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Mac & Cheeza, Larkin Mackey's newest restaurant downtown, a narrow, high-ceilinged storefront on the edge of the garment district, furnished sparely with a couple of padded benches and a few low end tables: a fragrant, modern machine dedicated solely to the cult of macaroni and cheese. You choose the size of the container you would like to have your mac baked in, from the plenty-big Baby Mac to the absurdly large Mac Daddy, which is enough to feed the entire USC track team. You can choose between rice noodles and regular noodles, soy cheese and regular cheese. Then you pick out your mix-ins: jalapeno chiles and bacon, black olives and hot links, chopped scallions and chorizo, or any combination of the above, which get stirred into the macaroni before it goes into the oven. You have it Mac & Cheeza's way, stirred with a slightly grainy cheese sauce and baked under a cheese crust, or you don't have it at all. It is superb drunk food. And you get a shot at the classic banana-Nilla Wafer pudding from the recipe of Mackey's mom, an intense, thin custard that resolves into a divine containerful of sweet, banana-spiked mush. Is it the mac and cheese of the future? It might be.
View more photos in Anne Fishbein's slideshow, "The Future of Macaroni and Cheese." Hamburger whisperers often find entente at Father's Office, at least when they can find a seat. Dumpling freaks mostly agree on Din Tai Fung. Even the gnarliest... More »
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