Sunday, September 22, 2013

BurgerFest 2013

Yesterday was the first ever (and I hope first of many) BurgerFest!  It was in the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market and you really couldn't have asked for a better day.  After twenty-four hours of dreary weather and much needed rain, we had sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80s; perfect for roaming Deep Ellum in search of fabulous burgers!

Here's a list of the players.  While we didn't get to everyone, we did tried a combination of familiar and new.

  • Twisted Root
  • Maple & Motor
  • Stackhouse
  • Chop House
  • Mixed Up Burgers
  • Max's Wine Dive
  • Haystack
  • Whiskey Cake
  • Asador
  • Easy Slider
  • Cook Hall
  • Ten Bells Tavern
  • Garden Cafe

Burgers we already love - 
Because we already know about the awesomeness of Maple & Motor, Stackhouse, Chop House, and Mixed Up Burgers we opted not to visit these tents.  And while Twisted Root is always a Top 5 burger for me, I had never tried the goat meat.  So I convinced Kelly to try it with me.  And it was a good burger.  I'm not sure if it was the goat cheese that enhanced the meat, but I did enjoy this slider.  The bread seemed different this time and it wasn't as great as it normally is, but it still put a smile on my face.

New Burgers - 
I was excited that most of the participants were new to me, and a few of them I had been hearing great things about, so I was excited to try Haystack, Whiskey Cafe, and Easy Slider before making them official Burger Babe outings.

Haystack's offering was a chicken fried burger with gravy and jalapeno slices.  Strange, but yummy!  Super yummy, in fact!  We left off the jalapenos, although I can't help but think that they would really tie everything together.  But the chicken fried hamburger patty has a great flavor and the texture was perfect.  Just the right amount of crunch. And the jalapeno-bacon cream gravy was delicious!  Made me want a plate of mashed potatoes.  I think Haystack will soon be an official Burger Babe outing.

The other place I've been hearing about for months is Whiskey Cake.  And they definitely brought their A-game yesterday!  Instead of just putting any old burger out there, Whiskey Cake brought the BBQ Banh Mi - roasted pork, tangy veggies, cilantro, and Asian BBQ, all atop a brisket patty and nestled between a crispy baguette.  I'm pretty sure this was my favorite of the day.  Such a great combination of flavors and textures.  Pure yumminess!  I cannot wait to visit Whiskey Cake and try some of their other creations!

Not sure how we can make Easy Slider a Burger Babes outing since it's a food truck, but it definitely deserves our attention.  They had two offerings, but we chose Sweet & Lowdown.  Goat cheese, strawberry jam, and bacon on an Angus beef patty.  What a savory combination! The goat cheese and strawberry jam was so wonderful and to add in the crispy bacon was a touch of genius.  This one was Kelly's favorite and I don't blame her.  I'd have to say it was close behind the Bahn Mi from Whiskey Cake for me.  I will absolutely be paying more attention to Easy Slider's schedule from here on out.

We also tried Asador and Cook Hall, both are restaurants in hotels, the Renaissance and W, respectively.  I have mixed opinions on Asador.  The ingredients were great, including the grilled mushroom.  You could tell that they didn't use a basic crimini from Tom  Thumb.  It had a very deep, rich flavor to it.  I think they used a chipotle aioli, but I can't recall for sure.  Whatever it was, it was really good, too.  But what got me was the rareness of the meat.  And this girl likes rare meat, but this was a little too rare for me.  So, I'm not sure that this will make the cut for Burger Babes.  And we were both lukewarm on the Cook Hall burgers as well.  They had two choices, so we got one of each.  The BBQ Meatball slider had crispy potato strings, sweet pepper jam, scamorza cheese, and BBQ braised meatballs.  It wasn't bad.  In fact, I really liked the sweet pepper jam.  But not what I look for when I want a burger.  We also tried the Bacon Glazed Short Rib Slider; cheddar cheese, horseradish mustard, arugula, and a sliced tomato.  Again, good, just nothing outstanding.  I think if you're staying in either one of these hotels and you don't want to venture out, either place can give you a good burger.  But then again, if you're visiting Dallas, why not get out and try some of our amazingly fantastic burger joints?

There were only three that were new to us and we didn't try - Max's Wine Dive, Garden Cafe, and Ten Bells Tavern.  Garden Cafe was not really a possibility since it was a vegetarian burger.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's not how this girl rolls.  Ten Bells Tavern is in Bishop Arts, so I'm sure I'll get there eventually.  And I know that Max's Wine Dive is on my list of Dallas eateries to visit.  I've heard great things about it and their slogan is "Fried chicken and champagne...what the hell not?"

If I had one critique about BurgerFest it would be about the drinks.  Looked all over that place for a Diet Coke, but to no avail.  Luckily, Yellow Bar was there with sweet tea.  

In addition to the burger tents, there were a few vendors as well.  Everything was handmade and there were some very creative people out there with really unique products.

All in all, it was great outing!
Kelly and me with our Sangria Winesicles!