Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Hamburger Hop

I'm really getting backlogged a bit with my posts. I'm going to go ahead and blame time restrictions from school for the time being. Well a little more than a week ago, I was graciously invited to the Hamburger Hop by my friend Amber. The event is basically the kick off to Chicago Gourmet weekend. Basically, a bunch of baller restaurants make absurdly decadent burgers in Millennium Park.

Logistics
So there were 17 restaurants set up in this pretty big tent. Each had their own booth around the border of the tent. There were little bar tables throughout the center, and we quickly marked our territory at one of them. The whole thing is this big free for all. You go up to any booth and just snag a plate. There was an open bar sponsored by Maker's Mark and one by Blue Moon. In general there was a good setup to eat and drink yourself crazy.

They could've used more tables, and I definitely suggest coming empty handed. Amber had some work stuff with her, and it became quite the challenge to balance it while eating burgers. A key move was that one of us would hold down the table while the other went to get the next burger.

The Food
I'll get things rolling with pictures of all of the burgers. All of these were taken by Amber which is mostly a credit to her manual dexterity and good manners. My hands were far too covered in burger and related condiments to handle a camera.

Aria
Red Curry Burger 

Bandera
  The Bandera Burger

 Benny's Chop House
Benny's Double Double Burger

 Build a Better Burger
The Spanish Style Burger

 Burger Bar
The Belly Up Burger

David Burke's Primehouse
The Dry Aged Burger 

Edzo's
The Ode to Wisconsin Burger 

Henri
The Henri Burger 

 Jake Melnick's
The Brisket Burger

M Burger 

The Palmer Place
The Benchmark Burger

RL
The Pitt Burger 

Rosebud
The Classic Steakhouse Burger 

 Seasons
The Brunch Burger

Socca
  The Harvey Burger

Table 52
  The Big Southern Burger

Terzo Piano

Here's how everything turned out. Bandera won the critic favorite. Palmer Place won fan favorite. I didn't like the Bandera burger too much, but it was also the last one I had. After 17 burgers it's reasonable that my judgements wouldn't be the fairest. It was relatively classic in comparison to some of the other burgers there. The Palmer Place fan favorite was a farce. In addition to serving burgers, this was the only booth to have loosely dressed waitresses and a megaphone cheering on people that voted in their favor.

Amber and I really liked Edzo's, Table 52, David Burke's, Jake Melnick's, and Socca. Edzo's burger had these big ole cheese curds on top. Table 52 stood out because they had chicken fried cheddar cheese that was crispy and melty in the most wonderful way. Melnick's cheated, but I didn't care. They served brisket sandwiches which I say because I think grinding the meat is a prerequisite for calling something a burger. Socca had this strong gorgonzola presence and fried shallots. We liked Burke's because of the custom bacon buns and the spicy pickled veggies on top.

I also had the pleasure of running into my friend Kate "the great." Her favorite burger was from Terzo Piano which really stood out since it was served on a rye bun.

Overall
The voting didn't go the way we hoped it would, but the event was still a great time. I waddled out of there a good 10 lbs heavier then when I went in. For the most part (not including M Burger) all of the burgers were delicious and utilized unique flavors. I'd suggest hitting it up yourself next year. I'd like to extend one more thanks to Amber for taking me along and taking all of the pics.

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