Food and drink:  Shrimp & Grits, Burger Battle, Casa Tropical, Guy Fieri, DeCo food hall

Delaware Burger Battle photo

The 8th annual Delaware Burger Battle has a new home at Rockford Park. The annual event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, the Saturday before Labor Day weekend.

Delaware chefs will put their burgers on the line for judges and guests as they compete for fame and glory in three categories – Critic’s Choice, Alternative Burger and People’s Choice.

Proceeds from this all-volunteer-run event will benefit two Delaware nonprofits: the Food Bank of Delaware and the ProStart of the Delaware Restaurant Association.

The 2018 Delaware Burger Battle broke attendance records, raised more than $18,000 for its beneficiaries and was voted the 2018 “Best Fundraising Festival” by readers of Delaware Today. Delaware Food Battles have raised more than $68,000 for Delaware nonprofits over the past seven years.

The Burger Battle begins at noon on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Rockford Tower on the grounds of the Rockford Park, 1021 W. 18th St., Wilmington. Trophies will be awarded at 3 p.m.

Burger Battle attendees enjoy all the burger samples they can eat from participating restaurants. Beer and wine are included in the ticket price for adults, while soft drinks are available for children and designated drivers. Tickets are $50 through Aug. 23 or until they sell out. Any unsold tickets will be $60 at the door. Tickets for teens ages 13-20 are $32, and children ages 5-12 are $12. Children under 5 are free.

Click here for more information.

Fieri’s publicity machine highlighted worthy restaurants

You have to hand it to Guy Fieri and his Food Network show Diners Drive Ins and Dives. The dude with the Camaro knows how to generate buzz.

Fieri’s quick visit to Wilmington including stoppingat a half a dozen Wilmington restaurants.

The visit led to upwards of a dozen stories in the News Journal/Delaware Online, along with videos andnumerous other media pieces here and elsewhere

The Food Network airings wound up in late July with a visit to Mrs. Robino’s, where he highlighted Beef Braciole, a hard-to-find rustic Italian dish. He also talked to the maker of the establishment’s meat ravioli.

Airedpreviously were short segments on Locale BBQ Post, Luigi Vitrone’s Pastabilities, Stoney’s British Pub, Farmer & the Cow and Maiale Deli and Salumeria.

Fieri is an acquired taste and his overuse of words like Flavor Town and righteous can be grating. One Facebook friend said he was tired of the whole thing. After all, other worthy restaurants inside and outside the city limits deserve mention.

But the crowd-sourcing of restaurants from local fans of his show that led to the team’s selections was to use another “Fierism” – “on point.”

All six places have get overlooked in a fickle dining market that often abandons worthy restaurants once the buzz has evaporated.

Maiale heading to DeCo food hall

By the way, the above-mentioned Maiale Deli and Salumeria headed to the DeCo food hall at the DuPont Building. The sausage and sandwich spot will operate as one of the “pop up” venues at the food hall

Maiale has a restaurant on the edge of Wilmington on Lancaster Pike and a popular food trailer that travels to many area events.

Casa Tropical no more

The restaurant announced on social media its immediate closing, citing the sale of the site to another party.

Casa Tropical was rebranded after La Tonalteca added a larger location on Concord Pike that had been the home of Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

The restaurant offered Latin cuisine that went beyond the usual Mexican fare. It faced stiff competition as Platinum Dining Group’s El Camino opened at the redeveloped Concord Plaza complex.

Click on the headline below for earlier story.

Casa Tropical opens on Concord Pike with varied selection of Latin dining offerings

Quick bite: Shrimp and Grits at the Courtyard by Marriott UD

While chef Mark Chopko is best known for Crab Cakes that win honors year after year, another worthy option from the Courtyard by Marriott University of Delaware is the shrimp and grits.

The dish is a sightly tricked out version of the Low Country classic. Highlights are the tastiest cheesy grits you will find in this part of the world, along with well-seasoned shrimp with a Cajun/Creole touch.

The portions I have sampled on the small plate side is a bargain in a world where restaurants outside the area charge premium prices for a dish with humble roots in the area of South Carolina and Georgia.

Courtyard UD Managing Director Bill Sullivan, who is also fond of the dish, says the item is regular part of the hotel’s banquet menu. It is especially popular during Friday night patio music events in the summer.

One tip. The shrimp comes with a generous amount of spices. Let the server know if you prefer to tone things down.

As the name indicates, the hotel is on the edge of the University of Delaware Newark campus and is not to be confused with a Courtyard near Christiana Mall.

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