Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guess who got to be a judge (Celebrity Judge) at The Stand Up for Kids Mac & Cheese contest fundraiser??

Me!! The ladies at Ripple Productions have done it again! They invited me yet again to another amazing foodie event that works towards a good cause. This time I ended up at the one and only Max's Deli (This is a NY style deli right in the heart of Highland Park, if you live in the area do yerself a favor and visit them for a meal. You won't be disappointed!) in Highland Park, Il. at 191 Skokie Valley Road as a guest judge for a Mac & Cheese contest that was benefitting Stand Up for Kids, an organization that works toward ending the cycle of youth homelessness throughout the United States. Good food and good cause, what else can you ask for? I mean besides spending some quality time with... oh, excuse me.... anyway, let's get to the mac & cheese.

First let me say that I have never been confronted with so many different and interesting types of mac & cheese before in my life! It was truly overwhelming in the best way possible! And I hate to sound like a wuss, but they were all really pretty tasty in their own way, but it was a competition and there was a winner. Surprisingly the one I wanted to win did not, but the one that did win, I knew was going to win. I saw and tasted it's greatness, but the one I loved had fresh jalapeño cut up inside of it and that spice won me over.

The winner....
Smoke Daddy! I loved this one a lot, and it was my 2nd place choice, but I believe it could've also been my #1. This mac & cheese had a nice smooth flavor, the noodles were not mushy, they were firm. And it had this really nice almost crunchy, blackened cheese atop that was a "secret" ingredient. I guessed béchamel but I was told I was incorrect.

My winner....
This was mac & cheese from Tap House Grill and I just loved the spice from the fresh jalapeño peppers they had mixed into the dish. They also nice bacon chunks, tomato (which I dodged, not a huge tomato fan outside of sauces or grilled) and chicken chunks. This one was so good in my opinion that I went back for more after we were done judging. My winner.

And the rest, that were all really pretty damn tasty!!
This one tasted very much like Kraft Mac & cheese. But it didn't taste out of the box, it tasted like this was what they were trying to emulate when they made their recipe.  Like I imagine this being in the Kraft tester kitchen vein prepped by chefs.

This one had a hint of a sweetness to it, and they used shells for their noodles, which I enjoyed. 

I really liked this one a lot too. 

This one was real interesting, it had braised beef in it and  portabello mushrooms.

Also, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom, an active member of Stand Up for Kids, the mayor of  Highwood, Il., Charlie Pecaro And Mary Tyler Mom. Not to mention seeing the always beautiful ladies (Ilyce & Cassy, both are stunning) that run Ripple Productions! This was a great event, plus a good time! Oh, and I also got to meet the owner from Kitchen Chicks, one of places that served some of the best catered food I have ever eaten! And I wanna thank Max's Deli for hosting and running a really tight ship. 

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