Monday, November 9, 2009

I'll have the slab of mac and cheese, please.

Suzy Gruyere: Here comes another tag-team review! This time Hilary
Havarti and I are catching a quick bite at Joan's On Third prior to an
evening at the theatah. My, aren't we la di dah! :) I wish we had more
time to explore this charming little shop, but we'd better focus on our
singular mission: We've heard good things about Joan's mac ($4). I must
say, its appearance is a bit odd...

Hilary Havarti: Right? It's cut into these big, dense looking cubes and
stacked in a deli case which reminds me of your "hewn from a mother mac"

Suzy: The cross-section view is startling, all those macaroni eyes
winking at us. I've seen lasagna presented this way but somehow its
ribbons of color are more agreeable in this format. This mac looks a
little creepy...

Hilary: Looks can be and often are deceiving. The true test, after all,
is in the taste! And here comes our gently reheated cube o' mac now...

Suzy: Mmmm... (much thoughtful chewing and mmmm-ing) I take it all back.
I can see why Joan's macaroni and cheese is widely praised. This is
pretty basic but also pretty darn good!

Hilary: Agreed. The elbow noodles might be slightly past al dente but
the texture is still good, and the sauce's creaminess is a nice surprise
considering it was congealed into a chilled block five minutes ago! Of
course, I would have preferred a crumb top, but the baked cheese crust
is a decent concession (and crumbs might just get soggy in the deli
case, anyway).

Suzy: Cheddar is the star of this show, huh?

Hilary: Yah, but it must be a high-class Cheddar because there's very
little grease on this plate, and reheated mac sometimes leaves an impressive
oil slick. And wait, what's this big white blob embedded in our mac?
Could it be Feta or some other exotic substance...? No, I think it's...

Suzy & Hilary squeal in unison: CREAM CHEESE!!

Hilary: Sounds wrong but tastes delicious! It's creamy and tart, and
really enhances the mouthfeel of this dish.

Suzy: It's like finding buried treasure.

Hilary: Like! (gestures a thumbs up a la Facebook) I'm going to try
putting some cream cheese into the next mac recipe I cook at home.

Suzy: I can't wait to try that, too. In the meantime, we're running out
of macaroni and cheese so I'm going to dig into our salads. I love how
we always order salads with our macaroni and cheese, as if we're fooling
anyone. LOL What did you get?

Hilary: Butter lettuce with dried cranberries and high-quality Feta
($9). This cheese looks a little drier and more crumbly that what I'm
used to but it still tastes rich and tangy. And this scallion pancake
($3) is chewy and delish, especially with a schmear of hoisin sauce on
it. How's yours?

Suzy: I got the salad sampler trio ($12) and these snappy green beans
are flavored with the same hoisin sauce. Yummy scrummy! I love this
pasta salad. The little deli case sign mentioned pine nuts and saffron,
and I also see blanched broccoli, tiny cubes of good Parmesan and golden
raisins in there.

Hilary: The saffron must be the slightly earthy, unfamiliar flavor we're
noticing, huh? I like it too! I'm almost too full to consider dessert,
but the bakery case is calling my name...

Suzy: Never let it be said that the mac and cheese girls said "NO" to a
great dessert. This spice cupcake with maple frosting is amazing!

Hilary: My double chocolate cupcake is a tiny bit dry but GULP, I just
swallowed it whole. And hey -- the server at this high-tone joint just
asked me if I'm the driver of the black BMW blocking their delivery
door! In what world do I look like someone who drives a BMW? As if.

Suzy: Right! But then, anything is possible in a world where macaroni
and Cheese is enriched with gobs of cream cheese.

Joan's On Third
8350 W Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323) 655-2285


Anonymous said...

Cream cheese inside mac & cheese is such a neat idea!

Charles G Thompson said...

Hey Hilary! Love the blog! It's Charles from Uni (awards). William told me you were doing this so thought I'd check it out. Love Joans! Great post.