Judging with me were Jimihatt, the bearded bad-ass behind Guerrilla Cuisine, Scott from the ever popular Charleston Food Bloggers, and in true Gilligan's Island fashion: The Rest (never got a formal introduction, too lazy to email Eat This guys to find out.)
I grabbed The Girl (who is always down for burgers), and off we went to Awendaw. The event space was fantastic, large open field with multiple covered picnic areas, multiple stages, and easy access to US-17. The host restaurant, The Funky Little Kitchen, was once home to the biker hangout Kicking-Horse Saloon. The turn out was solid to try the 6 restaurants and 3 micro-brews.
I'll start with the beers first. Westbrook Brewery is a brand new Mt. Pleasant based brewery I knew nothing about. They brought two beers to the table. The first was a massively hopped IPA, siting at 6.5%. Neither The Girl nor I was a big fan of this one. A little on the bitter side, for my taste, and only an average IPA. Their other beer is a curry-inspired White Thai. Replacing the traditional Belgian White's coriander and orange peel with lemongrass and ginger is inspired, and gives this 5% beer a freshness that can stand up to a Charleston summer, and a bite that holds up well in our mild winters. The Girl agreed it was tasty, and would have no problem with me putting it on tap at our house.
Grades- IPA 4.5 out of 10 White Thai- 9 out of 10
Someone learned their lesson about not bringing business cards
Grades- Pluff Mud Porter 3.5 out of 10 Bowen's Island Stout 9.5 out of 10 Holy City Pilsner 8.5 out of 10
Mac: Model? No. Beer expert? Yes
Grade- 7.5 our of 10
The overall Judges AND Peoples Choice winner was Westbrook White Thai! Congrats!
On to the Burgers!
Coleman Public House, 17 North, and Finz Bar & Grill turned out the least favorite burgers of the day. Coleman's suffered from over garnishing with alfalfa sprouts and a lack of seasoning. 17 North's Duck fat fried burger was a good attempt to stand out, but my burger was cooked until dead and the fried green tomato garnish was limp, thick, cold, and slid right out of the breading. Finz offered a red onion and pimento cheese burger that was solid. Not a stand out, but I wouldn't be disappointed if I had ordered it in a restaurant. The Girl really like her Finz burger, mostly because of the simplicity. That, and she is addicted to pimento cheese.
Coleman 6 out of 10
17North 4 out of 10
Finz 6.5 out of 10
Coleman's burger: Lost in a sea of Green
My Grade 4 out of 10
My number three burger was from our host, The Funky Little Kitchen. Creole Bacon, Carolina mustard BBQ sauce, and siracha blend for a sweet heat, pleasantly seasoned, and a fun little burger.
My Grade 7.5 out of 10
Number two came from Sesame Burgers & Beer. They decided to go with a mouth-party of Fig & Bacon jam combined with Bleu Cheese. The sweetness of the jam brought tremendous balance to the cheese. Instead of overwhelming you, this turned out to be a very smooth burger. Unless you had the one The Girl got. The jam was WAAAAAY too heavy, killing you with sweetness.
My Grade 8.5 out of 10
Easy on the sauce, I want to taste that Bleu Cheese
My Grade 9.5 out of 10
To your right, we have a great burger. To your left, we have a burger.
The Overall Peoples Choice winner was Sesame, while the Judges Choice was Eurasia's Real Deal Burger
That was not the end of the fun or the food. Out came the food trucks! Geechie Island, Tokyo Crepes, and Zahh Pizza pulled up to keep the masses fed while the live music kept playing. What a wonderful day for a great cause! Eat This Charleston threw a fun party, Funky Little Kitchen has a great venue, and we went home happy.
Nutella? Crepe? Me Likey!