Side Dish Bracket FINALS!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally made it.  The time has come for all of us to look deep within ourselves and choose our champion, the world’s greatest Side Dish.

But before we get to that, I want to take a little time to give a shout out to some of the Side Dishes we may have lost too soon.

Fried Cheeses, your crispy exterior and gooey interior are way stronger than your first round defeat deserved.

Non-Fried Taters, you had the misfortune of going up against Fries in the second round. But for that, we might still be discussing you.

Rice, a lot of us still have no idea how you lost to Soup. You just didn’t show up to play. The talent was there, but you just put up shit numbers.

Jello Salad, you were goddamn lucky to have even been involved.

All the rest of you, you finished about where you were supposed to.

Alright, now that this In Memorium section has been taken care of, let’s get on to the finals…

 photo Finals_zps623d352a.jpg

Something very interesting happened here. For the first time in this bracket, both contests came down to a tie. It was completely even, across the board. And, as such, for the first time, I was compelled to cast a vote.

Some of you (Fries and Chips Supporters, I suspect) may think that that’s not fair, and my response to that is that you should go fuck yourself. I’ve sat idly by and watched some of my darlings go down, when I could have easily cheated to save them. I didn’t cheat, because it’s against the spirit of the thing. The Selection Committee has been nothing if not fair.

Since it came down to me to cast the deciding votes in these contests, I feel compelled to provide a little Reasoning for my Seasoning, and in doing so, hope to make strong cases for why either of these contenders deserve to win it all.

 photo finals_zpsdf00dc92.jpg

In the case of Fries vs. Mac & Cheese, I had to choose Mac. It would be dishonest of me to say that my vote had nothing to do with the fact that I’m a little over the Reign of Fries. Fries walks around like the king of the world, thinking that nothing can knock it of its throne, and in doing so gets weak. Fries rests on its laurels while hungry upstarts like Mac & Cheese show up day after day, hitting the gym and growing stronger.

I sat down and thought it over, and in almost every situation, I would take Mac over Fries. The only concrete advantage that Fries has is that it is a thing that can be dipped, and I am a fan of dipping. That being said, Mac & Cheese can itself become a dip, which helps make this point a bit closer to moot.

Here’s another issue: when faced with ordering Fries, you have so many options, which can lead to buyer’s remorse. I ordered the Curly Fries, but maybe I should have ordered the Waffles. I bet those Waffles are really good. Fuck. I blew it.

These thoughts can dance through your head and ruin your enjoyment of your otherwise-fine Curls. You never have this sort of an issue with Mac & Cheese. You order it, you know what you’re getting, and you’re damn glad to be getting it.

Now, as for the Seasoning behind the Chips vs. Salad Bar battle, that was a much simpler one to put to bed.

I know there are some strong Chips fans out there, and I mean them no disrespect when I say this, but to me, this was a blowout. While Chips is definitely the strongest contender to come out of its initial section of the bracket, it is no match for Salad Bar.

Salad Bar is a celebration of individuality. Going to the Salad Bar is a self-directed experience, and it is entirely up to you if you’re going to pile up on Vegetables and a Responsible Dressing, or if you’re going to grab yourself a plate of half-Cottage Cheese, half-Pudding.

Salad Bar is about freedom, it’s about adulthood. Conversely, Chips and Salsa are great and all, but they are just what they are. They aren’t an experience, they ask nothing of you, they just show up and you eat them. While, in theory, there’s nothing wrong with that, when such a Side Dish is up against a Side Dish that is so much more engaging, there’s just no hope.

And there you have it, the Reasoning for my Final Seasoning. I know some feathers are going to be ruffled, but life moves onward, and the time is now to get to voting.

Who’s going to take this thing down: Sexy Ass Salad Bar or Magnificent & Charismatic Mac & Cheese? Only you can decide. Get to voting!

25 thoughts on “Side Dish Bracket FINALS!”

  1. I want it to be recorded that in the string of disappointments and triumphs that make up our lives, my greatest side dish related disappointment occured today. Part of me is compelled to eat only fries today…though if they had to lose, Mac and Cheese was a worthy foe.

