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LunchBox Laboratory
Nov 10th, 2011 by Joemoney

1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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 –

LunchBox Laboratory
www.lunchboxlaboratory.com
1253 Thomas Street
Seattle, WA 98109 (map)

A Burger for Dexter –

Back in Washington! It’s been over two years since I’ve been to this beautiful state. En route to majestic Mt. Rainier, I made sure to sample yet another burger in search of the best burger that the pacific northwest can offer. After some scientific research, I was led to the LunchBox Laboratory in Seattle. Rated as the Best Burger in Washington according to the Food Network and one of the 12 best burgers in the nation by Epicurious, the expectations and hype were a little higher than usual. We made our way over to LBL which, coincidentally, is on the same corner as the REI Flagship store. My wife does not believe that this was a coincidence but nevertheless, we were going to head that way anyway before making our way the the mountain. Remembering the last two burgers I had in and around this town, Red Mill and XXX Root Beer, I had high hopes for the Lab.

We arrived on a chilly and overcast Seattle day and found a seat outside. Our waiter came out and rather unenthusiastically took our drink order, giving us time to make sense of the verbose menu. When the time came to take our order, our waiter began complaining about the number of “build your own” burgers our group was ordering. It didn’t seem like he was trying to be funny but maybe I don’t get Seattle humor. Rude service aside, it was now my time to order.

Weird Science –

Based on my research and the recommendation of Epicurious, I simply ordered “The Burger of the Gods”. This burger seemed to have it all! Balsamic soaked onions… gorgonzola sauce…. a patty mixture of kobe ribeye and chuck…. mmmm. As an added benefit, this simple order would not burden our waiter further with the custom burger issues he was having. I went with a side of tater tots which LBL proudly admits to having. I love tots so gotta have ’em. My wife’s custom burger was a basic build with lettuce, mayo, and patty but she also added “Million Island Burger Sauce” which is LBLs version of thousand island dressing. She also ordered the sweet potato fries. To top it off, my sister in law opted for chocolate cherry shake made with local Rainier cherries. All in all, it seemed like we had all of the ingredients for a grand experiment.While we waited, we enjoyed the cool weather, the noticeably 90’s Seattle rock music being played over the radio, and talking about our camping plans.

After about ten minutes, out came the fancy burger spread. These burgers definitely appeal to the gourmet, artistic end of the burger spectrum. As I inspected my godly grub, I noticed that the organic (there’s the O word again) kaiser bun had an intense toasting to it. It was not burned but was the color of deeply browned butter and also had an extremely hard texture on the toasted side. I reassembled my burger, hoisted it with both hands and bit in. Angelic visions of sweet balsamic onions and pungent gorgonzola  filled my vision! Whether intentional or not, the hard toasted bun gave a very nice contrast in texture to the other, more yielding ingredients. The flavor of the patty was not really at play here. It gave a nice beefy backdrop to the stars of the show. This was a very great tasting burger with very intense flavors. So intense that by the end of the burger, my taste buds were tired. I sampled my wife’s burger and found it similar in texture with much different flavors at play. The “million island” dressing was slightly sweet and seemed to match up much better with the patty and cheddar  rather than over powering them with free slots.

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The tater tots were a little disappointing. I hoped that the same level of creativity we were seeing in the burgers would be applied to the sides, similar in effort to the tots at Block 7. The tots were basically the same you can get anywhere. I don’t think these were made in house, but if they were, then I am impressed by the accuracy with which they replicated them. The sweet potato fries were cooked nicely and seasoned with sea salt. I sampled the chocolate cherry shake, and i have to say, it was really good. The fresh cherries were a nice touch to create the classic combination of chocolate covered cherries.

The Wrap It Up –

The test results are in. The lab was an interesting and tasty Burger Tyme…. but it was also an experience where you have to pay for the privilege. My “Burger of the Gods” was the cheapest burger option at a steep $13. Sides were and additional three. Add to that beverages and tip and we spent well over $20 a person on this little experiment. While the burgers were good, they were not good enough to justify that steep of a price. I came here expecting to be wowed by creativity and originality but did not find it. The texture was intersting but new burger ground was not being broken here. For example, the signature “Burger of the Gods” was good but was simliar in concept to an over wrought version of the Good Dog burger in Philadelphia.

