Yesterday afternoon, following a strenuous few hours in the hair salon, my rumbling tummy and I headed down to an event I'd been very much looking forward to: Burger Fest 2014.
Burger Fest is five of London's top burger traders - all listed in Twenty Something London's Ten Best Burgers - pitched up in one Hackney warehouse (or the Hackney Studios, as it's otherwise known) serving the hungry masses with a staple item from their meaty menus.
Taking part in the bun-based event was Street Kitchen, Honest Burger, Mother Flipper, The Wild Game Co and Burger Craft.
Our £30 ticket entitled us to entry, one beer (if you arrived early enough) and a booklet containing information about each vendor along with their 'Feed Me' vouchers which were to be exchanged for a half burger - a sample of their best creation, if you will.
We hadn't had lunch, we were hungry and we were on the hunt for something great.
The venue smelt amazing; like the ultimate barbecue. Before Alex and I decided upon a queue we did a circuit to check out what was going down on each stall. Everything there was truly mouth-watering.
We decided to hop in the queue for the Street Kitchen van. The line seemed to be moving at a reasonable rate which considering our hunger levels at this point, gave them huge bonus points.
Street Kitchen have vans based in Liverpool Street, Battersea and London Bridge. The Buffalo Bull Burger that they were presenting today is a well hung beef patty, baby gem, pickled onion, red leicester cheese on a toasted brioche bun with ketchup and mustard.
It was a fantastic one to start us off. The patty was soft and juicy inside and texture was amazing. The well hung beef gives the meat a strong roast beef flavour. The lightly toasted brioche bun (brioche pretty much being an industry standard now) was firm but soft, soaking up all the meat juices wonderfully and the salad was crisp.
But of course we weren't full up after just one half burger. Time to get more.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the best organised event I've ever attended. Perhaps they didn't expect so many ticket holders to turn up before 6pm but the queues to get to each van were around 40 to 50 minutes strong. And anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that I hate queuing.
At least I had my free beer.
Alex and I decided upon some extremely clever tactics; I stayed in the queue for Mother Flippers and Alex headed over to Burger Craft. Two hits in one go - we're the man!
Mother Flipper is the creator of the burger I wanted to try the most: The Double Candy Bacon Flipper.
I'm a sucker for sweetness with meat and this burger consists of a double beef patty (chuck from Scottish black Angus beef cows), lettuce, red onion, dill pickle, American cheese, ketchup, mustard and the key ingredient...
...the sweet candied maple bacon.
The queue may have been moving at a snail's pace but the Mother Flipper guys were working their butts off to assemble these fine little specimens.
I headed over to the seating area to enjoy.
This is exactly the kind of burger I love. The patty was delicious and juicy, the sweetness and salt worked like a wonder together and there was a generous amount of the cheese.
Somehow Alex and I had timed it so perfectly that just as I'd started tucking into my Double Candy Bacon burger, he turned up with the offering from Burger Craft.
Presenting The Juicy Bastard.
Two beef burgers (their free range meat comes fresh from a farm in Wiltshire), double American cheese, lamb's lettuce, tomato and smoky BBQ sauce. This burger is a beast with thick, flavoursome patties, fresh fillings and that tangy sauce that set it apart.
We just weren't up for standing in line again so we didn't get our final two samples. I've already been won over by Honest Burgers back when I paid them a visit in Camden so I know they're awesome. Wild Game Co - I'll have to pay you a visit in Whitecross Market sometimes soon! Alex and I both agreed that we'd sampled some outstanding burgers. There was lively music and a happy atmosphere so with slightly better organisation next year with regards to sheer numbers of people, this event will surely be a 'must-do'.
But it wasn't quite over - we still had dessert to collect!
The Salted Caramel Cupcake Burger & Apple Crumble Cookie Fries from Cupcakes and Shhht.
How cute are they?!
It was great to have had a little sweetness hit before we headed home, leaving the queues of burger lovers behind us.