festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
“It’s all about the meat on meat, baby!” exclaimed Michael Symon as he proudly displayed his second People’s Choice Award trophy during last year’s 2011 SOBEWFF Burger Bash. A year later, his meat mixing mastery has paid off again.
“This year, we ground the bacon right into the burger meat,” said Symon of his winning Porky Burger — a bacon-speckled ground pork patty topped with pulled pork and slaw, with crispy pork cracklings on the side.
One of the most popular events of the Festival, the annual “best between the bun” throwdown hosted by Rachael Ray drew dozens of top name chefs and Food Network personalities from around the country to cook up their best burger creations. Thousands of attendees gathered into a massive Miami beachfront tent to nosh on a whopping amount of burgers and sides, sip Amstel Light and vote for their favorite patty.
There were 32 different burgers in all — more than enough to satisfy even the hungriest carnivores. Josh Capon (Burger & Barrel) put a sweet and savory spin on his with onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles and secret sauce, while Angelo Sosa (Social Eatz) spiced things up with his Korean-inspired bulgogi burger. The Meatball Shop guys impressed during their Bash debut with a chili-flavored cheddar and caramelized onion version, and the Amstel Light-sponsored Fatty ‘Cue patty from Zak Pelaccio was also a favorite—succulent lamb meat with salted chilis and rye barrel aged worcestershire.
Surprisingly, beloved burger joint Shake Shack switched up their classic Shack Burger for an American and applewood smoked bacon-topped beef patty slathered with pepper relish and Shack Sauce. Not surprisingly, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray drew the biggest fan mobs.
Event judges Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, Marc Murphy and Susie Fogelson picked the crispy shallot, bacon and swiss burger from Whisk for the Golden Grill Award, and Guy Fieri snagged the Heinz Best Dressed Award for topping his bacon patty with thick tomato, onion rings and oozy “donkey sauce.” Many congrats to all the participants — this year’s Bash was juicier than ever!
“Tacos, Yo!” exclaimed host Bobby Flay as he manned the mic at his Saturday night soiree, Patron Tequila’s The Art of the Taco. Presented by Creekstone Farms, the event featured nearly 30 of the country’s hottest chefs who put their own unique spin on the South of the Border staple—with styles ranging from traditional, Mexican-inspired to elevated with French flair.
This time at 82 Mercer, Patron and Corona flowed as taco-lovers bounced from station to station sampling tortillas stuffed with creative combos of steak, lamb, shrimp, tuna, beef tongue, duck, pastrami, lobster, bone marrow, oysters and foie gras.
Tender braised pork carnitas from Mercadito, a Cretan spiced lamb pocket from Kefi’s Michael Psilakis, and Scarpetta chef Scott Conant’s spice crusted lamb neck tacos all made me swoon, while versions with oysters from Riverpark and foie gras from Recette palatably expanded my taco horizons.
Dozens of celebrated chefs and TV personalities (including Aaron Sanchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Forgione, Claire Robinson, Marcela Valladolid, Debi Mazar, Jeff Mauro, Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian) were seen doling out their taco creations, mingling with the crowd and even belting out Bon Jovi. Awesome.
After taking in tons of savory tacos, sweet relief was welcomed by ice cream chilaquiles drizzled with Mexican chocolate chili sauce and Gramercy Tavern’s salted chocolate hazelnut tacos. And after many of Bobby’s margaritas were had by all (hello, Sunday hangover!), the event turned into a late night dance party and guests and chefs alike let loose and had a grand ol’ time.