Banza recently came out with several boxed mac and cheeses, and when they contacted me to see if I’d like to give them a try, I was thrilled!
Not only was I interested in trying chickpea pasta, I also loved the fact that each of their mac and cheeses was gluten free, high fiber, soy free, non GMO, low glycemic index and rBST free.
Banza’s deluxe mac and cheese gives you twice the protein, four times the fiber, and fewer net carbs than your average mac and cheese. I call that a win-win for everyone.
The best part? It’s a deluxe version of their mac and cheese so there are no additional ingredients to worry about. Everything you need is already in the box: chickpea elbows and a pouch of cheddar sauce.
I cooked the pasta according to the directions on the package, then drained the pasta.
After adding the pasta back to the pan, I squeezed out the gooey cheese sauce and stirred for a bit.
All the happy memories of childhood without the guilt! I’m in!
The mac and cheese has a nice creamy cheddar tang – not too much, but it kept it from being bland. The texture and overall taste mimic traditional wheat pasta. I give it four enthusiastic elbows up!
The only thing I would have liked more of was a bit more of the cheese sauce in the pouch. The pasta soaked up the sauce quickly, leading to a bit of a dry finish. The next time I made this, I ended up adding two tablespoons of cream when I stirred the elbows and sauce together in the pan.
Are you looking for a seriously easy mac and cheese recipe that’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser? Look no further than this recipe. And it is endlessly versatile!
Mayonnaise seems to polarize people. You either love it or you cannot stand it! Me, I love it. I grew up in the Midwest and I think love for mayo, along with random, weird-inclusion, jello salads (seriously, there is one in my family that calls for orange jello, shredded carrots, pineapple and maraschino cherries…and my grandma would top it with a dollop of mayo – I kid you not) comes with the territory. Or perhaps it’s just me. If so, don’t burst my damn bubble.
Anyway, I love mayo. The hubs hates it, as does his mom, but they’re just wrong. As a mayonnaise lover, I am loyal to a classic: Best Foods (Hellman’s east of the Rocky Mountains). And it has to be the regular, full-fat version. None of this light (ick) or fat-free (yuck!) or olive-oil (meh) mayo, give me the original. So when I was on a food forum awhile back and I started hearing about how amazing Duke’s mayo was, of course I needed to check it out and taste for myself. Since we’re in the golden era of buy-anything-you-could-ever-need-online, I hopped onto the Duke’s website and ordered some mayo for myself. Just to be sure, I ordered a few containers. And while I was on the site, I happened to see the recipes section. Which is where I found their recipe for Duke’s Mayo Mac & Cheese!
Are you still with me? Good. So my Duke’s mayo came and I was pretty excited to try it. I tried it plain (mayo lovers, tell me that dipping into a virgin container of mayo for a small taste is not heaven), then in a sandwich, then in tuna salad, and then atop the aforementioned orange jello salad. Yes, I am serious.
And then finally, I tried it out in the Duke’s Mac & Cheese recipe.
As recipes go, this one is wonderfully simple: pasta, cheese, mayo and sour cream. I decided to fancy it up just a bit, simply because that is what I had in the pantry. Barilla campanelle (because I love the little horn shape), Duke’s Mayonnaise, Tillamook sour cream, and Beecher’s Flagship and Smoked Flagship cheeses. Because it was my first time trying the recipe, I kept it at the main ingredients and didn’t add any additions like seasonings, bread crumbs or chives.
I cooked the campanelle per the instructions on the box, then drained the pasta. I shredded the cheese, and measured out the sour cream and mayo.
Then I preheated the oven to 325 degrees and Pammed a 13×9 baking dish.
I popped everything into the large pot in which I’d cooked the pasta, then gave it all a good stir.
Once everything was happily combined, I popped it into the baking dish and into the oven it went for thirty minutes.
Looks pretty amazing, right? I let it sit for five minutes, to ensure that it set just enough to take it from “sloppy” to “gooey”.
We kept it simple and cooked some beef kielbasa to go along with the mac and cheese for dinner.
