Despite my general blase attitude towards burgers and hairy creatures, I actually do not roll my eyes at 4.5 month old newcomer Li’l Woody’s.
For the record, I don’t think it should be an insurmountable achievement for me to like a burger. It is not like acquiring a taste for single malt whiskey or brussel sprouts. I like meat, I like bread, but somehow this iconic American classic always falls short like my cell phone’s network coverage.
Aside from grisly low quality overcooked meat, my biggest disappointment is often the bun. A stiff bun floating on top of a patty instead of snugly encasing the jeweled carnivorous treat often overpowers the meat. The bun and patty should be one, not two separate elements competing for space in my mouth.
In comes Li’l Woody’s:
The bun: Woody’s pale yellow-tinted bun raises an eyebrow of suspicion, but the slightly sweet and sleek bun is almost as moist as a hum bao (Chinese steamed bun) and fits like a glove over the meat. Li’l Woody’s knows they have a winner on their hands. When customers inquire about the source of their buns, the staff congenially discloses they get bun shipments from a baker down South, but remain hush-hush beyond that.
The meat: If I am going to compromise my cholesterol, I want to go all out. Skinny dry patties are a waste of time. Woody’s succulent hand-formed 1/3 pound Painted Hills beef patties adequately squelch my hunger without setting off a gut bomb.
The fixin’s: If you are a purist, go for the 1/4 pound $4.50 Lil Woody which comes equipped with Tillamook Cheddar, chopped onions, pickle, ketchup, and mayo. But if you like to spruce up your burger, this is the area where Woody’s really shines. More often than not, I go for the Trotter: Caramelized onions, apple, housemade horseradish sauce and chopped up Painted Hills bacon. You had me at bacon.
Here are some other standouts:
- The Fig and the Pig: I know I am not at your average Joe burger joint when I see a scoop of Boat Street’s pickled figs as an accompaniment to a burger. Bacon, mayo and crumbled Gorgonzola round out this masterpiece.
- Peanut butter and fig: Li’l Woody’s has a cult following of patrons who pick peanut butter as a topping to their burger. Who knows. Woody’s could be reigniting the fad.
Vegetarians and non-beef eaters: Don’t’ worry. Woody’s has got your back. The homemade black bean patty is not too shabby. I have also been making googly eyes at the Mornin’ Woody (not trying to sound naughty as I write this, but that is the actual name of the breaky sandwich), which is their $4.50 version of the Egg McMuffin -2 eggs, Hills bacon, tomato, Tillamook Cheddar and Rooster mayo on a hamburger bun (served all day).
- Although I dig the entire crew at Woody’s, I try to time my visits with when Bob – one of the managers with the big glasses – will be there. He has the Midas touch and never overcooks my burger. I generally see him dominating the grill during weekday lunchtime.
- When you are out and about on Friday and Saturday nights, skip over the hot dog stand and make your way to late night dining at Woody’s – Open till 3am.