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March 31, 2015 at 7:42am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

The Valley's mac and cheese (pictured) battles Marrow Kitchen + Bar's version in Tournament of Mac and Cheese action today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

TUESDAY, MARCH 31: CHEESY 16 BEGINS >>>

For the last two weeks I presented you with a compelling question: Who makes the best mac and cheese in the South Sound? And you have responded in droves. Sick days have been used. Friendships have fallen apart. Pasta delivery boys and cheese delivery girls are now living together - mass hysteria!

The competition has been whittled down to the Cheesy 16. Yes, 16 South Sound mac and cheese slingers are poised to make the final push to the Final Four, which will go down Friday.

So, read up on yesterday's action, and then vote on the first four games of the Cheesy 16. It's in your hands, mouth and stomach, folks!

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Smoke + Cedar (2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma)

Fans of This Is Spinal Tap will understand why Justin and Rob Peterson had to go Nigel Tufnel on Smoke + Cedar yesterday. The brothers had to follow the lead of the lame-brained rocker who had his amp's knobs specially made to go to 11, ostensibly giving him more sonic power than the ordinary scrubs whose volume maxed out at 10. The joke still works, even if today's music fans don't listen to devices with old-school knobs. Smoke + Cedar scores a 10 with owner Gordon Naccarato's version of the Augusta National pimento cheese recipe, spackled with panko, crumbled  "Ritzy" fire cracker crumbs and served in hot skillet. Yeah, I know. Amazing. The Eleven Eleven had to take their creamy, cavenetti mac and American/cheddar cheese concoction to an 11 to pull out a win, which they did. With 64 percent of the vote, the Hilltop Tacoma joint moves into the Cheesy 16 and Tacoma lore.

Game 2: Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

The Prizefight for Proctor has past. The people are back in their homes watching their giant flat-screen TV that rise up out of the bedroom floor. The proper Proctor mac and cheese has been picked. The skirmish between Met Market and Rosewood Café was tight, in fact the tightest of the day. And, the quaint, little guy with the awesome mac and cheese prevailed. The Rosewood Café grabbed 56 percent of the vote and sent Met Market packing ... in paper or plastic.

Game 3: King Solomon's Reef (212 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

Mac N More knew this is a tournament, not a playoff. They knew this match was do or die - one misstep and they would be out of the dance. Leave the macaroni in the pot too long, forget to add the blue cheese to the "Buffalo" mac and cheese, and they can pack their pasta ladle and go home. Mac N More is a mac and cheese joint. Hell, "Mac" is part of their name. They have a huge following, which they proved yesterday. With 87 percent of the vote over King Solomon's Reef, Mac N More moves into the Cheesy 16.

Game 4: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. H.G. Bistro (1618 E. Main Ave., Puyallup)

H.G. Bistro's goose is cooked. Yes, the downtown Puyallup bistro has exceptional mac and cheese and a supreme happy hour, but it doesn't have the experience or Chef Hudson Slater to carry them through the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. Maxwell's does, and they proved it yesterday securing 82 percent of the vote and a spot in the Cheesy 16.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Cheesy 16:

Eleven Eleven

Rosewood Café

Mac N More

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 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.



Tomorrow's Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

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

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

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

Game 4: 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.

March 30, 2015 at 7:57am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Second Round ends today!

King Solomon's Reef's mac and cheese (pictured) faces off with Mac N More's version in a worthy Thurston County battle today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

MONDAY, MARCH 30: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Now it's getting exciting. The elbows are really starting to fly, and the cheese is getting so thick you cut it with a cheese knife.

Point is: this is serious.

Today, the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese is in its 12th day, the last day of the Second Round and the competition is as hot as ever. Who will be crowned on April 6? The path to South Sound mac and cheese greatness continues.

Here's a look at today's Tournament of Mac and Cheese action and a recap of yesterday's results. Shake some Parmesan on it if you know what's good for you and get stirring.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place)

It's becoming a little busy around the 930-acre Chamber Creek Regional Park. Trails and dog parks are closed. The Tent City is under construction. The USGA is preparing for the U.S. Open golf championship to be held June 15-21 at Chambers Bay. Coach John Tartaglia took advantage of the Chambers Bay Grill's location, pushing his 10th seeded Steel Creek to victory with 68 percent of the votes, behind solid play from his lobster mac and cheese. Steel Creek moves into the Cheesy 16 round.