Time to dish up the mac and cheese. Creamy is the first thing that came to mind when I tasted it. Then came the subtle smokiness of the Smoked Flagship cheese, followed by just a hint of tang from the mayo.
Overall, a wonderful flavor combination! I believe the smoky cheese saved it from being just a tad bland. Three and a half elbows up for this one, and honestly it could be in the five-elbow range with some modifications – and to be fair, I love bold flavors so it will be perfect as is for most folks. Next time, I may halve the amount of sour cream as while it helped make the mac and cheese creamy, it also may have thrown a blanket on some of the flavor that may have otherwise shown through. But because of the simplicity of this recipe, it is an ideal dish for a crowd! So, who’s up for a dinner party?
I was contacted recently by Banza, a company I’d not previously been aware of. They let me know they were debuting a line of boxed mac and cheeses and wanted to know if I would give them a try.
Of course I would! Banza specializes in chickpea pasta, and each of their boxed mac and cheeses are gluten free, high fiber, soy free, non GMO, low glycemic index, and rBST free.
Here is my review of Banza’s Shells with Classic Cheddar mac and cheese. This box offers twice the protein, eight times and fiber and fewer net carbs than your average mac and cheese. Healthy mac and cheese??? Yes, it IS possible and does exist!
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this mac and cheese: box, milk, and butter. I went with fat-free milk as that’s what I happened to have in the fridge.
Above is the cheese powder, and below are the box contents.
I cooked the pasta per the box directions, then drained it and added it back to the pan. The directions specifically state to make the sauce, THEN add the pasta back to the pan, but apparently I can’t read very well.
After the pasta was back in the pan, I added the cheese powder, 1/4 cup of fat-free milk and two tablespoons of butter and stirred and stirred.
You can see the pure creaminess in the photo alone! I can tell you, it was lovely in person as well.
Three solid elbows up for Banza’s Shells with Classic Cheddar. Delicious!It has a nice, solid cheddar flavor and wasn’t too salty as some other boxed mac and cheeses can be.
And if you want to up the creamy ante, you can sub in 1/3 cup of heavy cream for the milk and butter that the directions call for. Only if you’re feeling decadent, of course.
Chasing a 13-month-old around the house all day invariably leads to several thoughts repeating themselves in the midst of all the chaos. While we won’t talk about some of the more desperate thoughts, like, “Gee, I wonder how they’re coming along on creating a household robot to follow you around and clean up as you go,” one of these thoughts is invariably, “Boy, I used to scoff at the notion of Date Night for couples with kids…now, I see what all the fuss is about!”
We are incredibly lucky to have an amazing tribe to support us with our little one. So, recently we chose a random weeknight and headed out for a quick Date Night dinner. No movie, just dinner, but it was a start. Since this was an initial foray, we stayed close to home.
Because mac and cheese ALWAYS sounds good to me, we looked for a local place that served it. We landed at Gainsbourg, a small place on Greenwood that has an inviting patio during the warmer months. We’d both passed it many times and had wanted to try it, but prior to tonight hadn’t made it there. Since it was a lovely balmy evening, we sat on the patio in front of the restaurant.
Since the hubs doesn’t think one can live on mac and cheese alone (blasphemy!), we ordered several items: French onion soup with a gruyere crouton; sauteed mushrooms with tarragon, shallot, garlic and truffle oil; poisson du jour, which was a nice piece of salmon, and the macaronis et fromage, which featured penne, brie, gruyere and roasted garlic with a house salad.
While I will definitely admit to checking my phone often for updates and issues, it was wonderful to relax and sit outside, watching everyone wander along Greenwood. But back to the mac and cheese.
Did you get a good look? At the nicely browned cheese bits on top, and the crunchy, buttery breadcrumbs and the yummy creaminess beneath?
Delicieux, merveilleux, incroyable! Gainsbourg wins for having the most creamy mac and cheese, especially because the creaminess lasted through the last bite! Most times, your mac and cheese will congeal a bit on you as you head toward the finish, but this one stayed luscious and creamy all the way through. Perhaps it was the addition of the Brie, I will need to tinker with this in the mac and cheese lab soon. Four enthousiaste elbows up for this one.
