Friday, November 21, 2008

NO! Bird is NOT the @#$@# Word!!

I swear Bug was trying to nudge me to the loony bin last month randomly interjecting the following in conversations.

Bug: Did you hear?
Me: What?
Bug: Bbb-bird, bird, bird is the word. O-mow-mow...
Me: (sigh)

I saw the dark spirals expand over me as I felt myself sinking into insanity. I felt like Charlie Brown lying on the ground every time he duped me. I'm glad that fad is over with. For now, I just have to deal with random "I like turtles" occasionally.

We've been meaning to eat at Brown Bag Burgers (BBB) at Great Northern for months, but after our excursion to Fatburger nearly 2 years ago, we've been pretty hesitant to try another fad burger joint.

Fatburger was suggested by Bug's co-worker to be the best burger in town. It could have been the location, but their service was fast food like, without the fast. The prices were ridiculous for what you get -- unfrozen ground beef. We spent $35 for a couple of hamburgers, a hot dog, fries, and two drinks. I told Bug, after that meal, that I wanted to give that place a fat finger.

3 weeks ago, after buying ourselves outfits for a formal cocktail party and fundraiser to honor one of my coworkers, we made it a point to go to BBB for a late afternoon meal. The place was crowded, but not overbearing, probably because there were no kids.

I had reviewed their menu online a week prior to visiting the restaurant and decided what I would get. I planned on getting a custom made burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard, and a bowl of mushroom bisque. The thought of getting a shrimp sandwich was tantalizing.

We walked in and I immediately felt like a fish out of water. There were more things available than the website displayed. I asked the person up front how big the portobello mushroom was in their Tree Hugger sandwich. She took 2 steps back and asked the cook at the grill. He quickly reached over and showed me an enormous fresh mushroom cap, larger than the size of a CD. My eyeballs almost fell out of its sockets.

I sighed at the unraveling of what I thought would be an easy order that would not make me look so incompetent.

Bug ordered a Bandito burger ($5) with pico de gallo, lettuce, chopped red onions, guacamole, pepper jack cheese with chipotle mayonnaise.

I ordered my custom burger and a Tree Hugger ($5 each). The burger included lettuce, tomato, burgundy mushrooms, pepper jack cheese, with mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. I was so enthralled that I forgot the pickles! With the Tree Hugger, I scaled the extras down so I could taste the portobello, so I ordered it with lettuce and tomato, with mayonnaise.

All the added ingredients come with the cost of the burger, including a slice of cheese. An extra slice costs $0.49 each.

We also ordered a large Foo Foo fries ($4) and a lemonade smoothie ($3) to share. I figured it couldn't be that large an order for $4. A bowl of mushroom bisque was singing out to me, but Bug said this sounded like a lot of food.

Bug was right.

The burgers did not disappoint. They were perfectly cooked, just 'til the pink disappears, so it was not a charred hockey puck, remaining juicy and tasty. The add-ons were given in generous portions. The burgundy mushrooms were meaty and tasty, not the usual flat 3 pieces of dirt you get at most places. My burger was heavenly.

BBB also advertises that their buns are fresh baked daily. It does make a difference having fresh, good bread. Most of the time, when I eat burgers, I discard the bread half way through and eat the innards because I get tired of what feels like eating socks with a side of meat. The bread to meat + goodies proportion was just right that my mouth never felt like it was being gagged with Styrofoam.

The mushroom burger was very meaty. I was quite impressed and swooning at the wonderful taste of M U S H R O O M. It was brought up when we ordered the Tree Hugger that some also order the burgundy mushrooms. I declined, wanting to keep it simple this time. I might do that the next time!

The basketful of perfectly cut fries with skin were topped with gobs of chili, cheese, and jalapeno peppers. It was 3 times the amount I had expected. We couldn't finish it.

There is also the capability to order burgers "junior" sized ($4). I should have done that so I could have tried more things. Ha!

It was refreshing to go to a place where I didn't feel like I was ruining someone's day by showing up. The service was friendly and patient for glaringly obvious newbs like us. Everyone I came in contact with -- the front register people, cooks, and a person cleaning up -- spoke to me respectfully. It appeared they enjoyed what they were doing.

The small, carpeted dining room was quite tidy, especially considering the number of people dining in. The meal came up in less that 10 minutes. It didn't seem very long because of all the witty and sarcastic knick knacks posted up on the walls.

For months, I've been mumbling that I need to start carrying my camera around more. However, when I do carry my camera, I am too embarrassed to get kicked out of a restaurant for taking 500 pictures of our food, even without a flash. Despite having a black body, my camera isn't a stealthy one. I can't play like a spy, hide it under the palm of my hand, and slip it up my sleeve.

This was an amazing amount of food, especially for the price. Since we know the portion size, the next time we go, we will likely not be ordering quite so much, thus making me further saddened that I wasn't able to capture this meal pictorially.

BBB is awesome. I have never been so satisfied with a burger in my life, from the flavor to the experience. Sorry Hamburger Mary and W&M!

- Cassaendra

Great Northern Plaza
North Olmsted, OH 44070
Tel: (440) 801-1122

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