Game 2: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

In NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament history, an eighth seed has only one once. The legendary 1985 Villanova Wildcats beat heavily-favored Georgetown as an eighth seed. But this is the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, and number eight seed Crown Bar handed number one seed C.I. Shenanigans a defeat the Tacoma waterfront restaurant will long remember. The Sixth Avenue hangout stomped on Shenanigans with 68 percent of the votes.

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma)

In a back and forth matchup pitting third seed Paesan Kitchen against 11th seed Engine House No. 9, Engine House No. 9 was eventually able to pull ahead of the stout Paesan Kitchen thanks to a late run - grabbing 57 percent of the votes. Paesan gambled Saturday night, closing down for a huge wedding party celebration. Did the closure affect Sunday's voting? Tournament of Mac and Cheese statisticians can't say. Apparently our stat people where all at E-9 drinking craft beer and eating mac and cheese Saturday night.

Game 4: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

Sitting in opposite counties, operating in very different styles, gritty Top of Tacoma and fancy Ricardo's battled hard yesterday. While their Facebook pages remained idle, their fans vigorously clicked computer mice. At the final buzzer, Top of Tacoma Bar and Café captured the third 68-percent-of-the-vote win of the day. Top of Tacoma moves on to the Cheesy 16.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Cheesy 16:

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Crown Bar

Engine House No. 9

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

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 Second Round 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.




Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tomorrow's Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

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

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

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

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

March 28, 2015 at 7:58am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Second Round games, yesterday's results

Over The Moon Cafe's mac and cheese (pictured) takes on the Harmon's version in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, MARCH 28: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Beginning March 31, we'll cut the field of 64 South Sound mac and cheese joints to the Cheesy 16. April 2, it'll drop to the Baked Eight. On April 6, we'll announce the winner of Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese - picked by you, of course - at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. On that Monday, we'll cut the online voting at 5 p.m. and take the vote live at McNamara's at 6 p.m., handing out ballots while you pound beers.

That's all fine and dandy, but it's Saturday and you don't have time for idle chitchat. You need to start whittling away at our 5 Things To Do Today. OK, OK, here are yesterday's results and today's mac and cheese matchups. Thanks for voting!

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Doyle's Public House (208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

In a battle of T-town institutions, not surprisingly the institution well known for its delicious mac and cheese emerged decisively victorious - with STINK Cheese & Meat cruising to victory and securing roughly 62 percent of the vote by the time things were said and done. Luckily for all of us, Doyle's Public House doesn't need the Tournament of Mac and Cheese to get by ... it's got Irish whiskey, English football, not to mention a grubbin' mac and cheese. The high-powered STINK moves on to the Cheesy 16.

Game 2: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) vs. Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma)

The Galley is a food truck. They really haven't pushed their take-out attribute but I suspect that had to pull it out yesterday to compete with the fancy mac and cheese at Bar Bistro. At halftime, The Galley had a commanding 66 percent lead, obviously pushing the beautiful weather to the max. But, then night came, and the "Bar" in Bar Bistro hit it hard, backing its mac and cheese with craft cocktails. It proved to be a winning combination, capturing 52 percent of the votes when all said and done. Congratulations Bar Bistro. You move into the Cheesy 16.

Game 3: The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) vs. Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

The Valley and its super cheesy, three-cheese mac and cheese kept a steady push on Pacific Grill from the opening tip-off and all they way through The Cutwinkles final few live songs of the night. It was a bold move for Pacific Grill not to play its fine-dining hand, but instead rely on its fabulous Mexi Mac + Cheese, highlighting the smoked paprika as much as they could. With 59 percent of the votes over the popular Pacific Grill, The Valley moves into the Cheesy 16.

Game 4: The Hub (203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma)

At halftime, The Hub had a 12-point lead over Boathouse 19. A constant stream of Harmon beers were delivered to those basking in the sun on The Hub's deck. The chefs were pumping out the three-cheese béchamel and elbows. Life was good. Then, the work bell rang and folks decided not to head home, but rather point their cars toward the Narrows Passage, specifically Boathouse 19. Maybe it was the stunning view. Or, more likely, their mac and cheese with caramelized onion and huge chunks of ham served in a cast-iron pan. Whatever the reason, Boathouse 19 pushed it, and the votes turned. At the final buzzer, with a victory much more than 19 points, Boathouse 19 had 62 percent of the votes and a clear path to the Cheesy 16.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Cheesy 16:

STINK Cheese & Meat

Bar Bistro

The Valley

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 Second Round 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.



