Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

April 2, 2015 at 4:54am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Baked Eight today!

Chef Hudson Slater of Maxwell's snapped a shot of his mac and cheese and posted it on Instagram. #tournamentofmacandcheese

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THURSDAY, APRIL 2: BAKED EIGHT GAMES >>>

The Baked Eight is fully fleshed out: eight establishments that - according to our readers' votes - serve the best mac and cheese in the South Sound.

Yes, only eight out of an original 64 mac and cheese joints remain, each going to battle today to stay alive and fight on toward ultimate Tournament of Mac and Cheese glory. All the signs in the restaurants, the mass emailings to customers and friends, the mac and cheese phone trees have paid off for these eight mac and cheese slingers.

On to today's Tournament of Mac and Cheese Baked Eight action and yesterday's results.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

Despite a late push from Tacoma Sixth Avenue neighborhood hangout Crown Bar, the Rosewood Café and its large, devoted, strongly bicyclists and families following proved too powerful in yesterday's Tournament of Mac and Cheese action, easing into the Baked Eight with 57 percent of the votes. Rosewood Café is known for their four-cheese mac and cheese - a dish elevated with nutmeg and ground mustard. It's going to need every bit of the nutmeg when it takes on BITE Restaurant and Bar today.

Game 2: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Hilltop Tacoma's favorite sandwich and booze joint (at least based on Tournament of Mac and Cheese results) was able to fend off Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. yesterday and play their way into the Baked Eight. After an impressive run, western themed Steel Creek - even with a delicious lobster mac and cheese - couldn't saddle up again. With Eleven Eleven winning by just four votes, Steel Creek will also wonder if they should have added more cowbell.

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

When business partners John Xitco and Jeff Paradise and their X Group Restaurants bought Engine House No. 9, they skipped reproducing many of the joint's recipes. Instead, they came up with new recipes, including a mac and cheese perfect for tailgating featuring Li'l Smokies and lots of cheese. It worked. Eleventh seed E9 pulled out a 71 percent victory over number two seed Mac N More in Lacey. That's huge.

Game 4: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

The other close battle yesterday took place in Tacoma featuring two Weekly Volcano food tournament veterans - two joints that always win deep into the brackets. Maxwell's and Top of Tacoma battled back and forth all day, changing leads several times. It's our guess Maxwell's Chef Hudson Slater's beautiful Instagram shot of his mac and cheese was the deciding factor, edging out Top of Tacoma by nine votes.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Baked Eight:

Rosewood Cafe

Eleven Eleven

Engine House No. 9

Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's Baked Eight mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.

Today's Baked Eight Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma) vs. Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma)

Over The Moon Café meet Eleven Eleven. Eleven Eleven meet Over The Moon Café. It's quite possible these two have never met. There are worlds apart. Tranquil, cozy Over The Moon Café serves gourmet meals nestled in Tacoma's Opera Alley. Eleven Eleven raises their voices and their drinks on Hilltop Tacoma. Fancy cheese takes on classic cheese. All the media will flock to this game today. It has "Epic" written all over it. VOTE NOW!  

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

BITE serves meaty orecchiette pasta fused together with a mix of melted white cheddar, ricotta and Parmesan. The pasta choice gives the dish even more personality, as well as acts as a reservoir for the creamy, white sauce. Baked crusty on top, the dish has a pleasant mix of textures and the perfect amount of pasta. It's served in a giant, hot bowl with a decidedly grown-up flair. As mentioned above, Rosewood Café serves a four-cheese mac and cheese - a dish elevated with nutmeg and ground mustard. Penne pasta provides a tender chew, the wide ends of the noodles slicked with cheese, which will have at least one string dangling from the fork. The shotgun-riding bread slices should be used to dig out the leftover cheese. It's fancy, modern BITE versus cozy, neighborhood Rosewood Café. VOTE NOW!

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma)

Marrow and Southern Kitchen was your grandfather's Sixth Avenue mac and cheese battle. Today is a different day, obviously. Number one seed Marrow burrows at 2717 Sixth Ave. Number 11 seed Engine House No. 9 is a few yards around the corner at 611 N. Pine N. Some would call this the Battle for Sixth Avenue. Others would not. These two restaurants serve vastly different versions of the American classic dish. E9's Tailgate Mac and Cheese is a creamy, workingman's take on the classic dish with Li'l Smokies and elbow macaroni. Marrow offers a more gourmet version, with creamy, cheesy béchamel sauce and pork belly or truffle mushrooms options - served in a baking pot. I fully expect to wake up in the morning and see Sixth Avenue coated with cheese. VOTE NOW!

Game 4: Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma) vs. Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Next to the Narrows Marina, tucked behind the massive Narrows Brewing Co., sits Boathouse 19. It's a lovely spot. The waterfront restaurant's mac & cheese takes the afterschool snack and hangover helper to a whole new level. The three-cheese dish walks the fine line of being cheesy and not cheesy, creamy but not creamy. No need to twist a fork. No need for a spoon. Just right. Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge sits between Tacoma's Stadium District and downtown. You'll find no secret entrance, obscure protocol or whiff of illegality; you don't have to walk through a coat closet or trip down the stairs off an alley. But there is a sense of adventure every time you stumble into the dimly lit restaurant, styled after Prohibition lounges of days past. It's an ideal getaway spot for those yearning for excellent mac and cheese and a good drink away from rugrats. VOTE NOW!

Tomorrow's Mac and Cheese Battles: The Final Four

Eight South Sound mac and cheese joints go at it today for slots in the Final Four. Jump on the Served in the South Sound blog tomorrow to vote on the Final Four games.

Tournament of Mac and Cheese Championship Party

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

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About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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