    Salad Bar though…I don’t have the words.


    I do have the words. Fuck you salad bar.

    If this thing goes down badly…if salad bar pulls it off and beats Mac and Cheese…then to say I’ve lost faith in all of you is the understatement of the century.

    I got the blues…choose macaroni and cheese.

    1. This hatred of Salad Bar never ceases to amaze me. While I have a sort of begrudging respect for your last epic rant on the subject, I also have to take issue with a few things.

      You argue that you’ve never seen anyone excited about a Salad Bar on TV, to which I reply that of course you haven’t. What kind of a restaurant would invite the Food Network in and be like, “oh yeah, we have some signature dishes, but what you should get a look at is our Salad Bar. We want more press for our thing that everyone else has too.”

      I feel like you’re picturing a disappointing Salad Bar, and an exciting version of whatever it’s against, which isn’t how this goes down. We imagine equivalent versions of competitors around here.

      1. Oh Dan, you beautiful, salad filled fool.

        “I feel like you’re picturing a disappointing Salad Bar, and an exciting version of whatever it’s against.”

        You’re correct. Salad bars are always disappointing. To my mind, the best part of any salad bar is the ability for the available items at the bar to make your salad less disappointing. “Hey friend…how about a salad? No? Well what if I told you we have cheese and meat and bread and dressing and bacon bits and other vegetables to crowd out those leaves? Interested now?” I guess.

        “We imagine equivalent versions of competitors around here.”

        Looking through that lens, I suspect, bolsters my argument even more. The most incredible salad bar in the world is better than the most incredible mac and cheese in the world? No way.

        The worst salad bar in the world versus the worst mac and cheese in the world…perhaps. I would be more inclined to concede to a terrible vegetable than a terrible cheese based dish…however that’s a long stretch for me…and it’s really only because I suspect it’s harder to be poisoned from a salad bar.

        So…sure…if poisoning is a potential outcome of my side dish choice…salad bar. Beyond that, mac and cheese forever.

        Also, and I feel like someone must surely support me here–I’ve been trying to imagine which side dish I’d choose at my most hungry and most excited to eat. More simply–I like imagining getting super high and then choosing a side. In this way, hopefully you can understand why salad bar’s win over Chips, Bread, and potentially Mac and Cheese makes no sense to me.

      2. Honestly, I used to get really high and go to this steakhouse in my hometown, and man, I would fuck up that Salad Bar. It was so fun, it was like I was putting together a vege-puzzle.

  2. What a long strange trip it’s been.

    I remember when we started this journey. We are all so innocent back then, so naive. Now, we’re finally here. The place it all started.

    I have to shout out all of our fallen brothers. They are gone but not forgotten (he thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts).

    In round 1, I voted against Mac and Cheese. Today I’m here to crown it champion. Baked Mac and Cheese with a crust is straight up bomb. Easy Mac was my nickname in college. Mac and cheese may not be my first choice, but damn if it doesn’t always satisfy.

    As for the Salad Bar, I quote Samuel Beckett: “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.”


  3. Salad. Bar. The options the salad bar provides make it the clear winner here. Salad bar does all the small things you need to win. You want something before the meal to set a classy tone? Boom, salad bar has got you covered. What if you want to freestyle a little on you entree? March right up to the salad bar and put some ranch on that pizza, you intrepid chef you. You want some chocalate pudding that has been sitting out and might have a cruton in it? Salad bar has you covered. The choice is clear people. God bless America.

    1. And a Drees has entered the voting fray. Gotta love it; he stays on the sidelines, watching the preliminary action, only deciding to get involved when he thinks it really counts.

      From now on, he shall be known as Dan “Big Time” Drees.

  4. It’s been an arduous month. Mac and cheese is solid in both a meal and a side, as is salad bar. Both can be dressed up to be fancier and both can be dressed down to the bare bones and be a legitimate side dish. Who do I choose you ask? The answer is simple:

    The winner and still heavyweight champion of the world, Jalepeno and garlic pizza!

