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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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Cornered.

I think we can all agree that sandwiches are awesome. They’re probably the most imaginative food creation on the planet. You take two pieces of bread – whatever kind you want: wheat, white, whole grain, kaiser rolls, ciabatta, naan, crust, no crust, etc. Then, you put some awesome stuff between those two pieces of bread – meat, cheese, spreads, sauces, glazes, veggies, what have you – and BOOM! Insta-meal. It can be hot, it can be cold, you can fry it, grilled it. Traditional or haute cuisine, there are just endless combinations of deliciousness in the sandwich kingdom.

Exhibit A: The truffled grilled cheese at The Corner.This bad boy came stuffed with braised short ribs and a hefty $17 price tag, but I figured I’d give it a whirl. I mean, truffled grilled cheese with short ribs – doesn’t that sound absolutely decadent?

Unfortunately, this sandwich was a complete let down. Yes, the braised short ribs tasted nice but I just kept struggling to find even the slightest hint of truffle in this sandwich. Was it in the cheese? Were the ribs cooked in it? Was the sandwich fried in it? Nothing. I felt cheated and lied to. How could you be so cruel, $17 grilled cheese? (God, I can’t believe I paid $17 for a fancy grilled cheese)

Exhibit B: The burger club at Supper. Available only on their brunch menu, this double decker monster features a 6 oz Pat La Frieda blended patty, and the traditional BLT elements of a club sandwich.

Now, imagine my surprise when I began tasting truffle with each and every bite. Prominent, delicious, finger lickin’ good even! I didn’t remember seeing it on the menu description but on a quick Google search, low & behold, the burger is topped with truffle mayo! I wasn’t losing my mind; this is what truffle should taste like. It should be present and in your face, caressing your taste buds gently. I practically cried tears of joy. Sandwich redemption had arrived.

Like snowflakes, no two sandwiches are alike. There’s no greater proof of that then the two sandwiches that I ate recently. Both came served on fluffy, thick bread, cut diagonally and served with a side of fries. Both claimed to have contained elements of truffle oil.  But taste wise, sometimes one sandwich fulfills all your hunger needs while another just leaves you high and dry.

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