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Incrediburger & Eggs

The Great Burger ChaseSpokane

One has to respect Incrediburger & Eggs’s dedication to the introvert. No longer do you have to order from an actual human being; instead, a kiosk is available for your quiet, contemplative perusal. You can still order from the counter if you’re the adventurous type, though you’ll have to brave less than ideal acoustics to do so. The auriculars don’t live up to Incrediburger’s otherwise comfortable and contemporary interiors.

Either way, the order-pick-up-eat-leave approach makes casual casual, and I’m OK with that.

The menu is impressive. You can find a range of burgers, from Classic to Steelhead (respect!), in addition to salads, bowls, and poutine. Vegetarian and gluten-free options abound. All items run for less than $8, and a host of (optionally booze-powered) shakes are available to complement your meal.

Conceptually, the mélange of a vintage diner and modern-ish brunch spot seems like something that should see a longterm success in Spokane. It’s a good fit for downtown.

I gave the Classic burger a try, and I have to say… Not bad at all. The package was simple—even with the optional ninety-nine-cent cheese, onion, and bacon trifecta—and dominated by clean flavors. I usually give pickles a pass, but Incrediburger’s bread and butter variety added a pleasant tang to the palate, flanked by a coarse, textured, grain mustard. The slab of bacon held enough substance and zest for it to be more than bacon for bacon’s sake.

Props, too, to the bun, which was more than just a vessel for everything in-between, and plenty flavorful in its own right.

The only real downside—and sadly it’s one that’s hard to look past—was the doneness of the patty. I’m not sure if you specifically have to order it medium, but reputable sources have confirmed the default cook to be consistently closer to (if not entirely) well-done. That’s a bummer, though I would argue the fresh ingredients saved the burger in the end.

Overall Incrediburger delivered a solid experience. The variety of the menu should make it a default stop for any burger-hound, and you can do a whole lot worse as far as a casual brunch spot goes. Consider it a good entry in The Great Burger Chase.



Nordstrom Marketplace Café

RestaurantsSeattle

A look at the Nordstrom Marketplace Café Korean Barbecue Taco offering.

That tortillaphiles are Dapper D(i)an(ne)s is a well-known fact. They take care of themselves; present themselves appropriately in reverence of the tortilla. Nordstrom, then, is a destination for those who want to appear just so. And of course, the department store accommodates genteel tortillaphiles with a tortilla-based offering in their café.

The Korean beef taco might be a trend of yore, but a world without it would be a poorer one. It has reached a certain timelessness, not unlike the ascot you undoubtedly will find in Nordstrom’s generous tie-section1.

Nordstrom’s Marketplace Café in Tukwila does a respectable job with their tacos. They might not be worth venturing through the I-5 battlegrounds for, but sampling them is worthwhile, should you be in the area. These are solid tacos, with only the tortillas (somewhat ironically) keeping them from a high tier.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as the positives generally outweigh the negatives. The meat is well-prepared, with a nice bite, and the char flanks the tender insides just so. There’s a possibility the barbecue sauce could scare some away—it’s surprisingly spicy—but I, for one, celebrate the lack of typical mall-café blandness.

Props, too, to the accompanying salad. The fresh avocado offsets the heat to maintain a delicate balance. It’s the plate one should hope for from a higher end café, albeit one not remotely similar to a traditional Mexican meal. If that’s a problem for you, it’s probably time to branch out.

The tortillas, or the lack of them, is a bit iffier. One thing is the grocery store quality—a void of flavor, and dull textures—another is the lack of a proper Double Tortillaing™. With a generous layer of barbecue sauce, two stacked tortillas is a must; otherwise, things get soggy and fall apart. As it does here. It gives you little time to properly enjoy the taco unless you are O.K. eating it from a plate with fork and knife. That’d be a bit sad, as (let’s face it) it makes the tortilla superfluous.

