Saturday, February 18, 2017

Druthers on top again in Mac & Cheese Bowl competition

The people's choice for best booth (photo by Bill Dowd)
Chef Mike Spain shows off
Druthers' trophies

(photo courtesy of the Times Union)
Druthers, the brewpub with Saratoga Springs and Albany locations, once again proved Siena College is a pretty good venue as well when it took top honors at the 8th annual Mac & Cheese Bowl held there today.

Just like last year at Siena, Druthers took first place in both the balloting by a panel of judges (including yours truly) and the people’s choice voting, this year for a clever "Big Mac-and-cheese egg roll," served up in a takeout-style sandwich container on a bed of shredded lettuce with a drizzle of special sauce.

The event, which drew about 2,000 people to two afternoon  tasting sessions, is a benefit for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. It is co-sponsored by the Times Union and its Tablehopping blog.

Imagination wasn't limited to the food
(photo by Bill Dowd)
About 25 restaurants and food suppliers competed for honors. Wolff’s Biergarten of Albany won best display and took second place for its mixed cheese-and-bacon crumble dish, with Slidin’ Dirty of Troy taking third for its mac and cheese dish with pungent, sweet caramelized onions.

The wide-ranging recipes also included such concoctions as a s'mores dessert mac from the Philly Bar & Lounge in Latham; a savory gouda/cheddar/chorizo/apple dish from the Savoy Taproom in Albany; an item called "Porky's Revenge" from Blu Stone Bistro in Colonie that included crisp pork belly, ham and bacon; a Peruvian aji pepper dish from La Empanada Llama in Albany; and, a tasty cheddar jack, cheddar, porter, BBQ pork dish from Tipsy Moose Tap & Tavern of Latham.

Among a lineup of home cooks, Stephen Piorkowski of Delmar won for his Italian-American mac and cheese with meatballs.

This wasn't his first winning rodeo. He also took top honors in the first Mac & Cheese Bowl back in 2010.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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