Restaurant offers trendy alternative to mac ‘n cheese

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Photo Courtesy of Jordan Holman

Jordan Holman, News Editor

When I think of comfort food, I usually don’t associate the term with the sleek and chic gourmet restaurants in San Francisco. A warm, cheesy bowl of macaroni normally comes to mind.

However, Mac’d, a DIY mac ‘n cheese shop located on Fillmore Street, proves that the two are actually quite symbiotic. Eloquence and creativity complement sodium-saturated all-American classics perfectly.

This cozy cafe is the hidden gem of lower Nob Hill. Upon entering, I was met with a bright neon sign with the words “Stay Cheesin’” welcoming me into the restaurant. Customers lined up to have their photo taken in front of this soon-to-be-iconic sign.

Next, patrons approached the counter and followed the step by step guide outlining how to construct the ideal mac ‘n cheese creation.

Step 1: Choose a sauce—which, mind you, isn’t an easy task. The choices range from basic zesty cheese and savory pesto to flaming hot jalapeno, garlicky goodness, and even a plant-based cashew cheese option to fulfill all customers’ desires.

Step 2: Choose a pasta type. This is crucial because, after all, the kind of noodles you like says a lot about a person. You can choose between elbowed or shelled (which is obviously the right choice) or even opt for cauliflower if deciding to go gluten free.

Step 3: Choose a mix-in. This is the fun part. The choices appear to be almost unlimited. If stuffing hot dogs, bacon, or even shrimp into your mac ‘n cheese satisfies your taste buds, then you’ve come to the right place. Or, if you’re taking a slightly healthier and more traditional approach, tomatoes, corn, and mushrooms are all wonderful options, too.

Step 4: Top it all off with panko (bread crumbs), truffle oil, fried chicken, or hot cheetos.

Step 5: Take a bite!

I launched my fork into the bowl of greasy greatness and immediately felt the cheese melt in my mouth. I tasted the juicy tomatoes and sweet corn as they paired perfectly with my slimy shelled noodles.

The panko to mac is ratio is immaculate. The crispiness of the bread crumbs is the cherry on top. Not overpowering, but flavorful enough to add a dash of deliciousness to the dish.

Mac’d is cool, classy, and cutting edge. It provides fun, creative, and customized alternatives to your otherwise run-of-the-mill mac ‘n cheese. It’s helped coin a new term: the gourmet greasy spoon.

Mac’d really is the epitome of San Francisco: trendy and unique, while maintaining that infectious sense of comfort, style, and tradition that makes it so irresistible.

Mac’d is located at 3347 Fillmore St in San Francisco.

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