Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the tag “mac and cheese”

The Par Lounge

Still the best mac & cheese in Ramona!


(Visited October 2019) As many of you know, mac & cheese is my favorite vegetable! When CFA came out with their homespun version I was all over it. I’ve tried many fast food varieties of this comfort food classic and they all pale in comparison. CFA mac is legit, that I can tell you! Their drive-thrus should be open right now during these trying times. Highly recommended.

Grand Ole BBQ

Lady Bird’s Texas Red Chili was outstanding at Grand Ole BBQ in Flinn Springs! Comes in cup or bowl, you can add shredded cheddar, sour cream, red onions, pico, etc. The chili is made with BBQ pork and beef with ground chilies, spices and beer. The best part, NO beans! For some reason you can also add mac & cheese for an additional charge. I’m not sure who thinks that sounds good mixed with chili. I requested it on the side and I’m glad I did. It was excellent. Highly recommended if you visit GOB and happen to be a chili fan. They also make a chili verde (green) version. I

Cracker Barrel

Last May, FoodObs family embarked on a fun road trip from San Diego to Oklahoma! The next 15 or so blog posts will chronicle the gastronomic aspects of that trip. I’ll even add a few extra ancillary photos from along the way.

We met friends for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Prescott Valley, AZ. Such a nice town. The meatloaf was outstanding! I have to say, I recently tried the meatloaf at Black Bear Diner and was disappointed. The Barrel definitely has it going on when it comes to the loaf!

Some additional fun pics: driving north through middle-of-nowhere Arizona…

STACKED: Food Well Built

We love STACKED in Fashion Valley Mall and would probably go more often if the parking lots weren’t so jacked up. This time we had one of their STACKED Mac offerings. Spicy Sausage & Bacon, kicked up with the spicy, smokey flavor of chipotle. The whole thing is stacked with andouille sausage, jalapeño bacon, maters and red onion. Definitely an outstanding and spicy adaptation of mac & cheese that had my nose running in no time. Also enjoyed a beautiful order of garlic Parmesan fries with some of their signature dipping sauces. Everything here is extremely customizable with options that will suit any taste. Highly recommended if you’ve never been. Just avoid the place during December and weekends.

Pioneer BBQ

One of my new favorite restaurants in east county, Pioneer Barbecue in San Carlos is an absolute standout! They sport an impressive menu with a thoughtful and original selection of smoked meat combos, brisket-topped burgers, whiskey-glazed meatloaf sandwiches, and many other BBQ classics. The atmosphere, vibe and service is all top-shelf. I was really impressed! Totally worth the short drive down from Ramona. A plethora of beer on tap and a full bar with great looking cocktails. I highly recommend if you haven’t been.

I ordered a two-meat combo and selected the split chicken and links. Chicken was a brined, tender, smoked half-chicken that was just excellent. Crispy skin and moist, succulent meat. The links were smoked beef and pork dotted with cheddar cheese nodules. Some of the best BBQ sausages I’ve had! Tater salad was outstanding. Made with bacon, mayo, onion, celery, and whole grain mustard. The mac & cheese exceeded my expectations. I didn’t have high hopes after looking at photos on Yelp. I had to order it though since it’s my favorite vegetable! Not the best mac I’ve had but it was really tasty. The mac here is topped with crispy chicharron which is a nice touch!

The Main Course Restaurant

Updating my October 2015 review of the lobster mac & cheese at The Main Course Restaurant. When I first tried their version, I was not impressed. I understand the head chef has changed since then so I thought I would give it another try. Visually, it has improved remarkably! They’re using a rudimentary small elbow macaroni; the cheese sauce I’m not too sure about. I don’t know that I would even call it a traditional béchamel though. It still had a loose, almost soupy consistency which plagued the original version I tried. Although not as bad, it still wasn’t tight enough. A well crafted mac & cheese should not “drip” from your fork on its way to your mouth. 

There were approximately 6 or 7 bits of lobster in the entire dish. Each roughly the size of a polyp. I don’t consider that impressive for a $16 dish in an ostensibly high-end restaurant. I’ve had many great dishes over the years at The Main Course, particularly their grilled salmon. The lobster mac though just missed the mark for me. Service as always was excellent! I don’t make it into MC often but when I do I’m always impressed by the stunning décor and atmosphere! Truly a standout venue in Ramona.

The Par Lounge

Mac & cheese has always been my favorite vegetable! This new version on the appetizer menu at The Par Lounge is just excellent! Definitely the best mac in Ramona. Also had a tasty dinner salad with a rather avant-garde selection of greens.

The Chicken Shop

Outstanding fried chicken with terrible mac & cheese and soupy cole slaw at The Chicken Shop in Santee, CA.

Cracker Barrel

Outstanding fried catfish & hush puppies at Cracker Barrel in Yuma, AZ! I always choose my three favorite vegetables, mac & cheese, hash brown casserole and fried okra. It all finished off nicely with some delicious hot biscuits.

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