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Photo Recap: 2014 @AmstelLight #SOBEWFF Burger Bash

I attended the 2014 Amstel Light Burger Bash this past weekend in Miami Beach, Florida. This cheeseburger celebration was part of several days of epicurean events included in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival hosted by Food Network.

On the flight from California to Miami, the words from John T Edge’s “Hamburger and Fries” book provided additional inspiration for the foodie feat ahead.

Just outside of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and right smack dab on the shores of Miami Beach sat the biggest tent you could imagine.

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It felt like the size of a football field with 31 restaurants cooking burgers, a full music stage, several open bars filled with a variety wines, plenty of Amstel Light beer and even a couple of dessert options to top things off.

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I came, I saw, I burgered.

Before setting out on that humid, hamburger fueled frenzy of a night, I made a list. There were burgers there on my “MUST EAT SOMEDAY” list that I wasn’t expecting.

My first bite of the night came by way of the original Ramen Burger. NY Based Chef Keizo Shimamoto was on hand serving up double wagyu beef patty versions of the burger sensation he brought to the US.

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This was my first bite of a Ramen Burger, and hopefully not my last. Real talk, a bun is one of the most important elements of a great burger and I just wasn’t sure how bun made of ramen would hold up. I can now confirm that it not only holds up, but it shines in both texture and flavor. Add in that special Shoyu glaze and the quality Wagyu beef from Burger Maker and I could finally see what all the hamburger hype was about.

My next stop was the Shake Shack booth because I heard they were going to be using dry aged beef in honor of their 10th anniversary. I don’t know if they ended up going through with their dry aged plans, but it was another damn good burger (so good it won the Judges Choice award).

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Food television personalities were around every corner. Taking pictures with attendees…
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Judging burgers in a VIP lounge…
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Others, like food writer Josh Ozersky, proud to have no access…

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Even some in disguise…
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There were internationally inspired burgers like the offerings from Pincho Factory:

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And El Rey de las Fritas:

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Some of the most highly rated (and hard to get) burgers in the US were also showcased at the #BurgerBash, including Chef Linton Hopkins’ (@chefhopkins) Holeman and Finch burger (the only burger I tried twice and the one that got my People’s Choice vote)

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My inconspicuous knitted phat gold burger chain was a big hit with Chef Jamie DeRosa (@JamieDeRosa) from Tongue and Cheek. Their dry aged beef cheek burger was a hit with my taste buds.

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After an onslaught of burgers, the tangy flavors of  the giardiniera relish on Chef Marc Murphy’s Murph-U-Letta entry was a refreshing and unique burger bite.

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Other vendors handed out cool swag with their burgers, like the legit flasks from STK Miami.

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At the end of the night, in front of a sweaty, sandwich filled crowd of 1000’s?, Chef Michael Symon’s Fat Doug burger won the People’s Choice award:

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Shake Shack‘s 10th anniversary burger took top honors amongst the judges:

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As my friend Jeremy from the Denver Burger Battle commented, this event is truly a mecca for burger lovers.

I ran into Julius from Droolius Eats, The Rev from Burger Conquest, Sef from Burger Beast, Jamie from Burger Maker, Pat from Pat LaFrieda meats, Josh Ozersky from Vice, Eater, Time Magazine, Meatopia and ozersky.tv.

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This is a trip I’d recommend for any burger fan or Food Network follower! 

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