Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese

For the Love of Macaroni and Cheese: Homeroom in Oakland, CA

Gentle Readers, sometimes one goes clear across the country for comfort food. In a week of extreme eating (and I do mean extreme, starting with a meat cone and marching across many scones and some chocolate), simplicity won my heart. The Practical Cooks Junior and I went on vacation to San Francisco, staying with family in Oakland, and eating with many friends along the way. Our last meal abroad was at Homeroom, and it was spectacular.

White Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese with Bread Crumb Toppings from Homeroom.

White Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese with Bread Crumb Toppings from Homeroom.

The restaurant serves macaroni and cheese. Plus vegetables. And that’s really it. Well, plus drinks and beer. There’s a good bit of bacon too. I respect that in an establishment. Here’s what I liked about the place.

Kids portion of traditional creamy cheddar mac-n-cheese. So fantastically good.

Kids portion of traditional creamy cheddar mac-n-cheese. So fantastically good.

1. Clarity of purpose. Do something and do it well. I knew what I could eat before I went. It was reasonably priced, and I was delighted to eat the White Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese, with optional crumb topping.

Hello minty peas, so fresh and full of vegetable goodness.

Hello minty peas, so fresh and full of vegetable goodness.

2. Infinite variety. Though the menu is focused, you can alter and amend your mac-n-cheese ad infinitum. Bravo. Next time I’m getting the garlicky gouda or the truffle and mushroom.

Hipster atmosphere for the win!

Hipster atmosphere for the win!

3. Strong vegetable sides. In a world of starch and cheese, it would be easy to fall victim to a junk food mentality. Not at Homeroom. There are several salads and a few main veggie sides. Again, all reasonably priced. We got minty peas and bacony Brussels sprouts: wow. The Youngest could not shovel peas in fast enough. The Eldest launched a full assault on the sprouts. After a week of eating lots of travel food, it was a welcome respite.

Go ahead and drool over these bacony Brussels sprouts. I'll wait.

Go ahead and drool over these bacony Brussels sprouts. I’ll wait.

4. Just desserts. I only regret I lacked the stomach to try more desserts. We had this peanut butter pie, and it was outstanding. A little salty, a little sharp from either sour cream or cream cheese, and well balanced with the graham cracker crust. I will dream of this. The homemade salted oreo is also highly Yelp recommended. I hope someone will eat that and let me know. I will be back for it.

Peanut butter pie was not overly sweet, but full of flavor. No crumb left behind.

Peanut butter pie was not overly sweet, but full of flavor. No crumb left behind.

5. Beer selection. Again, so often it’s easy to try to do everything. Here, they do a few selections that rotate, and they’re diverse and good. Plus they do crazy combos like a lime plus beer shandy. Too sweet for me, but A for effort. Beer and mac-n-cheese may be my new favorite combo ever.

Simple summer ale, wide mouth Ball jar. Made for each other.

Simple summer ale, wide mouth Ball jar. Made for each other.

To conclude, this is run don’t walk. The place is hipster central, but without the snark that so often accompanies it. I do like that about California in general. Right down to the kids’ menus they hold to theme–it was like homework. TPCs Jr were enthralled. They served the veggies first. Genius. Great service, cool atmosphere, rocking food.

Homework time at Homeroom!

Homework time at Homeroom!

I will confess, I tried the bacony mac-n-cheese, and didn’t love it. Too smokey for me. I know, a bacon lover’s sin to say so in my out loud voice. It was me, not them.

Run, don't walk. Homeroom.

Run, don’t walk. Homeroom.

What do you think of themed restaurants? Do you love mac-n-cheese? What’s your favorite combo? Post your comments below or Tweet my way! Great to be back, and more recipes and reviews are coming your way soon.

Special thanks to my crew of tasters.

Special thanks to my crew of tasters.

Send chocolate milk, good ideas, and good intentions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Sunday: Happy Birthday to me, Weekly Menu Edition

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Fried Chicken Friday: Dame’s Chicken and Waffles Review (with video)

Gentle Readers, never has The Practical Cook been so please with an ongoing research project. The quest for delicious fried chicken now promises to take her from coast to coast. So if you’re not in Durham, NC, take comfort. If you are, get in your car and go immediately to Dame’s Chicken and Waffles.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham, NC: Do not miss it!

Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham, NC: Do not miss it!

So how was it? Let’s roll the tape, shall we?

The chicken was off the charts good, and the waffle was quite delicious, too. Since I’m a dark-meat fan, I went for the chicken legs, on the bone, and they were seriously fantastic. Crispy, juicy, well seasoned, and hot to the table.I would put this on the list of things I might want to eat for my last meal. Not kidding. That good. Great plain, with syrup, or with hot sauce!

Fried chicken and waffles at Dame's. Wow.

Fried chicken and waffles at Dame's. Wow.

There were no green veggies available the day we went, so it was a carb-fest, but with a twist. The cheese grits also rank amongst the best I’ve ever eaten, and believe you me, I’ve made a life study out of cheese grits, in my kitchen and beyond. Delightfully herby and cheese, these grits never stood a chance, even after I polished off the waffle.

Cheese Grits from Dame's Chicken & Waffles: Possibly the 8th wonder of the Southern Culinary World.

Cheese Grits from Dame's Chicken & Waffles: Possibly the 8th wonder of the Southern Culinary World.

If you’re in the mood for something different, or boneless, that’s covered to. Please see the chicken breast and sweet potato waffle ordered by my friend in fried, who I shall call RockStar, because it fits. Her meal was a bit easier to eat as a unit, while mine was more a study in components, going back and forth between the tastes and textures. The mac and cheese was also herby and cheesy, good to the last drop.

Sweet potato waffle and fried chicken breast from Dame's Chicken & Waffle.

Sweet potato waffle and fried chicken breast from Dame's Chicken & Waffle.

Big thumbs up, I’ll be returning soon. For the people who asked me if chicken and waffles actually go together, my answer is this: are you kidding me? Eat them separately if you must, but I dare the non-vegetarian (and I see some of you eyeing that chicken, let’s not lie) reader to tell me those two things aren’t delicious. Why not try them together? Just go to Dame’s, then thank me later. I won’t say I told you so, pinkie swear.

The story of Dame's Chicken & Waffles

The story of Dame's Chicken & Waffles

Where do you stand in the chicken and waffle debate? Post a comment below!

Send field research options, maple syrup, and napkins to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next: Cookbook Review!

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Reviews from the Road: Sgt. White’s Diner (with video!)

Gentle Readers, though I’m currently on location in Las Vegas, I’ve been talking about barbecue today. Why? Because you can take the Practical Cook out of the South, but . . . I think you know the rest. Sgt. White’s Diner is a little hole-in-the-wall place that shares a parking lot with the Piggly Wiggly in Beaufort, SC. If that’s not enough of a recommendation, read, or rather watch, on.

And for those who want to see a still shot of the delicious.

Steam Table of Porky Veggies

Steam Table of Porky Veggies

Cabbage Done Right!

Cabbage Done Right!

Please complete this sentence, Gentle Readers: When I see a small and unobtrusive restaurant, I . . .

I look forward to your comments.

Send your BBQ photos to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Live from Las Vegas, Road Food Update, No Shrimp Cocktails Allowed.

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