    1. Make no mistake: if the voting turned out to be lighter than I deemed fitting for this finals match-up, Jalepeno and Garlic Pizza was going to take this thing down and everyone except you, me, and Nicky Gifts was going to end up super confused.

  5. Well well. It would appear that both of my final four votes have come to fruition, and damn if it hasn’t turned into a moral dilemma. On one side, Mac and Cheese has held me down since I was knee high to a duck. On the other, I couldn’t discount salad for being an acquired taste, which admittedly has now taken the lions share of side dish roles in my adult life (king mashed aside, and i don’t give a damn what you all say, it’s KING mashed). If I’m counting correctly, the voting is tied at this point.

    I think it is high time we acknowledge the unemployed elephant that has been smoking weed on the couch for the past 2 weeks saying he’ll get you the rent money soon. The hot bracket was always destined to win this damn thing. Was there ever a doubt in anyone’s mind that the hot side was mario and the cold luigi? I know what some of you are thinking. The salad bar is a #1 seed while mac and cheese is a #2. This might technically be true, but at the same time, I think we all know that the cold side of this bracket is the NIT of side dishes.

    I love me some goddamn macaroni and cheese. But they aren’t going to take this on high esteem alone. I vote salad bar. Work for your championship M&C. Work.

    1. I like this logic, but I would propose the alternative way of looking at this:

      Salad Bar had a reasonably easy walk to the finals, what with the lesser talent on the Cold Side. What M&C had to go through to make it here is so much more impressive; maybe some people could argue that making it through that Hot Gauntlet is enough to entitle it to the belt.

      I’m not sure what’s right, but I know this one is going to be tight.

      1. To be clear, my vote was not one that was meant to belittle the trials that mac and cheese has endured to make it to the finals. My vote is purely for handicapping purposes.

    1. Thrilled to have you on board, Liza. In terms of deliciousness, you’re right on, but what about customization? What about the variety? What about the strange Pudding that seems to show up on Salad Bars?

  6. Salad Bar gets my vote. It’s the tshirt of sides; there’s a kind and size for every occasion, formal, informal, healthy, not healthy, small, large. Where else can you get a hard-boiled egg, a baby corn and puddle of bacon bits?

    Also, peas. Yes!

    Salad Bar is so valuable it gets its own guard, like a celebrity, or The Constitution.

    I’ll agree that sometimes salad can be disappointing but so can mac n cheese, and so can the Constitution. Overcooked noodles, bland cheese, too many mice penises, the rule of threes, etc.

    Had Fries survived the MAN BEHIND THE CERTAIN, it would have soundly defeated Salad Bar. Fries is the pizza of sides, and pizza is the food we’d send as ambassadors of our race to alien solar systems. Also, they’re both useful mnemonics for beginner skiers. That’s neither here not there, however. No, I didn’t misspell ‘curtain.’ Read it again.

    Because I believe in expressing oneself and in anything that encourages it, I give it to Salad Bar.

    Also, soup is not a side. Get fucked, Dan Friesen.

  7. Here’s the thing. Mac and Cheese is delicious, no one is disputing this.

    But salad bar is full of POSSIBILITIES. Crunchy, lettucey possibilities. Also croutons. And bacon. Come on. It’s like Brody’s never been to a Sweet Tomatoes. Brody, I’ll TAKE YOU to Sweet Tomatoes, and Dan Drees can show you how to maximize its potential. I haven’t asked him, but I feel like he’d be up for it. (he probably won’t)

    In short, slow clap, chant, SALAD BAR, SALAD BAR, SALAD BAR.

  8. Mac and Cheese is good, Salad Bar is good. Mac and Cheese gets delivered to the table, you have to go get salad off of the bar…MAC AND CHEESE!(Although, does the salad bar also come with the swirl ice cream, cause if so, I’m still not changing my vote…MAC AND CHEESE!)

    also…just under the wire…you’re welcome.

  9. To everyone that voted for Mac and Cheese (except Kevin Brody, we get it, you hate salad) over Salad Bar, Mac and Cheese is not nearly as good as you remember it, (though Tommy makes a good point about baked Mac and Cheese, which is the Brooklyn Decker of Mac and Cheeses.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s