We had the pleasure of judging a very special tasting event over the weekend. Somewhere between the hosted bar, auctions and food tasting, we helped support the Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area in Costa Mesa. Along with Moxxe PR busybody Mona Shah-Anderson and our new friend Rudy Chaney of Foodbeast, we tackled the seven competitors with gusto.
There were three categories that restaurants were vying for: Presentation, Death Row Meal and TASTE (Totally Awesome Slider To Eat). For establishments not known for their burger prowess, we were impressed. After our Instagram/Facebook updates, this is what we concluded.
Presentation winner: Taco Mesa
One trait our winners shared was the decision to prepare each meal to order--none of this pre-made nonsense. While it may have caused slightly longer waits, it guaranteed the freshest product. The entry from Taco Mesa was not only good-looking, but it was so hefty it merited a larger serving plate! Their quarter-pounder was dressed with chipotle sauce, char-grilled pineapple, prosciutto, blue cheese, grilled onions and cilantro. Nestled in a grilled egg bun, it was artsy food porn.
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TASTE winner: Blackmarket Bakery!
Death Row Meal winner: The Golden Truffle!
Alan, Alan, Alan. We already know how brilliant you are. You had to go confirm it, yet again. The first competitor we tried, he ruined us for everybody else. This insanely good mouthful featured red chile and lemongrass BBQ-braised pork belly. With a pliable butter brioche bun, cilantro and ginger lemon balm sancocho, The Golden Truffle was in a league of its own. We could eat this every day and never grow weary of those flavors.