The aroma of cooking meat wafted as far as the BQE from the NYC Wine and Food Festival's Rachael Ray Burger Bash last night. Throngs of meat-lovers descended upon the Tobacco Warehouse to sample 18 burgers and vote (by text message) for their favorite.
Hostess Rachael Ray and Lee Schrager, surrounded by their camera-toting entourage and security team, made the rounds at each table, and the Food Network personalities were once again out in full force, with Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentiis, Al Roker, Cat Cora, and Guy Fieri all chowing down when they weren't too busy posing for pictures. As for the burgers, the SOBE Festival reigning champs, the Shake Shack, couldn't hang on to their title. The competition was fierce, with Chef Adam Perry Lang pulling out a New Mexico slider with Jack cheese, chilis, and an onion relish, while Team Craft, headed by Tom Colicchio, served up an incredibly hearty, juicy half burger with perfect onion rings on the side (he noted that he was quite nervous about his guitar performance later that evening at the Midnight Munchies event, but it didn't seem to have an impact on his burgers).
Chef Art Smith's Hoecake burger had a delectable blend of veal and Benton bacon, but the greasy corn cake in lieu of a bun dragged it down. The Burger Joint made a strong showing, ultimately coming in second, but the winner of the evening was Katie Lee Joel, who served ...
a grilled cheese sandwich [Ed. note: apparently it was "sort of a patty melt," so there was meat involved. Didn't taste that one. ] Clearly PETA was involved in sabotaging the text-message voting mechanism.