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OP-ED: Say Cheese

by Kenny Ramos

Photo courtesy of and Stephen Vocaturo

It’s a blessing to not be lactose intolerant. I weep for those who can’t enjoy the wonders of cheese, especially melted and baked into macaroni, without getting sick. I guess that’s why I eat it so much, as homage to those who can’t.

My love for mac and cheese will never die, and naturally with each new town I inhabit there’s a search for the best mac I can find. But to only include traditional mac and cheeses in this countdown would leave out so many other delicious options.

If you are looking for some food made with love, check out SoulFire. Located at 182 Harvard Ave., this Allston restaurant delivers deliciously smoked savory barbecue that will convert you into a loyal follower. While they’re known for their brisket and ribs, they do have a great Mac & Cheese to go with your entrée. SoulFire sprinkles potato chip crumbs on top of your mac for added texture. The dish is melted, thick and will definitely compliment your meal. While it may not be the only star of your dining experience here, it’s definitely a standout dish that I recommend.

The great thing with mac and cheese is that it is so versatile. Mr. Bartley’s, a gourmet burger spot in Harvard Square, dishes out some of the most creative and decadent burger combinations in the area. One offering in particular, the LeBron James burger, is topped with bacon, ghost pepper and mac and cheese.

The cash-only establishment even has Guy Fieri’s approval, so if it’s good enough for the “Mayor of Flavortown," it’s probably worth checking out.

Besides being topped on American classics, some local eateries have made more efforts to switch up the mac and cheese game. Boston Burger Company, which has locations at 1100 Boylston St., Cambridge and Somerville, serves a sharable snack size version of mac and cheese. The Mini Mac-Ancini is an appetizer of fried, homemade four-cheese mac and cheese balls.

Give your dieting habits a day off and enjoy a small helping of these mini mac morsels. In my opinion, the bites are the next step in mac’s evolution. We all love mac and cheese, so why not be able to share it with one another?

Normally, you wouldn’t think of mac and cheese as the first thing you eat for the day. However, after staying up late on a long weekend night, you might reconsider.

Don’t worry, Lulu’s Allston, located at 421 Cambridge St., will have you on the road to recovery in time for the upcoming week.

Found under their Comforts section of the menu, Lulu’s whips up an incredible short rib mac and cheese. The beef is slowly braised then served with a generous helping of cheesy mac. It’s a dish that will breathe life into you when you’re terribly hung-over.

Finally, mac and cheese is not just for kids, casual dining or a cheap and easy dinner; I’ve even found top-notch mac and cheese at some of Boston’s upscale restaurants. After a successful freshman year at BU, my family and I went to the The Capital Grille at 900 Boylston St. With locations all over the country, they’re known for being an upscale steakhouse. Their opulent reputation extends to their side dishes, which are share size as well.

“As magnificent as it sounds” is Capital Grille’s description of their Lobster Mac ’N’ cheese. When you’re in college, the last food on your mind is probably lobster but this place merges the best of both worlds. They’re not stingy on the lobster serving either; I’ve even found a full claw of meat in my mac and cheese. It’s truly a meal fit for a king or queen.

Mac and cheese in all its forms is a beautiful creation. Hopefully this diverse list of options will lead you to conclude that the sky’s the limit for this beloved classic.

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