Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 25, 2014 at 12:09pm

Mac And Cheese Madness: Crown Bar in Tacoma

Crown Bar's mac and cheese pairs well with Scuttlebutt Gale Force IPA. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Following on the successful heels of the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Burgers, our editorial staff will present a new NCAA Basketball tournament-like event next spring.  Once again we'll host a number of daily games that pit one restaurant against another, leaving it to the readers 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 this year's Tournament of Burgers.) 

The competition for March 2015 will pit 64 South Sound restaurants that offer the ultimate comfort food - macaroni and cheese.

As I explained last week, my goal is to report on a South Sound mac and cheese dish every week up to the tournament - to spread the cheesy word, ease into tournament research and, obviously, build hype. I will highlight the best, skipping reports of orange cheddar and glistening pile of noodles that hold no nutritional value whatsoever.

Let's begin with one of my favorites, the Crown Bar's mac and cheese.

Cougar Gold long ruled the Tacoma neighborhood hangout's mac and cheese dish. The canned cheese from Washington State University's creamery in Pullman elevated the Crown's comfort food dish with an almost gruyére-like nutty, caramel flavor.

Today, Beecher's Handmade Cheese coats Crown's noodles. The artisanal cheese out of Seattle's Pike Place Market isn't a big change in flavor from the Cougar Gold. Beecher's also carries a delicious gruyere, nutty flavor. Chef Charlie McManus coats meaty elbow pasta with the flavorful cheese, then tops it with breadcrumbs. This is unfussy cheese perfection at its finest.

I say it's time to get yourself elbows-deep in some elbows.

CROWN BAR, 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-11 p.m. Sunday, 2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4177

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