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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mouthful: Mac-n-cheese

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CARVER’S GROCERY: Slap yourself if you haven’t been to this quintessential Westside Meat ‘n Three spot. On any given day, the restaurant churns out a long list of Southern classics and its mac-n-cheese is tops. Carver’s keeps it simple by using the stuff mac-n-cheese dreams are made of: Velveeta! The Carvers start with a simple béchamel sauce and add Velveeta before mixing it with the cooked shells. The result? A sticky, creamy and super cheesy heap of love on your plate that pairs beautifully with any of the homey entrees. 1118 West Marietta Street. 404-794-4410.

FOX BROS BAR-B-Q: This BBQ joint takes this ubiquitous side from boring to terrific with a few twists. They make their mac-n-cheese with shells, not elbows. The cream-based sauce gets a healthy dose of white and yellow cheddar cheese and a touch of cayenne pepper for some spice. You can get it alongside your BBQ of choice, on a veggie plate or by the pint/full pan. But there is no debating the sinful superiority of the fried mac-n-cheese. Fox chills the cooked mac, slices it into squares, breads it in seasoned flour and deep-fries until it's golden and gooey. 1238 Dekalb Ave. 404-577-4030.

OK CAFÉ: Long-time Atlanta residents are well acquainted with this funky restaurant where American standards are served by saucy wait folk in retro garb. The Café’s “Triple cheese macaroni” has racked up awards over the years and many proclaim it “the best" in Atlanta. A mix of Parmesan, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses get a boost from a sprinkling of ranch seasoning and some chopped parsley for color. The kitchen uses a corkscrew-shaped pasta for some added textural interest and bakes it off underneath a sheet of aluminum foil so the contents meld. 1284 West Paces Ferry Road. 404-233-2888.

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