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

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


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!

Month of the FlapJack

Lower East Side, New York City, Pancakes
photo: Clinton St. Baking Co.

photo: Clinton St. Baking Co.

Once in a while, I’ll have breakfast for dinner. And I know I’m not alone, out there! Usually when I do have what I call a “late breakfast” it’s something fast like bacon and eggs. If its anything hearty like waffles, its usually packaged, and honestly, it’s usually because I’m feeling too lazy to cook so I turn to something simple. I love pancakes, but have never found any packaged version of it that is satisfying.

When I was younger, my idea of going out for a great meal was when the family went to IHOP. It didn’t happen too often so on those rare occasions it was a real treat. I looked forward to my favorite thing on the menu, which I ordered every time, pigs-in-a-blanket. Pancakes wrapped around sausage links topped with whipped cream! The saltiness from the sausage and the sweetness from the pancake and syrup; it has my mouth watering, as I think about it. Pancakes have always been my breakfast comfort food, with french toast coming in a close second.