Total Recall

Burger Battle memories: May I have another? Plus updates on what some notable names are up to.


It’s all over but the digesting …

What do you call a group of earnest critics valiantly attempting to eat 18 burgers in a three-hour period, all while traversing a red-hot parking lot full of 1,100 hamburger maniacs? The 2018 Orlando magazine Burger Battle judges!

To get the tally out of the way, Judges Jim Colbert of Prime Time Kitchen, Wendy Lopez (soon taking over the kitchen at Reyes Mezcaleria), Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps fame, Maxine’s on Shine’s own Maxine Earhart, Chris from Orlando Food Guys,  and yours truly had a tough decision. Last year’s field was almost doubled to 18 competitors, which made the judging twice as hard. Our choices for winners were:

1. Orlando Meats for their simple but effective Mini Mid Rare, grass fed beef, bacon xo sauce and garlic aioli, proving the superiority of grass fed.

2. Freddy’s (still my favorite from last year) and their made-to-order Patty Melt—double steakburger, Swiss and grilled onions on toasted rye bread, which instigated an energetic debate about the definition of a burger vs. a sandwich.

3. Shula’s 347 Grille, cooking up the Tipsy Cow on a pretzel bun, with pablano beer, Cheddar and serrano jam.

Our loyal Burgermeister fans chose:

1. Orlando Meats, giving both championship belts to owner Edgar Massoni and crew.

2. Disney’s Yak & Yeti, with Executive Chef Faithy (who said they were there to “kick ass”) serving up the Yak Attack—Kobe beef, Korean pork belly burnt ends and cucumber kimchi.

3. Luke’s Kitchen and Bar and its classy Au Poivre burger with Brie, watercress and peppercorn gravy.

Last weekend's bar was certainly set high. Chef/participants brought their A game to the event at Seminole Harley-Davidson, along with grills and beef and the occasional pork, cheese—and in DoveCote’s case, turkey (Chef Clay Miller’s simple and effective creation was seasoned with Middle Eastern spices, Cheddar and a cabbage marmalade). The Edison’s entry was popular, a blend of sirloin, short rib and brisket with candied bacon and crispy onions. And American Kitchen Bar & Grill at the B Hotel created a rather delightful Angus beef offering with smoked local mushrooms, and smoked Wagyu beef fat aioli with truffles.

And I haven’t eaten anything since!

Speaking of PTK, I will be co-hosting the airwaves on Friday, October 12 and Sunday morning, Oct 14 with the delightful Heather McPherson for an episode celebrating National Farmer’s Day. Click here for details on how to listen in.


* Bram Fowler, he of the late Journey’s and Park Plaza Gardens restaurants, continues to work apace at The Old Jailhouse in that hotbed of new restaurants, Sanford.

* Sonny Nguyen is busy expanding his Domu empire, in mid-construction on Domu Chibi (“little Domu”), a ramen bar in Waterford Lakes; and Tori Tori Japanese Pub in the Milk District. A Jacksonville location of Domu opened last month, and a second Orlando Domu is coming to the Dr. Phillips area next year.

* Construction is still ongoing for the second Sushi Pop location in Winter Park. Chef/partner Chau Trinh says the project is moving forward, but “Sloooowwww! It never gets easier no matter how many times I’ve done this.”

* The much-promised Delaney’s Tavern still awaits the building of the Delaney Hotel on South Orange Avenue before it can open. That construction has been going on for what seems like years.

* Social activist hero and superstar chef Jose Andres has released no set date for the opening of his latest Jaleo location, at Disney Springs.

* The queen of Se7en Bites, Trina Gregory-Propst, has “a new project” in the works. Stay tuned.

How’s your burger game? Did we miss a local champ? Send me a note. Stay in touch at and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando