Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Food Network's Burger Bash

In the very good company of three girlfriends I had the amazing opportunity to stuff my face with some of the most delicious and creative burgers you could ever imagine.  This year's Burger Bash at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival ate me under the table.  So many burgers, so little time...

This year's winner was none other than the Iron Chef (and fellow midwesterner) Michael Symon.  This was a three-peat for Michael, and he deserved it.  I can attest to the amazingness of his "Porky Burger" from his B Spot restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio:

"Pork and Bacon burger topped with pulled pork and slaw with a side of pork cracklin' chips"

I skipped the pork cracklin' chips but thoroughly agreed with Rachel Ray's decision to declare Michael the true burger king.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  Right before he won, he was gracious enough to pose with yours truly :)

My second favorite?  The Luther from Bulldog Burger in Miami:

"Beef burger with aged cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, caramlized onions and Bulldog Burger sauce served on a sweet glazed bun"

It was like eating a cheeseburger stuffed into a glazed donut. I know-- it sounds disgusting, right?  Trust me, somehow it worked.  Heavenly.

I was a rookie burger basher without a doubt!  With 35 chefs competing with their own take on the best burger in the world, I sadly only sampled about five.   I learned from a few seasoned professionals that the real foodies know to take just one bite of each burger so they don't become comatose too early in the night.  Who would have guessed that the figure conscious mavens of South Beach were primed with such a competitive grub strategy?   I, on the other hand, had no planned strategy and unfortunatley felt so stuffed I could have been rolled out of the bash like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory after two booths.  By my fifth burger I was seeing sirloin everytime I blinked.  Whoa.

Overall,  I had a blast enjoying the scene and getting to meet some of my favorite Food Network idols.  Next year, I'll go armed with a new strategy and a much emptier stomach!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Apron Obession

{via Ice Milk Aprons}
Some of my favorite memories growing up are of cooking with my mom.  She's an excellent cook.  Hailing from a long line of good gourmets, my mom could make the only two ingredients left in a cupboard into a five course meal.  Often times, she did just that-- especially when we were growing up and didn't have much in the lines of a "cushion" in terms of the finances.  My mom is truly talented in the culinary arts world.  She's the type to grow her own herbs, to use real butter in all her recipes, and the type who never uses measuring cups yet everything seems to be miraculously perfect when all is baked and done.  You know the type I'm talking about, I'm sure.

Funny then, that I was recalling these memories over the Christmas vacation when we were all in charge of cooking a meal each night that we were together (think of it like "Top Chef: Family Style."  It was so much fun, and I highly recommend you do it with your family or friends!).  I stumbled upon these aprons in a magazine and instantly fell in love.  I remember being so excited as a little girl to put on my mom's apron and wrap the tie around my tiny waist ten million times.  These aprons by Ice Milk remind me of the grace my mom always had while she cooked and the elegance that I still admire about her today.

Now, which one to order AND which one to stock in the future coffee shop are the essential questions!


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