All in all, the Lab is an experience but if I lived in Seattle, I might go here every now and then for some high quality burgers. However, I’m afraid I would keep searching for the best burger. Until next trip!

XXX Root Beer
Aug 31st, 2009 by Joemoney

XXX Root Beer2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10)
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XXX Root Beer 7


Triple XXX Root Beer
http://www.triplexrootbeer.com
98 Northeast Gilman Boulevard
Issaquah, WA 98027 (map)

Washington State Burger Tyme #3 – Parental Advisory: Delicious Content-

XXX Root Beer 1Oh sweet vacation. TIME OFF is what I’m talking about! and it was sadly coming to an end. Of the few things left to look forward to experience while in Washington, one stood out in my mind high above the rest. Triple XXX Root Beer. In my preliminary research I found that XXX Root Beer ranked as high or higher than Red Mill Burgers in Seattle. Nestled in the outskirts of Seattle in a little place called Issaquah sits a gigantic root beer barrel atop a classic looking restaurant a midst a very well kept boulevard that looks straight out of the 50’s. The sun was shining and the weather felt fantastic. It was a good indication of the Burger Tyme to come. We walked up looking for the entrance and met our first challenge… Where was the entrance? Sure there were plenty of doors to enter in but we could not make out any discernible shape of a counter for ordering due to the amazing amount of memorabilia that covered every inch of the inside. It looked as if TGI Friday’s, Apple-bee’s, Chili’s, Bennigan’s, and Ruby Tuesday’s were all having a garage sale and XXX Root Beer was the garage… After much searching we were able to make our way to where we would place our order. The menu was the next challenge. The names. “58 Impala” “Chevelle SS 396” “49 Woody”. These were all names of classic muscle cars that my friends and I would talk about in high school, we used to say that the first thing we were going to do once we had our cars was to get onesureinsurance.co.uk/van-insurance. How does this convert into a Burger? Well, I was hungry and didn’t want to try to figure it out. Fortunately in big bold letters at the top of the menu read “Famous ‘Incredible’ XXX Burger”. The topping sounded amazing, special fresh baked XXX bun: lots of beef, grilled onions, three cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, and XXX dressing. I asked the girl behind the counter how big it was. “Three quarters pound” was all she replied. I asked if it cam in a smaller size to which she only shook her head. This will eventually lead me to my next challenge. THE LARGEST BURGER IN BURGER TYME HISTORY!!!!!!!!

Larger than the average burger-

XXX Root Beer 4

XXX Root Beer 6

So I did it. I ordered the FAMOUS INCREDIBLE XXX BURGER. My wife was borderline mad at me, I’m sure out of concern for my poor, normal sized heart that was about to be introduced to an abnormal amount of Burger Tyme goodness. So I placed the order with everything on it because I couldn’t possibly add any more than it already came with.  It came with fries and I also ordered the signature XXX large root beer. There were many pictures on the wall of people trying to eat the burger that I just ordered and few seemed successful.  Our wait was brief but our anticipation great! After about 10 minutes my name was called over the intercom.  I approached the counter and couldn’t believe what I was about to attempt to eat. This burger was HUGE!!! The girl behind the counter told me the burger was 3/4 pound but it had to be 1 1/2 pounds at least! It had what looked like five quarter pound patties lining the muffaletta style toasted bun. It was loaded with lots of veggies and the special XXX dressing. This burger took all of my two hands to manage. My first bite, though messy, was delicious! For being such a huge burger the flavors came together well. I couldn’t really discern how each component was contributing to the overall taste but I knew it was good. Was it juicy? Yes. Was it messy? Yes. Was it a typical burger? No. Everything combined to a very juicy, flavorful burger. The fries were just OK. They really seemed to be an afterthought. The root beer was probably about 64oz. It was quite good though not as good as the root beer at Frost Top in Baton Rouge.

