Last Thursday we attended the Scottsdale Culinary Festival Burger Battle at the Hotel Valley Ho! Valley Restaurants served up their ultimate burger creations to be judged by a panel of judges (craft beer legends, Jake and Ellie Leinenkugel; Phoenix New Times food editor, Laruen Saria; World Pasta Champion, Suzanne Clark; and local restaurateur and culinary icon, Eddie Matneyas), as well as attendees. The offerings were:
Aioli Gourmet Burgers: French Onion Burger, made with custom blend prime grade short rib and brisket and topped with slow braised caramelized onions in demi-glace, gruyere cheese, parmesan crisp, balsamic reduction and shaved chives.
Black & Bleu American Grill: Upscale Burger, made with 1lb angus burger, Portobello patty, sausage, bacon, over easy egg, arugula, garlic aioli and served with fries.
Casino Arizona: Casino Pepper Bacon Burger, made with braised beef short rib with freshly ground prime sirloin on a pretzel slider, garnished with black pepper cured bacon, caramelized onion jam, sliced roma tomatoes and butter lettuce.
Cold Beers & Cheese Burgers: White cheddar cheese, Sugar cured bacon, Grilled onion , Arugula, Spicy garlic aioli.
Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas: Guajillo Seared Beef Angus Slider, made with avocado lime aioli, roma tomato fried jalapenos, onion strings, habanero and Monterrey jack cheese on a green chili brioche bun.
Hopdoddy: Death by Bacon, Hopdoddy’s own bacon beef patty topped with beer braised onions, pork belly and their own beer cheese all on top of a homemade soft pretzel bun.
ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho: Merlot Melt on sourdough with caramelized onions and p’tit Basque.
The District: The Fireman Burger, made with burger, bacon, fire roasted jalapenos, pablanos, habanero-jack cheese, red onion, arugula and house made District Sauce.
Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill: Gringo Burger, made with all-natural certified USDA Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef, white cheddar cheese, signature Louis dressing and spicy crispy onions on a house-made brioche bun.
Tavern Americana: Hamburguesas de torta, breaded niman ranch chuck burger topped with pepper jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, avocado, tomato, red onion, chipotle sauce and served on a fresh Local La Sonorenese telera bread.
Zinburger: Bruce Lee Burger, made with Kobe beef, Korean BBQ sauce, Thai salad, cucumber, jalapenos and avocado.
Jennie-O: The Renaissance Turkey Burger, made with freshly ground hand formed turkey slider, seared in avocado oil with bacon compote, baby arugula and creamy brie cheese on a brioche bun topped with crispy fried shallots.
Omaha Steakhouse: The Big Bang Burger, made with Beefalo Ground Sirloin, red onion, torched goat cheese, candied bacon, brioche bun, and topped with Big Bang BBQ Sauce.
Also at the event were Lulu’s Sorbetto and Tammie Coe Cakes. It was tough going but we managed to eat at least a bite of every burger (and boy was that tough)! The judges likely had as difficult of a time as we did but they still managed to pick their winner, Zinburger (this was a good choice and one of our favorites)! The people’s choice winner of the evening was Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill (Not surprising, Executive Chef and Owner Lisa Dahl’s enthusiasm and excitement was contagious). We also had our favorites and honestly with the competition as fierce as it was we couldn’t pick just one. Heck, we each couldn’t pick just one. Some of our favorites were:
ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho: Peanut Butter on a burger? Yes please!
Aioli Gourmet Burgers: Totally delivered as promised and the Parmesan crisps blew our mind, as well as our taste buds.
The District: Out of all of the burgers promising spice, this one delivered the best.
Jennie-O: The surprise of the evening, we didn’t have high hopes for a turkey burger at a burger battle but this one was really fantastic!
The Scottsdale Culinary Festival Burger Battle is a total blast! While we only showcased four of our favorites, each burger had something great about it. Whoever chooses to participate next year will definitely have some large shoes to fill and we can’t wait to see how these folks up the ante!
*We received complimentary event passes to facilitate this write-up; however, our opinions are wholly our own. View our Disclosure Policy for more info.