Burger Quest. Are You Up For It? I was sitting in my car today at lunchtime, munching on a burger, thinking about another place and time long ago. I was living in Portland, Oregon back in the mid ’90s, and had been doing some freelance writing and photography for Tom Shaw at Muscle Car Review magazine. Seems like back then, ol’ Tom was always wanting some unique stories for his magazine– real human interest stuff. So, my idea ended up turning into a six-page feature in MCR entitled “Burger Quest”. Needless to say, it was a blast putting the story together.
First off, there was no way I was going to do this epic adventure in my wife’s Camry (my own car was down and out at that point). I needed a good muscle car, so I borrowed a friend’s 1969 Firebird Formula 400 convertible– Carousel Red with an interior to match. Of course, I wasn’t going to take this trip alone. When I tossed the idea out to my friend Paul, he enthusiastically volunteered. “Paul, you know this could take some time, right?” “Hopefully!” he quickly shot back, grinning from ear to ear (Paul was always looking for ways to avoid his daily job.) It ended up taking almost three days, and lightened my wallet by 300 bucks for food, gas, and Tums.
Anyway, we picked ten burger joints all over the greater Portland area. Fortunately, three of them were on the same street. I should correct myself– there were nine burger joints and one hot dog stand.
I had a few objectives here. First and foremost, I was writing for a muscle car magazine. Good, nighttime photographs of the Firebird in front of shimmering neon were a must. Daytime shots couldn’t be washed out under the harsh noontime sun. And (pity me) I had to taste each restaurant’s burgers, fries and shakes– and rank them 1 through 10. We needed a clear winner, as well as the highs and lows of each spot. I can’t get into all the details here, but my fav was a been-there-forever joint called Lew’s Drive-In. Lew’s served up gigantic double cheeseburgers that came wrapped in paper, with a massive side of the tastiest fries ever. As a kind of sad side note here, I just learned that Lew’s recently closed up shop. Nothing lasts forever I guess.
Burger Quest netted some great pics, and memories that will last a lifetime. Paul still talks about it. That got me thinking, how about some pics from you? Dare I go as far as asking you to send me a story? We’d love to see some photos of your pride and joy at your favorite burger-scarfing post! And don’t be afraid to throw in a recommendation or two– other readers may appreciate your advice! Here’s your chance to get your ride featured on this blog. Submit your photos and story in the Comments section below…