Posted by: sforshner | September 11, 2008

how bout a mac off?

My Thursday post is not going to be about a restaurant – I am trying to save money. However, I did recently have an interesting “foodie” experience.

My sister Jenny and my friend Rachel participated in a battle that involved arguably the best comfort food in the world. I am sorry, but the PR girl in me just wants to talk about the fact that mac and cheese is becoming such a trend right now –  I keep seeing it in restaurants where it never used to belong. It is complemented with proteins one never thought possible. You’ve heard of lobster bisque, lobster ravioli, but lobster mac and cheese? No I’m not crazy, it is infiltrating the menus of some of the finest restaurants in the Northeast – and probably beyond.

But let’s get back to the point…and the fact that you’re seeing it here first! The other day, Jenny and Rachel competed in the very first “mac off.” 

I think the idea started casually over a drink or two. Both parties brought up the fact that they make a killer mac and cheese and when the conversation went competitive, it also got serious. The next thing we knew, my friends and I were attending a formal “mac off” – taste testing and critiquing delicious, artery clogging dishes, as if we were the judges on Iron Chef

In the first corner – Jenny’s- recognized for the perfectly al dente twisty noodles (Giada would be so proud). It had so much cheese and was so addicting you went back for thirds, it had ZERO processed cheese (contrary to a certain “opinion”), and was just plain good. 

In the next corner – Rachel’s – in my opinion the more traditional dish, aside from her bold move of adding croutons before baking. Believe it or not, she added no butter and you never would have known. Her dish was exactly the kind of meal you need when you’ve had a bad day at work and need to be reminded of the kind of meals you had when you were little.

Both competitors agreed to maintain the purity of traditional mac and cheese by not adding the aforementioned protien or vegetables that would have yes, enhanced the dishes, but could have potentially compromised their integrity – I found that admirable.

Rachel’s won by a hair, but I would gladly eat both any day. That was me being democratic – I am obviously bias 🙂

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Responses

  1. I’m a sucker for mac and cheese. That sounds like a good night!

  2. Oh mac and cheese is my secret shame! I had some last night actually, but cheated and used Trader Joe’s as my base, spiced it up with some frozen veggies and a sprinkling of fontina melted on top. It was gooooooooood…

  3. Mmmm I think I need to make it my goal in life to try all the mac in cheese in Boston. You in?!

  4. Mac and Cheese is cool, but too many carbs and not enough protein (despite the cheese)for me I add meat and/or vegetables and cut back on the pasta … but eat it often as it’s may daughter’s staple and I’d rather have her eat than not.

  5. i have to say, i make a pretty mean mac n cheese. the key is the combination of cheeses – i use asiago, parm, and romano. ok, my stomach is officially growling now…

  6. yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum YUM

  7. oh yum, mac and cheese is my favorite dish. if you are in Manhattan try Cafeteria. Also, if you do a part deux to the competition try my recipe: http://www.tarametblog.com/2005/10/mac-attack.html

  8. @ Pam, yeah it was pretty awesome
    @ sjpr, I usaully cheat too and use trader joe’s because I love it.
    @ Susie – I am so in, maybe we can integrate it into the ultimate meetup!
    @ Andy Dear – that’s why it’s a comfort food!
    @ etrevallion – I need the rest of your recipe
    @ Camels & Chocolate – my thoughts exactly…
    @ TaraMetBlog – thanks for the NY tip, and I am definitely trying your recipe!

  9. I feel ridiculous commenting this late (blame homework!), but I’ve had lobster mac and cheese and it is UNBELIEVABLY delicious (and also unbelievably rich. I think I had about four bites of a shared dish before almost exploding.)

    Also, just this morning, I saw some new chef on food network making a delicious looking mac and cheese with gruyere, parmesan, and cheddar, topped with bread crumbs that I immediately decided I needed to make. Reading this post today just further cements my desire to cook it 🙂

  10. Yes, please, for the basis of a meetup!


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