If you’re in Seattle and especially if you’re near the Greenwood neighborhood, you really need to do your taste buds a favor and get them over to Gainsbourg soon to savor the lovely bowl of lusciousness that is their macaronis et fromage. And their house salad was a terrific complement.
Recently the most delicious company, Banza, reached out to me and said, “Hey! We have some amazing new mac and cheese that we thought you’d want to try!” This has happened to me in the past, usually to good results, so I said, “Please tell me more!” And soon after, the most delicious parcel arrived in the mail.
Currently, Banza offers three versions of their chickpea mac and cheese. Chickpea? Why yes, and as soon as you wrap your head around that, let me tell you how delicious chickpea pasta tastes in mac and cheese (among other things). And even better, each of these versions is gluten free, high fiber, soy free, non GMO, low glycemic index and rBST free.
First up: Banza’s Elbows with White Cheddar. As with all the Banza mac and cheese offerings, this one weighed in with a bountiful 18 grams of protein and is gluten free. If you’re following a lower-carb regimen, this little box offers twice the protein, eight times the fiber and fewer net carbs than your average mac and cheese.
To make this mac and cheese, you’ll need the box, milk (I went with fat free), and butter. Simple!
Here are the contents of the box, and the white cheese powder packet:
The directions on the box say to add the pasta to boiling water and cook for 5 – 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the macaroni was cooked (I cooked it for six minutes), I popped it into a colander and once drained, added it back to the warm pan.
Then I added the fat-free milk, butter and cheese to the pan and stirred. The directions call for you to mix the milk, butter and cheese powder into a sauce and then add the pasta back to the pan, but apparently I can’t read, haha.
The sauce came together just fine, as you can see – creamy and delicious, and I was ready to dig in!
And how was it? Creamy, with a subtle white cheddar flavor and a perfect little zing of saltiness. Not overdone, just enough to make your tastebuds say, “More, please!”
I tasted the pasta by itself out of curiosity, and found it to have a very slightly nutty, earthy essence. This disappeared when I added the sauce, and I honestly couldn’t tell much difference between the chickpea pasta and a more traditional wheat pasta once the whole thing came together and the ingredients melded together.
If you want a creamier version (although this one was nice and creamy made as directed on the box), you can replace the milk and butter with 1/3 cup of heavy cream. That just takes it over the top into mac and cheese decadence. Three elbows up for Banza’s Elbows With White Cheddar!
I have a confession to make: there are so many amazing mac and cheese options here in Seattle and in the Pacific Northwest in general that I have a huge bucket list of places I need to visit and fill my pie-hole. Henry’s Tavern, and their singular mac and cheese burger, have been on that list for a very, very long time. Since life (and wanting to stay roughly the same size as to continue to be able to fit into my clothes…) has a way of getting away from you at times, I haven’t made much progress on the Seattle mac and cheese bucket list. But here and there, I do have an occasion to cross one off my list.
Enter Henry’s Tavern. I was approached by the fine folks there who offered a gift card so that I could try their mac and cheese burger and write up a review of my thoughts. After clarifying that I am scrupulous about being honest in any reviews written, we were all on the same page. And looking back, of course they were in. They’d already tasted the delicious goodness that is their mac and cheeseburger! Done deal.
On a quiet weekend, we headed in to give Henry’s Tavern a try. We chose a quiet weekend because as you may or may not know, Henry’s Tavern is right near both Safeco and CenturyLink Fields. So, they are hugely popular with the sporting crowd because they have a huge back area equipped with the perfect accoutrements for watching the game: places to sit and gather around tons of big-screen TVs, food, 100 beers on tap, and the like. And that doesn’t even count their big outdoor area!
