The area between Union Square and Flatiron is going to be mighty dangerous now with Beecher's Handmade Cheese; it means that one can potentially get mac and cheese for lunch, from both Beecher's and City Bakery. Two small servings: one from each place, make for a complete lunch. After all, they're only a short walk from each other. The mac and cheese from Beecher's is $5.25 for a small, and though it does not bear a golden, crunchy crust like City Bakery's, it's plenty rich—the penne noodles enrobed with a silky, decidedly indulgent blend of Beecher's nutty Flagship and Just Jack cheeses. They call it the "world's best" mac and cheese, and while I wouldn't go that far, it's an excellent bet for the neighborhood.
If you wish to pair your mac and cheese with soup, Beecher's offers a cold gazpacho and a hot tomato soup, creamy with cuts of melting onions and fresh tomatoes. They don't give bread on the side (my only gripe with the soup), but the woman in line behind me recommended getting a container of their fresh, squeaky cheese curds to drop in the soup. That I did, and it was advice well-heeded. The curds soften, then melt in the hot soup, making for a sort of grilled cheese sandwich minus the bread. Leftover curds make a great afternoon snack; they're pulled into tiny bite-sized pieces, perfect for nibbling on. Come early in the day and you might score a square of their eggy breakfast strata. The strata fillings change daily: one featured salmon and another pulled pork, but you can bet it will be plenty cheesy, regardless of the fillings.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
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