Tomorrow's Second Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place)

Game 2: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma)

Game 4: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) 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.

March 26, 2015 at 8:02am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: First Round ends today

Maxwell’s Restaurant + Lounge’s “Max + Cheese” does battle today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

THURSDAY, MARCH 26: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Low and behold, today marks the closing of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese's First Round. After today's battles the bracket will officially be down to only 32 area mac and cheese joints, and the competitions are getting fiercer by the minute. Honestly, if it gets any more exciting we'll start to understand why Marv Albert is always yelling "Yesssss!" Plus, we'll have serious back fat.

Without wasting anyone's time with elbow macaroni related basketball innuendo, on to today's Weekly Volcano Tournament of Mac and Cheese action.Let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma) vs. Uncle Thurm's Finger Lickin' Ribs & Chicken (3709 S. G St., Tacoma)

Everyone loves a good comeback, and this may have been one of the better clutch performances in the (obviously short) history of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. Down by a substantial margin by midday, Metropolitan Market was able to rally the shoppers at halftime, and by the time the final buzzer sounded the Proctor District grocery store had walked away with an impressive victory, racking up 57 percent of the vote. Metropolitan Market moves into the Second Round. ...

Game 2: Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma) vs. Serious Soul Café (35501 21st Ave. SW, Federal Way)

It would have been a serious upset of monumental proportion had the Serious Soul Cafe somehow managed to defeat the Rosewood Cafe, but - alas - it was never meant to be. The Rosewood dominated from tip-off to the final seconds yesterday, collecting votes at a more than three to one ratio and securing 85 percent of the votes. Bicyclists and mac and cheese lovers unite - the Rosewood Cafe will not be denied!

Game 3: Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar (8102 Zircon Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. King Solomon's Reef (212 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

In a back and forth matchup pitting two fairly evenly matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), King Solomon's Reef was eventually able to pull ahead of the golf course clubhouse in the Lakewood neighborhood of Oakbrook thanks to a late run - grabby 70 percent of the votes. The loss has to be especially tough for the Oakhouse, as they entered the Tournament of Mac and Cheese with plenty of hype, mainly coming from, well, the entire city of Lakewood. That said, King Solomon's Reef thanks its lucky stars every time it makes a bank deposit for the damaged livers of Evergreen students, and it has its jam packed nighttime diner scene, so the fact it's moving on to the Second Round isn't shocking. You can't question The Reef's following, and sometimes a following is just what it takes in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese.

Game 4: Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey) vs. Silvers Saloon (2752 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia)

In a battle of Thurston County, Mac N More cruised to victory and securing roughly 87 percent of the vote by the time things were said and done. This one was over early, and the pummeling lasted all day. Luckily for all of us, Silvers Saloon doesn't need the Tournament of Mac and Cheese to get by ... it has an awesome saloon vibe, not to mention a grubbin' mac and cheese. The high-powered Mac N More moves on to Second Round action.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Metropolitan Market

Rosewood Café

King Solomon's Reef

Mac N More

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 First Round 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.




Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tomorrow's Second Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: STINK Cheese & Meat (628 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Doyle's Public House (208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) vs. Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma)

Game 3: The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) vs. Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: The Hub (203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma) vs. Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., 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.

March 25, 2015 at 7:50am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's winners and Day 7 First Round battles

Rosewood Cafe mac and cheese: bicyclists approved / photo credit: Pappi Swarner

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Macaroni and cheese may not be duck à l'orange, but it transcends so-called gastronomy by inspiring devotion and embodying sustenance. Adults fight over whose mother's recipe wins out. Friends have mac and cheese cook-offs. Even fancy restaurants try to capitalize on such greatness by adding things such as chorizo, cotija and aged English cheddar. Hmmm, that actually sounds delicious.

Welcome to Day 7 of our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, where 64 South Sound restaurants pit their mac and cheese dishes against each other with the hopes of being crowned the champion at our championship party at McNamara's Pub & Eatery April 6.