Once I had a good look at the menu, I realized that I not only needed to try the mac and cheese burger but to get a better idea of the foundation of said burger (the mac and cheese…), I needed to order their mac and cheese straight up as well. Realizing that mac and cheese, both in pure form and on a luscious burger, isn’t the lightest of foods, we went in hungry. Good thing we did!
When this beautiful monster was set down gently in front of us, I think we both may have swooned a little. Then came the mac and cheese itself, and we realized that we were WAY out of our league. This was going to make two meals, easy.
The details: The mac & cheese burger comes with mac & cheese, cheddar ale sauce, Applewood-smoked bacon, garlic mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and dill pickles. I ordered it medium well and picked off the onions once the burger arrived (why? Because I don’t, in general, like onions, especially when raw. I think they’re flavor spotlight hogs, like peppers, but that’s a conversation for another time).
I like things saucy, and this burger did not disappoint. The cheddar ale sauce took it beyond good. The mayo, a dab of ketchup, and of course the mac and cheese took it over the edge into amazingly-good territory. And it was one of the juiciest burgers I’ve had in a while, even cooked medium-well. The kitchen staff definitely knows what they’re doing back there! I had planned to save some for breakfast the next day and well, that just didn’t happen. They’re lucky I left the plate behind.
And the mac and cheese itself? Luscious, large shells liberally doused in a creamy, cheesy sauce (cheddar and Parmesan) that had just a hint of garlic. Not enough to ward off vampires nor even annoy a first date, but enough to give it just that little extra oomph of flavor that takes a good mac and cheese and makes it great. Did I mention creamy? Definitely nice and saucy. And even better? It reheated beautifully the next morning for the most decadent breakfast ever. Hey, don’t judge ’til you’ve been there.
I will be coming back to Henry’s Tavern for their mac and cheese burger, and their mac and cheese (and their wedge salad, but that’s for another day).
Honestly, the hearty goodness of the cheeseburger overshadowed the standout flavor of the mac and cheese itself; while substantial, you just couldn’t discern the mac and cheese from the rest of the burger bite-to-bite. The burger was stellar, but it would have been so if the mac and cheese had been left off. And the mac and cheese itself is such a star, it would be a shame to judge it just by its presence on the cheeseburger.
So you, my friend, are left with the same dilemma I had when I first saw the Henry’s menu: mac & cheese burger, mac and cheese, or both? In this case, always choose both as each in itself is a thing of foodie beauty to be savored.
It’s almost time for Mardi Gras! Like it or lump it, you can’t argue with the fact that for many people, Mardi Gras is simply synonymous with good times, frivolity, and joie de vivre. And without ado, Laissez les bon temps roulez!
While Seattle is known for many things, including many foodie-type things, crawfish and andouille sausage are not among those things. So, I placed an order with my brother from another bayou and through the miracle of FedEx, I had fresh crawfish tails and andouille sausage at my doorstep.
The rest of my ingredients were locally sourced from AmazonFresh. Well, their warehouse is local, so it counts, right? (I forgot to include the breadcrumb ingredients in the photo above – it was one of those days. Picture a container of Panko bread crumbs behind the tomatoes and you’re all set.)
The beauty of this recipe is in its versatility. And not just because I give you a stove-top version and a baked version, either! Just like making jambalaya: you throw whatever meat or seafood you have on hand into the pot and call it good. This recipe features crawfish and andouille sausage, but you could easily substitute one or both or these for chicken, turkey, beef, ostrich, pork, gator, hot dogs (okay, that’s a stretch but not unheard of), shrimp, fish…you get the idea. And if you have a health nut in the family (*cough* husband *cough*), you can also throw a couple of handfuls of spinach in the finished product and call it “healthy”. Yeah.
Let’s do this. Start by preheating your oven at 350 degrees, and Pam an oven-safe container. This mac and cheese makes enough to feed everyone and their family, so if you have a large Le Creuset or dutch oven, that should be big enough. I initially made this in a 13×9 Pyrex pan and I had at least four cups of mac and cheese that wouldn’t fit in the pan.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (keep it on the al dente side). Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, prep your ingredients: chop your onion and peppers, mince the garlic and parsley, shred the Cheddar cheese.
