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Category Archives: I Love Burgers

2016 Burger Brawl

Hello again! I know it’s been a while, but I came out of retirement this weekend and put my burger eatin’ pants on to check out the 6th annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl. I last attended the event back in 2013, but was glad to see it has gotten bigger (moving down to Xfinity Live!) and better since then – this year adding both the “Taco Takedown” and a cocktail competition.

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Out of the 29 burger competitors, I think I tried all but 5 due to a combination of the heat, some of the burgers not being ready yet during the VIP hour & simply being way too full. Here are some of my favorites (You can also check out more pictures from the event on our Facebook page):

The N’duja Jawn from Taproom on 19th – a Pat LaFrieda patty topped with N’duja spreadable salami, fresh mozzarella & tomato conserva on a Conshohocken Bakery potato roll. Definitely giving you lots of South Philly Italian flavors!:

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The Dandelion’s burger – A house blend beef burger topped with parmesan cheese, Brooklyn brine pickles, roasted shallot vinaigrette, lemon truffle dressing & watercress.

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Valley Beach’s (At Valley Forge Casino) Wipe Out burger topped with bacon, nacho cheese sauce, pico de gallo & a spicy cilantro aioli:

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So who were the winners? In the Judge’s Choice category… Pineville Tavern with their Million Dollar Bacon Burger!

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And the People’s Choice… Lucky’s Last Chance with their PB&J bacon burger! They also won People’s Choice in 2013!

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My only issues were the heat (which can’t be helped, obviously. It’s June) & that many burgers were past my preferred temperature of medium, due to health dept restrictions. Also: I was too full of burgers to try any of the tacos! Otherwise, everything about this event was fantastic. I love that they moved it to a bigger venue to give people more space to move around and spread out (and loosen up those waistbands). The former venue was a school parking lot that was very small & cramped & there wasn’t any seating. VIP Burger Brawl attendees got access to a covered outdoor bar at Xfinity Live & other attendees also had access to several patio areas with ample seating & tables to sit, relax & play some games like giant Jenga & cornhole. I’m definitely looking forward to attending again next year!

I’m also looking forward to posting more burger deliciousness for you! It may not be as regular (ie: weekly) as before since I’ve pretty much eaten almost every burger in Philly, but what’s summer without some good burgers? I’m planning to do a few burger “field trips” to showcase stuff outside the Philly area, as well as a special post about the burgers I ate on my recent trip to Japan, so stay tuned!

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Sinful Burgers

I’ve just touched back down in Philly from my trip to Vegas. If this blog post is any indication, clearly I didn’t win big on the penny slots – but I did hit the jackpot when it comes to eating some pretty awesome burgers!

First up: KGB – Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers – located in Harrah’s Casino. I’d never heard of Kerry Simon before, but apparently he was a contestant on Iron Chef and won, what else but a Burger Battle against Cat Cora. I checked out the Southwest Burger: An all natural beef patty, topped with avocado, cilantro, lime-marinated peppers and onions, pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese, avocado crème fraîche, all on a jalapeño-Cheddar bun. I was really impressed by the presentation and flavor of the burger. I love Tex-Mex flavors, so putting any of those ingredients on a burger gets me every time. However, all those awesome Tex-Mex ingredients quickly overwhelmed my burger once I removed the stick from the bun & it became a flaccid mess. I tried to remove some of the peppers & onions, but eventually had to concede defeats because I just couldn’t physically hold the burger anymore. My burger was cooked a little past medium into medium-well territory, but was still very juicy and tasty. [Burger Rating: C-]

Next, over at neighboring casino/hotel, The Palazzo, you’ll find I ❤ Burgers. Sounds perfect, right? I ordered their Standard burger, which is a ground Angus patty topped with lettuce, tomato & red onions. I also added cheddar & avocado for an additional $2 a piece, but my burger came out without the avocado on top. The menu states that all burgers are cooked to medium, pink throughout, unless otherwise requested, but again ended up being more on the medium-well side. The bun comes out toasted & branded with the I ❤ Burgers logo. I thought the flavor of the patty itself was tasty with a nice little bit of char, but otherwise very basic – and extremely overpriced – but hey, that’s Vegas, right?. (They also sold “I ❤ Burgers” t-shirts at their merchandise counter, so had to I got one, even if I didn’t love their burgers!) [Burger Rating: D+]

I feel like East Coasters are obsessed sometimes when it comes to all the awesome fast food chains that don’t exist on this side of the U.S., which is why I made sure to hit up a few of the most popular West Coast burger joints: Carl’s Jr and In ‘n’ Out.

At Carl’s Jr, I opted for the “Big Carl”, which is kind of a mash-up between a Big Mac & a Whopper. You’ve got your two all beef patties, special sauce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun (without the awkward middle bun you get on the Big Mac) PLUS you get the flame, charbroiled exterior on some monster sized patties. For a fast food joint, this was a pretty solid burger. [Burger Rating: B]

Lastly, what some consider to be the epitome of fast food burger greatness: I ordered a Double Double, Animal Style from In n Out, along with Animal Style fries. If you’re not familiar with In n Out’s “secret menu”, Animal Style is basically just a bunch of grilled, diced onions, cheese & Thousand Island sauce. It was fresh, delicious & absolutely amazing! (Can’t we start one of those White House petitions to get In n Out on the East Coast?) [Burger Rating: A+]

The day we arrived also just happened to be the opening of Bobby Flay’s first West Coast location of his burger joint, Bobby’s Burger Palace. Since I love BBP & have already been a bunch of times here on the East Coast, I didn’t really feel the need to eat there (although, they did introduce 2 new burgers – themed for Las Vegas & New Mexico – as well as added their Brunch Burger to their menu full time). However, we did stop buy and grab some of BBP’s famous Frozen Pear margaritas in their new BBP To Go Margarita Bar – and I’m glad we did, because Bobby Flay was there hanging out & filming promo stuff. He walked right past us when we were sitting down. I was so starstruck! Here’s a creep shot I took of B.Flay from my seat:

Nearly every hotel on the strip has it’s own gourmet burger bistro, so there’s no limit to all the burger deliciousness you could be having in Sin City. The only problem you’ll find yourself having is that there aren’t enough hours in a day – or room in your stomach – to eat them all!

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