Seattle’s finest dining options, especially during their busy convention season, is going to vary from person to person. For myself, instead of always dining on a budget or going after fast food (to which I’ve discovered that the food trucks during a busy comic-con lunch time can take up to two hours to wait n’ eat), my idea is to have one really good meal upon arrival to this city and limiting what I can find to eat at less than $10 per. And one classic American staple I can not pass up is the burger and fries combo. But where shall I go?
Over at Li’l Woody’s Burger and Shakes, they’ve won the coveted number one spot for best hamburger for this metropolis in the 2013 year. They won the burger battle back then, and like Spock, I had to quirk my left eye brow and say, “Interesting.”
When I’m often down for Emerald City Comicon and James is trying to reach Sakura-Con (and failing), at least I have the power (cue He-Man music) to go trekking nearby to boldly taste what I haven’t eaten before. Well, to test out the claims certainly peaked my curiosity and I can at least say out of all the many eateries that I’ve had french fries, this place ranks as number one in my books for slicing them right, double-frying them to perfection and yet leave some really crisped up strings at the bottom — now it’s those strands that I really savour. Add a dash of pepper and give me wasabi mayo to dip the fries in, and I’ll be in seventh heaven.
I should have tried their “Crack,” which uses Molly Moon’s Milkshake to dip the fries with but alas, I’m trying to keep my starch intake in check. I did try a sampling of the Queso (a type of mexican cheese) doused fries that my friends had, and just one bite is intoxicatingly evil to the waistline. The idea is not like poutine since there no gravy but oh the nacho-like taste! The best part of this deep dish is that the heated cheese retains it soft melted silkiness for a long time. Can anyone imagine this idea turned into a pizza?
Technically, this place is better known for their milkshakes and burgers. For this smooth nectar of the cows, to read their signage saying everything is made in-house had my ears wriggling as I wanted to peek into their kitchen to find their ice-cream machine. One look at their list of flavours had my taste buds piqued and I knew I had to order one! What’s made is thick and gently sweet. The type of dairy used taste like it was made from a homogenized process, and the sweetness from the happy bovine milked is mild. When the list of flavours includes huckleberry, I’m sold!
And I’m purposefully saving the best for last: The burgers are not decked out with a ton of toppings a few places try to do (although you can do that here by stacking on everything they have on the menu), not even Fat Burger can trounce them. I feel their simplicity is what makes them stand out. I can ask for a Li’l Woody or get a Big Woody (the weight is in how much beef is used), and the question of whether I can take it all in a mouthful depends if I can even wrap my lips around the composition.
I ordered the Smoked Out burger and it fits! I won’t go into the graphic details, but I found the fresh raw onions was certainly what I needed to bat the convention sludge away. The cheddar is quite nice too. It was not too sharp, and the juices squeezed out of the meat is what made this meal tasty. What I ate was not a messy affair, but I did struggle to taste the tomatoes that’s supposed to be contained within. I wondered if the meat was even actually smoked, and found the edges did contain more flavour than the center. As I orbited the sandwich with my teeth, what emerged from the middle was just as balanced as the rings from Saturn, although I like exploring the edges of Uranus more. There was more of a stronger taste to be explored.
The beef is nicely formed. It covers the entirety of the bun and the texture is just right. I get the feeling that at Li’l Woody’s they are neatly formed balls which are firmly pressed on the grill until it sizzles with delight.
As tired as I was from a long day at Emerald City Comicon, I skipped a special screening of Of Dice and Men because I was hungry. I was surviving on trail rations for much of the day and I needed more filling food. Word to the wise: those energy bars is not a healthy way to survive in the city with when there’s plenty of cooked food options nearby.
I was tempted to try the Hitchcock hamburger, but alas, I didn’t want to overdo it on my first visit. Maybe next time. I did miss the Hellboy burger that was offered last year only because I had very little time to explore the couple of blocks that lurked beyond the convention center where their second location was situated.
When most of my time is tight because of what I want to see at ECCC, trying to head further away from the Washington Convention Center to eat is tough. To think about returning here on a more recent trip meant looking inside my head at what little minions are struggling over the desire for hamburger versus steak. It was a struggle between deciding to spend $40 on a steak dinner at 13 Coins or commuting a vast distance for more burgers. Wimpy would be proud of me if I did, but alas, I resigned myself to deciding to come back over the summer when overnight day trips on The Clipper (a passenger ferry) are possible. That way, I can track down a few food trucks that I did not manage to hit to sample their wares. I’m particularly interested in Jemil’s Big Easy for their Po-Boys (or Catfish n Chips) and Spicy Papaya’s quick to make Laotian dishes, namely their noodles and lemongrass wings.
If Li’l Woody was to start-up a food truck operation to serve the on the go crowd, I feel that will not work, especially for their designer dishes. To truly appreciate this place is to sit down and enjoy the ambience of the place. I was there with friends and we had a great time at the Ballard location since it was open late-night (up till 11pm). The staff is friendly, the food came in a reasonable amount of time and the selection of sodas are unique! Instead of the usual Pepsi or Cola products, I found a lemonade that made me pucker up. They even had a nice variety of root beers! This place reminded me of Al’s Diner from Happy Days. If they had a jukebox, I’d be ready to groove to Sweet’s Little Willy. Or should I crank up Poison’s version instead?
4 Blokes out of 5