It was the burger battle of the year at the Bloc in DTLA on Wednesday at Los Angeles magazine’s Burgers, Bourbon + Beer!
My plan for the evening was to start with a little bourbon from Uncle Nearest and then dive right into the action. Each restaurant presented impeccable burgers, but there could only be a few winners chosen for each coveted category.
Critics’ Choice - Button Mash’s Classic Double Cheeseburger- Ground chuck & sirloin blend, house made pickles, Boston lettuce, American cheese on Bimbo bun - Classic is right. This is the perfect example of a backyard burger cooked to perfection.
Best Patty - STK’s Lil BRG - Wagyu beef with special sauce on a sesame seed bun. This was a no-brainer. The wagyu beef shined in a simple burger done to perfection with quality ingredients.
People's Choice - Rappahannock Oyster Bar’s Rapp Burger Sliders - Caramelized onion, cheddar cheese, b&b pickles, and a smokey sauce - The people have excellent taste. Normally I wouldn’t think about ordering a burger from an oyster bar, but the Rapp sliders have changed my mind for the better.
Most Creative - Umami’s Hampton Burger - Two Wagyu patties, shredded lettuce with a green chili vinaigrette, pickled beet slice, roasted tomatoes, American cheese, crumbled feta, mustard, onions, and mayo - Creative is just one word to describe the culinary marvel put together by by the chefs at Umami.
Tastiest Sauce - George’s Burger Stand’ s Pastrami Burger - 100% certified Angus chuck patty, black rub pastrami, grilled onions, dijonaise, and longhorn cheese - I’m a sucker for anything with pastrami, but George’s took it to a whole new level combining it with top quality meat and sauce to match.
Genesis’ Best Burger - The Left Handed Cook’s The Rizzo- Mochi chorizo patty made with beef and pork, kimchi, American cheese, bacon gravy, pickled jalapeno salsa, and onion jam on a brioche bun - Event sponsor Genesis picked what I thought was the top contender for Most Creative, but we can all agree the wicked combo of unique ingredients came together like art in a bun.
One of my favorites was past winner Belcampo with stunning lamb burger sliders with copalli rum onions. It can be a tricky meat to work with to get the flavors just right, but Belcampo did an excellent job creating the perfect mouth-watering experience that can come with a juicy cut of lamb.
In between sampling sliders was the perfect time to try out a few new bourbons and old favorites. I loved Knob Creek’s Smoked Maple which served when served straight conjured images of a lumberjack’s boozy breakfast (in the best way possible).
Maker’s Mark delighted cocktail lovers with a few specialty concoctions. The Fancy Free was a delicious take on an Old Fashioned with maraschino liqueur. My favorite was the Strawberry Rhubarb Smash made with the titular ingredients and lemon for a mild sweetness that brought out the bourbon in ways I had yet to experience.
The beer of the evening was served courtesy of Kona Brewing with their Gold Cliff IPA and Big Wave Golden Ale. Both drafts were thoughtful and refreshing pairings for an evening dedicated to burgers.
If you’ve never experienced it before, there’s something magical about sipping quality bourbon outdoors with the rich smell of burgers in the air. The best place to experience it is at LAmag’s Burger, Bourbon + Beer!