BO-beau chef Katherine Humphus served up a beef patty topped with bone marrow butter, fig and shallot marmalade, roasted portabella mushroom, arugula, and melted brie on a toasted focaccia herb and cheese bun from Sadie Rose. The execution of the moist, juicy patty was impeccable, as was the balance between savory and sweet.
This breakfast burger from Brian's 24 sat on a crispy hash brown, with bacon, egg, and American cheese on top.
Slater's 50/50 had a few different burgers available to sample, but I took the opportunity to try the "Peanut Butter and Jellousy", owner Scott Slater's favorite menu item. You know what? It was awesome! I hereby take back all of my previous peanut butter bashing (PPBB).
The Tilted Kilt
The crispy onion and BBQ sauce-topped burger from The Tilted Kilt was like bringing a butter knife to a knife fight. Yawn.
I was happy to see Davanti Enoteca went with the same griddled cheese curd, confit tomato, arugula, bacon jam, and aioli-topped burger that's on their menu. This was one of the best of the bunch, for sure.
A lot of weird burgers have crossed my path in the past three years, but nothing comes close to what Indulchi, a local catering company, was slinging. From the churro bun studded with raisins to the toppings (strawberries, camembert, and red onions) this burger was all-out odd, and not in a good way.
Smashburger went with their San Diego burger, a ground beef patty topped with avocado, cilantro, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and chipotle mayo.
This tobacco onion, pepper jack, and pork shoulder-topped burger from Barleymash won the people's choice award.
Carnitas' Snack Shack
These pork burgers from Carnitas' Snack Shack weren't the best looking, but they were one of the most delicious bites at the event. Bonus points to The Shack for creating a pretzel bun that didn't dwarf the pork patty.
Blais' entry was this bite-sized mini burger with caramelized onion, bread and butter pickles, and a patty made with a mix of brisket, sirloin, and short rib. Good stuff.
My favorite burger of the evening was this confit tomato, pickled red onion, arugula, and garlic aioli-topped burger on a Con Pane brioche bun from Sessions Public. It's great to know the quality, execution, and flavor hasn't budged since I reviewed their burger back in 2011.
MIHO's burgers generally have some sort of flavored aioli, and this time was no exception. Their mini burger was topped with pickled butternut squash, cream of Chanterelle, frisée, and butternut squash aioli, on a home-made brioche bun.
Hak's Catering (out of Los Angeles) put all of their focus on three different types of barbeque sauce that were available on tap. Their cream cheese and smoked Asian pear-topped burger was cold and easily forgettable.
I understood where Bub's was going with this bacon, brie, and granny smith apple-topped brisket burger, but I wanted the apple to be caramelized.
Stacked, a build-your-own-burger-on-an-iPad concept in Fashion Valley put forth a Pepper Stack, one of their pre-designed options. It features a Certified Angus patty topped with pepper jack cheese, roasted poblano pepper, grilled tomato, grilled onion, and roasted red pepper aioli. Overall, it was a tasty burger, but the beef was overcooked (at least, as far as my preferences are concerned).