Some potlucks just taste different.
That was the case Monday night, as the 12th edition of MNPs delivered a truly special spectacle to eaters in attendance.
In what was the most tense, tight food fight to date, potluck veterans Kathy (and Brian) Munger, Rick (and Maria) Galgas and Ben Redner (shout out to Nancy too) battled it out for the top spot.
Rick's Jersey Chili With Corn Bread broke out to a commanding early lead, convincing the committee (of one...me) that they had all but wrapped up first place. The Redner's Broken Compass Chili Pepper Pale Ale Sloppy Joes (BCCPPASJ) hung tough, however, refusing to back down in the battle of foods that, quite simply, were made for cold winter nights.
Occupied as they were in their battle of heartiness, neither Jersey Chili and BCCPPASJ saw Kathy Munger's Caramel Espresso Bars coming. In the true manner of desserts, Caramel Espresso Bars made a massive late push. Its insanely delicious, sweet, caramelly middle made a huge impression on voters (It's hard to put into writing how truly scrumptious these bars were. Imagine biting into something slightly crunchy and coffeeey (shut up, that's a word), which slowly transitions into a soft, creamy, caramel center).
When the smoke cleared, Caramel Espresso Bars stood atop the MNP podium, squeaking out a victory with 37 points over second-place Jersey Chili (34 points) and BCCPPASJ (31).
"We witnessed history here tonight," said basically everyone in attendance. "Three juggernauts at the top of there cooking game going head to head...it's not something you see every day. Everything I put into my mouth for the next week is going to pale by comparison."
The spectacular battle for the top three spots overshadowed what was one of the deepest fields in MNP history. A delicious Mexican food contingent arrived in the form of Beef Enchiladas, 5-Layer Dip and Mexican Madness, while Kielbasa and Inari Zushi made sure North America wasn't the only continent represented.
The victory was the Mungers second straight MNP win, a feat not seen since the early stages of the event (when the competition was significantly less tough). The Galgas's, for their part, continued to collect hardware (aka beer), with their third second-place finish (to go along with one third)
The food bar for 2015 has been set high, thanks to all of these fine potluckers and their delicious dishes:
Alison/Angelina - Kielbasa
Kathy Munger - Caramel Espresso Bars (1st Place)
Same Heindel - Cheesy Potatoes
Diane Ahern - Inari Zushi (google it, these are awesome)
Alli Ellwood - Gingerbread Cookies
Ben Redner - Broken Compass Chili Pepper Pale Ale Sloppy Joes (3rd Place)
Rick Galgas - Jersey Chili With Corn Bread (2nd Place)
Warren Rixon - Pretzels And Spicy Mustard Sauce
Genia and Ike - Mexican Madness! (Mexican casserole)
Alex and Grant - Taste of Michigindid (I swear that's how it was spelled on the sign in sheet. Not that Grant is known for his accurate spelling...chili with two Ls anyone?)
Mason Kelley - Beef Enchiladas
Arjun - 5-Layer Dip
Brewmaster Ford - Guacamole (he's not just a wizard at making beer!)
Thanks again to everyone for coming out. Monday Night Potlucks will continue next week, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m., hope to see you all there!
(Editor's note: Broken Compass Brewing's Monday Night Potlucks are popping off every Monday night, with eating starting around 7. We encourage everyone to contribute a dish every now and then, but everyone in the brewery is welcome to sample the food and vote for their favorite dishes. First place wins a 64 oz growler and fill, second place a 32 oz. growler and fill and third place a free pint. See you there!)