Plating It Up: It’s Not Just a Side Dish

Bacon, crostini, East Village, Lower East Side, Mac 'n Cheese
Crostini

Mailiano

The common side dish is no longer playing second fiddle. What was once considered just a side dish on menus has slowly grown into the focal point of some entrees. The trend in food culture of upgrading the side dish has been especially popular with macaroni and cheese, with portion sizes that create this childhood favorite into an adult meal.

S’mac (Sarita’s Mac ‘n Cheese) has has created a meal with familiar combinations like cheese burger and buffalo chicken and some exotic spices with their cajun and masala versions of the mac ‘n cheese which are served in your own individual cast iron pan. Another favorite, that’s also good for kids, is Brooklyn Mac in Greenpoint. With similar dishes as S’Mac but with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. There’s even a kids menu with smaller portions, making Brooklyn Mac a perfect family destination.

Another favorite, especially for the late night crowd, is the Mac Bar in the heart of SoHo. It’s modest size with its yellow walls and curved interior makes you feel as if you were standing inside and elbow macaroni noodle. The Mac Bar’s menu of playful and rich version of classic pasta dishes, including the Margarita Mac, Mac Stroganoff and Mac Lobsta will make you forget you’re eating a bowl of mac ‘n cheese!

Pigging Out

Bacon, New York City

“[The] Bacon trend will never End, ” according to Food & Wine magazine. Why is the Bacon trend still goes on…can it still be called a “trend” after all this time? Some fads come and go, but bacon is definitely here to stay! As long as I can remember, everyone’s been crazy about bacon. That aroma of bacon sizzling on the stove brings a smile to everyone’s face and them running to the kitchen.

photo: courtesy of Food & Wine magazine

photo: courtesy of Food & Wine magazine

More and more restaurants are promoting items on their menus around our obsession with bacon. The bacon “trend” stems from the food industry making us more aware of our love for the pig! Over the last few years, I’ve seen some interesting combinations and concoctions with bacon as the star ingredient. It’s not just for sandwiches anymore, bacon has been infused into cookies, milkshakes, pies, ice cream, alcohol, mayonnaise, jams and even candied and dipped in chocolate are just a few examples.

For those who just can’t get enough, there are restaurants and bars, in New York City, that have dedicated large part of their menu to bacon! Hell’s Kitchen has the Bar Bacon, offering beer and bacon, even a bacon tasting option on the menu. Swine in the West Village, where pork belly and bacon are staples and Pork Slope in Brooklyn is another favorite. There was even a bakery on the Upper West Side, Baconery, that was solely dedicated to all things bacon, from sweets to soaps to pillows, it was pork heaven. Unfortunately, it’s no longer in business but not forgotten, as bacon surely is when it’s gone from your plate.

Bar Bacon, 836 9th Ave., New York, NY 646-362-0622, BarBacon.com

Swine, 531 Hudson St., New York, NY 212-255-7675, Swinenyc.com

Pork Slope, 247 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 718-768-7657, PorkSlope.com