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Tacoma Slider Cook-Off at Museum of Glass

Nine area restaurants battle with tiny buns

SLIDER COOK-OFF: Who will be this year's Slider King? Photo credit: Team Photogenic

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The 2nd Annual Museum of Glass Slider Cook-Off is just around the corner. With nine local restaurants bringing creativity to the table to compete for the title of best slider, attendees will taste their way through the competition, dance to Daryl & the Diptones, and enjoy games and live glassblowing by artist John Miller, who is also creating the trophies.

Newcomers Marrow Kitchen and Bar, Boathouse 19, Art House Café and Brix 25 will be competing against returning restaurants Asado, BITE Restaurant and Bar, Dirty Oscar's Annex, The Social Bar and Grill and Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge.

A panel of judges, including Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax and Joe Belshaw - winner of the 2012 raffle prize to be a judge for 2013 - as well as others, will rate each slider based on taste, presentation and creativity. The slider with the most points wins the grand prize. There is also a people's choice winner, chosen by the event guests. Last year, the Social Bar and Grill and Asado tied in this category.

Maxwell's was last year's grand prize winner, with a Kahlua pig slider of roasted pork butt and wasabi coleslaw on a Hawaiian sweet roll. With a killer combination of sweet and spicy, it put them over the edge with the judges. Maxwell's Chef Hudson Slater and chef/owner Steve Anderson will be fighting to uphold their title. According to Chef Slater, their strategy last year was, "making the best slider with the best ingredients. The key is to make everything with care. Since it is a small vessel, we have to make sure it is packed with a balanced flavor that leaves you wanting more." Even with their previous success, Maxwell's will be creating a completely new slider for this year's competition, but with the same thought process in mind.

While that sounds tough to beat, the competition will be putting on the pressure. "Any chef will tell you that they secretly love to test their skills against others, so it will be fun to go up against the other talented chefs in the area," said Brix 25 owner Katie Doherty, who hints at the savory flavors of gooey blue cheese cream and caramelized onions from her team. Big, bold flavors are never a problem for Chef Tasso Zambaras of Asado, who is staying true to the restaurant's Argentinian flavors with a braised lamb slider with harissa and chimichurri aioli.

Chef Aaron Grissom of Dirty Oscar's Annex wowed guests last year with a dessert slider of spiced jalapeno jam, roasted cashew butter, marionberry cream and blackberry balsamic, a fresh take on the classic peanut butter and jelly. This year, Grissom will create his version of a Vietnamese banh mi. "The banh mi is one of my favorite sandwiches," said Grissom. "I thought it would translate well to the event, but be different from what other chefs might be doing."

As if the tasty sliders were not enough, the competition is a great excuse to visit the Museum of Glass as locals. "The Museum decided to host the event again because it was such a great success the first year and the local community really came out in force to support the event and the museum," said Mandy Lane, Museum of Glass special events manager. "We are so happy to be able to provide our community a fun opportunity to support the museum and experience the wonderful artistry of some great local chefs."

MUSEUM OF GLASS, SLIDER COOK-OFF, MARCH 23, 6:30-10:30 P.M., $30 MOG MEMBERS, $35 ADVANCE, $40 AT THE DOOR, $100 VIP, 1801 DOCK ST., TACOMA, 253.284.4750

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