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2016 Burger Battle: Event Recap

Posted on: April 4th, 2016 by Rodney Hartwig No Comments

Under a beautiful spring evening sky at the Hotel Valley Ho, the 2016 Burger Battle went down with some amazing burgers. At every restaurant’s booth there were copious samples for the attendees to sample, and ultimately judge, as well as one or more people excitedly describing the love, care, and meats that went into creating the delicious burger they were presenting. After successfully sampling all 13 offerings, I was officially too stuffed to go back for seconds, and I understood the judging results even though I didn’t necessarily agree with them. Let’s recap!

2016 Burger Battle brings out the best beefy bites

2016 Burger Battle Highlights

2016 Burger Battle Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill Gringo Burger

Hopdoddy offered up the ‘Death by Bacon’ with a very nice seared pork belly, braised onions, cheese sauce, and a classic pairing of deli mustard and pretzel bun.

Mariposa had the ‘Gringo’ burger and it lived up to its name. Biting into this burger I was immediately transported to making burgers in the back yard, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and beef right up front. The tangy Rueben sauce they used only enhanced this one.

Zin Burger was an immediate delight as it was one of the few burgers which came on a bun which was soft and easily bitten through. Their ‘Bruce Lee’ burger also had a well-balanced ‘korean bbq sauce’, a great tangy slaw and was also perfectly cooked medium.

Café ZuZu. To me, ZuZu had the show stopper of the night with their Merlot Melt, a crazy good take on a patty melt. My initial reactions on biting into this burger were ‘Sourdough, cheese, PEANUT BUTTER?!?!?’ This burger somehow worked amazingly with a Peanut Butter/Honey/Mayo combination perfectly complimenting the p’tit Basque cheese and caramelized onions.

2016 Burger Battle Swings and Misses

Casino Arizona had a Pepper Bacon Burger which sounded great but fell flat due to a tough bun and an even tougher patty. Even the amazing demi from the braised short rib that went into the patty did not help.

Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers had burgers that were also very tough as well as the cardinal sin of limp flavorless bacon.

Black & Bleu had a well-cooked patty, but it was in desperate need of seasoning, and the ‘over easy’ egg was over done.

Jennie-O put up a great fight, and in a battle of all turkey burgers may have stood a fighting chance. However, up against all beef burgers, this one stood out like a sore thumb.

My Favorite| Cafe ZuZu – I’d eat another one right now!
People’s Champion (determined through attendee votes)| Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill
Judges Grand Champion (determined by celebrity judges blind taste test)| ZinBurger

Both winners were in my top 3, they just didn’t beat out ZuZu in my opinion. All in all, a great night was had by all the attendees, with great music, great fun, and great foods. A big thanks to Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing, Jennie-O, Simplot, and, of course, the Hotel Valley Ho and Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

Be sure not to miss the next great event put on by Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

2016 Burger Battle 2016 Burger Battle Burger-Battle-A 2016 Burger Battle 2016 Burger Battle 2016 Burger Battle

About the Author - Rodney Hartwig

Rodney Hartwig is a Phoenix native currently living in Portland, OR. He sometimes eats crazy amounts of food, and always enjoys it. When he is not writing for Phoenix Bites, he is wondering what he will write next, eating, or running half marathons. Follow him on twitter at @thatrodneyguy.

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