Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Sauce

56 Belden Place, b/t Bush & Pine St., San Francisco

My super delicious, cheesy lunch
Oh wow.  I've got a good one here.  Sauce in SF has now broken into my Top Ten!

I tried this place last week with a friend of mine while on a lunch date in the city.  She had mentioned the burger was good, but then pointed out that they had mac and cheese on the menu.  I was in the right mood, so I ordered it, not sure what to expect.

What I got was a great EXPLOSION of flavor.  The dish combines six different cheeses together (I'm still not sure exactly what they are), along with ham hock and some great herbs and breadcrumbs.

The consistency was great, and the portion size was pretty decent.  The price for the portion ($10.50) was a little high, but I was able to overlook that after my first bite.  I pretty much started to think about where it fell on my ranking scale almost immediately.

Definitely the best mac and cheese I've had in the city so far.  I highly recommend it if you find yourself in the Financial District anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: Stanfords

1300 South Main Street, Walnut Creek

My Sunday Happy Hour Mac
Oh, Stanfords.  The Walnut Creek happy hour go-to when you need something familiar.

Seriously, happy hour is one of the best things going at Stanfords.  They have a pretty extensive food and drink menu during happy hour and I recently found out that Sunday is all day happy hour.  I think I've found my new place to watch sports on a Sunday for cheap!

One of their happy hour menu staples has long been the mac and cheese.  I hadn't had it in a while, so while I was watching the NLCS baseball playoff game this last weekend with some friends, I figured I'd give it another shot.

One thing I forgot about Stanfords' happy hour menu is that while it is extensive and there's a wide selection for cheap prices, the serving sizes are not very big.  The mac and cheese was $5 and what I got was basically what you expect for $5 on a regular menu.  Something small.

Rubbery noodles are not my fave
Stanfords makes their mac and cheese with traditional elbow noodles and swiss, fontina, and cheddar cheeses.  They add bacon and bread crumbs, and as you can see from the photo above a garnish.

How was it?  Eh.  The noodles were a bit rubbery in texture and the cheese didn't really have a lot of flavor.  Not the worst mac and cheese I've had, but not that great either.

My advice: If you find yourself enjoying a happy hour at Stanfords in Walnut Creek, your best bet is probably the burger or the sweet potato fries with a spicy cheddar-bacon dipping sauce.  Yeah, go with the sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Pantry Essentials Macaroni & Cheese

Pantry Essentials Macaroni & Cheese
Boxed, available in most grocery stores

Here's an interesting review.  Not a restaurant, but a simple boxed mac and cheese variety.

It doesn't always have to be the gourmet stuff, you know.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like I just needed something easy and comforting when I got home at the end of the day.  I usually have a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sitting in my cupboard for just such an occasion, but recently I had purchased Pantry Essentials because it was cheaper and I figured I'd give it a shot.

Never again.

This boxed variety was so bland that I had to add extra cheese just to make it taste like something other than buttered noodles.  Here's a tip: if you find yourself with a really bad boxed mac, add some different flavors of shredded cheese, stick it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, then stir.  That should help with the flavor.

My advice:  If you are reaching for a boxed variety in the grocery aisle, you're better off paying a little bit more for one of the bigger name brands, like Kraft, or Annie's if that's what you prefer.

Or you can just go find one of my Top Ten restaurants for mac and cheese and they'll make it for you.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mac of the Day: Baked Macaroni and Cheese in a Pumpkin

It's autumn.  Why not bring some of that fall seasonal flair into your mac and cheese?  I found this crazy idea while perusing the inter-webs.  Check it out!  It's mac and cheese baked in a pumpkin... IN A PUMPKIN.  I feel like this is one of the most unique mac recipes I've ever seen.  You can check it out for yourself at The Culinary Life.

Source: theculinarylife