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Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 National Hamburger Festival

It's National Hamburger Festival time again!  The 6th Annual and I think I've only missed one.  Last year it was insanely hot and this year it was only slightly better.  But we prevail for the love of the burger.  As always we go in with a plan to walk the whole festival, scope out who is there and what they are offering and then make our decisions.  It was very noticeably smaller this year.  Less participants.  But the ones that were there were looking good.  I'm good for 3 half burgers, no more.  And that's pushing it.  These aren't little namby pamby burgers that are offered.  They are usually pretty hearty with lots of stuff on them.  So we bought our food tickets, scoped and oddly, Nick and I came to the same decision about our first burger.  We rarely get the same one so we can taste as many as possible.  But Inferno in Medina called to us both, probably for different reasons.  I was interested in the burger, I can't speak for the man, but the Inferno booth did have lots of cleavage.

The Wisconsin Burger was 100% Angus beef topped with Tillamook cheddar, mozzarella and provolone cheeses plus applewood smoked bacon on a pretzel roll.  Oh yes, a pretzel roll!!!  I love a pretzel roll.   And honestly, I didn't even realize the burger was on one.  They had me with the cheeses.

This was a tasty burger.  I would definitely visit Inferno to try others.  And perhaps wear a low cut top so I could fit in.  After this one, we walked around a bit.  I had been eying the Nosh Box truck as my next burger.

I admit, it was mainly for the spectacle of it.  Can you guess which one I was eying?

Yes, it was the burger with mac and cheese on Texas toast. Interesting thing about Nosh Box, they were the best prices of the day.   For 4 tickets ($4) I did get a whole burger.  I thought it would be a half and was pretty surprised when a pretty big whole burger was handed to me.  

The burger was moist but on a whole I wouldn't call this a favorite.  The Texas toast didn't hold up very well and ended up fall apart.  And the mac and cheese was kind of bland and a bit on the mushy side.  It wasn't bad, just not a fave.  

Nick also had been eying a Nosh Box burger.  He opted for one that isn't listed here, it was a Parmesan burger on a ciabatta roll.  

The ciabatta definitely held up better and the burger had a nice crust of the Parmesan.  But now that I've had a burger and a half (my usual limit) I was full and I hadn't even gotten to try Hodge Podge yet!  You may have heard of Cleveland's Hodge Podge truck because they are competing right now in Food Network's Great Food Truck Race.

But first, Nick had his eye on the deep fried cheeseburger.  I saw people walking by with it, and while it was intriguing, after the mac and cheese burger I just couldn't do it.  But Nick, oh yes he wanted it.   So we headed over to Metro Burger of Akron so he could get one.

He really liked it.  I had a taste of it and wasn't crazy about it myself.  The batter that it was fried in was sweetened, not by much, but enough to be off putting to me.  Looks pretty great though!

And so we head back to Hodge Podge.   The Hawaiian burger was in my sights, so I went for it.

And seriously, feast your eyes on this thing of beauty!

Mixed greens, bacon, cheddar and pineapple salsa!   And OMG was this a juicy burger.  I tried to capture a photo of just how juicy it was, but I'm not sure you can really tell...

Unfortunately for me I was too full to have more than one bite... OK maybe two and then Nick had to finish it.  I'm sure he was really broken up about that.   

And that was pretty much our Saturday at the Hamburger Festival.   But wait, Sunday is upon us and my friend Tom over at Exploring Food My Way has two extra tickets and wondered if I could use them.  Well, truth is, Tom had two extra tickets for Saturday that I used and now hell yes!  I'll use them for Sunday too!   Nick wasn't into going again, but I was interested in seeing the Amateur Burger Making contest since Tom was a judge.  So I got my friend Denise and we headed to Burger nirvana!  

This time I was going to take it easy, only one half burgers and maybe a side or a dessert.  Denise's first burger was that Wisconsin from Inferno.  Then we went to watch the amateurs and oddly enough, out of four people who were chosen to compete, only two showed up.  That sucks.  And being as it was such a small turnout, I was able to give the winning burger a try and it was pretty yum. 

As we walked around I noticed that the Hodge Podge Truck had several awards from the day before.  

And so I had to do it, I had to try their duck burger.   Ground duck with mixed greens, goat cheese and a cherry compote.  One bite and I was launched into a flavor spectrum that was simply out of this world!  By far my winner of the two day burger extravaganza.  It was simply delicious.  Tom also had the duck burger and Denise tried the gouda burger.  We all loved our burgers. 

Now I'm thinking dessert.  There was your usual things you find in these kind of festivals... funnel cakes and a whole bevvy of fried stuff.  Stuff like Twinkies, Oreos, Snickers and Buckeyes.  And quite frankly, none of that strikes my fancy.   In fact, I find it kind of gross.  And so gelato was my clear and easy choice!

I'm sure if you know me at all you know I did not get orange!  Hazelnut it is!  And it was yummy.

And so we come to the closing of another Hamburger Festival weekend.  Good bye Barney Fife, it's nice to see you every year (this was Faux FauxBarney.  Definitely not the same one that's been there previous years).

Good bye Goodyear blimp.   What Akron festivities would be complete without you flying overhead?

But wait, not so fast!   The Peanut Shoppe is open!   Being as Denise is not an Akron gal and I don't ever pass up and opportunity to go to the Peanut Shoppe, we went in.  It's probably one of my favorite places in Akron.

When you walk into the Peanut Shoppe, you are literally walking back in time.  It's an old school peanut and candy shop, where everything is measured on actual weighted scales and the candy and nuts all just taste better because they are bought there.   The place is full of Mr. Peanut memorabilia.  It makes you smile just walking in.

If you ever find yourself in Akron, don't miss it.


Abi12 said...

Ok, I just ate dinner and now I am hungry again! Those burgers looked so yummy!

MyGlassSlippers said...

Oh wow. Yum!! I love burgers - it's almost 8am, and I'm craving a burger after reading this! Thanks :) I can't believe there is a National Hamburger Festival though - that's just awesome :)

Lauren said...

Kathy -- my mouth is watering at the pic of all this fabulous food! Great pics and great narrative, as usual Girlfriend!

cath said...

Why oh why can't we have something like this in Birmingham? Sounds like you had a delish time with hubby and friends. Wish I could have been there too!

Beckey said...

(wiping the drool off my chin) Just had a bowl of chili and now I'm dreaming of burgers. No way am I showing The Man of the House that deep fried burger. He is obsessed with frying food right now.