Burger Challenge

San Antonio restaurants compete in national competition to blend a better burger

San Antonio restaurants compete in competition to blend better burger

The Hoppy Monk San Antonio restaurant Funi Monk Cheeseburger
This Hoppy Monk cheeseburger is chock full of mushrooms. The Hoppy Monk - San Antonio/Facebook

San Antonio restaurants The Hoppy Monk and The Cookhouse are participating in a national burger competition put on by the James Beard Foundation. The challenge: fortify the burger with delicious, nutritious mushrooms. The competition began May 30 and continues through July 31.

Mushrooms are a popular meat alternative in veggie burgers, and they make sense as an additive because they add moisture and a "meaty" flavor. The two San Antonio eateries are among more than 100 participants serving versions of a blended burger, i.e., one that has at least 25 percent fresh mushrooms mixed into the burger patty.

"It's a great opportunity for us to show people [there] are some really cool and delicious ways to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor. This actually adds a lot of flavor to your burger," Chef Pieter Sypesteyn from The Cookhouse tells CultureMap. This is the restaurant's second year competing.

The Cookhouse's creation consists of two patties of local pastured Wagyu beef blended with 'shrooms from Kitchen Pride Mushrooms Farms and topped with mushroom bacon, smoked gouda cheese, arugula, aioli pesto, and pickles on a New Orleans po'boy loaf from Gambino's Bakery.

The Hoppy Monk's funky Fungi Monk Cheeseburger features an Akaushi beef and crimini mushroom blend with fondue, beer-caramelized onion aioli, salsa, and arugula on a house-made huitlacoche bun with pepitas.

Diners can vote once a day for their favorite burgers by visiting Blended Burger Project. The five chefs with the most votes will have the opportunity to prepare their blended burger at the James Beard House as part of the official welcome reception for the foundation's annual food conference (October 16-18).

If eating the burgers or voting for them is not enough, diners can also memorize a new hashtag — #BlendedBurgerProject — and toss that around on their social media outlets, because everyone knows it's not real if it isn't on social media.

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