With their blinky rings, sunglasses, and assorted glow tools, SF Food Wars volunteers were beacons in the heavy beat-laden club light. And many of the 20 competitors ran with the Jersey Shore tie-in, with several girls sporting Snooki-style poufs. It also showed up in monikers like Team Ron-Ron Juice and treats such as Israeli Chocolate Cookie Balls, the latter named after DJ Pauly D's infamous stalker.
We had a little while to take in the spectacle of it all before retreating to the judges' VIP area, a site of several Mighty flashbacks of long nights spent in that corner talking to guest DJs. There were cookies shaped like New Jersey, plated with tanning spray, and lots of gaudy bling. Betty Bump-It demonstrated an admirable commitment to the show with a display that featured miniature speakers emblazoned with Italian flags pumping out a DJ mix downloaded from Pauly D's Web site, but her Beat Up the Beets cookies raised many eyebrows with the inclusion of candied beets.
Feeling the guidette spirit, we fetched the appropriate palate cleansers of Malibu and pineapple cocktails and cold pizza to consume between cookie bites when the official and oh-so-serious judging process began. Fellow judges Logan aka CookieWagSF and Sabrina Aller from Bridge Brands Chocolate (who supplied the contestants with chocolate discs in the percentages of their choice) similarly followed suit. Hey, don't judge us, it was just a case of WWJD? -- What Would J-Woww Do?
People's Choice and judge's third place went to the Chocolate Crackle, a soft and chewy, powdered-sugar dusted bomb made by the dynamic pro baking duo known as Sweet Constructions, whose cart we've shamelessly cleaned out. This and the People's Choice Honorable Mention, Chicks With Whisks' (aka Cups and Cakes Bakery's) The Chocolatey Oatmealicious Cookie Sandwich Experience, which we've also previously fawned over, are the only entries that are available for sale all the time, which in a lot of ways is a real compliment to the tastes of the people. Clown Her Out's (intentionally lowercase) guidoreos snatched the Photographer's Choice with their discofied rendition of Oreos, which looked like shellacked Christmas ornaments but tasted fairly Nabisco-ish.
The Chocolate Crackle fell on the correct side of our philosophical argument about what constitutes a true chocolate cookie, i.e. does a cookie with just chocolate in it count? We decided that the deciding factor was whether chocolate was the essential ingredient in the cookie, or if it would be good without it.
Just as fast as we set that standard, though, we voted a cookie with chocolate in it for the judges' second place position. MaliNumNum Treats' "Famous" Toffee, Choco Chip, Nut Cookie would have still tasted incredible without the chocolate, but it was simply one of the most satisfying cookies in the competition, with its caramelized, chewy edges and almost squishy middle. Our overall winner, Deez Nuts are Hot's Hot Summer Asphalt Cookies, also stood out for its texture. And with its combination of chocolate, oats, chili-spiced pecans, and hints of cinnamon and ginger, it was on the shortlist of cookies we'd pay top dollar for, and eat way too fast. A fist-pumping success.
The exact date and location of the next SF Food Wars extravaganza, Amuse Brunch ("brunch in a bite"), has yet to be announced, but will take place in May. And after a noticeable absence in the last two contests, we predict it'll be the triumphant return of bacon to the battle.