Did you know: there’s plenty to do at Essen Spiel besides run around and buy board games. Eating, for example, seems to be a popular activity here. It’s extremely difficult to navigate the gallery and outdoor food truck areas of the hall during normal human eating hours. Bad news if you’re in a rush to get somewhere. Good news if you happen to be hungry, since food is plentiful and abundant here.
I’ll admit it: Essen Spiel’s food truck game, as a whole, is pretty on point. There’s a solid variety, whether you want meat and bread in various configurations, sausage and French fries in various configurations, more meat and bread, and sweets in various configurations. Another observation: there’s also some unusual food trucks here. Three of which happen to be burger joints on wheels. I was intrigued. So I rolled up my sleeves, bought way too much meat to reasonably eat in one sitting, and enlisted some help to bring you an Essen Spiel burger battle for the ages.
First up? Beefbusters!
It’s beef, only busted.
Do you like your beef…[checks script]…errr…busted? If so, there’s only one places to go: BEEFBUSTERS! This was my first stop, mainly because I noticed the lines weren’t very long, and the burgers coming from there looked semi-decent at a 10 foot glance.
I took advantage of the short wait times and got my beefbusting started with the Buster’s Beef Bacon Jam Burger.
Looked promising on the outside!
Woof, not so much on the inside, though. Thanks, I hate it!
Needless to say, this was not love at first bite. The Beef Bacon Jam Burger looked and tasted more like chili, except weirdly sweet and not in a good way. I can’t quite be sure but it also looks like there may have been meat in the relish, so double beefy? This is unconfirmed, as I really couldn’t tell, which is slightly unnerving as it’s a thing that I put in my body.
The relish was too sweet and very oniony, with no real bacon flavor to speak of in the mix. Also, there was way too much of it. The gloopy chili-like consistency of the relish was kind of a mess, leaving this burger not visually inviting or palate pleasing. Unfortunately, the meat also didn’t taste very well season. I added a little dollop of mayo, but that couldn’t save this busted burger.
The Verdict: Avoid. (2 out of 5 stars)
I wanted to like the Buster’s Beef Bacon Jam Burger way more than I did. Only making it through half of the burger, I decided to put it out of its misery and move on to beefier pastures.
Next up? Mothertrucker.
A customer awaits their Mothertrucking food.
Heading outdoors for some fresh air and sun, I found MOTHERTRUCKER. Yes, their logo is in ALL CAPS, too. For my second burger of the day (yes, I know, gross), I was hoping to salvage lunchtime. BEEFBUSTERS set a low bar, so I crossed my fingers that MOTHERTRUCKER would save the day. Skipping the “Bacon Cheese Attack Burger” on the menu, I instead opted for the Spicy Chili Cheese Burger. It was not the worst choice I have made this week.
Kind of a hot mess.
The terror is real. Death by liquid cheese awaits.*
Ironically, there was no actual chili on this burger as far as I could assess, and that is a thing I am thankful for. That aside, it was a gooey cheese-splosion nightmare mess from the get-go. I ended up covered in liquid cheese before even taking a bite. Once I was able to recover and dig in, the burger itself was quite delicious—as you might expect from something drenched in cheese.
Finally, some well-seasoned meat! The sauce at the bottom of the bun, combined with the kick of the jalapenos beautifully without being too overbearing. The heat cut the heaviness of the nacho-style cheese a bit, which was a nice flavor combination. Overall, this tasted way better than burger #1. My only real complaint is that it was crazy messy to eat, and it sort of fell apart at the tail end. I suppose that’s probably good, considering I already had half of a burger in my gut.
Another busted burger. This Spicy Chili Cheese Burger was good but disintegrated before I could finish it.
The Verdict: Would Risk Death Again. (4 out of 5 stars)
The sheer messiness of this beast is a little off putting, but armed with enough napkins, it’s well worth getting dirty over. Great flavor and great spice comes at the cost of cheesy fingers.
Last up? We’ll let Stephen from Sales and Distribution take one for the team this time with American Sandwich.
Jaffer, CGE’s new convention manager, contemplates the perplexing enigma that is American Sandwich.
Obviously the first thing you’d expect to see in Germany is a food truck called American Sandwich, right? It’s a bit of a head-scratcher that has more than a few CGE team members intrigued. Since there’s only so many burgers one should safely eat in a day, we let Stephen take one for the team and report back. Burger Type: Unknown
Unfortunately, I wasn’t present to document Stephen’s lunch-time experiment with food photos, so I have to rely on his verbal description. Take it away Stephen! What’s your review of American Sandwich?
Stephen says: “Well, I think it’s a bit of a lie because after the burger was made, bun and all, it was put into a panini press to warm it all up.”
“The burger was ok. Nothing to write home about. But definitely not what I would consider to be the true American Sandwich.”
So what would you consider to be the True American Sandwich™ Stephen?
He continues: “If you’re talking about a burger, you expect that good flame broil. And I don’t think this meat was cooked that way in any shape or form. It’s not on my list of the top 10 of burgers I’ve ever had.”
The Verdict: Solid Meh. (3 out of 5 stars)
And the winner is…MOTHERTRUCKER!
Hands down the best burger of the three, and likely the whole convention so far. Other CGE team members had burgers from this funky food truck, too, and had positive praise for their other offerings.
Stay tuned! Tomorrow we’ll be reviewing Essen Spiel’s top 10 toilets! Kidding, we’ll actually get back to talking about board games and other Spiel adventures tomorrow. See you then!
*Many napkins sadly died in the making of this review.