We'd first like to take a moment to congratulate Katie Lee Joel on winning the first annual New York City Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash with her fan favorite, a grilled cheese sandwich. The announcement of the win was preceded by festival headmaster Lee Schrager reminding the crowd that said victory was by way of a popular vote, ie. you have yourselves to blame for this, people. The New York burger spots really did bring it this year but they were no match for the charm of a beautiful lady who knows how to work a crowd. NB: there WAS in fact, a recount. On to some hangover observations on all this, a night of 10 burgers comsumed in Brooklyn.
1) Veterans of the SoBe fest agreed the venue, DUMBO's Tobacco Warehouse, was a massive improvement upon the former tent set up in Miami. And we have to say, when the grills were running full force, the two large rooms filled with meat, smoke, and sweating chefs was quite a sight to behold.
2) On the voting. Many people we talked to forgot to vote (texting was involved). However we did run into someone who voted for Katie Lee. Twice. (In fairness, we're told that double votes were not counted.)
3) The Colicchio burger was excellent, if not a big aggressive in presentation. When you're eating 10-plus burgers, serving an 6-8 oz. half burger is a lot. But damn it was tasty.
4) And while we're on the subject of Craft, Colicchio seconded our call for a recount.
5) Rachael Ray made her way to every station accompanied by a security detail, media entourage (with video and still cameras and mikes), and a gaggle of fans. 'Twas quite a sight.
6) The crowd was decidedly mixed on the Burke burger. Fans called it a symphony, liking the brioche bun and crispy bacon. Detractors felt that especially with the cornichon on a toothpick on the exterior - just making the bun soggy - it was a shitshow.
7) Hat tip to Burger Joint burger for serving a burger identical to the one served at the Burger Joint. The Burger Joint, for the record, was the runner-up; in a sense, making it the burger that got the most votes.
8) And now, the Momo and Jeff burger. Biases aside, they put out an excellent prize worthy burger. And hands down they had one of the best sides, a melange of caramelized onions and bacon. One noteworthy fan: Guy Fieri, who said of the side: "I would eat this shit as a salad. I would confit up some duck and you've got a meal."
9) The busses. When security started forcing everyone and their meat coolers out of the Tobacco Warehouse, a line of busses pulled up to escort everyone back to civilization and the crowds going to the Daily Candy party (more on that mess later) over to the Highline Ballroom. The scene on the bus: incredibly subdued (it was no Momofuku after party bus, that's for damned sure).
10) More hat tips - to the staff of WMA for banding together on a texting
campaign to steal Katie Lee Joel the title...to Kevin Patricio event producer for really bringing it...to the eater.com chefs, Jeff Schwarz and Mo Koyfman for crushing it with a real, true contender...to a svelt-looking Randy Garutti of Shake Shack for putting together the best all-in package of burger, fries, black and white milkshake and shack visors...to the Market Table boys for best bun...
· All NYWFF Coverage [~E~]For more stories from Eater, go to eater.com.