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LOCAL CUISINE CHEESE BURGERS


SCORING THE BEST OF THE BEST Once the team was assembled and briefed, we shifted through intel on great burgers within driving distance. Any burger place with more than one location was excluded. The credibility of sources was factored in, and we eliminated any recommendations coming only from the owners of burger establishments. Then we designed a scoring system in which each member of our team was given 25 points to award:


CHEESE AND TOPPINGS: 5 SIDES: 5


BURGER PATTY: 5 BUN: 5


OVERALL TASTE: 5


A burger that the whole team decided was absolutely perfect could theoretically receive a full 100 points. Yet the purpose of building a review team instead of relying on a lone burger reviewer is that people have vastly different opinions about cheeseburgers.


THREE CATEGORIES


Some people are minimalists who want nothing to stand in the way of the essential combination of beef and cheese. Some delight in a juicy, goopy mess smashed between two oversized buns. Others appreciate the possibilities for turning this classic American staple into a gourmet experience with an inventive flavor profile.


Local kitchen crews seem to have figured out that people are passionate about all three styles of cheeseburgers because the twelve burgers we tried for this first “cheeseburger crawl” fit all three categories. We ran into Classic No-Frills cheeseburgers, Monster Pub cheeseburgers, and Gourmet cheeseburgers. The following came out on top:


CLASSIC NO-FRILLS CHEESEBURGER HUDSON’S HAMBURGERS, #2 OVERALL IN POINTS


MONSTER PUB CHEESEBURGER POST STREET ALE HOUSE AND


NOSWORTHY’S HALL OF FAME TIED AND SHARE


#3 OVERALL IN POINTS


GOURMET CHEESEBURGER LUNA— #1 OVERALL IN POINTS


40 SPOKANE CDA • July - August • 2011


SPOKANE’S SOUTH HILL SCORE 86


LUNA GOURMET ($14)


If ‘over the top’ is what you want in your burger, Luna needs to be your first stop despite the comparatively steep price tag. Here is a burger made with ground hanger steak that is topped with Kansas City bacon, an


artisan Northwest white cheddar, caramelized onions, field greens, and a slab of tomato. The bun is a Bouzies Bakery brioche—made right next-door. It is browned on the grill and slathered with a white balsamic aioli.


HUDSON’S HAMBURGERS DOWNTOWN COEUR D’ALENE


CLASSIC NO-FRILLS ($2.70) SCORE 82


Most likely you’ll have to wait in a line out the door for your stool at the old linoleum counter inside Hudson’s, but then people have been happily waiting for years (since


1907) for these burgers that have only two options: pickles or onions. You can add a squirt or two of their tangy sauce at the counter but don’t even think about asking for fries. Instead, go retro and order a glass of buttermilk to drink with your burger. Cash only.


POST STREET ALE HOUSE DOWNTOWN SPOKANE


MONSTER PUB ($9) SCORE 81


The Ale House builds its “Best Ever Cheeseburger” around a juicy Certified Angus Beef (CAB) patty, and it works:


juicy, slightly charred on the edges, and “very beefy.” As odd as it may sound, the flavor of the Ale House patty came through more distinctly than some of the other


burgers. The Ale House burger was also the only burger to feature slices of sweeter ‘bread-and-butter’ style dills, and these really worked for the team. Crisp shoestring fries on the side with a dipping sauce got good marks, too.


NOSWORTHY’S HALL OF FAME NORTH COEUR D’ALENE


MONSTER PUB ($8.95) SCORE 81


Nosworthy’s serves up a massive half-pound patty that is formed loosely to leave pockets that burst with flavor as you bite in. Order their fine bite-size jo-jos on the side rather than fries; the jo-jos come with a side of sour cream with chunks of bacon and green onion blended in. And if you are up to it, you can get a 32-ounce Schooner of beer for as little at $4.50. Cash only. ATM on site.


MOONDOLLARS RESTAURANT POST FALLS


MONSTER PUB ($7.95) SCORE 79


The Big Dipper – Moondollar’s cheeseburger – also sports a half-pound patty of lean beef, ground locally to their specifications, and cheddar is the cheese of choice. High marks across the board go to their soft “pillowy” whole wheat bun that is baked fresh daily on site with Rathdrum Prairie wheat grown within miles of the restaurant. Hand- cut Idaho spud fries come standard, or you can request sweet potato fries.


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