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

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Masa (2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co., formerly the Varsity Grill, is a cowboy joint, at least in terms of its décor. Everything it does, it does big: big dance floor, big whiskey selection, big hairdos and big bowls of creamy mac and cheese that arrive tasty and full of lobster flavor. The other big thing Steel Creek does is win big. Yesterday the downtown Tacoma joint grabbed 87 percent of the votes over Masa, and secured a spot in the Sound Round of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese.

Game 2: Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor)

Chambers Bay Grill opens its first food tournament with a big win against Gig Harbor burger joint Lunchbox Laboratory in Tuesday's First Round action. Grabbing 73 percent of the votes, the University Place golf course clubhouse dominated the stovetop for much of the game, only letting up a little to take in its own view of the Puget Sound passage ways. Chambers Bay Grill moves into the Second Round and a March 29 date with Steel Creek.

Game 3: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Oly Rockfish Grill (700 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

In yesterday's closest battle, Ricardo's edged out Oly Rockfish Grill with 54 percent of the votes. Maybe the screams of "Dungeness And You're Done!" from Ricardo's kitchen might have something to do with the victory. Stranger things have happened in Weekly Volcano food tournaments.

Game 4: Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma) vs. South Bay Pub & Eatery (3323 S. Bay Road NE, Olympia)

The Tournament of Mac and Cheese can be brutish and short. One cold stovetop day can destroy title dreams of even the best elbow macaroni makers. Sometimes experience can be a deciding factor. Those who have made it far in food tournaments are more consistent and less prone to scorch panko or forget cream. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café is a veteran of food tournaments and knows how to garner votes, as demonstrated yesterday with 89 percent of the votes over South Bay Pub & Eatery.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Chambers Bay Grill

Ricardo's Restaurant

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

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 First Round 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.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Farrelli's Pizza (4870 Yelm Hwy., Lacey)

Game 2: Smoke + Cedar (2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma) vs. Johnny's Seafood Market & Bistro (1199 Dock St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Homestead Restaurant & Bakery (7837 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma)

Game 4: Ramblin Jacks (520 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. H.G. Bistro (1618 E. Main Ave., Puyallup)

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.

March 24, 2015 at 8:02am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Day 6 First Round games and yesterday's winners

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe serves a mac and cheese with prosciutto, pork belly, tomato or pesto options. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

TUESDAY, MARCH 24: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

The seed was planted last April during our Tournament of Burgers Championship party at Meconi's in downtown Tacoma. After taking second place to the Westside Tavern, Maxwell's chef Hudson Slater suggested mac and cheese for the Weekly Volcano's 2015 food tournament.

The South Sound Tournament of Mac and Cheese launched Thursday with 64 mac and cheese joints battling toward the championship game April 6. Follow along with the Tournament of Mac and Cheese bracket attached (below and to the right).

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

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Applebee's (10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

The nice thing about being a number one seed is it usually means you've got a paddy-cake game the first round. So was the case for Tacoma waterfront restaurant C.I. Shenanigans, which easily handled the 16-seeded Applebee's by securing more than 96 percent of the vote. Even better, Shenanigans survived the contest without wacky promotional schemes such as asking diners to rewrite popular songs with Applebee's menu items as the lyrics ... so bonus!

Game 2: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Tides Tavern (2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

Serving delicious mac and cheese to intoxicated masses on Sixth Avenue is business genius, probably why Tacoma's Crown Bar does it. However, name recognition also goes long way - and Tides Tavern has been slinging food and drinks wearing boat shoes for ages. In this contest, late night food carried the day, with the Crown Bar securing roughly 70 percent of the votes and winning easily.

Game 3: Topside Bar and Grill (215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom) vs. Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma)

If there's a trend developing it's that Tournament of Mac and Cheese voters are wowed by unique toppings. Sure, and fancy mac and cheese can get you somewhere in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, but it doesn't guarantee anything - and your cheese sauce foundation has to be sound before voters will get behind some of the stranger stuff. While Topside Bar and Grill gushes beautiful view and community feel, voters flocked toward the down home, Tailgate-style, Lit'l Smokies laden mac and cheese goodness of Engine House No. 9 in this contest, awarding the old firehouse roughly 83 percent of the vote.

