The Noochy Noodle

a world beyond the blue box

Tag Archives: gluten free

Truffle Macaroni & Cheese from Source

Source is San Francisco’s newest vegetarian spot and a self described “multi-dimensional dining experience”. Whatever that means! To be honest, I was a bit concerned before they opened as San Francisco already has a vegetarian restaurant with an extensive menu serving up “mainstream international vegan/vegetarian food” and it’s not very good. Bay Area folks you know what I’m talking about! Fortunately, Source has far exceeded my expectations and is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco; it certainly helps that they serve up a gigantic piping hot bowl full of macaroni and cashew cheese. That earns you at least 4 stars on Yelp right off the bat.

The menu describes the mac n’ cheese as “Truffle Macaroni & Cheese w/ four cheese, truffle oil topped with agave bread crumbs”. However, there is a vegan and non-vegan version so I’m not sure if this version actually has four cheeses. It seems like it might only be three, but I don’t really care because it’s fantastic as is! It doesn’t mention it in the description, but there is a lot of garlic happening in this dish. A whole lot. It’s good, but you’ve been warned.  I love this mac n’ cheese because there are actually quite a few flavors and textures going on in such a traditionally simple dish. Since it’s so rich and such a large portion it’s not the type of mac n’ cheese I could eat all the time, but damn is it good! Bonus points for being served with a small baguette. Who doesn’t love a good carb fest?

Source is such a quirky place. You pay at the counter and then receive full table service, everything is ionized, filtered or purified within an inch of it’s life, faux meats on the menu are named after the sound that the analagous animal makes, and all the food comes on silly little trays, but you know what? It’s awesome! I’ve tried several other dishes now, including the Avocado Oink Bits Mozzerella Burger, Baked Vegan Spinach Artichoke Fondue, the Cluck and Artichoke Hearts, plus several of the desserts and have been awfully impressed with everything. Mark this place on your “must eat” list folks!

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Los Angeles Tour de Macaroni

After finals were over my boyfriend and I took a trip to LA. It seemed like every restaurant had macaroni and cheese on the menu! You would think I would be in heaven and never want to leave, but you would actually be wrong because quite a few of the macaroni and cheese I encountered was made with Daiya (or even Follow Your Heart once!) and/or quinoa pasta. I hate quinoa pasta (brown rice pasta is where it’s at!) and I hate Daiya (and FYH cheeses!). So my excitement tends to immediately turn into extreme disappointment if I see either of those words. But you know what? I’m a dedicated blogger so I order it anyway. I suffer for you people.

When we arrived in LA we headed over to Madeleine Bistro for dinner. It was their final weekend in business so we wanted to make the most of our meal. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a macaroni and cashew cheese with quinoa pasta , so I ordered that as a side dish. At $6 for about half a cup of macaroni I had high expectations.

While I thought the cashew cheese sauce was really good, even getting up there with my favorites like Homegrown Smoker and Homeroom, the flavor of the quinoa pasta really overpowered the rest of the dish. I totally understand and support wanting to provide options for gluten free patrons, but I know that there are gluten free pastas out there that don’t taste weird! Use those instead please!

The next morning we went for brunch at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Echo Park. I just about had a total psychotic break when I saw you could order mac n’ cheese for brunch. And smoked macaroni and cheese with a biscuit and walnut sausage at that! It’s like my childhood dream had finally come true! I’m an adult! I can have whatever I want for brunch! Hooray!

It was as amazing as it looks. The flavor was unique; the smokiness, while subtle, really helped the dish stand out against the dozens of of other vegan mac and cheese dishes you can get in LA. Highly recommended!

I would have ordered the Daiya based mac n’ cheese at Native Foods when we went for lunch, but it was on the kids menu and they have a strict (I’m not really sure how strict, actually) 10 and under policy. So, I got to dodge that bullet! Phew.

For first dinner Saturday evening we went to Stuff I Eat, a soul food restaurant in Inglewood. Alex and I shared a Soul Food Platter.

Now, I say first dinner because neither of us were very into it. The macaroni and cheese is just made with melted Follow Your Heart. Do with that information what you will, but I could not eat it. If melted FYH is your thing then go for it! Ignore everything I’ve said! The rest of the food was a bit underwhelming, and we both already don’t like yams, so we just decided to have second dinner.

Second dinner was at Veggie Grill! And hey, what do you know? they have gluten free macaroni n’ cheese made Daiya! I ordered a Santa Fe Chickin’ Sandwich with a side of the Mac-n-Cheese.

As I expected, it tasted like Daiya! I will say some nice things. The texture here was much better than other Daiya based mac n’ cheeses I’ve tried; It didn’t stick to the inside of my mouth or coat my tongue as much! And this time the pasta tasted better since it was brown rice instead of quinoa. That being said, I only took a few bites.

So in review that brings us to 3 macaroni and cheese dishes ordered on Saturday with two being kind of gross and one being really awesome! You can’t win them all, I suppose.

Product Review: Amy’s Rice Macaroni with Non-Dairy Cheese

This is probably the third time I’ve tried Amy’s vegan mac n’ cheese. It has it’s positives, it’s made with gluten free pasta, and it’s soy free, it’s quick and convenient. However, it’s made with Daiya, which is something I can’t get past. I hate it every time I eat it, but I keep coming back. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I think I’m hoping I’ll eventually learn to love Daiya like a good vegan, or that this will one day taste something like the Stouffer’s mac & cheese of my childhood. Unfortunately, I don’t think either of those things are ever going to happen, so I’m just going to give it up now and save myself the $4 in the future.

Before it was even out of the oven (that’s right, I’m fancy!) I noticed that my kitchen was starting to smell awful; a little bit like feet and spoiled dairy. Not really a great first impression, but I’m always willing to believe something might taste better than it smells.

I didn’t want to be stuck eating all the mac n’ cheese by itself for dinner, especially at 520 calories a container (yeesh!), so I cooked up some Appetite for Reduction buffalo tempeh and collards to go along with it.

The first bite confirmed that it was just as bad as I remembered. The cheese sauce coated my tongue like Elmer’s glue (I mean, what I believe glue coating one’s tongue might feel like) and the overly strong artificial “cheddar” flavor was just as bad as the smell. I found I was holding my breath at times to avoid the stench. Overall, not a pleasant dining experience.

I think if you actually like Daiya and eat it often you might enjoy this product. As for me, I can’t really stomach it, so I’m waiting on something better to come along.

Have you tried Amy’s vegan macaroni and cheese? What did you think?