The Food Network NY Wine & Food Festival Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats, hosted by Rachael Ray.
Last night marked the annual “Burger Bash” event for the NY Wine & Food Festival. A veritable cornucopia of the best and most revered burgers in the all the lands. It’s far and above the hottest ticket of the festival and sells out in a flash. It’s easier to get the Pope on the phone than it is to secure a ticket to this ultimate burger throw down. I would like to profusely thank the festival organizers and Robin Insley Associates for granting me a staff pass to what I would consider to be the crown jewel of eating events. All I do is write this silly blog which was never intended to be more than a laugh but I just keep getting more and more Burger Famous every day!
Warned that the bash can turn into a bit of a madhouse due to a high attendance, I planned to arrived early for the VIP hour which would allow only a small amount of people through the gates before the full event began. I travelled in with my burger bro Jamie from Burger Maker and Burger King of King’s George Motz from Hamburger America thus forming a magical trio of Burger Royalty. We nabbed our passes and made our way into the lovely Tobacco Warehouse in just underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an amazing open air building with spectacular views of Manhattan and was the same location where George hosted the Brooklyn Beer and Burger and Beer Garden party at the NYC Food and Film Festival. While we took a car service out there, the Wine & Food fest organizers offered attendees rides to and from Manhattan on their “Burger Bus.”
The burger bash is brought to us through the magic of beer, in particular, its Colorado’s Blue Moon that is the title sponsor. I’m sure you’ve had one before but if not, its a very smooth, drinkable, American version of a Belgian Witbier from the makers of Coors. It’s creamy, spicy and wheat and while not heralded as an amazing beer by beer nerds, is often times the gateway for macros drinkers to become beer-curious about the microbrew world. It’s also the very first thing we put down our throats! Once libations were secured we started off on our burger way. I am going to refrain from my normal 10 ounce rating system, opting instead for just my thoughts and photos.
Bobby Flay, the star of food and TV was standing behind his booth cooking, serving and greeting customers with a massive smile on his face. You could’t not want to approach say hi and grab a burger. It was almost like a burger combined with ballpark nachos and it was fantastic! The juicy, juicy beef literally melted on contact with my tongue while riding a creamy cheese wave. The intensity of the pickled jalapenos really pierced through the mild flavors of the cheese and beef. This one was going to be tough to beat!
On the way in Jamie reminded us not to eat the whole burger for risk of becoming too full and not being able to sample all the burgers. 2 bites into Bobby’s burger and I knew this rule was going to be thrown out the window. I sucked down the whole damn thing.
Bill’s is a personal fave and the home to the first ever Burger Conquest Costume Burger Ball. These guys make a classic small patty burger and I was excited to see what they brought to the Bash. While I am a fan, George is a fanatic and almost ran over to the booth to get his clutches on their burger.
For a small patty, Bill’s has mastered the art of keeping a smaller patty very juicy. The burger was really good and I was glad to see they didn’t create some insanely topped burger and just went with an American standard, a cheese burger. Normally, I would do back flips for an English Muffin burger but the bread on this one was dense and a little too chewy. The tots however were pure carbohydrate bliss and I can not wait to get them again on my next trip to Bill’s.
Chef Scott Smith
Burnt end burger with cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles and mustard on a roll with BBQ beans.
For a long time people would ask me “what’s your favorite burger in Manhattan” and I would ramble off anywhere from 3-10 different burgers that made the cut. Then I tried the R.U.B. Burger and my life changed. It is without a doubt, my favorite burger. I don’t know what kind of black magic Andrew Fischel and Scott Smith are using to create this ultimate treat but I don’t care. It’s only served on Monday nights starting at 6 and they have a limited quantity so don’t be late.
Andrew, always one to make sure to include laughter in his food had all kinds of punny R.U.B. signs and even a masseuse so burger eaters could “Rub one out.” Andrew, all smiles, jumped out from behind the table to give us all a warm greeting … and a burger!! HELLO GAME CHANGER! It was a juicy, fresh, hand made, freshly ground masterpiece that exploded in your mouth like a Cuban Missile. This was Jamie’s first R.U.B. BBQ and I watched his eyes pop out of his head and roll across the floor after his first bite.
Chef Andrew Carmellini
Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburger with Secret Sauce. All beef burger with chipotles, glazed bacon, cheddar cheese and tomato on a toasted bun. Server with a Maple Stout Float.
I love me some bacon, I love me some spice and I love me some cheeseburger. I also love beer and stouts are the most treasured style in the beer-niverse. I was filled with food electricity and excitement to bite into a burger I had heard so much about. It would’ve been amazing but the stout float spilled in the tray, washing my burger in the float. It was a bold move that ultimately did not pay off. I saw this happen to several others after I experienced my own tragedy. I did like the flavors of what i was able to salvage but couldn’t really fully pass judgment.
MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD AND DRINK
Chef Michael Schwartz
Thick cut cheese burger with multiple slices of aged cheddar, thick bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.
While chatting with Motz and the controversial Josh Ozersky, 2 lovely folks from Michael’s walked up with a tray of their burgers. They were trying to hunt down Josh to get him to try their burger. Josh slid out the side of our convo and Michael’s Genuine was left holding burgers. Josh’s loss, our win. This was THE beefiest tasting burger I’ve had in a long time. The bacon could easily be described with one word; awesome. So good were the multiple slices of cheese that halfway through the burger, I had to stop and ask again what it was.
HAMPTONS BURGER BLOODBATH WINNER
Chef Mo Koyfman
The Momo Burger; American cheese, local tomato, and lettuce with bread-and-butter pickles. Served with hash browns.
