Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sneak Peek: Mac & Cheeza

My friend Lauren and I checked out the soft opening of Mac & Cheeza tonight.  The shop, located on 8th Street downtown between Spring & Main, offers great customizable macaroni and cheese.

When I walked up to the counter and asked about gluten free options the cashiers were very knowledgeable about what I could and could not eat.  They told me that the rice noodles are gluten free and that the soy cheese is as well; however, the regular cheese is not gluten free because the sauce has wheat in it.  I describe them as cashiers because this isn't your typical full service restaurant.  Instead, it's more of a to go place.  We were lucky enough to grab seats, but the restaurant has seating for less than 10 people.

Make sure that when you order you tell the cashiers about your gluten sensitivity (and other sensitivity you may have).  They were extremely helpful in picking out what I could and could not order.  I wouldn't have guessed that the non-soy cheese had wheat in it!

This is my second foray into gluten free mac & cheese after having visited S'Mac in New York City.  S'Macs macaroni and cheese reminded me of the mac & cheese of my childhood -- it was a bit crunchier while Mac & Cheeza's was softer and certainly more pasta-like.  My friend and I each ordered the "Baby Mac" size -- the total came out to $7 for each Baby Mac and it was the perfect amount of food.  They currently do not accept credit card but once the store opens they will begin accepting them.

It's great to have a gluten free mac and cheese option here in Los Angeles particularly one with such interesting toppings.  My mac and cheese was made with tomatoes, bacon, soy cheese, and spicy toasted walnuts.  My friend designed her mac and cheese to have peas, chorizo, and the crushed walnuts.  She also added plentiful hot sauce to her dish -- turns out she is a hot sauce freak.  Who knew?  If you're feeling adventures you can also add ground beef, BBQ chicken, hot links, tuna, ham, or veggie sausage for some more meat.  On the veggie side, the restaurant also offers collared greens, black olives, jalapeños, green onions, mushrooms, and spinach.

I unfortunately did not have my camera on me -- for pictures, check out LAIst's writeup here.

The restaurant will have its grand opening on March 11th which coincides with March's Downtown Art Walk.  If you haven't done the Art Walk yet, what are you waiting for?  My friend Allison and I went to February's event and loved it.  It's really great to see downtown come alive and there are so many wonderful art galleries to visit!  Having Babycakes close by is an added benefit of course.
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Mac & Cheeza (site not complete as of this post)
233 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Map)

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