Monday, April 25, 2011

Pete's Has the Perfect Fry

Pete's Cafe and Bar in Los Angeles has been my long time favorite spot for french fries, chipotle fries to be exact.  I could eat them every day.  That is how magical they are.

 When I saw mac and cheese on the menu, I thought I should most certainly indulge.  Their mac is made of sharp white cheddar, asiago, goat cheese (yuck), and tarragon.  I loathe goat cheese so I was a bit hesitant to order this mac.  But, surprisingly, I couldn't taste any remnants of goat at all. Thankfully.  Even though I ate all of it, I did not love it.  Probably because I was fixated on the chipotle fries. Did I mention how glorious the fries are?

This is seriously a lunch made for champs.

 My recommendation: Go to Pete's immediately and order the chipotle french fries.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Whole Foods To Go

I was browsing my local Whole Foods and came across some delicious looking Macaroni and Cheese in the pre-made section.

I thought it would be perfect to enjoy on one of those days that feels like it's never going to end. The perfect treat for myself on a night that I'm too tired to cool. Also, it looks SO good, right? 


Although it looked delicious, it was not. I dig Whole Foods because most of their items are freshly prepared on site. I was bummed to discover that this was made somewhere else and shipped in from Vernon, CA. 

It also had WAY too much nutmeg. 

I took two bites and threw it away. 

Macaroni and Cheese Fail! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter mac

 Looking for a fabulous addition to your Easter brunch menu? Look no further, Williams Sonoma offers a mac and cheese frittata! What could be better than delicious mac, cheese, ham and eggs?

Photo: Williams Sonoma
Get the recipe here.

Have a wonderful Easter!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beachwood BBQ Should Stick with the BBQ

One of hubbs' fav dining spots is Beachwood BBQ. He mostly likes it because it has a terrific variety of delicious micro brews.

After a quick bike ride down to Beachwood BBQ, we ordered a couple of beers, our usual fried pickles (magestic), a pulled pork sandwich and contemplated trying something new. That is when we noticed mac and cheese.  Not sure if this is new to the menu or if I have simply indulged in too much beer on all of my prior visits because I don't remember seeing it on the menu before.

Beachwood BBQ's Baked M&C boasts ingredients including green onion, bacon, chilies, beer, and Gruyere.

Sounds majestic. Well, sadly, it is not. The first bite was bland.  I added some salt. Better, but not brilliant.  Next, I made a concoction of Beachwood BBQ's sauces: hot sauce, sweet sauce and mustard.  It was pretty tasty when doused in random sauces.  But, I am a purist and prefer my mac non-doused.

My advise: stick to the beer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trio Tops Them All

Today's review comes from my new favorite restaurant in Palm Springs, Trio. 

I decided to try this place after reading stellar Yelp reviews about their macaroni and cheese. 

The place did NOT disappoint. It is one of the BEST macaroni and cheese dishes I have ever had. It is totally worth the (expensive) price tag of $17. The portion is also HUGE, so you will definitely have some leftovers to enjoy the next day or two. 

They start with five different kinds of cheese; Fontina, Goat, Bleu, Cheddar and Romano. The dish also has loads of bacon, green onions, tomato and bread crumbs. 

I got a to-go order and the smell was so delicious I couldn't even wait to get home before I had to rip open the container and try a bite (or five). 

Well done Trio! A+

Monday, April 4, 2011

And the winner goes to ......

Today was the first annual Firm Mac and Cheese Cook-Off.  We had three very unique entries and six hungry judges.

How do you choose between flavorful, decadent, and zesty?
Our fabulous entries

 Drum roll please ....

 Best Presentation goes to Grace's fabulous ham filled ramekin surprise! 
Clockwise from bottom: Grace's ramekin delight, Kelly's gourmet goodness, and Kimi's cheesy masterpiece

This mac was especially unique because Grace used wide egg noodles, which I have never had in m&c before.  She mixed fontina, mozzarella, and parm in with heavy cream, milk, cayenne and nutmeg until it thickened.  Then she mixed in smoked turkey ham and parsley.  She filled the ramekins, topped with panko bread crumbs and extra cheese for good luck, she baked it and voila - a creamy, cheesy, flavorful mac dish is made! This mac would be perfect for a family meal including kids and would make a nice entree as it is pretty filling with the ham.

Next, Kimi made us a wonderful six cheese delight that won the coveted "Cheesiest" prize!  And, to be clear, by prize I mean the praise and affection of the judges. No money in this competition!

I love a hidden jolt in my mac and Kimi really made that happen nicely.  The first bite has a nice all-American flavor but moments later this goodness is met with a powerful kick of chili.  Kimi's international cheesy concoction was made up of Spanish onion, cream cheese, heavy cream, sharp cheddar, parm, swiss, jack, mozzarella, and get ready for this - Chinese chili paste! Brilliant.

 The 1st Place Winner of the 1st Annual Firm Mac and Cheese Cook-Off goes to ... Kelly!

It is no surprise that this mac consists of:
·         Onion
·         Shallot
·         Garlic
·         Butter
·         Dry white wine, Pinot Gris will work
·         Whole milk
·         Flour
·         Fresh herbs such as oregano
·         Short pasta like Cavatappi
·         Gruyere
·         Ementhal (God bless the Swiss)
·         Sharp chedder
·         French baguette
·         White truffle oil

Kelly's mac tasted like it was the showcase item in this month's Food and Wine Magazine. The texture was excellent as it had a nice creaminess to it. It was wonderfully flavorful; the garlic, herbs, wine, cheese combo and white truffle oil combined to create a decadent flavor.  I noticed several judges go back for second helpings of this mac. It is a good thing I loaded my plate up early.

Thank you to our lovely contestants for brightening my Monday and making my pants fit just a tad more snug today.

From left: Grace proudly displaying her ramekin delight (please notice that there are none left to display since we ate them all), Kelly is grinning from ear to ear after winning 1st place, and Kimi gladly embracing her much deserved cheesiest title!
If you want the full recipe for any of these macs, please comment below and I'd be happy to send it to you.