Cheese and macaroni

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 | All Things, Eats


Back at Westville, this time with M. I hauled a canvas bag full of organic vegetables — included in this week’s share: brussels sprouts on the stalk, and the never-ending crop of kale! — and made my way down to West 10th Street through the light drizzle on Seventh Avenue.

Brussel Sprouts

As usual, there was already a small crowd gathered outside the restaurant door, so I promptly wrote my name on the clipboard quaintly hanging from the nail under the awning. M arrived just minutes behind me and together we waited on the sidewalk outside the cozy (read: tiny) restaurant, craning our necks for a glimpse of an opening among the tightly packed wooden tables.

At last we were beckoned inside by one of the slacker waiters. Of course, M and I had to share an order of the smokey mac n’ cheese — this time with bacon. I’ve been a bit obsessed with macaroni and cheese lately, perhaps inspired by my last visit to Westville. By coincidence — or fate — the next morning, NPR featured a piece on the dish’s history and its many varieties. In it, commentator Joseph C. Phillips rails against the “artificial orange lab experiment” that is processed macaroni and cheese.

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would  eat Kraft Dinner.
Of course we would: we’d just eat more!

— “If I Had $1000000,” Barenaked Ladies — who performed this song, among others, at Radio City Music Hall last night.

Smoky Mac n Cheese

Popular folklore has it that Thomas Jefferson invented macaroni and cheese. The theory has since been discredited, but it’s documented that Jefferson served the dish (made with his preferred imported Parmesan cheese) at the White House in 1802, and American recipes for pasta with cheese can be traced to at least that time period. In The Man Who Ate Everything, lawyer turned food journalist Jeffrey Steingarten describes an 1802 recipe as the “very first recipe ever printed on the back of an American box.” The recipe was, in fact, printed on sheets of paper wrapped around bundles of dried noodles produced at the first American pasta factory in Philadelphia.

The cast iron turkey burger on a Portuguese muffin was supremely solid, as usual: lean, yet juicy, and served with a side of lightly dressed greens and juicy slices of onion and tomato. Best turkey burger in the city.

Turkey Burger

And for dessert: a pair of Westville’s homemade Oreos: hockey puck-sized, soft, chewy dark chocolate cookies spread with vanilla cream.

Homemade Oreos

I’ve yet to investigate, but I’ve read that Bouchon Bakery has its own version of the Keebler treat: the TKO (which stands for “Thomas Keller Oreo,” not “technical knockout”), made with Valrhona cookie wafers sandwiching white chocolate ganache. Mmm.

There are 3 Comments ... Cheese and macaroni

November 18, 2006

Funny. The brussels sprouts look the most appealing to me here. Must have too much meat lately. And Thanksgiving is coming up…!

November 18, 2006

I’d buy your love. 😉

November 18, 2006

Go for it ...