Grilled: Ashley Todd of Dream Burger


Burger-centric interviews with chefs, writers, and other food lovers.

Note: Today we're interviewing Ashley Todd of Portland-based burger blog Dream Burger, where she reviews burgers on a scale of 1 to 10 (or "Fuck This" to "Perfect") along with sides, environment, and value. Every post features photos, straightforward commentary (which gets funnier the worse the burger is), and a lovely burger icon emitting golden rays of burger joy. As it should.

20091023-grilled-ashley.jpgName: Ashley Todd
Location: Portland, Oregon
Occupation: IT Professional, Burger Lover, Burger Blogger

How often do you eat burgers? I tend to eat a burger about once a week.

Where did you eat your most recent one? Hopworks Urban Brewery.

Cheese: American, cheddar, other? American cheese. Nothing else looks nearly as appealing.

Ketchup or mustard? Mustard, always. Ketchup is way too flavorful/sugary to make an appearance on my burger. It only belongs next to my French fries or onion rings.

Sesame-seed or plain? Plain. I'm fine with any bun, just as long it isn't oversized and overshadows the burger patty itself.

Grilled, griddled, or broiled? Griddled!

And how would you like that done? Medium.

Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? My perfect burger—or Dream Burger, if you will—is a thin 1/4-pound patty, griddled with nice char on the outside, but pink and juicy on the inside, slice of American cheese melted on top, fresh potato roll, shredded lettuce, a tomato slice, a small amount of mustard/mayo, and a few pickle slices. I am not into "tons of shit on a bun" or massive "gourmet" burgers—I like to keep it simple and delicious.

The hamburger is a food item with which most Americans have strong childhood associations. Do you remember your earliest encounter with this delicious dish? I was (and probably still am) a really picky eater, so I would always order a cheeseburger every single time I'd go out to eat with my parents. Plus, I ate fast food very frequently as a kid, and I thought McDonald's was the absolute epitome of deliciousness.

What's your favorite fast-food burger? In-N-Out, no contest.

What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? I actively dislike ketchup on burgers. I am not into any condiment or topping that overpowers the beef.

What's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? The most unusual burger I've eaten is probably just one with peanut butter as a topping. I don't really try weird/strange burgers, so that's about as unusual as it gets for me.

What's the most overrated burger you've tried? Most underrated? Most overrated is Slow Bar in Portland. I have heard so much hype about this burger, and their website even claims "Home of the Best Burger in Portland" so I made sure to try it as soon as I could. Their burger is good, but hardly the best. Most underrated is hard to answer, as there are so many great burgers from small local places that you'd never hear anything about. Under Wonder Lounge, a little café underneath the Wonder Ballroom, has a really great burger for only $8.

What are your top five burgers in Portland? I moved to Portland from Pittsburgh about two months ago and I haven't tried nearly enough burgers here to define a top 5. So far, Stanich's is my absolute favorite in this town. You cannot find a better burger for the price.

Imagine that for some crazy reason, you're going vegetarian. Where do you go for your final burger? There is no reason crazy enough to warrant such a thing, but if I had to answer, I'd pick Tessaro's in Pittsburgh.

Why did you start a burger blog? I started Dream Burger out of frustration over the lack of cheeseburger reviews in Pittsburgh. I review the burger itself, sides, restaurant environment, and value—which is something that most other local burger blogs don't do. I am definitely no food expert, just an average person that loves cheeseburgers.