"A sheriff, a radio show host, an artist and a director walk into a museum."
Sounds like the intro to an interesting joke, doesn't it?
But the answer is much more fun than a few chuckles from a punch line; these are the judges for the first annual Slider Cook-Off "Shake, Rattle & Grill" presented by the Museum of Glass.
Artist John Miller's five-foot tall Venetian glass sculpture "Cheeseburger Goblet" and smaller "Slider Goblets," currently on display at MOG as part of the Gathering: John Miller and Friends exhibition, have inspired an evening of 1950s kitschy fun at the museum, centered around a culinary battle pitting area chefs and their sliders competing for bragging rights, awards and art trophies.
"We've given the chefs free rein to bring any recipe they'd like. They definitely all won't be beef cheeseburgers," says event organizer and Museum of Glass Corporate and Donor Relations Manager Mandy Lane of the sliders expected to compete.
Lane says the represented restaurants, chefs and judges were selected by a committee of community volunteers. Tacoma's Adriatic Grill, Asado, the Hotel Murano's BITE, Chambers Bay Grill, HG Bistro, Maxwell's and The Social Bar and Grill will compete, each restaurant represented by a savory slider creation. The judges are: John Miller, the artist who created the event-inspiring Cheeseburger Goblet; Paul Pastor, Pierce County sheriff; Benji Bittle, deputy executive director to the Broadway Center and local foodie; Dan Murphy, KIXI AM Radio personality.
Tacoma's Dirty Oscar's Annex will provide the sweet slider of the night as dessert, a gourmet "PB & J" on buttery toasted brioche. (Full disclosure: Jennifer Johnson was hired as operations manager at Dirty Oscar's Annex on Feb. 1, 2012.)
Sticking with the "Shake, Rattle & Grill" theme, a dance floor will be brought in allowing attendees to twirl to 1950s hits performed by Daryl and the Diptones. Poodle skirts, cuffed blue jeans, pompadours and other ‘50s attire is strongly encouraged. Just for fun, guests will also enjoy games of chance, a raffle, a wheel of fortune and a wine bottle ring toss. Beverages will be provided by the Harmon Brewery and Waterbrook Winery.
Javier Silva, head chef at Puyallup's HG Bistro, will present a smoked Boston pulled pork slider with apricot, jalapeno bacon jam accented by Honeycrisp apple sticks, micro shaved cabbage, caramelized shallots and brie cheese on grilled brioche.
Chambers Bay Executive Chef Dustin Joseph intends to deliver the opposite of what is typically thought of when the word slider is mentioned. All the ingredients in his braised pork belly, pickled radish, cilantro with blood orange aioli on a sweet and salty bun will be made in-house at Chambers Bay.
Inspired by his love of really good barbecue brisket, Social Bar and Grill Part-Owner and chef Rodel Borromeo says, "It's fairly simple, but it's all about the meat. " Borromeo says he'll be using Painted Hills beef from Oregon seasoned in his chipotle barbecue spice rub, smoked with cherry wood for an hour and slow roasted for 12 hours in order to make it "super tender and juicy with just the right amount of spice and smoke." Maple-bourbon barbecue sauce, a tomato-based sauce with cider and malt vinegar, chipotle pepper and a little Kentucky bourbon - all on a Grand Central Bakery brioche bun and with tzatziki-style mint-yogurt dressed slaw on the side - completes Borromeo's offering.
Chef de Cuisine Tasso Zambaras of Asado plans on bringing the heat with the Latin American twist Asado is known for. Zambaras' creation will include a freshly ground blend of beef and chorizo sausage, roasted peppers and onions, fried breaded provolone, crispy serrano ham and a poblano pepper aioli. All of it adds to the richness and the spice factor of this Asado burger slider.
Drawing on years living in Hawaii, Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge Owner Steve Anderson will do a take on his restaurant's popular slider, creating a Kahlua Pig slider of slow cooked pork, Hawaiian sea salt, wasabi and sesame on sweet Hawaiian rolls. Asian slaw will accompany the treat.
Chef Matt Stickle of BITE at the Hotel Murano is the man behind the tasty fare at Tacoma's only art-focused hotel. Stickle will present an Asian-inspired wild Alaskan salmon slider grilled with a Thai chili glaze. Pickled slaw of carrot, cucumber and cabbage in ginger rice wine vinegar will be set off by a wasabi aioli on buttery brioche bun.
An Italian Caprese slider will be offered by Adriatic Grill's Chef and Owner Bill Trudnowski. "The caprese salad is very Italian," he says. "We took it and added seasoned Italian sausage patty to sliced fresh mozzarella, basil and roma tomato. A rich and savory balsamic mayo goes very well with it." Trudnowski says the Focaccia bread and sausage are made in-house.
So who will be Tacoma's Slider King?
Attendees will have the opportunity to help decide by sampling all of the aforementioned sliders and casting a vote. Judging will be done on presentation, taste and creativity with two prizes awarded: a Judge's Choice for Best Slider Award and a People's Choice Award. Winners will receive a trophy made from one of the Slider Goblets.
[Museum of Glass, Shake, Rattle & Grill slider competition, Saturday, March 3, 6:30-10:30 p.m., $100 VIP tickets include drinks and gift bag, general admission tickets $30 for MOG Members, $35 ADV, $40 DOS, 21+, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, 253.284.4718, museumofglass.org]