Game 4: Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma) vs. Southbay Dickerson's BBQ (619 Legion Way NE, Olympia)

Fontina cheese is the star ingredient in Paesan Kitchen & Bar's gooey baked penne pasta, although the leeks, egg, mustard, chili flakes, grated Parmesan and breadcrumbs would tell you different, if they could. It's baked ... and so is Southbay Dickerson's BBQ after this battle. The downtown Olympia barbecue joint threw everything and the kitchen sink at Paesan, but the tiny Dock Street Tacoma's kitchen was too much for Dickerson's. With 88 percent of the votes, Paesan Kitchen and Bar advances to the Second Round and a March 29 date with Engine House No. 9.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

C.I. Shenanigans

Crown Bar

Engine House No. 9

Paesan Kitchen and Bar

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 First Round 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.




Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma) vs. Uncle Thurm's Finger Lickin' Ribs & Chicken (3709 S. G St., Tacoma)

Game 2: Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma) vs. Serious Soul Café (35501 21st Ave. SW, Federal Way)

Game 3: Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar (8102 Zircon Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. King Solomon's Reef (212 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

Game 4: Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey) vs. Silvers Saloon (2752 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia)

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.

March 23, 2015 at 8:03am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: First Round action, plus yesterday's results

Engine House No. 9's Tailgate Mac And Cheese (pictured) takes on the Topside Bar & Grill in today's Tournament of Mac and Cheese action. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

MONDAY, MARCH 23: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

It's Monday, March 23, which means I tempt you with more South Sound mac and cheese battles in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. First, a touch of mac and cheese history: Thomas Jefferson helped make macaroni and cheese popular in the United States after sampling it in Italy. He brought home a pasta maker and introduced the dish in 1802. Mac and cheese is obviously the food of presidents, for it was also Ronald Reagan's favorite. Reagan enjoyed a little dry mustard and Worcestershire in his mac and cheese.

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

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Harmon Brewery & Eatery vs. McNamara's Pub & Eatery

Unexpectedly, this was an epic battle ... the kind of thing Tournament of Mac and Cheese "instant classics" are made of. A surprisingly low scoring affair, with much of the action on defense, the fifth seeded Harmon Brewery & Eatery and the 12th seeded McNamara's Pub & Eatery were in a dead heat - literally tied - going into the final hours of the competition. Back at Weekly Volcano World Headquarters, Tournament of Mac and Cheese officials frantically discussed what to do in the case of a tie? Overtime? Coin flip? See which establishment could deliver mac and cheese to our Lakewood office the fastest? In the end, The Harmon edged out the win, securing exactly 52.94 percent of the vote. This one will go down in the history books.

Game 2: Over The Moon Café vs. Quickie Too

Over The Moon Cafe quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best South Sound mac and cheese. So, perhaps it's no surprise that the romantic café tucked in Tacoma's Opera Alley frequented by lunching ladies and lovers alike did serious damage in yesterday's action, kicking Niombi and James Howell's beloved vegan restaurant to the curb while garnering 59 percent of the vote. Over The Moon Cafe moves on as a mac and cheese to reckon with in later rounds of Tournament of Mac and Cheese action.

Game 3: Westside Tavern vs. The Swiss Restaurant & Pub

Westside Tavern and The Swiss Restaurant & Pub battled back and forth all day, changing leads several times. It's our guess that Westside Tavern's Facebook push might have made the difference as the Westside Olympia joint ended up edging out The Swiss with 59 percent of the votes.

Game 4: El Gaucho vs. Panera Bread

The other close game was El Gaucho vs. Panera Bread. We dropped by both restaurants yesterday to check out the behind-the-scenes game day action. Surprisingly, the quieter one - El Gaucho -ended up winning with 55 percent of the votes. It could be that the downtown Tacoma fine-dining restaurant was pushing their Washington wines hard. Smart move. El Gaucho will meet Westside Tavern in the second Round March 28. Lives will change after this one.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Harmon Brewery & Eatery

Over The Moon Cafe

Westside Tavern

El Gaucho

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 First Round 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.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Masa (2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 2: Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor)

Game 3: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Oly Rockfish Grill (700 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

Game 4: Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma) vs. South Bay Pub & Eatery (3323 S. Bay Road NE, Olympia)

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.

