A party that includes unlimited food and drink is a party everyone should want to be at. For the second year in a row I was lucky enough to attend the Friday night grand tasting & battle of the bartenders competition during Albany’s Wine and Dine for the Arts festival, but the shining star of the evening once again was Slider Slam.
If you’re a vegetarian or a picky eater, Slider Slam is not for you. But if you like to eat and are down for a good time, mark your calendars for next year’s event right now. The premise is pretty simple, local area restaurants send their chefs to serve up sliders of many different varieties and you get to enjoy them all.
This year there were a number of participants serving up everything from a classic cheeseburger slider, to pulled pork, buffalo chicken, meatball, and even lamb sliders! With endless options, and a flowing array of Ommegang beer, Stoli vodka, and plenty of wine, Slider Slam is lit.
Although I was admittedly more impressed with the options at last year’s event, once again the sliders did not disappoint. Since we participated in Slider Slam last year, and through my different food festival experiences, I knew not to indulge too much during the grand tasting earlier in the evening. If you’re not familiar with Albany Wine & Dine for the Arts, the multi-night event includes two grand tastings in which wine, spirits, and restaurant vendors offer samples for your enjoyment. The event also includes competitions like battle of the bartenders, seminars, and a gala, all of which raise funds for arts programs in Albany.
Last year the trend at Slider Slam seemed to be dishes inspired by Mexican cuisine, with things like cheeseburger empanadas and quesadillas among the slider options. This year pulled pork was popular on the menu with at least 3 restaurants serving it up. The thing about Slider Slam though is there is a lot going on, and things can get messy. So for my own sake, and for the sake of trying as much as I could try, I skipped almost all of the pulled pork options.
What did I try? A whole lot! Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Asian Pork Slider – Savoy Taproom
- Le Reina (beef burger, pepper jack cheese, jicama slaw) – Rivers Casino
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken Slider – Slidin Dirty
- Harissa Lamb Slider – 677 Prime
- Tabasco Honey Chicken Slider – City Line Bar & Grill
- Meatball Slider – Nicole’s
- Pork & Cucumber Bao – Salt & Char
- Andouille Sausage Slider – Swiftys Restaurant
In my personal opinion, the best slider of the night was the classic beef slider from Rivers Casino, but the official people’s choice winner was the Harissa Lamb Slider from 677 Prime. Although I was at first hesitant to try this one, I can agree that it was definitely a top contender. The judges choice was City Beer Hall, a slider I unfortunately didn’t try.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, the best thing about these kinds of events is that you get to try a little bit of everything! I always have a hard time making a decision, so getting a taste of it all is perfect for me. Plus, it pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is an added bonus too.
Make sure you’re following along on Instagram so you never miss a snap, boomerang, or up close & personal look at some of the best #eeeeeats around!