Battle Bacon Mac: The Office Versus Johnnie Brown's
At David Manero's gastropub, the Office, mac and cheese graces the à la carte menu at $8 a pop. It's a far cry from your mama's mac, this version. Long, penne-style pasta is caked in ultrarich cream sauce that tastes like a blend of sharp cheeses. It's hit with truffle oil and then dashed with bread crumbs and bacon before being popped under the broiler to crisp. Creamy, crunchy, salty, bacony, this mac has it all.
The restaurant -- named after famous Floridian Addison Mizner's pet monkey -- took over where its predecessor, Elwood's, left off, serving cheap bar food and barbecue right off the tracks downtown. Its three-cheese bacon mac tastes like a version you'd whip up at home, only with all the stops pulled out. Corkscrew fusili pasta is given the cheesy treatment with cheddar, Parmesan, and spices. Big chunks of bacon float throughout, and the whole thing is broiled to a loving, bubbly brown. Unlike many macs, this one actually tastes better once it cools a bit. The cheese and spices become more flavorful, and the bacon really leaps out. At $5.25 an order, this is one cheap bowl of mac to boot.
Winner: The Office
You just can't deny the ultrarich bacon mac at the Office. Sure, it's probably twice as likely to give you heart problems, but all that buttery, creamy goodness and salty bacon is worth the trouble.