One of the jewels of my mother's cooking was her Macaroni and Cheese. She would broil the pasta, put it a deep dish, pour half way up with milk and cover the top with cheese. As kids we couldn't get enough of it. It would be our main course served with white bread and lots of butter! With fresh peas right off the vines at Seabrook Farms, it was even better.
Travel + Leisure have picked a number of places across America that serve incredible Mac and Cheese. Here are the five that really intrigued me!
1.Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Seattle and New York
Located in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market, Beecher’s wins multiple American Cheese Society awards each year and has been heralded by die-hard fans as well as The Martha Stewart Show as the “world’s best.” The dish gets its special oomph from Beecher’s Flagship cheese, which is aged 15 months to develop its signature nutty flavor. A dash of chipotle adds a hint of smokiness. No plans to venture west? Swing by Beecher’s New York City outpost—or try the recipe at home.
2. Crave Kitchen & Cocktails, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Some restaurant menus make vague claims of “award-winning” recipes, but Crave’s mac and cheese is the real deal. Voted the “most life-changing mac ‘n’ cheese in America” by Esquire’s readers, the dish also dominated the People’s Choice Award at Charleston’s annual Mac Off competition—three times in a row. Credit goes to the corkscrew-shaped cavatappi noodles, which give the dish an ultra-chewy texture, plus a few top-secret ingredients suggested by the chef’s daughter. cravemtp.com
3. Little Bird, Portland, Oregon
Known for its local produce and artisanal foods, Portland’s foodie scene doesn’t mess around (just check out these hilarious Portlandia clips). And neither does Little Bird’s mac and cheese. Gabriel Rucker, a 2011 James Beard Rising Star Chef, combines Tillamook cheddar and Emmi Gruyère with one rotating cheese to make the restaurant’s “macaroni gratin” worth coming back for repeatedly. Chives add a note of freshness. littlebirdbistro.com
4. The Old Fashioned, Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsinites know cheese, and The Old Fashioned’s mac is stuffed with the best varieties the region’s small producers have to offer, among them seven-year-old Vern’s cheddar and SarVecchio, a special type of Parmesan. But the restaurant isn’t content to showcase just one of Wisconsin’s culinary delicacies: for $3 more, the creamy dish can be served with bologna from Fendt Brothers Meat Market in Watertown. theoldfashioned.com
5. Handlebar, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago winters demand comfort foods that can stand up to the city’s brutal temperatures, and this vegetarian restaurant’s Chili Mac Attack! delivers. The local favorite is made of smoked Gouda, veggie chili, aged cheddar, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and tortilla crisps. Add it to the long list of hot dogs and deep-dish pizza to try the next time you’re in town. handlebarchicago.com