Monday, January 31, 2011

Blissful Mac at Bliss

A couple of weeks ago, after a very productive HRC Gala planning meeting (yippee for equal marriage rights!), we decided to have dinner at Bliss/ReBar a restaurant/bar (respectively) in the Roosevelt District of Downtown Phoenix. 

Naturally, the first thing that caught my eye was the macaroni and cheese. However, I'd already had four servings of Macaroni and Cheese that week, so I was a little cheesed out. Shocking, I know. 

Luckily, I was able to peer pressure my friend Nathan into ordering the 'Mac and Cheese Loaded' so that I could rudely reach across the table (multiple times) to sample it (read: shove flavorful forkfuls into my mouth). 

The Macaroni and Cheese came out looking a little soupy, but it wasn't. The cheese consistency was gloriously oozy and creamy and the sauce/pasta/chicken/bacon/stuff ratio was spot on.

Here is Nathan's review'

Cheese… Check
Bacon… Check
More Cheese… Check
Noodles… Check
More Cheese… CHECK!
The Bliss/Rebar Mac & Cheese could quite possibly be the cheesiest – just don’t tell Kraft. But this certainly is not made from cheese powder, not only is it the cheesiest – it is probably the creamiest Mac & Cheese I have ever had. It is so rich and flavorful, if I didn’t have a pretty good idea as to what the ‘nutrition facts’ might look like, I could eat it three times a week!


Please forgive the shitty iPhone photos. 

Happy cheesing! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Not All Mac and Cheese is Ono

 Today we take a trip to paradise and try some Hawaiian mac and cheese!

I visited No ka Oi in Huntington Beach with some good friends. Like I do in every restaurant, I breezed past the salads and straight for any sign of mac and cheese. Bingo. Mac and cheese WITH crab. Ah, I certainly cannot refuse a well balanced meal, complete with protein. 

The presentation was nice. But, the flavor was, well, not fantastical.  I think our first clue should have been that the type of cheese used in this plate was not specified. Powdered perhaps?  Srichacha hot sauce definitely did this dish wonders.  Don't get me wrong, I ate it, all of it, but it won't make my top 5 list.

My delightful friend Goldie recalls that the "Creamy yellow with small chunks of real crab meat fell short of my expectation. This mac and cheese felt like it was made with imitation cheese. Had to add some spice to it to make it more flavorful. I give it 3 out of 5 stars."

Monday, January 24, 2011

The morning after ...

After a few too many days in Vegas, and a few too many indulgences while in Vegas, a buffet is the only cure.  After a lot of research, i.e., asking cab drivers, Bistro Buffet at the Palms won as the best buffet Vegas had to offer.

Like any skilled American gluttonous, I really do love a good buffet. There is something about waffles, pasta, a ramen bar, cheeseburgers, sushi, an omelet bar, random unidentifiable meat, seafood, and deserts galore that make my mouth water.   

Because I am so skilled at indulging at such fine establishments, I arrived a few minutes before breakfast concluded… and conveniently a few minutes before lunch was served.  After trying their omelet; traditional eggs benedict; corned beef hash; Mexican omelet burrito complete with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, potatoes, chorizo and tortilla; fruit – only because I am healthy; a couple of very tasty bloody marys, on special of course; and some chow mein and dumplings; I thought the meal would not be complete without macaroni and cheese. 

From first glance, it looked, well, pretty awful. It was on display in a soup bowl complete with a ladle.  That was the first red flag to RUN straight toward the taco bar.  The noodles were gigantic; I learned later that this was because it had probably been cooking since the Middle Ages.  The noodles were overcooked and the cheese tasted like a cross between imitation butter spread, nonfat milk and powdered cheese.  Three thumbs down on this one.

In a nutshell, spoken so eloquently by my self-indulging pretty pretty princess Jenai Yoshii “it was soupy, bland & the pasta was WAAAAAY overcooked.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegas Baby

What would a trip to Vegas be without some delightful macaroni and cheese? Clearly it would be a waste of a trip. 

Emeril has yet to fail me. Yes, THE Emeril. Everything I have had at his restaurants has proven his ability as a wonderful chef.  While visiting Vegas, my dear friends and I scoped out Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Their macaroni and cheese was so tasty that I regretted having to share it with my friends. Seriously.  Everything about it was wonderful. 

From the presentation,

To the perfectly heated temperature, 

It was pretty much a spiritual experience.

It had a nice smoky flavor that was not overbearing, a perfect amount of Serrano Ham, and the edges were nicely crisped from the baked cheese.  My only regret is that I did not taste any Cajun flavors like I expected since it was an Emeril’s dish.  However, it really left nothing to be desired.  I highly recommend this macaroni and cheese dish.

