I did get one question about the Macaroni and Cheese Off I hosted on Sunday, but otherwise, it was just a few friends. A friend of Ali's who I see around once in a while is a great local chef; every year I've mentioned having some kind of best mac-and-cheese contest with him during the winter. And every year, January, February, and March slip by before I remember to organize it. I finally got to it this year in February … just before it ended.
We had four entries including my own. Every one was significantly different: mine was a pretty by-the-book cheddar/parmesan baked number, our chef friend brought one with prosciutto, another included condensed milk, and the final entry was chilled like macaroni salad. Amusingly enough, everyone picked different shaped pasta, too. We also had a couple people bring vegetables to counteract the starch/fat/salt wonderland. As it turned out, prosciutto (and expert cooking, presumably) wins but nothing loses.
Ali and I went to Rocco (165 Monroe Ave., formerly The Olive Tree) for dinner and it was fantastic. We dropped in without a reservation and were happy to eat at the bar. Ali got the ziti with a side of meatballs which she loved — if I remember right: I was overwhelmed by the quality of my thick-cut pork chop special with parmesan cheese and a chili-spiced red sauce. Drinks, too, were excellent: the Stormy Monday was a great choice. Ali even liked it despite that she otherwise hates the taste of bourbon. As it ended up, we were too full for dessert.
Ali and I went to Make and Take Gourmet (1475 E. Henrietta Road) to make a few do-it-yourself take-home-and-cook meals. I had set up an event with the MEETinROCHESTER and 5 of them came as well. We had a great time — a few people brought some wine so we had a ball drinking and cooking. I made the "Inside-out Bacon Cheeseburgers with Green Onion Mayo" and Ali made the "Sautéed Chicken in Dijon-Cream Sauce". When I was all done, I had 3 burgers with cheese and bacon inside in a foil pan along with a green onion mayonnaise in a zip-lock bag. The really amazing thing was that it only took 10 minutes to prepare the whole thing — it's so easy when someone else has prepared all the ingredients.
Afterward we were naturally hungry so we ended up going out to The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) for what actually turned out to be a rather light dinner. I had their "Sliders" which are mini-burgers: one beef, one bean, and one spicy chicken — all excellent.