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Mac & cheese on the brain...

Mac & cheese on the brain...
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  • Post #31 - July 23rd, 2008, 11:25 am
    Post #31 - July 23rd, 2008, 11:25 am Post #31 - July 23rd, 2008, 11:25 am
    I can't believe that no one has yet mentioned the mac N cheese at Smoque.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #32 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:32 pm
    Post #32 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:32 pm Post #32 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:32 pm
    To be fair, Cathy2 mentioned it back in the winter, when I began this thread...

    Smoque has a pretty good macaroni and cheese. While I want a large wedge, they serve it in portion controlled foil cups, which leaves me wanting more.


    Around that time I tried a bunch of the recommendations, most from BBQ favorites. They were all good. I am still on a quest to find "the best"...thanks for keeping this thread going!
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #33 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:43 pm
    Post #33 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:43 pm Post #33 - July 23rd, 2008, 5:43 pm
    I like Smoque's when it's hot and fresh (it's been lukewarm with a soggy crust once or twice).

    Let me second Smoke Daddy's version, and offer that they will give you a portion without ordering an entree. Cost has varied for this on multiple visits (depends on how much you say you want, and/or how generous staff is feeling). Always hot and oven-browned.
  • Post #34 - July 24th, 2008, 12:27 am
    Post #34 - July 24th, 2008, 12:27 am Post #34 - July 24th, 2008, 12:27 am
    Susan wrote:I have it. I am obsessed with mac and cheese.


    I am too. Honestly, the best mac & cheese I have had was the kopykat recipe of Boston Market's mac &.

    When Ian's pizza opens in Wrigleyville...try a slice of mac & cheese...I have yet to meet a Mac & fan that didnt like it.
  • Post #35 - July 24th, 2008, 1:02 am
    Post #35 - July 24th, 2008, 1:02 am Post #35 - July 24th, 2008, 1:02 am
    No love for Hopleaf? I just had their Stilton mac-n-cheese tonight, and was reminded just how damn simple and delicious it is.
  • Post #36 - July 24th, 2008, 2:16 am
    Post #36 - July 24th, 2008, 2:16 am Post #36 - July 24th, 2008, 2:16 am
    Smoque's mac was a bit bland and soggy when I tried it but I had it as take out so it may have suffered from the ride home (although I'm just down the street like 2 miles on Irving).

    The Smoke Daddy's mac was very good, super creamy, but not incredibly original. Reminded me of the Boston Market variety (which I still love...see below). It's only a side course here, however, so If you're in the area and want both (a) better mac and cheese and (b) a full course of mac and cheese, just walk across the street to "Mac's". They have a really good white cheese mac and (if I remember correctly) the option to add chili to it... but I could be wrong about the last part.

    Da Beef wrote:I am too. Honestly, the best mac & cheese I have had was the kopykat recipe of Boston Market's mac &.


    Care to share said recipe? I love Boston Market's mac.

    Da Beef wrote:When Ian's pizza opens in Wrigleyville...try a slice of mac & cheese...I have yet to meet a Mac & fan that didnt like it.


    Never heard of it. Is it a chain? When/where does it open?
  • Post #37 - July 24th, 2008, 7:19 am
    Post #37 - July 24th, 2008, 7:19 am Post #37 - July 24th, 2008, 7:19 am
    I second the gouda mac n cheese at Handlebar. Also I like the mac n cheese from the Pasta Bowl on N. Clark, which comes with bread topping and broccoli.
  • Post #38 - July 24th, 2008, 9:45 am
    Post #38 - July 24th, 2008, 9:45 am Post #38 - July 24th, 2008, 9:45 am
    i love mac & cheese and i have the waistline to prove it! :shock:
    one of my favorite examples is at the "mity nice grill"[water tower place behind food life].
    i absolutely love their version of this savory and comforting food.they blend a couple of cheeses together [monteray jack and white cheddar] with penne pasta and it's topped with a combination of toasted bread crumbs and parmesean!
    bikini season be damned! :oops:
    in a word,SUBLIME!
  • Post #39 - July 24th, 2008, 11:30 am
    Post #39 - July 24th, 2008, 11:30 am Post #39 - July 24th, 2008, 11:30 am
    Ironic this post caught my eye today, since i'm heading to MacArthur's for some fried chicken and Mac n Cheese later tonight.

