Battle of the Mac 'n' Cheese
If you were trapped on a desert island and could only take five items with you, what couldn't you live without? Toothbrush? Makeup? Deodorant? Teddy bear? Call us crazy, but we'd take a giant tub of mac 'n' cheese -- our favorite comfort food. The plane could crash, the coconut supply could be decimated, the sharks could be circling, but as long as we had our tub of cheesy goodness we'd be content.
We tasted two macaroni dishes rumored to be some of the best in town to see which one we'd take to our lonely little island.
In One Corner: Switch
2603 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix
Located in the highly desirable spot adjacent to Durant's, Switch is the kind of trendy, dark place we go to for late night wining and dining (or just wining, whatever). The dining room is bathed in shades of blue. White curtains drape from ceiling to floor, staggered around the room to create privacy.
A heaping portion of penne pasta arrived in a white ceramic serving bowl. (Bonus points for a bowl. Granny would've never served mac n' cheese on a plate!) The aroma was comforting; the same savory, mouthwatering smell that accompanied the mac and cheese of our childhood. The light dusting of parmesan on top was baked until bubbly crisp, giving the first few bites a pungent zing. Underneath waited a surprise.
"This tastes exactly like noodles out of a box," said my stunned companion. "And I'm talking the cheap kind with the powder."
Ouch. Everyone was in agreement. The sauce was rich and creamy, but the flavor profile was one-note: and that note was K-R-A-F-T. Now, we're not opposed to mac-in-a-box every once in a while when we're reliving our college dorm days, but for $12.50 we could afford a dozen boxes of the stuff.
The smoked turkey we paid to add wasn't what we expected, either. No thick cubes or savory chunks pulled off the bone. Instead we got sliced deli turkey, broken up and tossed into the pasta. Ick. Again with the dorm food. The decor may have been upscale, but the dish was low-rent.