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The Glutton

January 24, 2008

Trying to re-create the traditional American childhood she never had, the Glutton continues her quest to catalog the best macaroni and cheeses of Greater Los Angeles. To aid in these inquires, the Glutton, who thinks about macaroni and cheese approximately 4.7 times per hour, has developed a rudimentary taxonomy that classifies the dish into two primary genres based on their preparation.

TOSSED: a bowl of noodles mixed with cheese that's been shredded, melted or made into a sauce. Difficulty level: mild to moderate. Analysis: solid, basic and frequently found on menus. It's hard to go wrong with pasta and cheese. Exemplars: The Kitchen (Silver Lake), recently opened 15 (Echo Park), Angelena's Signature Southern Cuisine (Alhambra). All serve a credible version of the dish. So do dozens of other restaurants.

BAKED: A gooey concoction that demands a cheese sauce and a casserole-esque preparation. Difficulty level: moderate to high. Analysis: Spare the roux, spoil the child. Exponentially more difficult to make but infinitely more rewarding to eat. Exemplar: Town & Country (Echo Park). Thick, delicious, triangular wedge of "quichearoni." Expertly combines fluffiness with density. Excellent orange color. Impressive thickness. Perfectly crisped side and top crust. The only downside? Needs a sharper cheddar with more tang.

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-- theguide@latimes.com

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