    I also loved the creamy garlicy variety on offer at Stanleys, though I imagine several on this site prefer something a little more exotic.

    I'll be trying out the smoked gouda version at Handlebar ASAP and reporting back.
  • Post #40 - July 24th, 2008, 12:11 pm
    Post #40 - July 24th, 2008, 12:11 pm Post #40 - July 24th, 2008, 12:11 pm
    I have had the Mac and Cheese at Blueprint and thought it was decent, but it could have been the high of spending myself into lifelong debt on a kitchen remodel at the MM.
    There is no accounting for taste!
  • Post #41 - July 24th, 2008, 3:02 pm
    Post #41 - July 24th, 2008, 3:02 pm Post #41 - July 24th, 2008, 3:02 pm
    Last Week the GF, to my great surprise, ordered the Mac 'n Cheese at Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square. I believe it had Guyere(sp?) cheese among others and was fantastic. However, for me, for the $17 price tag was a bad value when the regular fine entree options were just slightly more $$$$.
  • Post #42 - July 24th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    Post #42 - July 24th, 2008, 4:05 pm Post #42 - July 24th, 2008, 4:05 pm
    I had a chance to sample the Mac N Cheese at Stanley's today (the location on Racine and Van Buren). It was a unique style, with the center of the casserole* very eggy and custardy, rather then cheesy; and the topping golden brown, thick and gooey with cheddar. When you combined both of these elements, it was very good, though I wouldn't put it anywhere near the platonic ideal of what Mac N Cheese is supposed to be. Despite its somewhat non-traditional preparation, I still enjoyed it very much and look forward to trying it again someday.

    Stanley's Mac N Cheese
    Image

    * It seemed to be more of a traditional casserole rather than a preparation one would normally associate with Mac N Cheese

    Stanley's on Racine
    324 S. Racine
    Chicago, IL 60607
    312-433-0007
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #43 - July 25th, 2008, 11:40 am
    Post #43 - July 25th, 2008, 11:40 am Post #43 - July 25th, 2008, 11:40 am
    I love the smoked cheddar mac & cheese at Glenn's Diner on Montrose. creamy, smokey and irresistible.

    Glenn's Diner
    www.glennsdiner.com
    1820 W Montrose Ave
    Chicago, IL 60613

    Chalkboard serves a version very similar to Glenn's (imo). much more expensive, obviously, but a delicious side to share with the table if you're dining there.

    Chalkboard
    www.chalkboardrestaurant.com
    4343 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    (773) 477-7144
  • Post #44 - July 25th, 2008, 1:24 pm
    Post #44 - July 25th, 2008, 1:24 pm Post #44 - July 25th, 2008, 1:24 pm
    I'll probably get shot here, but somtimes I really enjoy a box of good 'ole fashioned Kraft. The original blue box with fine aged powdered cheese, I believe it comes from a remote area of Italy. Reminds me of being a little kid and mixing up that flourescent orange cheesy goodness.
  • Post #45 - July 25th, 2008, 3:46 pm
    Post #45 - July 25th, 2008, 3:46 pm Post #45 - July 25th, 2008, 3:46 pm
    but somtimes I really enjoy a box of good 'ole fashioned Kraft


    One of my favorites as well, I like it just the way it is.
  • Post #46 - July 25th, 2008, 4:06 pm
    Post #46 - July 25th, 2008, 4:06 pm Post #46 - July 25th, 2008, 4:06 pm
    I grew up on Kraft - perfectly good stuff. You can make it with cream instead of milk if you're on a rich-kick.

