Queso has such a simplistic beauty to it. Foodies may believe it’s nothing more than melted cheese for dipping Tostitos into, but with just minor alterations it can become the most decadent appetizer in the culinary arts.
And queso is a beloved part of Austin’s food scene — as evidenced by its inclusion on BuzzFeed’s list of what Austinites love the most about his city. To celebrate the art of cheesy nourishment, the third annual Quesoff takes place at the Mohawk this Saturday at 2 p.m. and will determine which queso concoction reigns supreme in the Capital City.
The competition will feature both amateur and professional teams of queso cooks competing in several categories, including the best spicy, meaty and veggie queso. Each winner will take home a nice cheesy trophy to boast their skills. One team will also earn the top overall distinction for the best queso and will be rewarded with a pair of Ultimate Smooth Passes to this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.
As for this year’s teams, the competition brings back last year’s winners to defend their titles, including Frank for meaty, team Thunda Fromunda for veggie and Papi Tino’s for spicy and overall. Other cheesy contenders include Pelon’s, Vegan Yacht, Austin Daily Press and TopGolf Austin.
Amateur folks who have mastered queso chemistry will also join the fight against the pros — and they have the benefit of clever team names on their side. Opponents will likely tremble when they hear the names of ESTEphanie VATO, Cream Team, Que PaSO?, Lord Cheeses, Anarqueso and Por Queso Serious. Hopefully, there’s a special prize for a team that can incorporate an awesome Dark Knight reference into its name.
A team of five all-star judges will evaluate the entries, but the community is welcome to join in the tasting. Admission is free, and you can purchase bags of chips for dipping for $5. But please refrain from double dipping. That’s like putting your whole mouth in the dip.
The DJ duo of Johnny Hottub will provide some jams that should go down just as smooth as queso down your gullet. You might recognize them as Mohawk owner James Moody and Austin Facial Hair Club legend Miletus Callahan-Barile.
Saturday at the Mohawk is where you will definitely find the next big cheese in the Austin queso scene.