Wilton Manors Achieved Burger Nirvana at Riverwalk Burger Battle IV
As Huizenga plaza emptied after a long, meaty and sometimes rainy Burger Battle some people seemed shocked that Wilton Manors' Rosies' Bar and Grill won both best overall burger and best burger in the bar and grill category.
They must not have stopped by Rosie's tent. It was a unicorn of burger joy. There were multicolored club lights illuminating everyone inside in a rainbow glow. Pink feathered boas covered the tables. The crunchy potato chips on their Bacon Bitty Bang Bang Burgers (also topped with bourbon bacon jam and roasted tomatoes) were a throwback to childhood barbecues. A woman circled the tent trying to convince people to put their tokens -- their votes for fan favorite -- down her shirt.
Georgie's Alibi repped the gayborhood just as well. While the two-time winner didn't take home any hardware, their spicy chorizo patties were a happy escape from all of the beef. They were also one of a few restaurants to provide a dessert, a sugary cotton candy milkshake.
It was only rivaled by Burger Freak's fried oreos dusted with powdered sugar.
The night's purpose was the attainment of Burger Nirvana. Nirvana, a concept in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, is a state of total spiritual release and freedom that signifies unity with the infinite (which some call god), and the end of constant reincarnation. Let's just forget that it's reached in part by practicing vegetarianism (and non-killing).
Finding Nirvana in a burger (if possible) is all about finding perfection in the most simple ingredients. There was no line at Timpano's stand. The cooks weren't even there explaining what was on their burger, however the patty was well seasoned and had one of the best chars of the night.
Some restaurants went sauce heavy in the quest for Nirvana. Burger Zone enrobed a passable patty in spicy-sweet pineapple-jalapeno sauce while Downtowner Saloon put blue cheese and pesto on patties that could have stood on their own.
A toasted bun was an impossible find, even though only a few restaurants maintained lines throughout the night that some people looked at and said, "Forget it."
Georgie's Alibi had a thick but light focaccia-like bun that paired well with the juicy chorizo. Big City Tavern, which won fancy shmancy category Best Fork & Knife Burger, had a super fluffy bun that looked almost like a biscuit. Some people bemoaned Big City's use of ingredients like pork belly and a fried egg, all too common today, but they went perfectly with the meaty burger. The pork belly added just enough salt, and it was always fun to watch someone bite into the burger, break the fried egg and cover themselves in yolk.
If there's anyone who still doubts the power and draw of burgers consider this: It was raining lightly as the event kicked off around 7 p.m. yet the line wrapped around the block.
No one ran for their cars when the skies opened later that night, either. Umbrellas popped open and couples huddled under them, all the while lines kept moving, the Jack Daniels and Goose Island Beer kept flowing, and the grills kept cooking.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.
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