Part of the problem of growing up in a nondescript suburb like Wheaton is that there’s no identity to anything, and any identity is quickly stomped out with a big fat boot.  There was very little within walking distance of my parents’ home that wasn’t a chain restaurant or business.  Getting a burger or a beer on a Friday night meant going to the local Red Robin a mile away from my house and ordering a Bud Light.  And you could only do this at restaurants like Red Robin because Wheaton is a dry county with no bars, so you can only get liquor in restaurants and can only get it in the grocery stores before 9PM.

So I’ve been indulging a bit since I came to Portland, a city brimming with identity.  You can’t throw a stone without finding a cool independent restaurant, coffee shop, or bar.  I’ve never had as much micro brew in my life as I have since coming here.  How Pabst Blue Ribbon got so big here I’ll never know.  I grew up a mere hour and a half away from where PBR is actually brewed and most Chicagoans I know tend to avoid it like the plague.

But anyway: burgers and beer.  Even if its a hole-in-the-wall or fast food joint, Portland doesn’t disappoint when it comes to burgers, and I’ve already managed to score a few favorites.  There of course is Burgerville, which for the summer is selling its Walla Walla Sweet Onion Cheeseburger.  There’s Little Big Burger, which has become one of my favorite “go-to’s” because I’ve been favoring smaller portions and their truffle fries are to die for.  But lately I’ve wanted to expand up from quarter-pounders to 1/3 pounders or more.

That’s when Devi Ever pointed me to a little place on 47th & Sandy called Killer Burger (though that’s not the only location).  I had had a long day at the park fighting off insects and trying to make sure the wind didn’t blow over my cheap foamboard caricature sign, and needed to unwind.  Devi had recommended Killer Burger to me not one night before, so I decided to give them a shot before heading home.

The building was literally located on the corner, with a few picnic tables sprinkled about outside the front door.  I walk inside, and I’m greeted by “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, an underrated but nonetheless awesome choice of single.  While I waited in line and placed my order, I also heard Iron Maiden and Megadeth come up on the playlist.  Living with Tyler, I’ve often been subjected to Emo rock that, while I have nothing against it, is not my cup of tea and not something I like to hear blaring from the neighboring bedroom in the morning.  Finally, my flavor of awesome!

I order a “Roll Your Own”, medium rare with grilled onions and a Blood Red Ale (brewed in house, naturally).  I forego any sauces because when you order a burger medium rare, you want to taste the meat and any sauces just get in the way of that.  This is why I got tomatoes instead of ketchup.  If you have one, you don’t really need the other.  If you must have ketchup, save it for dipping your fries in.  There’s a certain etiquette to good burgers and beer that I feel is underrated in our society today.

I get my burger, take my first bite…and “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin comes on the stereo.  Is it possible to have a perfect bite of something?  I think I just did.

I wolfed the whole thing down in five minutes, to the amazement of the waitress.  It had been that kind of day.  Good call Devi.  Good call.