I shared this dish with some friends; Jarrett Haley reminisces: “That Mac and Cheese was amazing. Thinking about it right now, makes me want to go back to Vegas just to get one more bite…”  Jeremy Parker reflects that it was the “culinary highlight of the trip. Creamy cheesy goodness.”   

My savory consultant and pretty pretty princess Jenai Yoshii says in less than eloquent terms “super amazing w/ a plethora of white cheeses, & I think ???penne pasta??? cooked perfectly al dente. We should go back for more...RIGHT NOW!”  She would be so angry to know I posted her spelling and grammar imperfections so please don’t tell (I LOVE secrets). 

Bottom line: this macaroni and cheese is divine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tay Makes Ina's Mac

**Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone! MLK Jr's favorite food was macaroni and cheese. Ok, I made that up. But it could be true**


I love to hate Ina Garten. 

I think she has fantastic taste and style and there is no doubt the woman is one of the most talented culinary minds we have today. She also makes an incredible martini.

But she seems so haughty. And why does she always tell me to use a GOOD olive oil. Why does she assume that I would dare to use MEDIOCRE olive oil?

Anyway, I'm glad that I got that off my chest.  Let's move along, shall we?

Did you know that Ina was a White House nuclear policy analyst? She was. Pretty impressive.

Today's recipe comes from the beloved Ina. The result was delicious. At one point, before baking, I thought that the sauce to noodle ratio was off. It wasn't. It turned out very well. My cousins and uncle gobbled it right up like good fellas. I prepared this mac and cheese this summer, so the tomatoes were especially lovely. 

The recipe can be found by clicking here. 


- Kosher salt
- Vegetableoil
- 1 pound elbow macaroni {I used Fusilli. Mostly because I enjoy saying the word. Also because I enjoy things in corkscrew shape. This is because it reminds me of wine. And I love wine. Mmmm. Also, the grooves in the Fusilli hold the cheese sauce very nicely.}
- 1 quart whole milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter {divided into 6 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons}
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces (4 cups) grated Gruyere
- 8 ounces (2 cups) extra-sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 pound (4 small) fresh tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (5 slices; crusts removed) fresh white bread crumbs


- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

- Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes  (I would cook for 4-5 minutes if I were you)

- Drain well.

- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.

- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.

- Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.

- While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

- Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar.
{don't you just love a recipe that calls for 6 cups of cheese?}

 throw some cheese at a wiener. wieners love cheese.

- Also add 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  - Add the cooked pasta and stir well.

- Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

- Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Enjoy the oh-so-cheesy goodness......



1) I freeze my cheese for about 30 minutes to make grating easier. 

2) If you have bread that is about to go stale, stick it in the freezer and save it for making breadcrumbs! Way better than something you could buy at the store. 

3) I thought the pasta to sauce ratio was going to be off on this recipe, but it turned out perfectly. Don't be worried when you put everything in the oven. The roux will thicken everything while it's baking. Good job, little Roux. 

4) I followed the cooking directions on the Fusilli and the end result turned out to be a tad over cooked. I would recommend cooking the pasta for 3/4 of the recommended time. It will continue to cook while baking and should end up being the perfect degree of tenderness!

5) Save the Rind from the Gruyere! Stick it in the freezer and save it for the next time you're making soup or stock. It adds a lovely flavor dimension according to Lynn Rossetto Kasper. :-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mobile eateries make a girl go wild!

Food trucks are all the craze in LA right now.  I have seen a kabob truck, ice cream truck, cup cake truck, sushi truck, Korean bbq truck, French fry truck; honestly, there is a truck for every food fetish these days. Including {drum roll please} mac and cheese. Yep, and not just mac and cheese but mac and cheese in the form of a grilled cheese sandwich.  Clearly this changes the entire dynamic.  For good reason, the Grilled Cheese Truck has earned itself quite a reputation around town.

Because New Years was just last week and I have not had enough time to forget about my new year’s resolutions, I decided to add sliced tomatoes to my Cheesy Mac and Rib which already consisted of macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar, bbq pork, and caramelized onions.  Delicious AND healthy. 

If you look very closely, you can see the tomato slices
Anything with hot sauce is better

Look at those gorgeous delectable noodles!

In the powerful words of my lady love Brittany, “melted cheese and bread = the perfect marriage.  Today that marriage was conducted by the grilled cheese food truck.  Glorious.”

This sandwich was honestly divine.  It was so perfectly melted and gooey that I almost forgot about the hour long line I stood in just to order my chow and the 45 minutes I had to wait for the food to be prepared…
Oozing with cheese!


