Plain Buns are for the Birds

Plain Buns are for the Birds

Krispy Crème Donut Buns Lauded Crème de la Creme of Burger Wars 2011

For Foodies Only! Luther Burger Background Howie attests he did not create the award-winning combo Krispie Crème Donut-Burger combo. According to legend, record producer Luther Vandross is responsible for this concoction. He simply didn’t have a bun to hold his burger. Only a Krispy Crème donut would do the trick! Just when you thought you couldn’t come up with a way to indulge Dad this Father’s Day! Versions have been debuting at state fairs around the country.

“Howie’s up there deep fryin’ the buns and covering them with a glaze! Go up there and tell them I sent you,” Hog’s Breath general manager Art Levin instructed everyone in the crowd around him poolside at Dante’s. “The bun is like a Krispy Crème donut. They’re soooo good!”

At the Conch Harbor Marina this past Saturday, an event took over the deck overlooking the pool party as part of Bacchanalia 2011: The Rums of Puerto Rico Grand Tasting Village featuring Burger Wars!

Shor’s Andrea King, Braza Lena’s Ari and Barbara Sampaio, The Rooftop Café’s Brendan Orr, Dante’s Kim Quach, Kelly’s Caribbean’s Kenneth Jones and more all placed the Heinz Ketchup, Plochman’s mustard and Vlassic pickle chips aside and lit the charcoal for an all-out burger competition!

“We won last year,” warned the Burger Queen of 2010 Barbara Sampaio. “It’s the chimichurri sauce!”

Some had their meat packing heat.

“I put our jerk paste we make with ground chuck,” Jones warned. “Then, I topped with jicama pineapple slaw and am servin’ with a green papaya relish. The sweet and spicy combination will blow you away!” 

Kenneth wasn’t the only chef who had rounded up succulent spices and tempting toppings.

Orr organized his toppings of arugula, mango-jalapeno chutney and roasted red pepper mayor atop lamb. Owner Norman Vogel raves, “Just because it was something different! Did we win? Our burger is the best!”

SHOR American Seafood Grill showed off their sous chef as well as their signature seafood burger – a combo of dolphin, scallops and shrimp binded together with rice and white beans. Executive Chef Dan Elinan boasted, “This is the burger you crave on the shores of the Gulf!”

“The seafood combo is a mild blend without too harsh of a heavy-flavored fish. They’re combined with our house seasoning to bring out the flavor then topped with pineapple!”

For Burger Wars, the pineapple was purposely soaked in Puerto Rican Rum.

But, in the end, after the tasters made their way around the perimeter, washing down the chefs’ choice of meat – and bun – with concoctions shaken and stirred with the Rums of Puerto Rico and Bombay Sapphire, The Sampaios and their entourage proved a burger made Brazilian-style is the best – at least for Key West!

Braza Lena is the reigning Key West Burger Wars champion. Pictured are Quempe, Manuel and Mateus with owner Ari Sampaio and his wife, Barbara.

“The chimichurri sauce and the cheese makes ours the best,” Ari Sampaio cemented as his better half confidently sipped on pre-celebratory champagne with mint leaves. “Manchego cheese is the most popular and tastiest of the Spanish cheeses made with whole goat milk.”

Howie Kleinberg and his Bulldog BBQ burger, (bacon and cheddar between two deep-fried donut-like glazed buns) fulfilled a craving for breakfast, lunch and dinner and captured the overall Best Burger for 2011.

“This is not a calorie counter!” Kleinberg yelled across the table as Levin smiled and sipped on Zacapa Rum with a splash of ginger beer.

Braza Lena has their award winning burger on their bar menu and touts restaurants in two Florida Key locations. Locals: You know where to find them! For Visitors: on Caroline Street off Duval and also in Islamorada at Whale Harbor Resort.

The Rooftop Cafe's Brendan Orr took honors for Media Favorite!








Mixologists' Pick goes to Dantes Executive Chef Kim Quach and Kevin Morales show off their bacon burger with chipotle blue cheese sauce and crispy onion straws.









SHOR American Seafood Grill’s line cook Ryan Meere and sous chef Andrea King.

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