Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

April 1, 2015 at 4:16am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Cheesy 16 games

The Crown Bar's mac and cheese (pictured) battle the Rosewood Cafe's version in Tournament of Mac and Cheese action today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1: CHEESY 16 GAMES >>>

The best mac and cheese in the South Sound? You think you know where to find it. We all do. After weeks of feverish voting (and with the help of a complicated computer program stolen from cavemen) we at the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters have watched you, beloved readers, narrow down the region's mac and cheese from 64 to the very best 16, the cream of the cheese. Yesterday, the first eight mac and cheese dishes did battle. Today, the remaining eight go at it.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma)

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T" is how the song goes, and that's just what Over The Moon Café has been earning so far in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, knocking off Quickie Too and Harmon Brewing in earlier rounds. Yesterday, in the battle that knocked over their antique lamps and tabletop poetry books, Over The Moon Café proved they could go all the way. Even with an impressive evening push that closed the gap to 20 votes, STINK Cheese & Meat, deservingly a number one seed, with weekly gourmet mac and cheese specials, fell to neighboring Over The Moon Café. I wouldn't be surprised to see STINK owner Kris Blondin and Over The Moon owner Deanna Harris Bender hug it out at the corner of Seventh and Saint Helens Avenue today.

Game 2: Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma) vs. BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma)

The Provenance Hotel group isn't messing around. The Portland-based boutique hotel collection phoned in psychological ploy for their Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma to use in their battle with Bar Bistro yesterday. "Push our new free WiFi option and in-house pet psychologist," the team in Portland might have said. That they did, as well as turn up the upbeat chill music in the lobby and placed three mints on pillows instead of two. With the solid play from BITE Restaurant's meaty orecchiette pasta fused with a mix of melted white cheddar, ricotta and Parmesan, and the corporate suggestions, BITE was able to maintain a lead all day, capturing 61 percent of the votes over Bar Bistro's worthy mac and cheese, and a slot in tomorrow's Baked Eight competition. 

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Marrow likes the narrow. The modern vegetarian, vegan and animal proteins bistro on Sixth Avenue is not a run-and-gun player. Rather Marrow will slow play their opponents, concentrating on their baked gourmet mac and cheese, then throwing a bunch of craft cocktails at them. They kept scrappy gritty The Valley within arms reach the entire game. Marrow knew golden boys Justin and Rob Peterson and their Valley could easily go on a run and take it. In perhaps the most hotly contested match of the tournament, Marrow, who trailed the entire game by a good margin, pulled it out seconds before the buzzer, winning by one vote. Marrow moves into the Baked Eight to take on the winner of today's Engine House No. 9 and Mac N More game.

Game 4: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma)

This game was a bit of a surprise. Yes, Boathouse 19 was seeded slightly higher and their cast iron, three-cheese macaroni and cheese with caramelized onion and huge chunks of ham is exceptional, but to beat Westside Tavern and their secret family cheese sauce and thousands of fans was a shocker. The other seven South Sound mac and cheese joints in tomorrow's Baked Eight need to sharpen their elbows because Boathouse 19 is the real deal. With 73 percent of the vote, the waterfront restaurant next to the Narrows Marina moves closer to the title.

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

Over The Moon Café

BITE at Hotel Murano

Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Boathouse 19

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 Cheesy 16 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 Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

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

Tipping off the second day of Cheesy 16 games we have number eight seed Crown Bar, with its popular late-night street food and tasty cocktails, battling number four seed Rosewood, a Proctor District-ish neighborhood café popular with bicyclists and dogwalkers. Both businesses serve worthy mac and cheese dishes, and are well loved with the community, so rallying support won't be an issue. The real question is: will Rosewood Café be intimidated off the court at the sight of Crown Bar's lively clientele, or will the comfy feel café just tighten up the shoelaces and go to work? The votes will decide. VOTE HERE

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

Working class mac and cheese dishes face off in this Tournament of Mac and Cheese Cheesy 16 game, albeit one donning a cowboy hat. Steel Creek's lobster mac and cheese knows how to win against creative versions, beating Masa and Chambers Bay Grill. Can the country/western whiskey bar beat Eleven Eleven cheese-driven creation? Will Steel Creek grow quick beards to handle what 1111 beerdos Justin and Rob Peterson throw at them off the bench? Do you wish I'd stop asking questions and just allow you to vote? Do it!  VOTE HERE

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

A good mac and cheese experience owes as much to the atmosphere as the actual elbows and cheese themselves. And what I have discovered in my travels is that firehouse equipment and beer club plaques in a restaurant usually signal that a mac and cheese feast of epic proportions is at hand. Be lucky enough to find a joint with a fire hose and, holy three-alarm, you're in for a treat. You'll be happy to know that Engine House No. 9 fulfills such criteria, as well as grabbing the "People's Choice" award at last weekend's Slider Cook-Off at the Museum of Glass. The Sixth Avenue neighborhood restaurant and bar will need every hose, every fire hat, every craft beer recipe from brewer Shane Johns to beat Mac N More, the Lacey house of mac and cheese. Truth is, I have pulled up a chair at the Lacey strip-mall eatery a dozen or so times since Steve and Katrina Cobb opened the mac and cheese centric restaurant in 2012. Steve, who has seen the world through a restaurant kitchen window while his wife, Katrina, served in the Army, tweaked his macaroni and cheese recipe during a 25-year journey. After tasting the famous macaroni and cheese at S'mac in New York City, and making the final adjustment, the Cobbs felt confident enough to open their own joint at the corner of Martin Way and Dutterow Road. And their recipes are freakin' delicious. VOTE HERE

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

I'm not sure how to describe this game. Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café could end relationships, cause car title exchanges and fill the tattoo shops with sad faces. These two mac and cheese dishes are equally outstanding. Glad you're voting and not me. VOTE HERE

Tomorrow's Baked Eight Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma) vs. winner of Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. winner of Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. winner of Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

Game 4: Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma) vs. winner of Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

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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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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