Next, make the breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, a tablespoon of melted bacon fat and a tablespoon of minced parsley. Stir to combine and set aside. ***NOTE: Do not make the breadcrumbs if you’re going to make the stove-top version of this recipe. Also, go turn off the oven.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of bacon fat (yes, you are detecting a theme here). While the fat is melting, crumble (or slice, depending on which kind you get) the andouille sausage into the skillet.
Brown over medium heat until, well, browned. Add the crawfish tails, fat that they came in and all, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until the tails are warmed. Remove the crawfish and sausage from the skillet using a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside.
To the same large skillet (don’t wipe out the skillet, you want the nice flavorful fat and meat bits in there!), add the garlic, onion and peppers and cook over low heat until the onions are slightly caramelized and the peppers are softened, about 15 minutes.
Over medium heat, melt one tablespoon bacon fat in the same large pot in which you cooked the pasta. Once melted, add flour and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk as the roux cooks for three minutes. Still whisking, slowly stream in the milk and cook the mixture, whisking frequently, for five minutes or until it begins to thicken.
Add the Cheddar to the pot and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce and stir to combine. Next, add the sauteed veggies and the tomatoes, then the pasta, and stir until everything’s well-mingled and happy.
If you’re wanting a stove-top version, you’re done here. And hopefully you didn’t turn on the oven to preheat previously. Spoon up the delectable gooeyness, top with some parsley, and you’re good to go.
If you’re still with me, that means you want the baked version of this recipe. Grab your Pammed pan and spoon the mac and cheese into it. If you run out of room, just grab another pan. Top your mac and cheese with the breadcrumb mixture, then pop it into the oven to bake for twenty minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool for five minutes. It is a loooooooooong five minutes. But the house smells amazing.
Get out your bowl and spoons and grab your friends. Make sure you have a bunch of them over, because this mac and cheese serves a whole passel of people.
It looks luscious, right? It tastes even better. Promise. Between four and five elbows up! I sent it in with my hubs to his office, and there was a standing ovation (or maybe that was just in my mind…). Well, I know at least two people went back for seconds. Even with all that flavor going on, the crawfish and the andouille stand out. And the ever-so-subtle smoky essence from the bacon fat adds another layer of mouthwatering yum. The spicy afterburn just makes it that much better.
A direct quote: “Tell the wife…THIS IS SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!”
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and Pam a large oven-safe pan. (for baked version only)
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.
Make breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, one tablespoon melted bacon fat and minced parsley. Stir to combine and set aside. ***NOTE: Do not make breadcrumbs for the stove-top version of this recipe.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of bacon fat. Crumble andouille sausage into skillet. Brown over medium heat. Add crawfish tails and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until tails are warmed, about two minutes. Remove mixture from skillet using a slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside.
To the same large skillet, add garlic, onion and peppers and cook over low heat until softened, about 15 minutes.
Over medium heat, melt one tablespoon bacon fat in the same large pot in which you cooked the pasta. Once melted, add flour and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk and cook for three minutes. Slowly add milk and cook, whisking frequently, for five minutes.
Add Cheddar to the pot and stir until cheese is melted. Add salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce and stir to combine. Add sauteed veggies and tomatoes, then pasta, and stir.
Stove-top version: plate and enjoy!
Baked version, continue the recipe here. Spoon mac and cheese into Pammed pan. Top with breadcrumb mixture, then bake for twenty minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool for five minutes.
Serve and scarf down immediately!
Laissez les bon temps roulez! Oh, and pork fat rules.
I’m serious. If you don’t loveloveLOVE blue cheese, you should try one of my other blue-cheese mac recipes – this is not for you. If, however, you revel in the sharp, tangy cheese-funk that is powerful blue cheese, then this recipe is, indeed, for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!
True story: when I was developing a blue mac and cheese recipe, my initial attempt was this very recipe. It was shot down my my husband. It was shot down by his entire office staff. And even for me, a blue-cheese loving freak, it was a bit too strong. So, knowing this, consider yourself warned.
