Thanksgiving is right around the corner in the US. Have you done your last minute planning and grocery shopping? We haven’t! There’s still time though, and plenty of inspiration out there for some tasty dishes. Though the traditional thanksgiving dinner is usually centered on turkey, you can really go outside the box, especially with sides. The New York Times recently posted a list of recipes, one for each state, inspired by local tastes and ingredients (purportedly). Some of the choices are pretty obvious like venison for Montana, through other choices have attracted some ridicule, like grape salad for Minnesota, which earned a slew of counter-articles. While the selection for pumpkin soup for Illinois is okay, we are personally eyeing the lobster mac n cheese from Maine. Annie’s Eats has a lovely recipe, pictured below, for another lobster mac option. Mac and Cheese itself is pretty all-American, given that its predecessor was first brought to the US by Thomas Jefferson. What do you think about the recipe choice for your state?
Tag Archives: Macaroni and cheese
In honor of Presidents Day – we decided to share a little bit of presidential food lore – according to food legend Macaroni and cheese was popularized in America by none other than Thomas Jefferson. Of course, macaroni and cheese, or as it was known then (simply as Macaroni) was very different than its modern-day counterpart, and consisted with pasta layered with butter and cheese. Jefferson didn’t invent Macaroni and Cheese, as similar recipes were already known in Europe, but he was one of the dish’s popularizers in the United States after he first sampled it in Europe. There is actually a historical record for Thomas Jefferson’s foodie discovery, he was fond of pasta and even requested a pasta machine from Europe, which was listed in his list of possessions moved from Philadelphia to Monticello, and he certainly served Macaroni at official functions. Macaroni and cheese is purported to have been served by Jefferson as early as 1802, and it appeared in the 1824 Virginia Housewife cookbook, recipe adapted here. So for helping to bring Macaroni and Cheese to the USA, we say, thank you Thomas Jefferson!
3800 N. Pulaski
So obviously, the ‘south’ is not a country, but it does have a rich culinary tradition of its own, so we’re comfortable including it on ETW. Well, mostly because it’s a darn tasty cuisine. Our latest adventure into Southern Foodways is Smoque Barbecue. Smoque has gotten a lot of press, so we went in with some skepticism. Could it really be as good as all this hype? Short answer = yes. We arrived at 11 AM on a Saturday, right when Smoque was opening. We could tell that they did a brisk takeout service, from the fact that there was already a line, and someone had called in an order of 20+ sandwiches to go.
The menu itself is probably what you would expect from a BBQ place – the choices of meat are Pulled Pork, Brisket, Chicken and Texas sausage (which they began to make this Summer). They also have 2 types of ribs: Baby back and St. Louis. What was interesting though was that you could order small side orders or some of the meats – so if you felt like sampling something, but didn’t want a whole sandwich or a platter you can do it for $3. A ‘taste’ 1/4 slab of ribs is $4.
For lunch we opted for a Pulled Pork Sandwich platter ($8.95) and Sliced Brisket sandwich platter ($8.95). Each of these came with one side as well as homemade cole slaw. Interestingly, even for a take-in order, though there is some sauce on the sandwich, it isn’t slathered, and the order comes with a cup of the BBQ sauce came on the side. At first we were skeptical, but it makes a lot of sense since then you can add as much as you want and the roll doesn’t fall to mush. In the end we ended up using most of the cup anyway, since Smoque’s stock in trade is its peppery, vinegary, yet semi-sweet BBQ sauce. Delicious – not too too sweet, but not to vinegary either, I don’t know what they do, but they’re doing it right.
Onto the sandwiches – both were amazing. As you can see, the portions were generous. One of our sides was baked beans – which were excellent – turns out that they cook them in with the meat and BBQ scraps – so they have some nice smoky flavor. The mac and cheese was also delightfully creamy and decadent, and we would definitely recommend it to Mac and Cheese aficionados. The one disappointment was the small peach cobbler, which was only so-so ($1.95). The brisket, which you can get either sliced or chopped is uber-tender and comes with a nice smoky, crusty exterior. My sister, who doesn’t even like BBQ, loved it. the pulled pork sandwich though, was my favorite. The pork itself is light pink from the smoking and practically melts in your mouth. We were raving about our food for days.
Truth be told though, the location is pretty random – it’s right off of the Kennedy expressway, and tucked into an unassuming building in a mostly residential area. However, a few weeks after our maiden voyage, we made the venture again to get takeout. Now I understand why they do such a brisk takeout business – it tastes good even after an hour car ride! So if you can make the trip over – you should try to do it – this is some good BBQ.
Small World Cafe
14 Witherspoon St.
The mac and cheese at this place is phenomenal! Enough said.
Small World offers a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, but we did not try them. No need to, since the mac and cheese was the star attraction. The mac and cheese itself is a deceptively simple blend of curly cellentani pasta, mozzarella, gruyère and fontina cheese with a seasoned, crispy breadcrumb topping. We ended up eating two cups for lunch (one cup is $4.25/a larger bowl is $7.25). After we ordered our 2nd cup, there was only one cup left in the entire batch for the day (It was about 12:45 PM on a Wednesday at this point). As we were chowing down, we witnessed a lot of disappointed patrons who wandered in just moments too late. Sorry guys!