Are you ready for the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project?
We all know how much our mouths water when it comes to the juicy burgers WNY restaurants have to offer. But what about “blended burgers?” Sixteen of Buffalo’s locally owned and independent restaurants are participating in The James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project, which is a nationwide movement and contest blended into one. Both diners and participating chefs have a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to the James Beard House in 2018. Not only is this contest huge for the chefs and chef-owners of these restaurants, but it also gives YOU a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City OR tickets to the 10th season of Nickel City Chef. HECK yes.
So what are these blended burgers anyway? These babies are made up of ground meat and finely chopped fresh mushrooms to breed a yummy, healthier and more sustainable burger. Oh yes honey, the words “healthy” and “burger” were just used in the same sentence. Without reducing the scrumptious taste of burgers, the fresh mushroom blend provides significant nutrients like vitamin D (which we can all use more of here in Buffalo lbh), potassium, B vitamins, AND a friendlier alternative to the environment! (!!!!)
Now let’s talk about what tasty burgers participating Buffalo-area restaurants will bless us with:
- Allen Burger Venture: Parma Prosciutto – Dino DeBell’s Wrapped Blended Burger of Dry-Aged Grass-fed Angus and Mushroom Duxelles with Urbani Black Truffle Cream Cheese and Arugula
- Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant: Wellington Burger – Brian Mietus’ Steak and Mushroom Blended Burger with Seared Foie Gras, Tomato Bacon Jam, First Light Chèvre, and Spinach Garlic Aioli on a House-Made Sweet Potato Bun
- Billy Club: The Classic Western New Yorker – Scott Crombie’s House-Ground Dehydrated flat #12 Oyster and Fresh Crimini Blended Burger with House-Pulled Worcestershire Cheddar Curd, Bacon, Farm Greens, and Heirloom Tomato on a Costanzo Roll.
- Black Iron Bystro: Crimini Kefta Burger – Bryan Mecozzi’s Ground Sirloin, Crimini, and Herb Blended Burger with Tahini Labneh and Lemony Pickles on a Brioche Roll
- Black Sheep: The King Ghidorah – A Japanese-inspired burger created by 2017 James Beard nominee Steven Gedra called The King Ghidorah is made of a King Oyster Mushroom and Koji-inoculated Chuck Sirloin Blended Burger with Ramp Kimchi, Mushroom Ketchup, Kewpie Mayo, and Housemade American Cheese served on a Squid Ink Sweet Potato Bun
- Casa Azul: Casa Azul Burger – Victor Parra Gonzalez’s Beef, Bone Marrow, Flat #12 Mushroom Blended Burger, Oaxaca Cheese, Huitlacoche, and Onion on a Worm Salt Brioche Bun
- Craving: Mushroom Mornay Burger – Adam Goetz’s Blended Burger of House-Butchered Erba Verde Grass-Fed Beef and Smoked Crimini Duxelles with Mushroom Confit Aioli, and Gruyere Mornay on a House-Made Caramelized Onion and Shiitake Brioche Bun
- The Grange Community Kitchen: The Future Burger 3000 – Brad Rowel’s Brisket and House-Smoked Weiss Farm Shiitake Blended Burger with Aged Cheddar, Caramelized Onions, and Horseradish Whole Grain Mustard Aioli on a House-Made Sesame Potato Bun
- JuiCy Burger Bar: Buffalo Shoulder, Dreadlock Pasta – Andrew Murtha’s Bison, T-Meadow Farm Lardo, and Smoked Flat #12 Mushroom Blended Burger with Fried Gnocchi Ropes, Pickled Ramp Aioli, First Light Creamery Chèvre, and Parsley Gremolata
- Lait Cru Brasserie: Lamb & Crimini Burger -Drunken Goat Cheese, Fenugreek Creme Fraiche, Flat #12 Mushroom Salad with Cumin, Mint & Tarragon
- Lloyd Taco Factory: Burger Al Pastor – Chris Dorsaneo’s House-Ground Pork Butt, Portabella, and Oyster Mushroom Blended Burger, Guajillo Achiote Sauce, Fresh Pineapple, White Onion, Cilantro, Avocado Crema, and Nixtamalized Fried Tortilla Strips
- Lucia’s On The Lake: Preischel Farms Beef blended with cremini and porcini mushrooms, house made sesame seed bun, Velveeta, pork belly, Preischel Farms egg, Eden Valley Growers Bibb lettuce, heirloom tomato, fire roasted onion, roasted garlic aioli, and house cut herb garlic fries
- Marble + Rye: Burg’ on ‘Weck – Prepared by Michael Dimmer, a House-Ground Short Rib, Brisket, Chuck, Bone Marrow, and Local Oyster Mushroom Blended Burger with Horseradish Cream, Shallot Jam, and Local Raclette are served on a House-made Kummelweck Roll
- Oliver’s: Blue Collard Worker – Beef, Pork, Mushroom Blended Burger with Maple Bourbon Blueberry Compote, Pancetta, Roasted Collard Greens and Cheesy Onions on Toad in The Hole Texas Toast
- Seabar: Mushroom Moco – Mike Andrzejewski’s offers a bun-less burger with his interpretation of Hawaii’s popular Loco Moco dish. In Seabar’s version, a Blended Burger of Ground Sirloin, Bacon, and Braised Shiitake is served with Fried Rice, Sweet Soy Gravy, Fried Farm Eggs, and Green Onion
- Winfield’s Pub: A fresh ground blend of local beef using chuck, brisket and short rib, combined with smoked shiitake mushrooms. Topped with steakhouse onion cheese made in Corfu NY, spicy pickled carrots and crispy fried onions
All of the aforementioned scrumptious creations are available for a limited time now through July 31, so get’cha paws on ’em! And don’t forget to vote for your fav participating Buffalo Restaurant in the Blended Burger Project 😉 Go to jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject to view the gallery of blended burger photos and cast a vote for the blended burger from Buffalo that best represents the most creative use of mushrooms, best flavor profile, and most appetizing appearance.
How to win:
- Visit a participating restaurant from now through July 31, 2017 (view the entire list at jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject/participants or consult the Buffalo-area guide on Nickel City Chef’s website) and ask for the “blended burger.”
- Post photos of favorite blended burgers to social media with the hashtag #blendedburgerproject and #BuffaloBBP to spread the word and be entered to win an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 2018 Blended Burger event at the James Beard House in NYC