Wednesday, December 5, 2012

February 'Mac & Cheese Bowl' already has hefty lineup

COLONIE -- Anyone who has attended any of the first three " Hopping Mac & Cheese Bowl" events has learned several things, other than the fact it has one of the most cumbersome titles ever devised among local culinary competitions.

• It's a solid fundraiser for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

• Capital Region foodies love their comfort foods.

• Restaurateurs of all levels love to go head-to-head with each other for bragging rights.

Steve Barnes, the TU blogger who created the event, said Tuesday that he has filled all 30 slots for restaurants to participate in the competition. So, what's next?

"I will start accepting recipes on January 2 from readers who wish to be considered for the home cooks portion of the event. Ten finalists will be invited to bring their version of mac-n-cheese to compete for awards from the judges," he said. "Health code prohibits allowing home cooks to feed the public at such an event."

The main event, which I look forward to helping judge once again as I have in every other year, will be held Saturday, February 16, at the Albany Marriott on Wolf Road, just down the street from the sponsoring Times Union, with tasting sessions beginning at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Tickets will on sale January 6, a date to circle since the event is a guaranteed quick sellout. The price will be $15 for adults, $5 for kids age 5 to 12 and free for younger than 5 until January 31. After that, tickets will be $20 for adults.

The first 1,600 tickets will be available at Price Chopper markets and may be used for admission to either session. After they’re gone, Barnes says, tickets will be available only at the food bank’s Latham headquarters or at the door and may be used for the later session only. Admission covers tasting mac-n-cheeses from all participating restaurants.

Restaurants interested in being on the waiting list to participate should contact Jessica Tanner at the food bank, 786-3691, extension 295.

Establishments already signed up:

  • Marriott on Wolf Road
  • Angelo’s 677 Prime
  • Albany Pump Station
  • Chez Mike
  • Comfort Kitchen
  • Druthers Brewing Company
  • Farmer Boy Diner
  • Finnbar’s Pub
  • Hannaford Supermarkets
  • Illium Café
  • Katie O’Byrne’s
  • Lanie’s Café
  • Lark Tavern
  • Latham 76 Diner
  • Maggie’s Café
  • Nighthawk’s Kitchen
  • Pinto & Hobbs Tavern
  • Price Chopper Supermarkets
  • Saati Deli & Catering
  • Taste
  • The Mallozzi Family
  • The Century House
  • The Standard Restaurant & Lounge
  • The Pasta Factory
  • Uncle Marty’s Adirondack Grill
  • Valente’s Restaurant
  • Wolff’s Biergarten
  • Wolf’s 1-11
  • Wheatfields Bistro & Wine Bar
  • Yono’s/dp: An American Brasserie

    Go here for the region’s best local food & drinks events calendar.
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