Whoever said too much cheese is a bad thing doesn’t know our readers. On Sunday, December 6, more than 1,000 mac and cheese fans descended on LA River Studios for our first Mac & Cheese Smackdown, pitting nine restaurants against each other to battle it out for the championship title. We sipped on Angel City Brewery beer and Dark Horse wine, and dove into cheesy dishes from Horse Thief BBQ, Lemonade, Max City BBQ, mac-O-licious, Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse, Estérel, Hyperion Public, The Hudson and POP Champagne & Dessert Bar. No two dishes were alike—while some contained BBQ pulled pork or jalapeño, others were topped with oyster mushrooms or bacon bits. When we needed a break from carb-loading, we headed to the photo booth—where chalk artist Ben DeHart had created a seriously impressive backdrop—or to the Best Friends Animal Society lounge (a portion of the event’s proceeds went toward this fantastic organization).
To crown a winner, attendees were given tickets to vote for their favorite dish—it was a close race, but in the end Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse pulled ahead with their orecchiette version, made with Gruyère, Comté, fontina and shallots (shout out to second runner-up, Horse Thief BBQ, and first runner-up, POP Champagne & Dessert Bar!). Congratulations to everyone who participated, and we’ll see you at our next tasting event!