March 22, 2015 at 7:45am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's results and Day 4 battles ...

McNamara's Pub and Eatery in DuPont pits their Papa Ed's Mac and Cheese (pictured) against The Harmon's giant bowl of mac and cheese today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SUNDAY, MARCH 22: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Sixty-four South Sound mac and cheese joints were picked for the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which is now four days into the competition. Brackets don refrigerators, break rooms, restaurant hallways and birdcages. Birthday parties have been moved to mac and cheese serving restaurants. Everyone is discussing pasta choices and panko. It's crazy fun.

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

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Forum Tacoma vs. Sparks Firehouse Deli

In a back and forth match-up pitting two fairly even matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), The Forum Tacoma eked out a win beating Sparks Firehouse Deli by one vote. Did The Forums' two 100-inch televisions play a part? Can't say for certain. What I do know is The Forum Tacoma moves into the Second Round.

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano vs. Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que

You won't hear any Southern rock at BITE inside the Hotel Murano, buy you will find a pretty freakin' delicious mac and cheese entrée, at least according to yesterday's vote. BITE grabbed a whoppin' 94 percent of the votes, and moves into the Second Round to battle The Forum Tacoma March 28.

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar vs. Great American Casino

The Great American Casino in Lakewood gambled on its card games and ample parking to carry them to victory. Are you serious? Marrow, which makes no apologies for food steeped in indulgence, delivered squiggles of meaty, housemade daily cavatellienmeshed in a Mornay sauce and served in a cast iron pot. It's elegance of the re-imagined comfort food. Marrow and its 83 percent of the votes moves into the Second Round.

Game 4: RAM Restaurant & Brewery vs. Southern Kitchen

RAM Restaurant & Brewery has fancy newsletters, delicious burgers and award-winning beer. Get out the elbow macaroni and cheese, Grandma, it's Tournament of Mac and Cheese time! Southern Kitchen has down home Southern cooking ... including delicious mac and cheese - a winning formula, at least according to yesterday's votes. The Sixth Avenue joint grabbed 84 percent of the votes, and a March 28 date with Marrow in Second Round action.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

The Forum Tacoma

BITE

Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Southern Kitchen

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 First Round 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.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Applebee's (10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 2: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Tides Tavern (2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

Game 3: Topside Bar and Grill (215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom) vs. Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma)

Game 4: Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma) vs. Southbay Dickerson's BBQ (619 Legion Way NE, Olympia)

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.

March 20, 2015 at 8:14am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's results, today's First Round games ...

Pacific Grill's Mexi Mac + Cheese (pictured) faces off with Tugboat Annie's radiatore pasta mac and cheese today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

FRIDAY, MARCH 20: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Following on the successful heels of the Weekly Volcano's 2014 Tournament of Burgers, we present a new NCAA Basketball tournament-like event.  We're hosting daily games that pit one restaurant against another, leaving it to you, the reader, to decide the final outcomes all the way down to a final four and then a grand championship. (For newbie readers, Olympia's Westside Tavern edged out Tacoma's Maxwell's Restaurant in the final seconds of last year's Tournament of Burgers.) 

This year, we pit 64 South Sound restaurants offering the ultimate comfort food - macaroni and cheese.

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 vs. Penny's on the Blvd.

STINK Cheese & Meat stuck to the winning formula: a mac and cheese roux of mild and sharp cheddar with a quarter stick of cream cheese, which helps bind it together. STINK's weekly rotating gourmet mac and cheese dishes are complex and textbook perfect, whether it's a truffle version or the fun cheeseburger mac and cheese. This foundation can grabs wins alone, but STINK dropped a bomb on Penny's on the Blvd. when the Tacoma Triangle District über deli announced their converting their neighboring wine bar into a Spanish Tapas restaurant. BAM! STINK dominated from start to finish, grabbing 82 percent of the votes, and a trip to the Second Round.

Game 2: Sorci's Italian Café vs. Doyle's Public House

Sorci's Italian Café is a quaint spot nestled in downtown Sumner, with beautiful outdoor seating on their back patio, and at night, its interior is the center of romance with dim lighting, candles and soft music in the background. Doyle's Public House has Jameson Irish whiskey ... oh, and delicious mac and cheese. The United Kingdom-style pub put the dispsy-doo double-a-roo on Sorci's, securing 85 percent of the votes from way at the end of the stovetop, BANG! Doyle's will face STINK in Second Round action March 27.

