Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Starting the trip off with a bang. My flight was delayed and the whole days schedule was pushed back. Ms. Lin and I were sad that we missed the VIP entrance time to the Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The freeways and roads were packed to the brim! Luckily we were staying at the Ritz Carlton near the event so we could actually get parking! Although Ms. Lin told me about the attitude she had to face while trying to get parking and the even funnier attitude change when she tells them she is staying at the hotel. Eventually we made it through the crowds and were let in immediately since we had VIP passes. There were still lines to get in and you can hear the crowd from far away! Couldn't wait to get in.

The Burger Bash is usually the hottest event of the festival and I dare to say that the rumors are true. This event was sponsored by Food Network, Amstel Light, Allen Brothers Steak, and hosted by Rachel Ray. Many distinguished chefs had booths there. The best part of the event is they are actually there cooking and serving you their master creations. There were so many delectable choices. At the entrance you are given a list of restaurants, chefs, and what is on the menu for the night. You can vote for your favorite burger with the button given. I loved the fact that they gave a plastic try to hold your burger and drinks for the night to use. As they were passing them out they said, "Be sure not to throw it away." Great advice for the night and if I knew, I wished I kept that plate for the other nights! lol
Since there were so many great burgers and great chefs, I am going to break the review into parts. The station that had the longest line was Iron Chef Morimoto. Why not? He is a great man with a great talent. Chef Morimoto has worked at Nobu in NYC, was an Iron Chef for the original Japanese show, is an Iron Chef on Iron Chef America, and he has restaurants both in Philadelphia and NYC. Even though his line was the longest, people were all willing to wait for a chance to meet him. We were no exception as we snapped a few photos with him. Chef Morimoto was friendly and kind even though he was swamped with people wanting food and time from him. He always maintained a genuine smile as he was working diligently to crank those hamburgers out while posing for photos.
On the menu for the night was Morimoto's Pork "Kakuni" Burger. It's a Beef Hamburger topped with Glazed Pork Belly. The pork belly was tender and flavorful. It enhanced the flavor and texture of the hamburger meat below. The strong flavors were nicely balance out with the shredded cabbage and dressing. There was also a sweet homemade pickle on the side. This burger stood out to me because it had a different component that was cooked to perfection. Who doesn't love a slow braised pork belly the emanates flavor. Mmmm good. After meeting Chef Morimoto and getting a taste of culinary skills, I will definitely make it a goal to visit his restaurants. He definitely has moved up on my list after this experience.
The surprise of the night for me was Rocco DiSpirito. Many people know of him as being a chef, a guest judge, and a dancer. Personally I was never a big fan or that interested. In fact, that night I wasn't even going to wait in the line because I didn't really care... Ms. Lin wanted to and I just went with the flow. I am glad that I waited in the line to meet him and try his hamburger. He was serving Pork and Chow Chow Sliders. It was Pork with Walnuts that was wrapped in Bacon on a soft bun with Chow Chow and Pickled Beets. The nuts added a crunchy bite to the texture of the tender pork. Bacon is always great in my book too and having it wrapped around the meat helps add a smoky flavor to it. Choosing to use pork was smart because it stood out from the rest of the beef hamburgers and it was a refreshing change after eating all that beef. What really changed my mind about him though was that he is actually a really nice guy! Don't know why I always had a negative image of him before, but now I am turned anew. The picture of him originally had me in it, but for anonymity I cut myself off. He was actually really close to my head, to my surprise. As we were taking the pictures, he was actually joking with me and carrying on a conversation. I could tell that he was actually a very down to earth guy and a great person to know. Even when Ms. Lin went up for her photo he was still chatting and joking with us. After this nice experience, I am starting to think he is cute... he's definitely got charm. Ironically I just saw him on Good Morning America today, it is just fate! ^_^ He definitely has moved up on my list as well and I will have to add his restaurant to my list as well.
These chefs are definitely a star not only for their cooking but also for their great personalities. After all, many people can cook but not everyone can draw in a crowd like these chefs. They won me over. I have been praising them to everyone that asks me about my experience at the Burger Bash this year.


Trekkie said...

Everything is better with slow cooked pork belly... the more fat the better... I must find that burger

Kat said...

I told you that you should have came with us to Miami ^_- you would have been in Heaven!

Kat said...

Another clue! ^_^

How many years is considered "Old Vine" by the consensus of the producers?


Trekkie said...


May Pig said...

50 years

benson said...


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