Did I mention it’s a gluten-free recipe? Indeed. And if you can tolerate gluten, you can absolutely adjust the recipe to make it with plain old white flour instead of gluten-free flour and with a wheat-based pasta rather than a rice-based pasta. Even cooler? The Tillamook and Maytag cheeses I used in this recipe are gluten-free.
Heat some water in a nice large pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, drop your gluten-free pasta in and prepare according to the package directions.
Shred your Cheddar and crumble your blue cheese while the pasta is cooking. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set aside.
In the same large pot, melt the butter and once melted, whisk in the gluten-free flour. Whisk over medium heat for two minutes. Add the milk, streaming slowly into the pot while you continue to whisk (sensing a theme here? Whisk. Always whisk.) Cook the mixture over medium heat for four minutes, whisking frequently, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove your pot from the heat source.
Stir in the salt, pepper and one tablespoon of your minced chives. Next, add the two cheeses and stir until the cheeses are melted and everything’s happy. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Divvy that pungent mac and cheese up into individual bowls and top with the remaining chives. And you’d better be sure all your friends like stinky cheese as much as you do!
The verdict? Well, you got a good inkling in my intro above. Piquant, pungent, powerful…all encompass this particular mac and cheese recipe. I give this recipe two elbows up because it is simply too strong – heck, it could probably put hair on your chest! Or maybe you could use it to break up congestion in lieu of Vicks VapoRub. I’ll leave that up to you. And if you do try this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments!
The Seahawks are going to the Superbowl for the second time in two years! I’m so excited, I can barely hold onto my whisk. The Mac & Cheesehawk is back!
Since I’m guessing you want nothing to do with a green mac and cheese (I won’t subject you to a kale mac and cheese – some things just don’t translate very well and after trying a few versions of mac and cheese with kale in them, I have to say I am not a raving fan), we’re going with a blue mac and cheese in honor of the Seahawks! Actually, now that I think of it, this mac and cheese has both blue (cheese) and green (chives) – perfect!
I must come clean here. I tried an initial version of this mac and it was SO incredibly blue-cheese-laden powerful, I couldn’t eat it. Well, more than three bites. I couldn’t eat more than three bites. I send it in to the hubs’ office, and the staff concurred…you’d have to be an absolute stark-raving stinky-blue-cheese nut in order to enjoy this one. BUT, because I know some of you will still want to try it (you crazy kids, you), here’s the recipe.
This time around, I toned down the blue and amped up the creamy factor with some lovely Neufchatel cheese. I also made this one gluten free, although if you’re not celiac or gluten-intolerant, you could always just use ordinary pasta and flour in place of the brown rice pasta and gluten-free flour. And one thing I learned while developing this recipe: the Tillamook, Maytag, and Philly Neufchatel cheeses I used in this recipe are gluten-free. I considered using a quinoa pasta, but ended up with one of my standards instead: Tinkyada’s brown rice fusilli.
Start by cooking your pasta in a large pot per package directions. Drain, then set aside. While the pasta is cooking, shred/crumble/chunk your cheeses and mince your snipped chives.
In the same large pot, add the butter and allow it to melt over low heat. Add the gluten-free flour and whisk briskly for about two minutes over medium heat. Slowly add your milk, still whisking madly. Once the milk is incorporated, cook the mixture, whisking frequently, over medium heat until it begins to thicken, about three minutes.
Remove your pot from the heat source, and add the salt, pepper, one tablespoon of your chives, and stir to combine. Next, add your cheeses and stir until the cheeses are melted and you have a lovely, thick-yet-smooth sauce.
Now you’re ready to plate your creation, and top each bowl with a bit of the remaining tablespoon of snipped chives.
How was it? A solid four elbows up! I’m a discerning pasta freak, and the gluten-free brown rice pasta tastes just like an ordinary gluten-filled pasta. The toothiness and texture are the same, and the pasta picks up the sauce beautifully.
