Sunday, June 17, 2018

Burger Brawl 2018

During last year's Burger Brawl, I was sadly out of town and wasn't available to judge. So when I was tapped to judge Burger Brawl 2018, I was incredibly excited and honored at the opportunity! Eight years since the first brawl at the William M Meredith Elementary School, Maggie & Rob Wasserman continue to create the city's standout burger competition. 

And what do tickets to this all-you-can-eat burger competition support? This annual event benefits The Fund for the Philadelphia School District, which allows for curriculum development and technological advancement programs. Since its inception, more than $200,000 has been invested by the Burger Brawl team into the various programs.

Over 50 burgers and tacos ready to be judged!

And yes, in addition to the charitable cause that Burger Brawl supports, attendees were able to party at Xfinity Live! while tasting and helping to pick out the city's best burger (and taco)! This year, there were over 30 respectable entries that ranged from offerings that were creatively chef-fy to simple, but no less tasty. Originally there were more than 50 entrants, but unfortunately bad weather forced Burger Brawl to be rescheduled a week later. 

Clockwise from Top Right: Arpeggio BYOB's Brie & Mushroom | Union Tap's Grilled Pineapple & Mango Salsa Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon Burger | SOMO Manayunk's Scrapple & Long Hots Cream Cheese Burger | Botto's Italian Line Sriracha Bacon Cheddar & Onion Avocado Burger

So how does Burger Brawl go about picking the city's best burger and taco? Attendees were given tokens to help choose the People's Choice winners. But for the Judge's choice, it involved multiple foodie & media judges indulging in several rounds of tasting. And taste we did! It doesn't get more Pennsylvania than with SOMO Manayunk's scrapple & long hots cream cheese burger, with the texture of the porcine patty coming through against the rich kick of the cream cheese. There was enjoyable sweet heat with Union Tap's rum-spiked pineapple and mango salsa, which married well with the sugar-glazed bacon and the homemade Jamaican jerk sauce. But who were the winners? 

Cutthroat Cocktail Winner
Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft - Buzzed Bunny
Maker's Mark, carrot juice, ginger juice, lemon juice, rosemary tincture and sprig

There were quite a few restaurants that participated in the Cuthroat Cocktail competition, sponsored by Maker's Mark. Ripplewood Whiskey came out on top with this union of spirit and cleanse. Light, herbaceous, yet boozy, the Buzzed Bunny was easy to enjoy.

People's Choice Taco
El Vez - Tacos al Pastor
Smoked BBQ pork, Morita chile, pineapple

Who doesn't love an El Vez taco? The succulent pork was dressed with a chile sauce, cilantro, red onion, and pineapple. 

Judge's Choice Taco
Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft - Tongue & Cheek
Braised veal tongue, beef cheek marmalade, corn tortilla

Especially for the more adventurous eaters out there, Ripplewood's offering was clearly a standout. The braised tongue and cheek marmalade was more than just a cute name. The taco featured tender and well-seasoned beef, nicely balanced by the cucumber and mustard seeds.

People's Choice Burger
Lucky's Last Chance - PB&J Burger

For the third year in a row, Lucky's Last Chance satiated the crowds with their PB & J burger. First off, you can't win three years of Burger Brawl without having a well-seasoned and well-seared burger. And the marriage of salty, creamy peanut butter and sweet jam hits the nostalgic notes that secured the trophy once again. 

Judge's Choice Burger
Northeast Sandwich Co. - NESCO Patty Melt
House-blend beef patty, pastrami sliced pork belly, 1001 Island dressing, Cooper American, pickled red cabbage, grilled rye

For the judges, NE Sandwich Co killed it with their patty melt. Perfectly cooked medium-rare, the burger was amped up by the pastrami sliced pork belly and creamy Copper American cheese. And who needs 1000 Island dressing when NE Sandwich Co. has got 1001? Definitely a standout burger! 

Missed out on this year's Burger Brawl? Be sure to look out for next year's competition! Will Lucky's Last Chance make it four in a row? There's only one way to find out. All while satiating your burger, taco, and cocktail cravings all at the same time! 

No comments:

Post a Comment