Sometimes one just needs to step away from the computer and get out in the daylight (Oh my, it that the sun I see?!?). I am talking about myself, of course. Today, I did just that.
I met a friend for a late lunch (there may have been an adult beverage involved…) at the Hi-Life in Ballard (Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle, for anyone not from here), a great little brunch spot that I’ve enjoyed in the past. I’ve never tried them for lunch, but knowing how delicious brunch is there, I wasn’t worried. But because I am an anal-retentive freak, I did some research just the same. Heading over to Yelp, I found that yep, they did indeed serve mac and cheese! After reading several reviews, including one in which the parents take their toddler to Hi-Life and order her mac and cheese, hoping that she isn’t all that hungry so they can polish it off, I was sold.
My friend loves being outdoors, so outdoor seating was a must and the Hi-Life has plenty of it. It is noteworthy that the restaurant is housed in the former Ballard Fire Station #18. The place has some great history, but we won’t get into that here.
I arrived a little early and parked in a one hour spot, figuring that I could move my car after an hour as parking wasn’t too bad at that time of day. I was seated and ordered a Strongbow cider and an iced tea (apparently I was severely dehydrated).
My friend arrived and we talked about the fact that we’d both enjoyed brunch at the Hi-Life, but hadn’t tried lunch or dinner. I mentioned the reviews I’d seen about the mac and cheese, and we decided to order it if our server allowed it. Apparently right now, the mac and cheese is only on the kids’ menu, so we weren’t sure if we’d be able to try it. After deciding on our lunch orders, we got to the serious business of catching up.
Our server, a lovely green-eyed gentleman with a great sense of humor, came by and I asked if we could order the mac and cheese, a kids-menu item, even though there was nary a child at our table. I mentioned that we’d considered asking the woman seated next to us, with a toddler, if we could borrow the little chap for a bit but didn’t think she’d be amenable. He thought this was quite funny and said he’d make it happen. Woo hoo!
In no time at all, our lunch was delivered. Oh boy, it was a lot of food. Looks like I have breakfast for tomorrow! I went with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, which featured 10-hour hickory-smoked pork shoulder in spicy BBQ sauce topped with Carolina slaw. It was luscious. The pork was perfectly cooked and falling apart but without the usual nasty gobbets of fat that tend to come with a pulled pork sandwich. A messy sammie, for sure, but one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I’ve had in a long time.
But you want to hear about the mac and cheese, right?
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. It looks…just like a plate of kids’ mac and cheese. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little underwhelmed. Until I tried it. I forked up a bit and the creamy-gooey-lusciousness presented itself all over my fork. Oh boy. In the first bite, I pretty much tasted childhood. A delicate mac and cheese with cream being the top note and cheese being secondary. But do not for one little second think that was a bad thing. It was AMAZING. The occasional zing of Parmesan only made it that much better. Ohboyohboyohboy. I restrained myself from Hoovering up the entire plate and allowed my friend a taste. I then spent the rest of my lunch coveting the mac and cheese but being restrained by proper etiquette which dictates that one must NOT eat all of a shared entree in one bite nor lick the plate clean afterward.
But man, was I tempted.
After we wrapped up our leftovers and paid the bill, our server mentioned that he double-checked with the kitchen and in the future, even if the mac and cheese isn’t on the menu (or only shows up on the kids menu), we can order it and they’ll make it. Great to know! I will definitely be ordering it in the future. Perhaps even for brunch!
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