It was the first I had ever heard of the Hampton’s Burger Bloodbath, a private, invite-only burger party held in on Long Island with celebrity chefs and judges. Next year, please invite me! Thank you.
For some reason, these guys had one of the most energetic and upbeat presentations at the party. Curious to try the burger of a champion, I grabbed one. Of all the burgers I had, this was the one that most tasted of grill flavors, a key taste element in backyard burger making. It was pretty good and I will need to do some more investigation into this party that I hope to attend next year. The hash browns were crunchy and greasy…a total win.
Chef Jeffery Maslanka
Beef patty grilled medium rare, crispy onion hay, garlic creamed spinach, with a horseradish sauce on a toaste bun. Served with Sweet Potato Fries.
Jeff is a rock and roll burger genius and makes one fantastic burger at his other restaurant, the Black Shack on Lex. It’s the only restaurant in the world that has a secret menu item that I conceived, the “Mayhem Burger.” 67 however, was the father restaurant to Jeff and Ed Tretter’s Black Shack. I’ve never eaten there and was curious to see the difference. Jeff is a certifiable madman in all the totally balanced and nothing to worry about ways. He is a super food nerd, beer can lover and rock and roll junkie. Hanging with him is just pure fun and it’s reflected in their restaurants.
Leave it to Ed and Jeff to serve the biggest, most rare, juiciest, softest and most outlandishly dressed, without going overboard, steak burger of the evening. If their was an award for the Manliest Burger at the Bash, this burger would’ve dominated the category. I don’t even like creamed spinach but after one bite, I couldn’t wait to get another. Damn. I love that they were the only participants, at least that I noticed, to include the burger temperature in the description of their offering. It was like watching a baseball player call his home run. The fries were the crispiest and warmest ones I had all night.
Goodonya guys, this was superb.
LURE FISH BAR
Chef Josh Capon
Bash Burger, Griddled patty with caramelized onion, bacon jam, shaved pickles and secret sauce on a sesame seed bun. Served with Homemade Salt & Vinegar Chips.
Josh’s burger was the recipient of the coveted “People’s Choice” award at the 2009 Burger Bash. There was a lot of hype around this burger that comes from a seafood restaurant. Kyle and Brett from Burger Bedlam (http://www.bestburgernyc.com/) swear by this burger giving it the highest rating on their site, 98 out of 100. We have been threatening to get a burger together for some time now, so I thought it would be most appropriate to meet them at Lure.
Toppings were a little sour. The burger itself was a nice and thick patty. I had to 86 the pickles and the sauce was a little too sweet for me but the bacon jam as really unique. I don’t think I have heard those 2 words together before but they sound like the ultimate pork meets rock and roll party. The chips were buttery and crunchy. I loved them and I am one of those people who doesn’t really like potato chips with his burger. I’m gonna need to go get this at the restaurant.
Chef Craig Koketsu
Their proprietary blend of chuck, brisket and short rib served on a toasted cheese bun with jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, labneh yogurt and their special fire eater sauce. Served with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries with Spiced Maple Cream.
At this point in the evening, all the censors in my stomach were sending “please stop” signals to my brain. I was full to the max and really just couldn’t put down another beefy treat. It was then that I ran into my pal Perry who was raving about the Hurricane Club burger. “Rev, you have to try it!” Suddenly, I found a burger pocket in my stomach that I could wedge a couple of bites into!
I’m glad I did! It was the most unique burger I had at the Bash. It was like eating Texas 2-alarm chili in burger form made from fresh and juicy high quality beef. It’s a spicy one and not for the weak! While Bill’s Tots, 67’s Sweet Potato Fries and Lure’s Potato chips were all darn tootin’ the Hurricane Club’s Sweet Potato Waffle Fries were my favorite side item of party. This is without a doubt going onto my burger radar for further research.
I had reached my tipping point and the thought of eating even one more burger bite sounded like the most dangerous of ideas. I walked around a bit hob-nobbing, meeting people and getting compliment after compliment on my Burger King gold chain. I pounded another beer while waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. Lee Schrager took the stage calling all chefs up to announce each of them to the crowd.
HEINZ BEST DRESSED BURGER AWARD
(for the most creative use of toppings)
THE HURRICANE CLUB
THE LAFRIEDA MEATS BURGERMEISTER AWARD
First place – SHAKE SHACK
2nd place tie between THE GREENHOUSE TAVERN and HAMPTONS BURGER BLOODBATH WINNER
3rd place – THE DUTCH
Video of the presentation
THE BLUE MOON PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
BOBBY’S BURGER PALACE
Video of the presentation
Which was my favorite burger? While 67 and Bobby had to phenomenal burgers, I have to say that once again, R.U.B. BBQ served up the best god damn burger one could ever hope for. IfI could’ve given the Burger Conquest Award for Most Glorious Burger, Andrew and Scott would walking out with a trophy.
It was a real treat to attend this Glorious Burger Event of the highest magnitude. My only complaints: not enough napkins, trash cans or bathrooms. I can’t wait to do it again next year…when I am even more “Burger Famous.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I overheard people complaining about the award winners which is just plain silly. Every single burger at this party was a cut above the rest. It was a gathering of the greatest burgers in the the greatest town. Anyone who was in attendance was lucky to be eating all this fantastic food. The Shack is without a doubt one of the best burgers in NYC (and now in Miami too) and all the world. I have never been to Bobby’s Burger Palace but his burger offering was pretty damn good. As for The Hurricane Club, no one had better even try to argue that victory as they earned every single ounce of it.