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Category Archives: Rex 1516

2014 Battle Of The Burger

Since I missed out on the Burger Brawl this year due to having to attend a wedding, I was excited to learn that the Philly Burger Battle was coming back for a second year. This year’s Battle Of the Burger was held once again at The Piazza at Schmidt’s, although showcasing only 19 competitors in contrast to last year’s 25. I managed to eat 20 of the 25 burgers last year, so 19 would be a piece of cake! And despite a few long lines (and a few overcooked burgers), I got to them all. So who were my favs?

1) Lotus Farm to Table’sBeef & Boar Burger“: A grass-fed beef burger topped with braised wild boar belly, red onion jam, fennel & deviled egg aioli. Despite the charred exterior, the inside was juicy and pink. I loved the flavor combo of the red onion jam & the deviled egg aioli. It was the 3rd burger I tried, and I took a few bites more then I allowed myself, but I couldn’t help it!

2) The Parish Pub’s “Italian Burger”: A handcrafted blend of Black Angus beef, Italian hot sausage & pepperoni, topped with a spicy marinara sauce & provolone cheese on a pub bun. This burger spoke directly to my Italian heritage. It was just like eating a meatball parm sandwich!

3) Rex 1516’sPimento burger“: A house blend burger topped with pimento cheese, bacon, crispy red onions and bibb lettuce on a brioche bun. This was by far my favorite burger of the bunch. The burger was cooked perfectly medium-rare and the pimento cheese had a nice, spicy kick to it. It was just so simple and delicious – no wonder it’s a staple of Rex’s daily dinner menu.

So who was the winner? REX 1516, of course! Considering a Jersey joint won the cup last year, I joked with Rex’s chef, Justin Swain, that he had to bring the Burger trophy back to Philly. I’m just glad that the crowd recognized how great this burger was, too!

And for more pics of the Burger Battle 2014, check out the album on our Facebook page (Don’t forget to “LIKE” us while you’re there!): https://www.facebook.com/ASideOfKetchup

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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

A Rex-cellent burger

I’ve been meaning to get over to Rex 1516 for quite some time so I hopped in around the tail end of happy hour on a Friday night where, from 5-7 PM, they have some little bar bites for around $5. I decided to get a little cheese plate to start because cheese is delicious (duh!), but we all know I was really here to try their burger. The burger on their dinner menu has actually changed a bit since they opened; it’s currently in it’s 2nd incarnation – the previous version had onion marmalade, bacon and blue cheese – and actually, as of tomorrow (March 22nd) their Spring menu launches and will feature an all new burger topped with pimento cheese, red onion, bibb lettuce, bacon and the option to add a fried egg. (Oh great, now I have to come back and try another burger!? Kidding!)

The burger as it stands right now is an 8oz house grind, topped with pepper jack cheese, bread & butter pickles, bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato, red onion and is tucked under a shiny brioche bun. I ordered it medium and it was cooked perfectly. The burger had a great flavor thanks to the pepper jack and was nice and juicy. I’d had a couple of burger misses lately, but this really hit the spot (And apparently I woofed it down so fast that I shocked the bartender!) My only complaint was the bread and butter pickles; they were tasty and fit in with the Southern theme of the restaurant, but I just didn’t care for them on my burger.

I also hung out for a while and had several cocktails. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very relaxed and cozy, with a nice bar and they were playing old movies on a big screen TV on the wall. The bartender, Sweet Lou, was really knowledgeable and made me a couple of fun, off-menu drinks which I really enjoyed, one of which was a Dutch Blood & Sand, made with fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice! (Top right corner in the photo below)

Clockwise from top left: Sage Advice, Dutch Blood & Sand, Rye & Amaro digestif cocktail and Pan’s Elemental.

So if you’re in the area, swing on by Rex1516, grab a burger and keep Sweet Lou company!

Burger rating: “B+”

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