Did I mention that mac and cheese is a perfect food for the Super Bowl? Especially for my Seahawks fans out there – this is the recipe you’ll want to serve on February 1st. And on that note, here is my recipe.
Okay, not so much chance as Jessica at Caviar contacting me to see if I’d be willing to give their delivery service a whirl. There was mac and cheese involved, so (hello, you all know me…) of course I said I’d love to!
I’ve tried several other Seattle-area delivery services and have never really been all that enthusiastic. Especially after that incident with the crushed containers due to them riding in the front basket of a delivery person’s bicycle. Yuck. But back to Caviar, and their ever-so-enticing offer of delivery mac and cheese.
Prior to Caviar, my best experience with delivery was back when I discovered one of my favorite sushi places offered delivery. I was sold. They still haven’t, however, gotten onto the online order-placing gravy train (really, must I pick up a phone to order? Oy.) – which is sad because I, like many folks, will take the path of least resistance when it comes to delivery and thus, I end up finding somewhere else online from which to order my delivery. Our favorite pizza delivery place made it to that coveted spot because they were one of the first to offer online ordering. And I’m a loyal customer, so they continue to get our business.
Back to Caviar. I hopped online and perused the site. The first thing that stood out for me was the fact that your first delivery is free! And I loved the fact that you could see delivery times right below the restaurant information.
And since I knew from my conversation with Jessica that Bitterroot BBQ in Ballard offered mac and cheese on their menu, that was where I headed. See where is says “Choose any 2 ingredients” up there? That means you can add bacon. Bacon, at no extra charge. Bitterroot BBQ was making me feel very special.
I ended up choosing several items for the hubs and I to try for lunch (yes, it was a big lunch). Hey, the alternative was ordering two mac & cheeses – and that just seemed a bit over the top, even for me.
The minute I placed my order, I received a text message letting me know that my order was in the works. Then, I received a second one telling me that my order was on it’s way and included a tracking link – awesome! The last text came after the order was delivered – these guys are phenomenal at follow-through, which is of utmost importance for any service-based business.
I don’t think I’ve been that excited to see a delivery person in quite a long while. And you notice the two bigger boxes? One of those contained the mac and cheese – oh yes. And since I am a saucy person, I was happy to see the sauces lovingly packed in their own little box.
We opened the smoked chicken Caesar salad first and popped it onto a plate.
Next was the pulled pork sandwich and the sauces. Look at those amazing pickled carrots!
Not that I have a flair for the dramatic or anything, but because anticipation is a beautiful thing I waited and opened the mac and cheese last. Do you see the portion size? That’s a dinner plate.
A. Dinner. Plate.
And the mac and cheese almost spills over the edge. Yowza! And check out those crispy bacon nuggets nestled into that cheesy, saucy, gooey goodness.
Let’s all just take a moment and appreciate this beautiful plate of macaroni and cheese.
So, down to brass tacks. How was it? Luscious. An edgy tang to the mac and cheese that made my taste buds wish they could actually sing. There’s a reason Bitterroot’s mac and cheese made Thrillist’s Best Mac & Cheese in Seattle list. And the rest? The smoked chicken Caesar was great – a little sparse on the chicken, but delicious smoky flavor, and perfectly dressed (not dry, not goopy). The pulled pork sammie was divine, and I could not decide which sauce I enjoyed most. I was dunking the damn thing like a donut. The pork spilling over the substantial pretzel roll definitely made up for the smaller portion of chicken on the salad.
I give both Bitterroot and Caviar five enthusiastic elbows up – and it’s only a matter of time before the siren song of that mac and cheese calls me again. The great news? When it does, I know Caviar will get my delivery to me as soon as humanly possible…and give me updates all along the way.
DISCLAIMER: TryCaviar was kind enough to contact me and offer a $25 credit (essentially, a free lunch) for trying their service and providing an honest review. I was so impressed with the service and their food offerings, I’ll be trying sushi delivery next. Did I mention there are TWO restaurants to choose from? Woo hoo!