Because I am a pure glutinous, I didn’t stop at the Cheesy Mac and Rib + tomatoes (don’t forget the healthy part). I also indulged in a Plain and Simple Gruyere Melt with a parmesan crust.  I opted for the French bread instead of the wheat bread because after all, I already made the effort to eat my vegetables (yep, the tomatoes).

Dipped into a shot of tomato soup made each bite heavenly. Seriously, I could hear angels singing in the background.

Not done yet.

What would a meal of this grandeur be without tater tots? Dumb question. 

Not just plain tater tots, but tater tots dipped into a trilogy of sauces: bacon andouille (hmmmm bacon), nacho cheese (try mixing it with a tad of tapatio), and straight tapatio hot sauce.

And you thought my meal was over, didn’t you? Nope. Dessert is the most important part of any meal. My lunch concluded with a Dessert Melt - Roasted banana puree, Nutella and marshmallow.  

It was a party. In my mouth.

Verdict: Eating light is for sissies.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THANK you!

Wow! We are so thrilled with the launch of our blog and the GREAT response we received yesterday! Over 125 unique website visits! Thank you so much for reading. We really appreciate your support. We are planning on posting delicious recipes and restaurant reviews of everyone's favorite comfort food on Mondays and Fridays. No, we won't be posting four macaroni and cheese posts per day. Otherwise, we're sure we wouldn't be able to walk because we would be so incredibly large. So keep an eye our for our yummy Monday and Friday posts!

Thanks again,

Ney and Tay


Monday, January 10, 2011

Wasabi Macaroni and Cheese ala George

My husband has NEVER cooked from a recipe. He called me at work and asked what I wanted for dinner, I obviously responded macaroni and cheese.  Expecting kraft, or better yet, a frozen macaroni and cheese, I was so surprised to come home to find every plate, spice, pan, and refrigerated condiment out on display on our kitchen counter. 

Clearly they were all necessary. 

Georgey-poo had actually found a recipe, not in the massive number of cook books I directed him to, but on the food network’s website.  

First, he prepared the ingredients for the cheese sauce.

Next, he added the noodles to the prepared cheesey goodness.

Now we are ready to brown the bread crumbs, or uh hum, the panko crumbs since hubby-hubs could not find the bread...

Almost ready to bake but first, more cheese.

Bake until golden and then voilà!

He made a delightfully bold, cheesy and tangy dish.  As it turns out, the recipe called for powdered mustard but since we did not have any, and a trip to the grocery store was clearly out of the question, Georgelicious substituted it for wasabi powder. Surprisingly, this gave it a nice edgy taste that blended well with the other flavors.  

After helping myself to seconds, ... and thirds, I admit that his mac and cheese rocked. Nice work sweet cheeks! 

Shells and Cheese from Sauce

If you're an Arizonan, I'm sure you've heard of Sauce Restaurant, one of Sam Fox's many culinary hot spots.

One of my favorite 'end of the week and I'm exhausted' places to stop on my way home is Sauce.

I often go for my number 1 comfort food choice, macaroni and cheese.

The shells are huge (perfect for holding the big chunks of broccoli and delicious shredded chicken) and the sauce and perfectly creamy.

Be sure to ask for sides of red pepper flakes and parmesan. The really complete the dish!

Light and Healthy-ish

So, I debated on whether or not to share this recipe, because it's not a traditional macaroni and cheese. But hey, it has pasta and cheese, so I decided to go for it.


Today I am going to share a delicious pasta I concocted a couple of weeks ago. 

Lucky for you, I documented my effort with my trusty camera. 

Ready, ok! 

  Boil some fusilli. I think fusilli is my favorite pasta. It boils evenly and holds the ingredients in its grooves.

Cook some broccoli to desired firmness {that kind of sounds dirty. blush!}

Just before your pasta is finished boiling, throw in some frozen peas. Drain (duh).

Add goat cheese and broccoli that you have boiled to your desired firmness {*^-^*} <-----that's a blushing-face-emoticon because I said 'desired firmness' again (here is an explanation of what an emoticon is for my mom and grandma who are not hep to the computermachine lingo) Watch, my mom will probably leave a comment saying, 'I knew what that was MISSY!'

Add spinach leaves and pine nuts once the goat cheese is all melty and stirred around evenly. 

Serve with a simple green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Reward your culinary effort with a glass {or bottle; we won't judge} of crisp white wine. My favorite cheap white lately is    La Ferme Julien Blanc aka 'The Goat Wine.' $6 at your local Trader Joe's!


**I didn't measure ANYTHING in this recipe. I just kind of threw it all in there. 

I wish I knew how to make my photos all the same size.