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Not Your Mama’s Mac and Cheese

What’s more comforting on a cold day than a steaming bowl of hot pasta layered with a rich and creamy cheese sauce? It brings back happy memories of hours spent in your mama’s kitchen–helping her pour and mix and stir. 

But wait.

From diners to fine-dining establishments, Mama’s classic Mac and Cheese recipe is undergoing a five-star makeover. Gourmet versions call for smoked Gouda, Gruyère or goat cheese. Lobster and truffle oil take center stage. While pork belly and chicharrónes provide crispy toppings.

Lucky for us, the Springs has become a Mac and Cheese haven. So bundle up tight as we take you on a Gourmet Mac and Cheese tour that even your mama would love.

Brother Luck’s Street Eats

Chef Brother Luck’s trendy bistro on West Colorado has a fun vibe and an eclectic menu that will knock your socks off. From creamy Shrimp and Grits to his trademark Bacon Jam Burger, Chef Luck’s creative offerings keep his customers coming back for more. 

And his Pork Belly Macaroni is one of their biggest sellers. 

There’s nothing ho hum about this Mac and Cheese. He uses smoked Gouda, homemade pork stock, and pea tendrils grown especially for him. It’s topped with crispy pork belly and chicharrónes for added flavor.

“It’s all about technique,” Luck says. “You need a proper reduction to get the water content and the fat just right. Then, working the cheese in there properly is important, too.”

“Mac and Cheese is both a street food and a comfort food,” Luck says. 

What makes it so special? Brother Luck cocks his head and smiles. “It’s made with love.”

If you go:

1005 W. Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904, (719) 434-2741

The Rabbit Hole

Venture down the stairs and through the red velvet curtains, and you’ll feel like Alice, tumbling into the Rabbit Hole. With its whimsical rabbit-themed pictures, dramatic bar, and mouth-watering menu items, you’ll feel as though you’ve arrived in Wonderland.

The Truffle Tri-Color Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with blackened tofu, grilled chicken or lobster is Executive Chef Josh Beemer’s original creation.

“Multi-colored cauliflower is really awesome,” Beemer says, “ and no one around the springs is using it.

“We were deciding how to incorporate it into the menu and needed another pasta dish, so we ran it as a special and it sold really well.”

Beemer praises the dish’s versatility, saying you can add anything to it, and it’s still going to be delicious.

 “But,” he warns with a smile, “our Mac and Cheese is not low-calorie, and there’s nothing healthy about it, that’s for sure!”

If you’re wanting to splurge on a rich, decadent Mac and Cheese, The Rabbit Hole’s the place to go. 

If you go:

101 N. Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, (719) 203-5072

Trinity Brewing 

Tucked in a strip mall in northwest Colorado Springs, Trinity Brewing, with its focus on fun, artisanal beers and slow food made from scratch, has a huge following.

“Our Mac and Cheese is such a crowd favorite that when we tried to take it off the menu,” Kitchen Manager, Cory McNeil says, “we had a minor uproar from the public.”

Now they offer five different versions–from the Mac ‘n Bacon to the Veggie Something–a riff on a classic Mac and Cheese–with sautéed spinach, marinated artichokes and olives, tossed in a tomato pesto and white wine sauce.

The Buffalo Chicken Mac is a “bit of a play on buffalo wings,” McNeil says, with diced chicken breast and a spicy buffalo cheese sauce, all topped with crumbled blue cheese and fresh parsley.

McNeil’s favorite, The Barbeque Jerk Mac and Cheese, is jam-packed with flavor–a juicy chicken thigh shredded with Trinity Soul Barbeque Sauce, tossed with their original cheese sauce, sautéed jalapeños and crumbled bacon.

“Our Mac and Cheese is a go-to if you’re hungry and the weather’s cold,” McNeil says. “It warms you up, and it’s super tasty.”

At Trinity, it’s definitely the people’s choice. 

If you go:

1466 Garden of the Gods Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80907, (719) 634-0029