveigled into a Five Guys.  I’d never been there either.  Now I’ve been to both.

Last weekend, if you’d watched the news, you’d know that Seattle was in the grip of Snowmageddon.  Actually, by the weekend we were undergoing The Big Meltdown, but nevertheless, I’d had no power for days & had moved into my office, where the lights still burned & the temperature was around 68 degrees.  After 3 days of office-dwelling, I {really} needed to leave the building.  Something said to me, “Burger”.  Spurred on by my recent departure from McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with Cheese & Jack in the Box’s Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburgers, I remembered reading somewhere that Red Mill do darn delicious burgers.  Ding.  That was easy.

These days, just being armed with a Smart-Phone will get you anywhere in a flash.  Bing Maps have never let me down.  Off to Magnolia I hurtled.

It was just after 4 on a grey, drizzly, cold afternoon.  Red Mill, on the other hand, was brightly colored, filled with the aroma of sizzling bacon & warm; and not just a warm temperature.  Whether the staff are always this friendly or whether they were just thrilled that they had managed to leave their houses for the first time in a week, without battling enormous drifts of snow or downpours of freezing rain, I don’t know.  They might not have been retro like the decor, but they sure were eager to help a Red Mill virgin have a great time.

Now THIS is what I call a burger:  Bacon Deluxe w/Cheese – Pepper Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Red Onion, American Cheese, Mill Sauce – $5.99.  Will you just oggle this thing?  You know how all the burger ads show burgers looking like this & then you show up & they look nothing like it?  Yeah.  Red Mill – they look like this.  In the flesh.  It was a beautiful, beautiful sight.

It tasted beautiful too.  It was what my burger dreams have been made of all these years.  In-N-Out?  Pah.  Five Guys?  Meh.  Red Mill?  All the way, baby.  Same price as Five Guys – are you kidding me?!  It must have been those free peanuts that push the Five Guys price up.  Their burger isn’t even close to the same league as Red Mill.  See that thick, juicy meat right there?  Yeah.  Those slices of freshly grilled bacon?  You betcha.  Piles of crisp salad?  Uh huh.

I mentioned to Polly & Becky back at the office that it had almost turned into a “Meg Ryan moment”.

This was the best burger I can remember eating.  Well, there was one I had in Australia years (& years) ago.  In Perth.  It had beetroot (beets) in it & any number of strange condiments, but I remember that being pretty bonzer, mate.  I could become a big burger fan if Red Mill were on the menu.  Big.

I declined the fries & onion rings, but realized that I’ll have to go back for them at some point.  The onion rings are reputed to be the best onion rings in America.  That’s quite the accolade.  I did have a milkshake as I headed out the door.  You can read about that here.  Heavens to Betsy.  Red Mill, I’m a *huge* fan.

Having started on the slippery slope into the burger vortex, my Twin then pinged me mid-week & said, “Friday lunch – Lunchbox Laboratory?”  Sure!  I said.  Who knew that place was really a posh burger joint?  I do now.  Burger #4, your time is up.

I opened the menu & the prices brought tears to my eyes & a lump to my throat.  $10.99.  So I decided to go all out.  Dork, please.  That’s a house-blended duck & pork patty.  Add $2.  Then I added bacon.  Well, duh.  Add $2.  I added Monterey Jack.  $1.50.  I added candied balsamic onions.  $1.50.  I was at $18 for a burger.  Gulp.  Thank heavens the first 2 sauces are free. Wowza.

Natasha and I, we started out with a side of Mac ‘n’ Cheese $5.  Small, but tasty.  We shared.  While the pasta was overcooked, the sauce was delicious.  It was on the specials sheet, so I don’t remember what was in it, exactly, but I know it involved Blue Cheese.  I am pretty sure it was the richest Mac ‘n’ Cheese I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

The burgers came, mine with Skinny Fries, Twin’s with Tater Tots.  Neil told me afterwards I should have had Sweet Potato Fries.  I also didn’t have room for a milkshake.  He said I should have got Nutella.  I can see a second trip in my future.

The burger?  It was good.  It was pretty difficult to eat, being so tall.  It was greasy, but then it was half duck, so I’d have been disappointed if it hadn’t been.  The salad was fresh.  It was all good.  Was it an $18 burger?  No.  I enjoyed Red Mill more, at a 1/3rd of the price.  Would I go again?  Yes, with the right company.  Someone that I really like to hang with.  Like Natasha.  Or Neil.  Although honestly, if I am going to pay $18 for a burger, I could head over to John Howie Steak & get all that plus a lush place to sit, & service comparable to that which you would receive at Buckingham Palace, Ma’am.  Or, over in West Seattle, Spring Hill would, for $19, give me all that plus smoke from their real apple-wood fire.

Clearly hugely popular, Lunchbox Laboratory was like a an un-opened tin of sardines by the time we tried to squeeze out the door into the brilliant blue day.  It was a great lunch, for sure, but without a doubt, Natasha was the best part of it.  Love that girl.

Happy Friday.

Red Mill Burgers (Interbay) on Urbanspoon Red Mill Burgers (Phinney Ridge) on UrbanspoonLunchbox Laboratory on Urbanspoon

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  • Neil Enns - I’m gonna have to try Red Mill now :) I do suggest on a future visit to LL that you skip all the add-ons for the dork burger. Just straight up. I’ve tried it with bacon before and it is (gasp) too much. Just dork please, hold the extras.

    NeilReplyCancel

  • cb - We’ll go. You’ll be in charge. Sweet Potato Fries, Nutella Shake, no bacon…wait…NO BACON???!!! You may have to persuade me on the last one.

    cbReplyCancel

  • speckleofdirt - Your pictures are amazing!!!ReplyCancel

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