My husband and I recently ate with friends at Poole's Downtown Diner in Raleigh. The food was delicious, but the macaroni and cheese was to die for. Do you think Ashley Christensen would be willing to share the recipe? -- I.C., Raleigh
Indeed she would. Christensen, owner/chef of Poole's Downtown Diner (426 S. McDowell St.; 832-4477; www.poolesdowntowndiner.com), shares the recipe for the restaurant's enormously popular Macaroni au Gratin, along with a few suggested variations. "We have (occasionally) featured it with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, blue cheese," Christensen notes, "and for our Saturday brunch we sometimes serve it with a runny egg yolk in the middle and crispy bacon under the caramelized cheese crust."
The chef also shares the recipe for her twist on the classic cocktail, La Vie en Rose. It's a great light aperitif anytime and, in the wake of the two Oscars the movie of the same name recently won, it's especially timely.