Food & Drink

Magnificent mac and cheese

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.

c/o The News & Observer or e-mail ggcox@bellsouth.net. Find past columns and recipes at www.newsobserver.com, keyword specialty.

Recipes

Macaroni au Gratin

La Vie en Rose

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