Getting Filled with Creamy Goodness at the Los Angeles Mac And Cheeze Takedown

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Bacon, Dessert, Events, Food, Los Angeles
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Colloquially referred to as “God’s gift to man’s stomach,” Macaroni & Cheese represents the epitomé of comfort food. Something about small pasta noodles smothered in creamy cheese appeals to nearly anybody. This past Sunday, Los Angeles got a taste of a Mac & Cheese haven at the Los Angeles Mac And Cheeze Takedown at the Bootleg Theater in Westlake. Local home cooks and chefs entered their prized mac & cheese dish into this competition and all-ages food fest, hoping to take home the coveted prize of Best in Mac. Hungry attendees paid only $15 for this all-you-can-eat mac & cheese gorge-out.

The Mac And Cheeze Takedown took place in the back theater section of the venue, complete with theater-style seating and a large open floor to set up the tables. Tables lined the outer edges of the floor, forming an upside-down U facing the seats. Signs with numbers 1-24 hung from each table half, running from the left side all the way to the right, representing 24 total entrants, albeit not all 24 showed up. Originally, the organizers allowed attendees to start from anywhere in the line, but that quickly went out the door as almost everyone started their mac & cheese journey at entrant #1. Splitting the line in half would have worked for the better, as attendees would find the plates, utensils, and napkins in the middle between #12 and #13. Clutter never occurred, as because of the all-you-can-eat nature, the attendees split their time perfectly between eating and browsing. As for drinks, the venue has a bar in the front concert room of the building, where attendees could get soft drinks, beer, or wine.

Most of the entrants utilized some ingredient or technique that set them apart from the rest. No entrant made simple traditional mac & cheese – each mac & cheese had something to make it glorified. Not every entrant made it to the Mac And Cheeze Takedown either, so some spots went empty, or got taken over by a neighbor. Read on to see who made what, and my comments about each one.

  1. Spicy mac with shrimp. Contained more spice than shrimp, so I would have liked more shrimp in this.
  2. No show. Spot taken over by #1.
  3. Pasta salad mac. Rather bland in the flavor department, and did not detect meat.
  4. Truffle mac. Great balance of truffles in here.
  5. No show.
  6. Mac with ham and corn. The corn threw off the texture; otherwise, good job with the meat choice.
  7. Bacon mac. Good traditional taste, but nothing fancy.
  8. No show.
  9. Apple cobbler mac. One of two dessert macs, and tasted just like traditional apple cobbler.
  10. Strawberry cream mac and coffee cream mac. The second of the two dessert macs, these came as one-bite macs, rich with creamy goodness.
  11. Large shell mac with bacon. The only entrant to use a large shell like this, and contained what tasted like gorgonzola cheese, making for a bold kick.
  12. Bacon mac. Slightly drier than #7.

The first half had some interesting ones, but only a few truly stood out. Moving on to the second half:

  1. Penne-style pasta. Nice creamy flavor, but no meat.
  2. Puff-pastry filled with mac. Unique, but drier than hoped for.
  3. Indian-style vegan mac. Lack of both cheese and meat turned me off, though others may like it.
  4. Just mac & cheese. Nothing stood out from this.
  5. No show.
  6. Bacon mac with multiple cheeses. One of the best, as agreed by many others. Very well balanced with all ingredients.
  7. Chef’s special mac with secret ingredients. Very creamy, and loaded with great cheeses.
  8. No show.
  9. Mac with Cheez-Its and Chinese sausage. On paper, this should sell very well. Unfortunately, something did not click together.
  10. Creamy mac with balsamic reduction and collard greens. Tasted more like a salad.
  11. Bacon mac. Rather lackluster.
  12. Mac with a crust. Good traditional flavor, but nothing stood out.

Attendees could vote on only one of the entrants to win the title of the Best in Mac. Narrowing the choices down to one boggled the minds of many. Personally, it came down to #4, #18, and #19. #4 had the great balance of truffle in it, as it did not overwhelm, yet you could easily detect the truffle in it. #18 used the right combination of cheeses, bacon, and crispy toppings to make an unforgettable mac & cheese. #19 with his secret ingredients made his creamy mac a delight, though a sample from the top layer proved less appetizing than mac from the middle of the pan.

The Takedowns holds these competitions in other places than just Southern California! They go cross-country and hold takedowns for not only different types of foods, but for anything that can merit a competition. For example, the next takedown will occur in two weeks in Detroit and will focus on BACON. The takedown after that will occur two weeks later in Brooklyn, and will showcase skatedeck paintings. Make sure you LIKE The Takedowns in Facebook to receive information about their upcoming events, as they may stop by a place near you!

  1. Jerry Kline says:

    Um. Who were the official winners?

  2. […] the Mac & Cheeze Takedown from over two years ago? The organizers have returned, this time with yummy cool desserts. Enter […]

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