Burgers made from cow's flesh are so 2009. The hottest new patties are plant-based, and that’s the focus of the annual Plant-Based Burger Battle — a national tradition launched last year by Miami's own Seed Food & Wine Festival.
This year’s battle royal is scheduled for Thursday, November 3, at the always-swanky Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort, and 14 competitors from coast to coast will vie for the title of Best Plant-Based Burger.
"The response to last year's burger battle was tremendous," says Alison Burgos, Seed's cofounder. "We can't wait to bring it back this year with even more national competitors, delicious craft beer and kombucha pairings, great music, and celebrity judges. It's gonna be a blast." This year's judges include "Burger Beast" Sef Gonzalez and NBA great John Salley.
As far as the burgers, competitors include Arlo's (Austin); Sun Café (Los Angeles); Atlas Meat Free Deli (Hollywood); Green Bar & Kitchen (Fort Lauderdale); Nobu Hotel (Miami Beach); Green Gables Café (Coral Gables); Choices Café (Miami); Della Test Kitchen (Miami); Holi Vegan Kitchen (Aventura); the Sporks Sisters for Follow Your Heart; Jason Stefanko for Gardein; Plant Food + Wine (Miami); Soyka (Miami); and Sanctum Café (Orlando).
Last year’s winners were Todd Erickson of Huahua’s Taqueria and Haven (judges’ pick) and Charlie Grippo of Green Bar & Kitchen (audience pick). Green Bar is back in the running this year — alongside some newcomers — so competition should be fierce.
In addition to offering all the baby burgers attendees can eat, the event will also feature craft brews from Miami Brewing Co., Lincoln's Beard Brewery, Wynwood Brewing, and several others. There’ll also be kombucha and adult slushies.
"Each burger this year is being paired with a craft beer or kombucha," adds Burgos, so every stop will include a beer and a bite. Considering there are 14 entries, fasting for a few days in advance might be a wise strategy.
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Just like last year, the event will be held outside at the oceanfront Eden Roc. "Showcasing the best of plant-based living at such a beautiful and iconic resort really helps to bring our festival to a world-class level," Burgos says. This year's music will be provided by the French Horn Collective, a local gypsy jazz group.
And remember — this event isn't just for plant-eaters. With Burger Beast as one of the judges, you know these are carnivore-approved creations.
"I challenge every meat-eater to come check out the burger battle. I guarantee you'll be blown away by what veggies can taste like."
The Plant-Based Burger Battle kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 3, at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort. Tickets cost $50 each and can be purchased via Eventbrite.