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2013 Burger Brawl

I was so upset that I had to miss the Burger Brawl last year that I made sure that I did not miss it again this year! As soon as I found out, I got my tickets and waited (impatiently), plotting all the delicious burgers I was going to enjoy. In case you’re not familiar, the Burger Brawl was started in 2011 by Restauranteur Rob Wasserman of Rouge/500 Degrees fame (who I got the pleasure of meeting by accident while taking a much needed burger time-out), and the proceeds go to support local Philadelphia-area schools by constructing new technology labs. Past winners include London Grill and Bobby Flay (which just so happen to be two of my favs).

I’d already tried a handful of the competitors that were participating this year and my strategy was to cover the burger bases that I hadn’t touched on yet like Misconduct Tavern and Percy Street BBQ (whose burger topped with ham and a cured egg yolk just happened to be my favorite of the bunch).

Percy St BBQ’s burger entry

There were all kinds of burgers on display in the competition, in many different shapes and sizes. Some decided to go the “slider” (or “mini burger”, if you want to get technical) route like Rouge and 10 Arts.

Rouge “slider”

Others were grilling up full sized patties and then slicing them into halves (like Table 31) or quarters (like The Industry); a slightly better strategy and easier to get out to the masses.

Table 31’s Burger Entry

The Industry Burger

There were burgers with crazy toppings like South Philly Tap Room’s Ham-Hamburger with Scott Schroeder’s Super Ham Salad, and Silk City’s Banh Mi Burger, which on top of the Vietnamese influences, contained a layer of liver pate! (Plus they both had awesome, detailed burger illustrations!)

I made it about halfway through the burgers before I eventually gave up and decided to take a timeout for about an hour. But unfortunately by the time I was ready for Round 2, most of the burger stations left were all out of meat! Luckily, I didn’t miss too many that I hadn’t already had like Alla Spina, The Dandelion and London Grill. The one I was most disappointed about missing was George Sabatino’s burger (his station was near the entrance when I came in, but his grill wasn’t set up yet). Luckily, Morgan’s Pier re-opens this Thursday, so I’ll have all summer long to try out this crazy burger that is supposed to be dipped in liquid nitrogen and deep fried!

So who were the big winners? The People’s Choice award went to Lucky’s Last Chance of Manayunk for their Peanut Butter, Bacon & Jelly burger! (Nice to get some neighborhood pride going!) I know that combination of things on a burger sounds kind of scary, but it was actually really good – and I don’t even like jelly!

Lucky’s Last Chance

And the Judge’s Choice went to Fat Jack’s BBQ for their “Ultimate Memphis Mauler Burger” topped with… Well, just read the description below; it’s certainly a mouthful:

Ultimate Memphis Mauler Burger

My indigestion considered, the Burger Brawl was an amazing event with an even more amazing turn out. I definitely can’t wait to check it out again next year – Hopefully it will be even bigger and better! And while you’re waiting for next year’s Burger Brawl, check out the rest of this year’s awesome burger action on our new Facebook page (Don’t forget to “LIKE” us while you’re there!): Facebook.com/ASideOfKetchup

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Hole-y Moley!

It seems like just the other day I was talking about donuts. Oh wait, that’s because I was. Well, it’s with good reason: donuts are delicious! And also, because Federal Donuts just opened their second location. Proving that the strange mix of fancy donuts and fried chicken is the key to success, FedNuts is now serving up fancies, birds and hot donuts in Center City Philadelphia on 16th and Sansom. Not only that, but their menu is completely different from their Pennsport location, giving you some great new variety not just for donuts, but in the types of dry/glazed chicken as well.

I ventured out early on their opening day (Tuesday, October 2nd) and was please to find the place all to myself! Oh wait, that’s right, because they pushed up the opening from Wednesday and I pounced on the chance. (Which was great because there was a massive line the next morning which I wasn’t about to try and fight people on.) Overwhelmed by all the attention on myself, I wasn’t sure where to begin! I thought maybe I’d get a minute here to mull over a menu as a dozen other people went before me, but I had to be quick on my feet!

Process of elimination: Don’t like mint, don’t like lemon, don’t like butter pecan.

That left me with Green tea-sesame, Maple Bacon (!) and Spicy PB&J. I ordered. I paid on their super cool, totally high tech iPad (which they use with Square), which I can’t tell if it’s a good or bad thing; if every person paying with a card has to sign an iPad & then select a receipt option (email, text), won’t that slow down the ringing up process? Meh. Moving on! I got my donuts, I got my coffee and then, as I was putting cream in my coffee I was given a hot, fresh Turkish Mocha!! Yay bonus free donut!

Mmm.. Donuts. *drool*

Ate the Turkish Mocha first because WARM FRESH DONUT, duh. Other then being hot and sugary, the flavor didn’t really stand out to me. In fact, I wouldn’t even have known it was Turkish Mocha unless the employee told me when he gave it to me.

Next I tried the Green Tea-sesame. OMG soooo good. I loved how rich the green tea tasted. It reminded me of powdered matcha that they have in restaurants in Japan where you pour the powder directly into your mug and then use a table side faucet to add hot water. Matched with the sesame, it was a perfect combination.

After that was Maple Bacon. Now, I tried the Maple Bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts and wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t sure if this was just a ploy to hop on that bandwagon or not, but I took a bite and WHOA. It definitely packed a punch. It was maple and bacon in all the right places. And definitely not as sweet as the bar at Voodoo (or as stale). I don’t know if I could have eaten one of these all by myself. Good thing I had co-workers to help me! I put the leftovers on my desk to share and immediately, my one co-worker stopped short and went “ARE THOSE FEDERAL DONUTS DONUTS!?” and then they just all swarmed my desk.

Lastly, Spicy PB&J. I’m not a big PB&J fan in general. Never ate the sandwiches as a kid. In fact, I pretty much hate jelly, period. But I gave it whirl. I was waiting for the spiciness and then POW! It hit me. Please note, I have very mild taste buds and am not good with spicy/hot things though, so I’m not sure how you “normals” will react. But the jelly – ugh. I just couldn’t get past it. So my co-worker gladly finished the rest and kept coming by my office throughout the day asking if I had anymore left. I think I created a monster fan!

Eventually once the crowds die down, I’m looking forward to trying the different types of fried chicken. (And by that I mean convincing my new supervisor, who has an affinity for throwing fried chicken parties, to order FedNuts chicken for us on a bi-weekly basis.) So look forward to a bird update soon!

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