Miami's second-annual Plant-Based Burger Battle is in the books, and a local eatery took home top honors. Wynwood's Love Life Wellness Center was the celebrity judges' favorite. The audience chose Arlo's of Austin as number one, with Love Life taking second place in the hearts of attendees.
The fete, part of Seed Food & Wine Festival, took over the Eden Roc Miami Beach's oceanfront patio last night, and crowds of eager eaters swarmed competitors for burger samples paired with craft beers.
Local chefs and others from eateries across the nation presented their best burger, including Arlo's (Austin), Sun Cafe (Los Angeles), Atlas Meat-Free Deli (Hollywood), Green Bar & Kitchen (Fort Lauderdale), Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc (Miami Beach), Green Gables Café (Coral Gables), Della Test Kitchen (Miami), Holi Vegan Kitchen (Aventura), the Sporks Sisters for Follow Your Heart, Jason Stefanko for Gardein, Soyka (Miami), and Sanctum Café (Orlando).
Entries included the "bac'un cheezeburger" from Arlo's; a crispy rice, tofu, spicy cherry, veggie, and quinoa slider from Nobu; a Thanksgiving burger with cranberry relish, gravy aioli, crispy onion, and arugula; a Parmesan-crusted sausage burger with pesto aioli from the Spork Sisters and Follow Your Heart; and many others.
Love Life's burger was a superfood patty topped with guacamole on a bed of marinated kale, cilantro aioli, shiitake "bacon" bites, and homemade cheddar "cheese" on a sweet-potato bun.
"It was definitely a team effort," says Veronica Menin, co-owner of Love Life. "Each one of us put a little bit into it and came up with something that we all loved. It's huge for us because we're new, and we're doing this strictly out of passion and forming a community and creating a better Miami and educating people on healthy eating.
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"I think everybody we competed against are amazing chefs and very established restaurants, and this is our first year, so it means the world to us."
The Seed Food & Wine Festival continues throughout the weekend with a host of events, including the Seed Summit, a series of intimate dinners, a 5K race, and the signature Tasting Village at Mana Wynwood this Saturday.
Ticket prices range from $15 (Sprout's Kid's Day) to $250 (Seed Summit) depending upon the event. Visit seedfoodandwine.com.