    My favorite add-ins for Kraft - a lot of Tabasco stirred in, and a dusting of chili powder and panko on top for crunch.
  • Post #47 - July 25th, 2008, 4:21 pm
    Post #47 - July 25th, 2008, 4:21 pm Post #47 - July 25th, 2008, 4:21 pm
    Believe it or not, the mac n cheese that they serve at the "serve your self counter" at the new Whole Foods Grocery store in Naperville is outstanding. They have a SmokeHouse Bar inside back by the seafood and meat counter and there they have several different types of ribs and side dishes available by the pound. These are already cooked, ready to eat, smoked and made in house. I was walking by when the cook was bringing out a large containger of freshly made mac n cheese. It smelled great and made my mouth water. He must have seen me looking cause he offered me a sample. It was wonderful! Really rich and creamy with a nice white cheddar tang to it. I ended up buying a container for my dinner that night along with some of the parmasan garlic shrimp that are available in the Shrimp Bar located right next to the SmokeHouse Bar. All of it was extremely good and I have thought about the mac n cheese several times since then. Along with the shrimp, which were very large, served cold with fresh grated parmasan cheese and whole cloves of garlic in some butter sauce, it made a very satisfying meal.
    Redhdbest
    ____________
    Life is a cabaret my friend!
  • Post #48 - July 25th, 2008, 4:35 pm
    Post #48 - July 25th, 2008, 4:35 pm Post #48 - July 25th, 2008, 4:35 pm
    Hit up the mac n cheese at MacArthur's last night. It was wonderful as always. two of my friends claimed it was the best they've ever had.

    I wouldn't go that far, but its up there for me.
  • Post #49 - July 25th, 2008, 6:32 pm
    Post #49 - July 25th, 2008, 6:32 pm Post #49 - July 25th, 2008, 6:32 pm
    This thread inspired me to make mac & cheese last night. I didn't really have quite enough cheese, but it was OK. Had leftover cheese curds, some camembert, some manchego, some butterkase, some blue... Should have tossed in some parmesan too, I had that as well. Tasty!
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #50 - July 25th, 2008, 6:38 pm
    Post #50 - July 25th, 2008, 6:38 pm Post #50 - July 25th, 2008, 6:38 pm
    leek wrote:Should have tossed in some parmesan too, I had that as well. Tasty!


    Parmesan is always good sprinkled by itself on top or mixed in with the breadcrumbs.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #51 - July 25th, 2008, 7:50 pm
    Post #51 - July 25th, 2008, 7:50 pm Post #51 - July 25th, 2008, 7:50 pm
    leek wrote:This thread inspired me to make mac & cheese last night. I didn't really have quite enough cheese, but it was OK. Had leftover cheese curds, some camembert, some manchego, some butterkase, some blue... Should have tossed in some parmesan too, I had that as well. Tasty!


    This is a really interesting combination of cheeses...I'm very curious about the texture: did it all melt or did you have squeaky bits, and if so, were the sqeaky bits a good thing? Wish I'd been there to try...
  • Post #52 - July 26th, 2008, 2:30 am
    Post #52 - July 26th, 2008, 2:30 am Post #52 - July 26th, 2008, 2:30 am
    Long-time listener, first-time caller here...
    I love Kraft mac n' cheese sometimes, and I love a home baked butter/noodles/cheese/breadcrumbs thing too, but I must say, when I need that homey-starchy fix, I get the Gnocchi Gratinati from Vivo on Randolph. Random, I know, but the parmesan & truffle cream sauce is to die for. Try it, honestly, you'll melt.

    Vivo
    838 W. Randolph St
    Chicago, Il 60607
    312-733-3379
  • Post #53 - July 26th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Post #53 - July 26th, 2008, 1:51 pm Post #53 - July 26th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Welcome, Heinz! Glad you decided to jump into the fray.

