’Tis Dining Month, the tastiest time of year! This means we’re dishing up fun and fascinating food content throughout October. Dig in, Milwaukee!
As the weather cools, there are few things more comforting than a bowl of macaroni and cheese. But which bowls of cheesy pasta goodness are worth seeking out? Lori Fredrich is on a mission to find out. Tune in every Monday for a new Cream City mac to try.
2569 S Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 489-7437
Honeypie Cafe has always done well with seasonal, locally sourced comfort foods. So, when I made my list of spots to try out for this series, they were right at the top of my list.
There’s no fuss about their macaroni and cheese, which features classic elbow macaroni bathed in white cheddar mornay and topped with buttered breadcrumbs, parmesan, green onions and bacon ($16). But there’s much to say about the actual dish, which came out of the kitchen looking like a top contender.
First of all, the portion of mac & cheese is more than generous. It's presented in a warm crock and topped with a light-but crispy layer of breadcrumbs, crisp smokey bacon and freshly julienned green onions.
If you’re looking for a cheese pull, you're not really going to find it with this mac. But what you will find is an amazingly cheesy, creamy dish that is quite nearly flawless in execution. Dip below the surface and you find nicely cooked pasta (just shy of al dente) which only gets better as you delve into the ultra-creamy mornay sauce. The sauce is the perfect consistency, just thick enough to generously coat the noodles, but not so thick that it’s unpleasantly sticky or clumpy.
The sauce packs a solid cheesy flavor that’s neither too sharp nor too mild; in fact, if homemade macaroni and cheese (that wasn’t made from Velveeta) gilded your dinner table when you were a child, this mac is likely to give you all of the best nostalgic feelings.
As classic as it is, this mac is also ramped up a notch with the crumbled bacon and scallions. When stirred into the well of ooey-gooey creamy cheesy goodness, the creamy sauce is boosted by a bit of the fresh, sweet onion flavor and a slight hint of meaty smoke. Neither ingredient was essential to the mac; but they both gilded the proverbial lily and gave this mac a slightly more "grown up" vibe.
The verdict? While I’ve not run into many duds in tasting through the macs for this series, Honeypie’s is undoubtedly the best I’ve tried thus far.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.