~ Saddleback Mac + Cheese ~
I find it important to note that this mac is a side dish. For most BBQ joint mac & cheeses, a styrofoam container is usually the best you can expect in terms of presentation. Pretty blah. As you can see from the photo, Saddleback shakes that expectation and puts theirs in a real dish that makes for a surprisingly elegant presentation. There is even a nicely browned top sprinkled with breadcrumbs – that’s legit. For that reason, I definitely think that this mac deserves five stars in this category!
Again, for a barbecue side dish, the flavor was had an impressive presence with a satisfying kick that you wouldn’t really expect. Usually, the flavor is quite mild to counter the spice of the barbecue; because of that they can never really stand by themselves as main dishes. Saddleback’s mac, on the other hand, can definitely stand on its own.
The cream sauce of this mac was pretty thick, but in a good way. It did get a bit clumpy towards the end, but most do.
On a similar note to the flavor, the cheese was more prominent than it is for most side dishes or BBQ macs; according to the menu, Saddleback uses a five cheese blend. Two thumbs up.
The gemelli pasta added a unique texture that was really nice – the shape made it more chewy. Between that and the breadcrumbs, the texture was definitely on the mark.
Obviously, I was pretty impressed by this mac & cheese, and I truly think that in terms of portion size, flavor and presentation, it could definitely stand on its own as a main dish. Saddleback is killing the side dish game.