    I appreciate your recommendation, even though it's not strictly mac & cheese... because I, too, am a big lover of gnocchi. I'll add it to the list of "decadent carbs to try soon." (And try the fantastic gnocchi at Pasta Palazzo on Halsted, just S. of Armitage. It's cheese filled yet impossibly light.)
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #54 - July 26th, 2008, 6:45 pm
    Post #54 - July 26th, 2008, 6:45 pm Post #54 - July 26th, 2008, 6:45 pm
    Mhays wrote:
    leek wrote:This thread inspired me to make mac & cheese last night. I didn't really have quite enough cheese, but it was OK. Had leftover cheese curds, some camembert, some manchego, some butterkase, some blue... Should have tossed in some parmesan too, I had that as well. Tasty!


    This is a really interesting combination of cheeses...I'm very curious about the texture: did it all melt or did you have squeaky bits, and if so, were the squeaky bits a good thing? Wish I'd been there to try...


    Squeaky as in how cheese curds normally squeak in your teeth? No, because everything melted. The cheese curds, also, were at least a week old, so no longer squeaky in their natural state. There were some spots where there was a small spot of one cheese being more obvious, and not really blended in, but the whole was tasty. Not enough blue to make it BLUE CHEESE mac and cheese, but enough to make it a bit interesting. But only interesting in that it is what I had at home, and I didn't want to go out and buy cheese just for this, since I had so much cheese already :)

    How long does it take for the squeak to go away from cheese curds anyway?
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #55 - July 26th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    Post #55 - July 26th, 2008, 8:42 pm Post #55 - July 26th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    I don't know, but the interesting characteristic of the poutine I'd made the other day was, despite the right-out-of-the-fat fries and the hot gravy, the cheese curds didn't really melt and retained a bit of squeak. When I was researching poutine (yes, that's what I said) the majority maintained that day-old or younger curds were crucial.

    Image
    (sorry, shoulda posted this in the other thread a while ago, but here it is)

    Howsomever, I like the idea of mac and cheese with some distinct cheese blobs in it; it sounds like a good home for "old" cheese curds, a bag of which I've got in the fridge...and some blue...hmmm...
  • Post #56 - July 27th, 2008, 7:44 am
    Post #56 - July 27th, 2008, 7:44 am Post #56 - July 27th, 2008, 7:44 am
    Mhays wrote:and some blue...hmmm...


    I often put some bleu cheese in my Mac N Cheese (there was some int hte MNC I brought to the potluck dinner), but it's got to be a realatively mild bleu. Save the good, stinky stuff to use elsewhere where its tang will be more appreciated.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #57 - July 27th, 2008, 7:53 am
    Post #57 - July 27th, 2008, 7:53 am Post #57 - July 27th, 2008, 7:53 am
    leek wrote:How long does it take for the squeak to go away from cheese curds anyway?

    True cheeseheads say you have to get curds no more than a day old. Go to any Wisconsin cheese market and hang out by the curds and you'll hear them discussing it.
  • Post #58 - July 27th, 2008, 4:39 pm
    Post #58 - July 27th, 2008, 4:39 pm Post #58 - July 27th, 2008, 4:39 pm
    Mhays wrote:I don't know, but the interesting characteristic of the poutine I'd made the other day was, despite the right-out-of-the-fat fries and the hot gravy, the cheese curds didn't really melt and retained a bit of squeak.


    Maybe you need to give them a bit of a head start in the microwave before putting them onto the fries? Or chop them smaller...
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #59 - July 27th, 2008, 9:12 pm
    Post #59 - July 27th, 2008, 9:12 pm Post #59 - July 27th, 2008, 9:12 pm
    My understanding is that poutine is supposed to work that way, meaning with squeaky bits of mostly unmelted cheese (it did melt enough to stick to the fries a bit) - but it isn't my preference. Frankly, I like fries and gravy and find the addition of cheese an unecessary distraction.

    Tomorrow, maybe, is a mac and cheese curd day...
  • Post #60 - July 27th, 2008, 9:16 pm
    Post #60 - July 27th, 2008, 9:16 pm Post #60 - July 27th, 2008, 9:16 pm
    This thread inspired me to make Alton Brown's Baked Mac N Cheese recipe today.

    Everyone at my house was happy and are now sort of groggy and full of cheesy goodness.
    One Mint Julep was the cause of it all.

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