Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

June 20, 2014 at 7:27am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe's mac and cheese is a decadent delight. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Trying to form consensus on the best macaroni and cheese is like getting Congress to agree on anything. There is precious little bipartisanship where this concerned.

Why? Because we're all convinced we make the best. Or our taste buds are attuned to familiar flavors - our mom's mac; that prized recipe from our favorite magazine or cooking show; the heart-attack-on-a-plate from a beloved restaurant.

Seriously, though, my mom's mac is the best. I never tasted Asian spices until college. I thought all meat was dry. But, oh mamma, my mom's mac and cheese is effing tasty - greasy, burned edges, gloppy cheese and all. It sings the comforts of home.

Sunday, I visited another home - Top of Tacoma Bar and Café. The Top's Sunday brunch bursts with laughter, hugs and deliciousness. These 30- and 40-somethings truly enjoy each other's company, and the flavors concocted in the kitchen - a kitchen that sprouted Marrow Kitchen and Bar - may shock those fooled by the bar's surroundings. Jaime Kay and Jason Jones, partners with chef Kyle Wnuk at Marrow, own the Top - the best bar in Tacoma, according to the voters in our Best of Tacoma issue.

The molecular structure of the Tops' mac might be straightforward - cheddar and Havarti(!) topped with herbed panko - but it reminds me of a recipe by my second mom, Betty Crocker. The ubiquitous elbow macaroni ($9.50) is tucked into a small soufflé dish blanketed with herbed panko-crumb to foil the very generous, rich cheese concoction. And, because the Jones' know flavor pairings, prosciutto, pork belly, tomato or pesto may be added for an additional 75 cents. I chose pork belly. Wise. The long chewy strips take the decadent dish to the next level.

When I have the jones, I head to The Top and into the arms of friends and cheesy elbows. 

TOP OF TACOMA BAR AND CAFÉ, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, 3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma, 253.272.1502

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About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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