Game 3: The Hub vs. Viva Tacoma

A veteran of the Weekly Volcano's food tournaments, The Hub channeled its experience and put the hurt on vegetarian restaurant Viva Tacoma in Thursday's First Round action. Grabbing 71 percent of the votes, the Stadium District pizza and beer hub dominated the stove the entire game, only letting up slightly when Viva unleashed a whole bunch of texturized vegetable protein. The Hub moves into the Second Round.

Game 4: Boathouse 19 vs. Red Robin

Boathouse 19 grabbed Red Robin by the beak and kicked them out of the nest with a whopping 97 percent of the votes. Boathouse 9 moves to the Second Round, facing The Hub March 27.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

STINK Cheese & Meat

Doyle's Public House

The Hub

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 First Round 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.




Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: The Forum Tacoma (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. Sparks Firehouse Deli (621 5th St., Puyallup)

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano (1320 Broadway, Tacoma) vs. Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que (1901 S. 72nd St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar (2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Great American Casino (10117 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood)

Game 4: RAM Restaurant & Brewery (10019 59th Ave. SW, Lakewood) vs. Southern Kitchen (1716 Sixth Ave., 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.

March 11, 2015 at 11:27am

Beer Here: Breakside, Pelican, Spinnaker Bay, Hops of March IPA, St. Patrick's Day ...

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers arrive this weekend. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Hello South Sound beer enthusiasts. Here is your workout leading up to St. Patrick's Day. ...

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

From a three-barrel brewing system in Woodlawn, Oregon in 2010 to a 20,000 barrels per year in Milwaukie, just south of Portland, Breakside Brewing may hold the record for the highest number of different beers brewed in a year - 83 in 2012, 92 in 2011 and 100 in 2013. The Red Hot hosts the crew from Breakside for a few of their more unique and rare offerings, including the GABF-award-winning Wanderlust IPA, Liquid Sunshine Pilsner, Lunch Break ISA, Safe Word Triple IPA, Tropicalia Saison, New World Bruin, La Tormenta Sour, Salted Caramel Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aztec. Tapping begins at 5 p.m.

The Puyallup River Alehouse turns into a Raven's Nest when Black Raven Brewing Company out of Redmond, Washington, flies in at 6 p.m. Black Raven was opened in 2009 by Robert "Beaux" Bowman, who honed his brewing skills at Mac & Jack's Brewing, the now-defunct Far West Ireland Brewing and a few other local breweries. Cross your fingers for some Black Raven barrel-ages.

Thrill-seeking accountant Marcy Larson and chemical engineer Geoff Larson, both 28, founded Alaskan Brewing Co. in 1986 - Juneau, Alaska's first brewery since Prohibition. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau's local brewing history and innovation. Alaskan's rotating spring seasonal this year is the Big Mountain Pale Ale. Made with a variety of hops, its flavors range from tropical fruit to resinous pine. Six Alaskan beers will be served at Pint & Quarts Lacey beginning at 6 p.m. Go drink a Sitka spruce.

If you're thinking cider, then head to Pint Defiance from 5-7 p.m. and hang out with No. 6 Cider Company out of Seattle. Named after the hand-dug railway tunnel that lead to the expansion in the Pacific Northwest, No. 6 created hand-crafted ciders such as Honey Ginger Cider, Pomegranate Cider and others next to the railway.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

Beachfront Pelican Pub & Brewery sits just off the dunes in the resort town of Pacific City, Oregon. Pelican's magnificent view beats the view out of The Copper Door in Tacoma's Stadium District, but it's all good through the bottom of a pint of Red Lantern IPA, Silverspot IPA, Stormwatcher's Winterfest and other Pelican brews, which will stick their beaks into Copper Door from 6-9 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

Do you purposefully walk under every ladder? Seek out black cats? Open umbrellas inside all the time? Then why not toast your affinity - or respect - for superstition with some Hopworks Urban Brewery beers at Gravity Beer Market in Olympia. The Portland, Oregon brewery will pour Galactic Imperial Red Ale, Motherland Russian Imperial Stout, Nonstop Hef Hop, Survival stout and Rise Up Red Ale from 5-7 p.m.

