Saturday, December 8, 2012

Event: BURGER WARS!!! Bernie's Burger Bus vs. Phamily Bites vs. The Refinery

Included in media kit, used with permission
In a thriller for the ages, not unlike the Foodbrawl on the Seawall, in a 3-way beatdown in the Octagon, 2 Houston Food Trucks, Bernie's Burger Bus and Phamily Bites took on Brick and Mortar Burger Joint  & Bar The Refinery.

Now y'all already know the love I have for Bernie's Burger Bus--The Homeroom Burger is #5 on HankOnFood's Top 20 Htown Burgers.  The Refinery has been on my short list of places to get to and try, but between work in the real world and the Midtown Parking Situation, I had not made the effort I should have to drop in and give them a try.  Phamily Bites is a food truck that is going to get their own review for their wonderful Vietnamese food, but I was surprised when I saw they were involved in this Throwdown in Midtown, and my mind begin to speculate what kind of Vietnamese Burger Fusion magic they might come up with.  Something like a Saigon Burger from The Burger Guys?  A Banh-mi-Thit nuong with an added hoagie length burger patty?  My thoughts were leading me to near drooling in anticipation.  THE SAUCE IS STRONG WITH THESE ONES!!! (Darth Vader voice implied!)
Bernie's Burger Bus Entrant

The Burgers:

Bernie's Burger Bus served up an Andouille & Crawfish Mac N Cheese Burger with Baby Arugula, Roasted Tomatoes, & a Creole Vinaigrette on a Pretzel Bun!  If you look to the left, that was a  monster of a fine looking burger.  I'm always a fan of a pretzel bun, for sure, and between the juicy beef, the crunchy arugula, the spicy vinaigrette and the creamy, chewy, awesome mac-n-cheese, I was totally blown away!  Bernie's is ranked very highly by this burger lover, and if they make this a menu regular on their short and long buses, I will have to do another revision of my Top 20 Htown Burgers.  I had to share one with my girls from Urban Swank because Bernie & Co. TOTALLY SOLD OUT before I got to The Refinery.  Now that earns a Double-Syllable DAYAM from yours truly!!!

Pork Burger from Phamily Bites
Phamily Bites served up, as anticipated, a burger based on Banh-mi Thit-nuong--except the patty was clearly ground pork, rather than thinly sliced and the bun was like a brioche bun rather than the baguette you have Banh-mi served on .  It had sliced cucumbers, carrots, nuts and fish sauce, and was served with fried taro root chips.  It was another damn good burger and I liked it quite well!  Nice job Phamily Bits, for serving a Pho-king awesome burger!

The Roughneck from the Refinery
The Refinery called theirs "The Roughngeck"--it was a beef patty served on a puffy bun with fresh veggies, bacon, maynonnaise and fried baloney, with pickled carrots that had an essence of jalapeño peppers, and was smothered with white Queso.  This burger gave me Queso fingers--it was a huge, hot mess of a burger.  It seemed like a burger improvised in a frat house when there wasn't enough food left to make it quite right, and was thrown together anyway.  It was quite delicious though--very juicy and tasty, but it came apart all in my hands and was a real Hot Mess all the way around.

All in all, each burger had many strong points.  The Frathouse improvised saltiness of the Roughneck, the savoury Banh-mi Bo twang of Phamily Bites's pork burger and the pretzel bun packed Mac-n-Cheesy goodness of Bernie's.  My gals from Urbanswank and @Married2Food were the official judges--I was just there as a guest--but it didn't really matter because we were all in agreement that Bernie's was the clear winner.  That's not saying we didn't enjoy the other burgers.  They were ALL GOOD.  However the pretzel bun, the high end mac-n-cheese, and the spicy andoulle & crawfish just totally blew me away, as it did the judges.  Even Phamily Bites conceded that Bernie's schooled them, but that's not too say the other burgers were bad.  Au contrere, mes amies--these were 3 shining examples of why Houston is one of the world's best cities for burgers.

Bernie Burger Bus's Schedule  can be found by clicking the embedded link

Phamily Bites Schedule can be found by clicking the embedded link

The Refinery is located at:
702 West Dallas Street
Houston, TX 77019

I want to thank The Refinery for hosting & Participating, and Bernie's Burger Bus & Phamily Bites, and the gals from Urban Swank for letting me come by and enjoy the event.  It was a lot of fun and I hope soon we can do a larger scale burger wars going, maybe at Discovery Green or Bear Creek Park.

And remember to Eat Happy, Ya'll!!!

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