Hello, hello headbandits!
How was your weekend?? I didn’t do much Friday, my first day off. I’m in a weird mood lately. I guess it’s the cold weather and the dying down after the holidays. It’s like a weird in between time. Not much going on, it’s dark and cold most the time, you can’t go outside too much, high expectations for starting the new year off right linger in the back of your mind. I don’t think I’m much a fan of January. I am going through my closet, so I got rid of 3 or 4 trash bags so far on Friday. I just have way too much. It’s borderline glutenous. I needed to do that purge and get rid of stuff. I really would love to get rid of at least half my closet. It’s going to be hard because I do have a ton. More on that later! I just want to live minimalist and not be bogged down by stuff.
Anyways, Saturday I did get to do something pretty cool in CD’A. That’s in Idaho if you are not from the PNW about 30 minutes from Spokane. It was their first ever mac & cheese festival hosted and invented by the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association. I heard about it a few month’s ago on facebook and wanted to check it out because a. I love food, b. I love mac and cheese type food, and c. I love CD’A.
Here’s how it was set up: four brewery’s and 14 restaurateurs participated. It was held inside the Shops across from the CD’A resort. For $15 you got six tickets basically six samples of mac and cheese in four oz containers. Or for $25 you could get the six tickets for mac and the six tickets for six oz beer (if you were 21 or over of course). You got to use and take home a mac and cheese festival glass cup if you did the beers. I didn’t do the beer part because I don’t like beer personally; I think it tastes gross.
The Golden Noodle trophy is what was at steak. Basically a golden yellow piece of elbow pasta macaroni trophy. There were about five or six judges too, so they did the judges choice and the people’s choice. They gave the people a green color piece of bow tie pasta to drop in a glass jar at their favorite piece. I guess they would have had to count them all after. That would have taken forever. For some reason I didn’t get one,but I know others who did the beer too got one. I wanted to vote and have a say! That would be weird to only give them out to people who got the beer and might make the results skewed like if they were drinking too much and maybe not thinking as clearly. There was also a Mac Queen. I don’t know who she was, I’m assuming the the Cd’A downtown association, or what her qualifications were. She wore a bright yellow fitted dress with uncooked noodles adorning her collar. I did talk to her a quick second and she said the dress took forever to make. I think it would have been cooler to glue the pasta all over the dress, but that would have taken even longer. She forgot her pasta crown. I totally would have rocked one.
What I should have done, like my friends sister in-law did, was collect all the samples and try them all at the same time. I was already hungry though when I got there, so I ate them as I collected them except for the last two. I’m not good at savoring food. Also, it was really super packed, so I didn’t want to carry around a plate pull of food and like have to dance and elbow people.
Let’s get right into the macaroni. These are the samples I tried, in no particular order.
- Rustic : Mac Bread Bowls
To me they were more like bread balls since they were so small and there was no opening at the top. Inside was classic mac and cheese. No frills just cheese pretty much and noodles. But the fact that the macaroni was breaded added a layer of innovation. So if Rustic really served these, I’m not sure if they would make them larger or what. The small size would be good as an appetizer dipped in marinara, ranch, or your favorite dressing. Most places don’t have these items on their menu; they just created them for the event. Fast line from what I remember. I give it a four out of five because the bottoms were hard and hurt my teeth, but I did like that they were bite sized and they tasted yummy.
- Cedars: Southwestern Mac
This was my favorite one. It had black beans, corn, tortilla chips, and I think sour cream. Mine didn’t have much sour cream and I’m glad because I don’t like it. I thought it had like mozzarella cheese in it, but I could be wrong. I’m a sucker for anything southwestern; I love the soup and the salads, so this southwestern mac was right up my alley. I overheard another person comment to them that it wasn’t on their regular menu and if they would add it. The chef said if it did well at the event they would think about adding it. I’m going to be calling them soon to see if that is happening! I want more of it. Not much of a line, which was nice. I thought it was worth waiting longer though. It was that good to me! I give it a five out of five. Loved the flavor and ingredients.
- Taphouse Unchained: Deep fried Mac & Cheese Balls
It’s almost like a mozzarella stick but in ball form and macaroni inside. I loved it. They had a bit of marinara sauce on the outside and some kind of spicy tangy white sauce. I’m not sure I liked the white sauce as it was too spicy for me, but the rest was so tasty. They were very popular and had at least a five to seve wait time. Definitely the most popular. I give it a four out of five. The white sauce was too spicy for me, but they did taste good.
- CDA Resort Banquets: Sloppy Mac & Cheese
Kind of like a sloppy joe, I think is what they were going for. It had some ground beef, red sauce, basically the typical sloppy joe mix. Me and E mainly picked it because it was close, the line was short, and we know the CDA resort is known for their high quality food. They had good presentation; put a tiny slice of French bread in it and gold fish crackers on top, but at the same time I don’t know if they needed it because the even was really all about the macaroni. I did enjoy the bread though on the flip side, but I didn’t like the gold fish crackers on top. I was disappointed with their macaroni. It was bland and I couldn’t taste the sloppy joe flavor. I thought there’s would be more flavorful. I give it a two out of five and mainly because of presentation. Otherwise I’d probably say one out of five.
5. Mangia Catering Co: Mexican Mac & Cheese
I think it had Chorizo on top. I thought it was bread crumbs, but it was basically just tiny bits of ground beef and either cilantro or green onion. I don’t remember it being too flavorful, but I remember liking it. I probably would say three out of five just because it was kind of mediocre; I wasn’t super wowed.
6. Paragon Brewing: Duck Bacon Mac & Cheese with Cougar Gold
I love Cougar Gold cheese, so that’s what drew me in. It is the best tasting cheese besides my beloved Gorgonzola. I never have had duck or duck bacon (who knew that was a thing?!?), so I decided to try it. Unfortunately, by this time I was too full to give a fair score. It surprised me too because I was thinking I was not going to get enough to eat. But a lot of the mac’s were rich and all together are filling. I did try a piece of the duck bacon, but it tasted more bitter to me. I couldn’t taste the cougar gold either. I didn’t like the taste of it, but I’m kind of a picky eater. I think this was one that was innovative, but it wasn’t for me. I’d say three out of five.
You could buy extra tickets if you wanted too. I almost did get another Southwestern mac, but I was too full.
Overall, I really liked the event and it was fun. It had way more people than I thought. I guess they sold out like the night before. That was the only draw back. I think next year they need a bigger venue. I got really hot too because there was so many people. Luckily, I didn’t really wear a coat that day because it was surprisingly warm (46 degrees I loved it), so it worked out for me. I also heard they ran out of macaroni at the end of the day like around 3. We were there around 1 ish I think, so we had plenty.
After, we walked around some of the shops outside. They have such a charming downtown and well taken care of. E got me ice cream at the cute ice cream shop, and I got some taffy there too (cotton candy; my favorite, orange cream, bubble gum, and cupcake), then I showed them the giant cast iron metal rabbi sculpture Harvey. I discovered him a few weeks ago. I love him; he’s the coolest. I was happy it was 46 degrees out; so warm it felt like spring. Great day!!
I will try to do at least one more post this week…here’s hoping! Thanks for reading.