Loosen up your drinking arms and test-run your offensive-to-the-Irish-community T-shirt at the St. Patrick's Day Pre-funk & Release Party at Puyallup River Alehouse. Puyallup River Brewing will be unleashing their springtime seasonals - St. Paddy's Day stout, Springtime Brown Ale and Green Cream Ale - beginning at 6 p.m. They'll also be tapping a keg of Cockrell Hard Ciders' Green Apple Cider. How do like them apples?

Narrows Brewing in Tacoma will release an ESB Friday in their taproom. It's the first Narrows brewing beer released by new head brewer Mike Davis.


SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is dealing themselves in the beer festival game hosting their first annual Beer and Wine Festival from 1-5 p.m. For $20 advance (1.800.720.1788) or $25 at the door, you will receive a commemorative pint or wine glass, eight drink tickets and a straight line to Dick's Brewing Co., Hi-Fi Brewery, Mt. St. Helens Cellars and others.

When you think of a brewmaster, you probably envision a bearded fellow in a trucker hat. But not at Spinnaker Bay Brewery in the Hillamn City neighborhood in Seattle. The woman-founded, -owned, and -run brewery and taproom brews some damn strong, tasty beer without beards. Founded in 2012 by Janet Spindler and Elissa Pryor, Spinnaker creates "big flavorful beers with attitude," and those beers are boss this Saturday when they take over the taps at Morso Wine Bar in Gig Harbor from noon to 3 p.m.

Northwest Brewing Co. just outside of Sumner hosts a party with green beer and Dan Benz & Friendz on stage.

The new 7 Seas Brewing growlers will arrive in their taproom (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) Saturday at 11 a.m. This year's edition, once again, features imported glass from Germany and is decorated by Gig Harbor's Fresh Northwest Design. The growlers are $75, with a coupon for $2 off your next growler fill. For those who have last year's edition, grab your growler and drop in Friday to grab your same number (1-500).

SUNDAY, MARCH 15

It's March ... meaning Madness is in the air. Sixty-four well-oiled competitors (for the most part) will tip off and do battle - working their way through the tediously-constructed bracket and toward ultimate supremacy. We speak, of course, of the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which begins March 19 on our ServedintheSouthSound.com blog. Apparently, a college basketball tournament is also slated to go down this month. The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament selection announcement hits the tube Sunday, and the Harmon Tap Room in Tacoma will broadcast it beginning at 3 p.m. Ridding the wave of enthusiasm for our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, or more likely the hoops tourney, Harmon brewmasters Jeff Carlson has, once again, released his Hops of March IPA. Every March, Harmon releases this hoppy IPA, but rotates the hops. This year, the hops varieties of Magnum, Amarillo, Rainier, Cascade and Horizon - M.A.R.C.H. - were brewed with five malted barleys to give this medium- to full-bodied IPA (6.8 percent ABV, 90 IBUs) a brown color similar to a basketball. Nothing but the bottom of the pint, baby! Drink it up at one of Harmon's four houses of beer, including the Harmon Tap Room.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

Your last name may not be O'Neil or McCarthy, but in the South Sound, we all have a little bit of Irish in us. Irish and Scotch-Irish served as crew aboard Spanish, English and U.S. vessels that explored the Puget Sound during the second half of the 18th century. They participated in land-based explorations as well. And now, here we are in this hodgepodge of a region. We're hardworking, tax-paying citizens (most of us any way), and we deserve the right to wear our finest green attire and down a pint at nine in the morning every bit as much as anyone who's authentically Irish. Fish Brewing Company will release this year's Over & Oat Oatmeal Stout and Hodgon's Double IPA at 5 p.m. in their Fish Tale Brewpub (515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia). Westside Pints & Quarts (625 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia) will pour Tullamores, Iron Horse Irish Death and Guinness. O'Blarney's Irish Pub (4411 Martin Way E., Olympia) will offer an outdoors Guinness VIP beer garden. The Forum (208 S. Meridian, Puyallup) will fire up the black and tans. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. (610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) will host a St. Patrick's Day party featuring new releases Belgian Golden Ale and Galaxy Session IPA. The Hub (1208 26th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor) will pour Green Pale Ale and Jameson Oak Soaked Stryker Stout during its St. Paddy's Day celebration.

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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