So I know you are all going to hate me, but for a long time I have not been a fan of mac and cheese. I know…it’s a crime. For some reason mac and cheese is America’s sweetheart of squishy cheesy dishes, but it never has really been a favorite of mine. Growing up, my parents, like most parents, fixed Kraft macaroni and cheese. I think this is where my dislike for mac and cheese comes from. Maybe it was the neon orange color, or the squish noise it makes when you swirl a spoon around in it, or the soggy texture the noodles get when you over-cook them, but most likely it was all of the above. This colored my opinion of mac and cheese for years to come. But recently I have given mac and cheese a second chance, because holding grudges against foods because you didn’t like them when you were a child is insane. I’m a grown up and grown-ups try new foods. So I started eating mac and cheese. I started with Kraft (you should always start with the head of the beast when facing your fears) and found it wasn’t as bad as I remembered, maybe not my favorite, but it wasn’t going to kill me. Then I discovered homemade mac and cheese and realized I had been wrong about the gooey orange stuff all along. It was hot, it was creamy, it was cheesy…all very appealing adjectives.
So just to prove my new food liberation Barbecue Man and I went to an all-mac and cheese restaurant in Oakland. I had heard about it years before, from who knows where, but had never gone…since I never really ate mac and cheese. But it recently jogged my memory when I heard the restaurant was opening a to-go counter down the street from the original location and was doing some menus at restaurants in the city to promote the new opening. So I told Barbecue Man about the restaurant and thus began his quest to eat mac and cheese. We made a date to have a hipster night out in Oakland. The restaurant is called Homeroom and is located off of Broadway and 40th in Oakland. The area is pretty interesting and eclectic, filled with bike shops, record stores and other niche eating establishments. It was most definitely a hipster paradise and I am not ashamed to say I absolutely loved it. The atmosphere was great, low lighting and a much more intimate setting than I expected from a mac and cheese restaurant. We sat down and opened our menus. Barbecue Man had been prepping for this all week, eating healthy and scanning the menu daily to review his options of mac and cheese or the cheesy macaroni. The menu had more types of macaroni and cheese then I had imagined. I had expected the traditional mac and cheese and maybe a mac and cheese with bacon in it, but they had an Asian inspired mac with sriracha and ginger, a crab cake mac, and a Mexican influenced one as well. They also had a huge selection of yummy sounding veggies as sides and add-ins to any of the different dishes. Barbecue Man naturally chose the one one that had bacon in it, I convinced him to add spicy cauliflower to it, mainly because I wanted to eat his cauliflower. I had a spinach dip mac and cheese with crab. The spinach dip mac had feta and jack cheese melted with artichoke hearts, spinach and crab which I opted to add myself….because if I could add crab to everything in this world I would. It was absolutely divine. It was by far the richest and creamiest and least mac and cheesy mac and cheese I ever had. My favorite thing about it is how unlike the traditional mac and cheese it was. It was far from that traffic cone orange cheese abomination I held a grudge against since my childhood. It was so rich I could only finish half, but Barbecue Man found room for his, so I rolled him down the hill to his car after dinner and ate the rest of mine for lunch the next day. At the end of day Barbecue Man gave it two thumbs up and a pair of unbuttoned pants and I would also give it two thumbs up and a doggy bag. So I will leave you with a joke- why was the hipster’s mouth so burnt? Answer- because he ate that food before it was cool.