Ooey, Gooey Goodness:
Marvelous Mac and Cheese in Woodland Hills
Those of us old enough to recall taking our first bites of a steaming bowl of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner understand the magic this “meal” exuded. There was something about balancing all the ingredients – milk, margarine and the cheese sauce powder – just so and ensuring the overall consistency wasn’t too “soupy” or too thick that was all part of its delicious allure. While Mac and Cheese was a classic kid favorite of a seemingly bygone era – today, kids take to their mobile devices quicker than picking up a fork – there is still an enduring magnetism of this all-American staple that brings almost everyone back to childhood.
Often called “comfort food at its finest,” Macaroni and Cheese takes on varying degrees of interpretation today, with some well-known restaurants approaching the dish with exotic and quasi-gourmet aspirations. The following Woodland Hills-based eateries have created their own unique spins on one of the most patriotic of food items, and we’re proud to feature them in Woodland Hills Magazine.
The Local Peasant and its Ventura Boulevard location in Woodland Hills has been covered by us before, but there’s a good reason behind that: Here is a Prohibition-era pub infused with a hip Cali vibe that takes absolute pride in being its loyal clientele’s “spot.” With a menu that is always rich, flavorful and diverse, The Local Peasant has become renowned for its take on Mac and Cheese, offering a version brimming over with luscious bacon and finished with truffle oil. The Local Peasant, with its communal table options, invites families and neighbors to come together and feel comfortable when gathering for dinner and a drink, its staff continuously referring to the atmosphere being akin to one’s favorite room in their own house.
Angel City Café, situated on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, is open for lunch and dinner, offering a plethora of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and more. As of late, the restaurant has become known for its house special Macaroni & Cheese, made with a blend of Jack, Cheddar and Parmesan with cream and a hint of Cajun seasoning. Customers have the option of adding grilled or blackened chicken, shrimp or tri-tip for a small extra charge. When the hankering for old-fashioned Mac and Cheese with a kick happens to strike, take a trip over to Angel City Café, where such classics are served with an ear-to-ear smile.
Eureka! and its Topanga Canyon Boulevard location in L.A. serves what restaurant representatives call “a collection of America’s best.” Established in 2009, this unique venue prides itself on elevating the creation of the burger to an art form “requiring grace, finesse and sophistication,” with burger connoisseurs from all over the Golden State regularly visiting to confirm the assertion. Beyond burgers, loyal Eureka! fanatics routinely return for the restaurant’s awesome Mac N’ Cheese, served as orecchiette pasta with a three-cheese sauce plus bacon and fritos – a dish not to be missed, trust us.
Tipsy Cow on Ventura Boulevard in the heart of Woodland Hills is described as an “eclectic urban eating house” specializing in freshly-ground burgers, delectable craft cocktails and the “most interesting beers in town.” Though the kitchen serves a plethora of superior California cuisine, many of Tipsy Cow’s patrons come back for one of the most unique takes on Macaroni and Cheese we’ve ever seen – the Mac Daddy Burger. This one-of-a-kind creation places Macaroni and Cheese atop pork belly and provolone before it’s all slapped on Tipsy Cow’s famous burger. Hungry yet?
Cheddar Grilled Cheese Co. in the Northridge Fashion Food Court on Tampa Avenue in Northridge, like its namesake implies, specializes in awesome grilled cheese sandwiches, allowing patrons to choose from a chef-selected menu or make their own creation from a large choice of breads, cheeses, meats, veggies, fillings and sauces. One of the most notable of items on Cheddar Grilled Cheese Co.’s entire menu has to be the Mac and Cheese Melt, served on golden brown toasted sourdough with gooey cheese and perfectly-cooked pasta…to call this the “perfect grilled cheese” is totally putting it lightly, and we think you’ll agree.
Nicola’s Kitchen on Ventura Boulevard was established in 1990 and has been serving the San Fernando Valley unique Italian food with an eclectic California mix. On Nicola’s pasta menu is one of Woodland Hills residents’ favorite takes on the classic Mac and Cheese dish, Penne & Cheese – indeed, while most recipes of this all-American staple call for the use of spiral, shell or elbow macaroni, Nicola’s provides its own unique spin by substituting those traditional shapes for a more Italian-esque penne pasta. Regardless, Macaroni and Cheese aficionados will find no complaints when chowing down on a bowl full of Italian-inspired love.
In 1802, Jefferson served a “pie called macaroni” at a state dinner which didn’t go over too well with the likes of Reverend Mannasseh Cutler, who apparently was not fond of the cheesy macaroni dish. Nevertheless, since that time baked Macaroni and Cheese has remained uber-popular in the United States, continuing to endure in wildly unique variations as evidenced by the eateries in our roundup.