Scottsdale Culinary Festival Burger Battle: 2014 Winners Announced
Alissa Irei Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers' Old Town Burger, with a ground chuck patty, baby greens, grilled tomatoes, garlic aioli, herbed butter, caramelized onion, Gruyere cheese, and bacon.
In a thoroughly unscientific study conducted mostly by eavesdropping on other parties, I found that Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers was getting some buzz for its Old Town Burger. While the "garlic aioli" tasted like plain ol' mayo to me - and too much of it at that - the ground chuck beef really sang. This patty brought to mind the best, juiciest burger ever made at a backyard BBQ, and really, what more could you ask for?
Alissa Irei Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row's Meatball Burger, with ground veal, tomato marmalade, toasted garlic bread, and melted smoked provolone.
Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row served up an Italian-inspired twist on the American burger, using ground veal, tomato marmalade, and melted smoked provolone, served on toasted garlic bread. While it definitely seemed more like a meatball sub than a Big Mac, the Meatball Burger was delicious, and a nice respite from the plethora of beef options on hand.
RnR Gastropub took home the 2013 Judges' Choice trophy with its Brussels sprouts bacon cheeseburger. This year, RnR brought an au gratin chorizo burger - a pork chorizo and beef patty with au gratin potatoes, New Mexico crema chili sauce, and caramelized onions. The au gratin potatoes were delicious, but the patty itself lacked kick and could even be called bland.
Speaking of bland, one burger that wasn't came from Tavern Americana. The Niman Ranch beef in the Napa Burger was juicy and flavorful and came on a soft, fresh, flour-dusted buttermilk bun that tasted like a really good dinner roll. Points also go to Bootleggers for their delicious pretzel bun. (Although, like RnR, their patty was a bit underwhelming.)
The takeaway: this town is a great place for burger lovers. Don't tell those cows from Chick-fil-A, but I sampled all 13 options at this year's Burger Battle. (Yes, all 13.) I even found a few new favorites, some of which I will definitely eat again. Just give me a few weeks, or maybe months. Right now a little chicken doesn't sound so bad.
11055 North Scottsdale Road,, Scottsdale, AZ
2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ
20831 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
4502 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ
3737 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
20469 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ
4420 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, AZ
3375 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, AZ
4180 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ
524 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale, AZ
4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, AZ
7137 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ
7117 E. 6th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ
4722 E. Ray Road, Ahwatukee, AZ