The Elite Eight of appetizers have been determined, in some of the closest tastings and vote totals weve had in the tournaments seven years. Lets take a look.
In the North bracket (and yes, alert anonymous online reader, the teams are not placed in brackets by geography: theyre randomly seeded, because we felt the apps themselves were too diverse to group logically in any way):
Gregs Pickles from Pinkys, fried dill slices in abundance, topped guacamole made tableside at the multiple locations of Azteca with their iconic, so-very-Charlotte nature. Maybe Greg Autens having appeared, long ago, on Guy Fieris Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with these pickles helped sway the public vote, too.
Mimosa Grills stuffed Georgia hush puppies took the victory over Vietnam Grilles Khai Vi Tu Cuon, a do-it-yourself deal in which the diner softens rice-paper rounds in hot water, layers on ingredients such as grilled meat, bean sprouts and cilantro, then rolls it neatly and consumes. The pups are a little easier to navigate, but they also brought the surprise of crunch and crawfish (and shrimp), with some heat.
In the East:
Ni Fen pork potstickers topped the pretzel from VBGB with a passionate voting public, the pork and scallions and ginger and hoisin being just too vibrant to lose to the pretzel, which proved a mite oily on this occasion.
And Midwood Smokehouses bacon-wrapped jalapenos topped Souls Dirty South Nachos, suggesting that bacon may prove hard to beat in this tournament.
In the West:
Nolen Kitchens zucchini chips took a handy victory over e2s wood-oven-roasted oysters, despite a surprising late-in-the-game retweet from the actual Emeril Lagasse suggesting that fans of the oysters vote, and including a link! (Hes got 585.5 thousand followers, of whom it appears roughly 99.9995969 percent did not take up that challenge.)
131 Mains double dip (a plate of both pimento cheese and guacamole, with corn chips) triumphed in the battle of the numbered restaurants, with Cantina 1511s sidewalk antojitos (a revolving assortment of appetizers) settling for second.
And in the South:
Crepe Cellars Blasted Brussels Sprouts edged McKoys Buffalo shrimp with barbalo sauce, with a sprightly flavor that fared better than this go-round of the shrimp though there were lots, several were quite overbreaded, turning soggy.
Finally, the tater tot duo from Frans Filling Station just nipped Heritages deviled eggs. Again with the bacon? Probably.
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