The Wrap it Up-

XXX Root Beer 3

XXX Root Beer 5

So what is the verdict? This was one burger that I wasn’t able to finish. I got about half-way through it (which is saying a lot) and about half-way through the gallon pitcher of root beer before my stomach could take no more! This was the biggest burger but was it the best? Well, I think it was very good. Would I recommend XXX Root Beer for Burger Tymers around the Seattle area? Absolutely. Of all the items, XXX was my favorite. The flavor was good, the root beer was better, and the summer weather of Washington State was the best. The nostalgia of the giant root beer barrel was cool too. This was a great Burger Tyme. I would recommend, however, trying a smaller version of this burger combined with the original XXX Root Beer.

Red Mill Burgers
Jul 27th, 2009 by Joemoney

Red Mill Burgers3 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 103 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10
(3 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)
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Red Mill Burgers

Red Mill Burgers
http://www.redmillburgers.com

Washington State Burger Tyme #1 – Seeing Red Mill Again-

IMG_0277

Oh sweet vacation. TIME OFF is what I’m talking about! So what did I do with the time that I had off? Well, I went with the wife and her family to Washington. I had never been so I looked forward to the trip. Of course I did a little planning and found a few potential Burger Tyme locations! I’m always searching for the best burger and was looking forward to branching out to the northwest! So our flight arrived in Seattle late and we made it to the Hotel at around 11:30pm. I didn’t have time to eat that night and slept late the following morning so needless to say by lunch time I was ready for my first WASHINGTON STATE BURGER TYME! For this edition we made our way, in laws and all, to the supposed Best Burger in Seattle, Red Mill Burgers. This was also rated one of the TOP 20 Burgers you HAVE to eat before you die by GQ magazine. I read some mixed reviews from locals who warned me of the Cash Only and No Cell Phones policy (I like to show up prepared).  After weaving our way through hilly downtown Seattle we headed north-ish to 1613 West Dravus St. When we pulled up I saw a line of people that was to the door. This is always a good sign that we’re in for a good Burger Tyme. We parked, walked up, and got in line. The menu was pretty straightforward with a wide variety of burgers and sandwiches. Burger Tyme’s vegetarian member would have been pleased to see the number of Veggie Burger options. Then line did not move particularly fast but we were in no hurry. We were in the mood for a good burger!

Extra Value Mill –

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Once our turn came up in line I placed my order for the Red Mill Deluxe w/Cheese with everything on it, a side of fries, and a chocolate shake. When I stepped aside to let everyone else order I saw the most amazing thing. BACON! Bacon as high as the the eye could see. Seriously they had the biggest pile of cooked bacon that I’ve ever seen ready to be put on some lucky burger. After recovering from “bacon awe” I sat down and waited for our order to be called up. Given how busy Red Mill was at this lunch hour, it only took about 10 minutes for our order to be ready.

While waiting I was able to enjoy various memorabilia on the wall including a letter from a child begging Red Mill to open a restaurant in West Seattle. Once I got my order I was first struck by the vegetables.  The best way to describe them is “pretty”. It was the nicest lettuce, tomatoes, and onions I think I’ve ever had on a burger. The patty was 1/4 pound and fried. It’s juiciness was overpowered by the large bun which was toasted on the griddle. They put a special “Mill Sauce” on it which seemed to be some variation of ketchup mixed with mayonnaise and a few other seasonings. It was pretty good. The fries were thick and well cooked. They were very crunchy on the outside and still soft on the inside. Other Burger Tymers ordered the onion rings which were quite good (I don’t even really like onion rings). The milkshake was good but not great. They did have a large variety of shakes to choose from so maybe I should branch out next time.

The Wrap It Up-

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So what did I think of the best burger in Seattle? It was pretty good. It could stand a little more flavor and a little bigger patty. I should have followed the GQ’s recommendation and tried the Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese. This burger has been rated the top burger in Seattle for many years but I would venture a guess that is by virtue of the lack of true burger competition in the Seattle area. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good burger, but it felt unfinished, like it had all of the right ingredients but lacked something that would make it stand out as unique amongst other burgers.  All in all, if you are in Seattle and are craving a good burger, you will not leave Red Mill Burger unsatisfied.

Stay tuned for more of Burger Tyme adventures in Washington State including the BIGGEST BURGER in Burger Tyme history!

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