If you asked Clark, he would swear that I have some sort of giveaway juju, as I’ve won quite a few of them in the last few years. A year or so ago, I won a cookbook and a bunch of Dole coupons from Iowa Girl Eats. I also won tickets to Dig IN last year from A Couple Cooks. My mom always told me that I was lucky as well, so maybe Clark isn’t too far off with his claim.
In keeping with tradition, this past week I won tickets to the second annual Building Tomorrow Indy Burger Battle from Solid Gold Eats, whose owner was also a celebrity judge for the competition. I knew that if I didn’t win the tickets we would likely not go, so I decided to enter. After entering, I told Sara that she should tell her ‘random number generator winner picker thing’ to pick one of my entries. As it turns out, Rafflecopter must have been listening to me, because I won.
Building Tomorrow is an amazing organization based in Indianapolis that is working to build schools in East Africa. Since their founding in 2006, they have raised over $600,000 and built 14 multi-room schools with five more currently under construction and another opening soon. You would truly be hard pressed to find a better cause in need of support.
Tickets to the Indy Burger Battle were $25, with a $15 ticket for vegetarian/vegan admission, and included a ticket for a burger from each of the nine local businesses that were participating, as well as a ticket for a beer sample or a soda. The event took place in the Rathskeller’s Biergarten, and I’ll tell you what–I could smell it from blocks away, which got me totally amped up. I don’t eat much beef these days, but the smell of a good beef burger never ceases to switch my saliva glands into overdrive.
Okay, that was kind of gross…
In all seriousness though, the smell of multiple grills charring meat to perfection was heavy in the air, making my stomach rumble in anticipation of what was to come. We queued up behind a group of people as excited about the event as I was and before we knew it, we were past the entrance with our ticket to a burger tasting marathon. The event started right on time, with burgers from each restaurant all lined up for us at their respective tents.
People milled about carrying miniature burgers, beers, and sodas. Most people squeezed onto a few picnic tables below a lone tree dominating the space to get some relief from the afternoon sun. Clark and I settled for half-shade, and his arms are still red for all the sun we got. In a clamshell, a band covered popular songs from decades past (many of which Clark got very excited about). Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there.
We snagged our drinks and claimed a table, then we got to work. Oh my goodness, I was full by the end of the fourth burger. By the last one, I was taking small bites of each one and I’m ashamed to say there were a few I didn’t finish for lack of room in my stomach.
I won’t go into all of the details, but there were tons of great restaurants there—and embarrassingly enough, none that we had ever visited before this event. There are definitely more restaurants on our ‘to visit’ list now, I can assure you of that.
The burgers were all pretty unique. Binkley’s, the defending champion from last year, had a burger stuffed with pico de gallo called the baja burger. Between the Bun, another of the restaurants, had a burger topped with peanut butter, bacon, jalapeños, and syrup that worked surprisingly well. 96th Street Steakburger had a taco burger that had tortilla strips and guacamole on it. Nom.
Are you salivating yet?
The most interesting of them all was The Sinking Ship’s vegan burger. It was a typical black bean burger with a twist–slow-roasted jackfruit marinated in barbecue sauce. Do you even know what a jackfruit looks like?
My favorite was definitely Weber Grill’s brisket burger. It was simple–not too heavy, with a light barbecue sauce on it. One of the celebrity judges commented that it had the look of a winning burger, which seemed to hold true as it went on to win the judge’s vote.
My second favorite was Punch Burger’s burnt cheese burger. The burnt cheese burger was really cool because it had a spicy cheese that was … well, burnt. They melted the cheese on a griddle until it was good and crispy, and it definitely made for a memorable burger. Punch Burger went on to win the voter’s choice award.
All in all, I had a fantastic time at the Indy Burger Battle, and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to go. I’d love to go again next year, both for the event and to support such a fantastic organization. Thanks again, Sara!