The Quest for the Best Burger in Portland – Part 3

Swimming. The love of my life. Swimming cures me. Swimming heals me. Swimming calms me. It’s an amazing activity and I can’t stress it enough. It’s pretty much my answer to anything that ails you. Back pain keeping you from working out? Swim. Ankle or knee pain keeping you from running? Swim. So I took my own advice on Wednesday night and went to the pool after work.

The yoga I did on Tuesday did wonders for my back! I felt so much better. In fact, I didn’t have to take an Advil on Wednesday. I wasn’t sure if I was going to work out at all on Wednesday, thinking I would just rest but I felt good so I decided to swim. It wasn’t an intense swim–I just swam for 50 minutes. No HRM, no clock watching; I didn’t pay attention to how fast I was going, I just listened to my body and swam. And I felt GREAT. I felt even better afterward.

When I got home Michael was cleaning and prepping his bike for the Portland Century. He spent a good five minutes trying to convince me we should go out for burgers. You guessed it: I gave in. He knows I am weak-willed when I come home from the pool and I’m famished!

The Quest for the Best Burger in Portland – Part 3

I decided we were going to Toast. We’ve been there once before for breakfast. I remember liking the food but it’s been so long since I’ve been there I don’t remember anything specific.

Toast is a a cute neighborhood restaurant in SE Woodstock. It’s a surprisingly good restaurant with trendy food in a suburban area. The menu and food seem more like something you’d find in SE Hawthorne.

The restaurant is quaint and pretty big. Business we slow when we got there. I ordered the specialty beverage of the day:

Basil and Lemon Vodka Gimlet. YUM! And holy moly was this drink strong! It smelled like Lysol. Not a good combo–but don’t let that stop you because it was incredibly tasty. The lemon was strong but not bitter and the basil was fragrant and an interesting addition.

The waiter was super friendly and helpful. He brought us both a small snack of chopped cucumber with basil to eat before our entrees arrived.

The place is really cute. Patrons can draw art and hang it on the walls. It reminded me of my high school days at Beth’s Cafe

We both ordered the burger. It came with caramelized onions, cheese, whole grain mustard and mayo on toast. You can add additions to make the burger your own. For my burger I got the Aged Gouda cheese (Michael got white cheddar) and we both chose the fresh green beans for the side. The green beans were delicious! They were roasted in garlic and olive oil, topped with red pepper flakes. Best beans ever.

I want more of those beans!

The burger arrived with toast instead of buns. It was kind of a surprise but ended up being one of the best parts of the burger.

The burger may look huge but it was small. The perfect size. I absolutely loved the combination of gouda and caramelized onions. Best flavors ever! The mustard aioli sauce was a good addition.

It was medium-rare. I was a vegetarian for about 12 years and when I started eating meat again I ate it very well done. How far I’ve come that now I prefer my meat medium rare. I loved this burger. Michael liked it but didn’t think it was better than Slow Bar or Laurelhurst. If I could make the running a tie I’d put Toast in second place with Laurelhurst. I loved the flavors and the buttery toast was a cool presentation.

Yummiest burger I’ve had in awhile. Now that I’ve rediscovered Toast, I can see us returning a lot and trying the other dinners. The pork shoulder and polenta is calling my name. So where does Toast rank?

Burger Quest Ranking:

1. Slow Bar

2. Laurelhurst

3. Toast

4. Gruner

5. Foster Burger

We still haven’t made it to some of the other trendy places that supposedly have great burgers. So far the quest has been a delicious one!

QUESTION: How do you like your burgers? What are your favorite toppings?


Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

6 thoughts on “The Quest for the Best Burger in Portland – Part 3”

  1. I really want to try all of the burgers you mentioned, but the Slow Bar one sounded especially good. Did you know about this: It is a beer and burger festival this Saturday? I am going to go–it sounds like lots of interesting burger samples from their FB page (I read a review from someone who went last year, and I guess the samples are slider sized).

    1. I’ll be interested to read your review if you end up trying any of these restaurants.

      That beer/brew event sounds fun! I wish I could go but we’ve got lots of preparation for the Century on Sunday.

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