At a hefty $14.25 for three tacos, I feel the price should cover the basics, but that isn’t the case at Nordstrom. Still, props for getting the meat’s doneness right, and the sauce is an unexpected bonus. The presentation is as fancy as one would expect from a department store café. All in all, it’s more than an adequate meal when you’re taking a break from upgrading your wardrobe to tortillaphilia-worthy standards.

1 To whomever at Nordstrom who is poring over this—let’s talk sponsorship!



Murder, She Wrote; Mord ist ihr Hobby; Murder Is Her Hobby

Movies, Music, and TV

Let’s take a minute to lament how the Germans willfully shamed the great American treasure, Murder, She Wrote, or, Mord ist ihr Hobby, as it’s known there. Translated back into English: Murder Is Her Hobby. Hobby. Are we supposed to believe Jessica Fletcher just casually solved murders in her spare-time? Or is the implication that her hobby was killing people?

The Germans are walking dangerously close to libel if it’s the latter, and the only murder committed would be that of Jessica Fletcher’s character. Sure, I suppose a certain air of suspicion could be cast over the 274 or so murders that happened around the teacher-turned-crime-author, but I chalk that down to coincidence. At some point, people should have realized it was bad luck hanging around her.

Jessica Fletcher might have been guilty of many things, but that murder merely was her hobby was not one of them.
I often wondered why the cops were so reluctant to have Fletcher help them. I mean, she always solved the case.

As for the former, the fact that she solved 274—two hundred and seventy-four—murders should effectively throw out any thesis that she was just dabbling around, haphazardly doing cops’ work for them. I mean, I guess we could take this to a dark place and suggest Fletcher was running around killing people just so she would look good when she solved the crimes, sending innocent people to death sentences—we never really see any of this going to trial—but I refuse to degrade Ms. Fletcher to having been a narcissistic sociopath. Not a court in the country would convict her on such circumstantial evidence as tossing out, Oh, but this was no accident. No, this was murder, with a titch too much confidence.

No, Jessica Fletcher was wronged by the Germans, there is no doubt about that. Whatever Ms. Fletcher may or may not have done could have been many things, but a trivial hobby it was not. It makes one question how these people wronged Diagnosis: Murder.


El Taco Amigo

RestaurantsOlympia

The beauty of the taco truck can also be its downfall. One day it is there, right in front of you, peddling its tacos and burritos in the most tantalizing ways, luring you in like a Siren of the Parking Lot. Then, it’s gone. Where it went, nobody knows.

I’m not sure where El Taco Amigo started its life, but at the time of writing, you can find it in the Done-Rite Automotive lot in East Olympia. You probably cannot find a less scenic location outside of the I-5, but at least the service here is fast enough for a grab-and-run.

In the spirit of research, I tried El Taco Amigo’s namesake burrito, which is big in every way. Literally in size, figuratively in flavors. You could go crazy and top the $7.90 default with a $2.59 deluxe option, but I see little reason to do so. Do you really need to stash the proverbial sour cream in with the meat? Of course you don’t, because the burrito comes stuffed to the brim with beef, pork, and chicken. An herbivore’s nightmare is a carnivore’s dream.

Located in Olympia, Washington, El Taco Amigo delivers Mexican food and burritos we can get behind.El Taco Amigo is located in the Done-Rite Automotive parking lot in Olympia, Washington, and is open until 8 p.m. We recommend the El Taco Amigo burrito.

It might be an overkill, but it works. The flavors are distinct enough to give the burrito round flavors, each part of a harmony akin to a dazzling Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire fandango. The seasoning packs a gentle punch without taking anything away from the base, which I can respect. A polite spice is one that understands when it should be known, and when it should make a discrete exit.

So, El Taco Amigo delivers a burrito I can get behind. It’s not there to flaunt every color of the rainbow, but instead, it displays palpable, pragmatic flavors, different from the flashier California Tacos. Which truck is the better choice depends on your wanton moods, but El Amiga holds its own. Buy the ticket, take the ride, and your venture into unchartered territories will be one of enjoyment.