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As the paper VIP bracelet was strapped to my wrist I felt my giddiness rise in me like the anticipation a five-year-old feels on the eve of Christmas, Sacramento’s first annual Burger Battle was finally here and I was here to witness it through TUBE eyes! Before being herded into a private hall that resembled the entrance football players take onto the field at the beginning of the game, Mickey Martin (photographer for TUBE) and myself were handed a plate for tasting and two taster glasses that read “Sacramento Burger Battle” across it in red lettering. “How cute!” my inner girl squealed in my head.

Upon entering the field, we were immediately greeted with a pleasant slap of aromas that resembled grilled beef, veal and a multitude of other meats I couldn’t recognize. It could be considered a sophisticated baseball field smell, seeing as baseball is all about its food and beer (… oh, and baseball).

The field was surrounded by white tents adorning each restaurant’s name, samples delicately laid out on trays and shelves made for enticing tasters to indulge in their meaty treats! Restaurants from all over Sacramento came to battle it out with their different burgers including Flaming Grill Cafe, a restaurant known for its unique meat (kangaroo and buffalo, yum) used on its burgers. Flaming Grill featured a “LaVe Ma Go Chz BAH-ger,” a 50/50 lamb and veal blend patty, topped with fresh mango salsa (red onions, mango and red bell pepper), goat cheese and bacon. This was my favorite of the ones I tried, a truly sweet and light unique flavor!

While burgers were the main attraction, there were a few tents filled with delicious surprises. Bacon and Butter, a midtown breakfast and brunch spot, brought some fried treats to enjoy with the juicy burgers. They featured fried potatoes dipped in a bacon aioli sauce that kept me coming back for seconds and thirds like a clingy girlfriend, a truly addicting concoction!

Drinks were also plentiful throughout the event with different breweries, wineries, ciders and even a homemade juicing company coming out to support the Burger Battle Sacramento’s Ruhstaller Brewery was also there, featuring their Red Ale and Black IPA. Their smooth Red Ale ran out within the first two hours of the burger battle it was so popular, leaving only their Black IPA, which did not discourage the burger tasters, the line got longer as people anxiously awaited to try a local brew! The Ruhstaller Brewery features only local Sacramento ingredients in their beer, truly making it a Sacramento beer!

After the VIP hour, the lines got busier and food became scarce. Chefs quickened their pace to supply what tasters demanded. While tasters enjoyed the burgers, the judges table began to fill up. Burger after burger was brought to the table, demanding more and more eating These judges must not have eaten for days, though, because they were given more food than one should be able to handle. The tasted each burger, giving some thought before scrawling down notes on the flavor profile.

As if the Burger Battle wasn’t already doing enough, they featured Hero’s Last Mission for live music, a local alternative rock band. They kept the energy flowing throughout the night with their intoxicating vocals, upbeat hooks and a couple of bad puns that left you chuckling more at the stupidity of the comment than the joke itself.

Two winners were crowned at the end of the night, Krush Burger being the People’s Choice and The Chef’s Table taking the crown for Judge’s Choice. Overall, a mellow night of burgers and beer surrounded by people all dedicated to the same cause: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (all proceeds went to this foundation).

Want to participate, donate and/or sponsor next year’s Burger Battle?

Photos provided by Mickey Martin

To see more of Mickey’s work click here

Words Marissa Nicole

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