This is a story about pickle fries. Other things happen in this story, but none of them are as noteworthy as the pickle fries. There is a restaurant, a town, some weather, a couple of dogs, and even some other remarkable food, but all of these things revolve around that one, single most important dish: Those dreamy, crispy, pickle fries. Holy smoley. Before I spend too much more time worshiping those fries, I should probably take a step back and explain how it was that I had the opportunity to eat them.
” The pickle fries did eventually run out, and that made us sad “
It was a ridiculously glorious day in Sausalito, one of those days that are so excruciatingly perfect that you can’t help but to post a picture of the cloudless blue sky on Facebook and say “neener neener” to all of the unfortunate people who don’t live in California. My wife Shawn, fellow dog wrangler and honorary food blog enabler, and I were strolling the streets of Sausalito, enjoying the 75 degree weather and looking for a place to eat. We passed a couple of somewhat promising establishments, but then we spotted the Napa Valley Burger Company. One glance at the menu and we knew this was the place to eat.
The limited outdoor seating was completely full, but we got lucky and nabbed a table within about five minutes. We were basically sitting right in the middle of a crowded Sausalito sidewalk, but it made for good people watching and kept our two fluffy little dogs occupied as well. Our attentive waitperson stopped by immediately to take our drink orders and fawn over the dogs, much to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
We were all settled in a few minutes later with drinks and a bowl water for the pups. We ordered some pickle fries, a Stinson Beach BBQ Burger, and a Yountville Burger, our waitperson nodding with approval as she scribbled on her notepad. “That’s the three most popular items on the menu, in order” she said. “The pickle fries are my favorite.”
In just a few minutes the pickle fries arrived. It had been bothering me to this point that they were called “pickle fries” instead of the obviously much more grammatically accurate “fried pickles”, because that’s what they are. Pickles that are fried. Right? When I saw them in person, though, I understood the subtle genius of it all. They are fries that have pickles in them. Thin, julienne strips of pickle are thickly coated in the most wonderful cornmeal batter concoction and fried to crispy, crunchy, salty perfection. Heaven. If you don’t like fried pickles, these still might not change your mind all that much, but if you enjoy this sort of thing you will be stunned at how good they are. At this point Shawn said, “You know you have to rate this place 10-out-of-10 no matter what else happens, right?” That’s certainly the direction we’re trending here, no doubt about it.
Next up the burgers arrived, and we were not disappointed. They were piled high, cooked just so, and were absolutely amazing. The applewood bacon on my burger was thick, layered, and deliciously smoky underneath a blanket of garlic aioli and oozy, melted Gruyere. The accompanying burger across the table (from which I stole many bites) was equally superb; the stars of that particular show being the crispy onion ring and generously applied bourbon barbecue sauce. Accompanying each of the burgers were artsy-looking side salads, the kind I am usually not impressed with. Just to be thorough, I went ahead and ate some of mine… and it was excellent! I don’t know what they put in the dressing – I guess perhaps heroin – but it was just hands-down plain old delicious. I can’t believe this place, even the stupid salads are awesome.
As incredible as the burgers were, however, we found ourselves constantly going back to the basket of pickle fries, desperately scraping the bottom of the container that once held heavenly dill ranch dipping sauce. We boxed up the leftover halves of our burgers and sat in contentment a while, enjoying the warm sun and jealous stares of passers by. Our only dislike of the entire meal was that the pickle fries did eventually run out, and that made us sad. We paid our bill, left a healthy 25% tip for the top notch service we received, and walked away as extremely satisfied customers. I am always reluctant to hand out perfect ratings, but I’ll still give Napa Valley Burger Company 199 out of 200 delicious, delicious pickle fries. We’ll be back soon. Oh yes, we will.
Napa Valley Burger Company
Sausalito, CA 94965
Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.