by Viki Papadakis
Mac ‘n’ cheese: the American staple food of our youths. Most of us remember this food as the warm, brightly colored Kraft snack our moms would hurriedly throw together before driving us to soccer practice. Some may have had the privilege to enjoy baked mac ‘n’ cheeses with real, melted cheese and a crisp layer of bread crumbs sprinkled on top. No matter what quality of mac ‘n’ cheese we’ve had, we all regard it as the lovely, cheesy comfort food we can’t only have one bite of.
This past weekend, I had the privilege to eat (more like devour) the most delightful mac ‘n’ cheese that--dare I say--is the best I’ve ever had. On a relatively quiet street in Oakland, there resides a mac ‘n’ cheese god that can make your mouth experience absolute ecstasy: Homeroom. Beware, however; the restaurant is busy at all hours of the day. Don’t worry, though. Once you finally sit, you’ll be in for an experience that will change your life--or at least your standards for mac ‘n’ cheese dishes.
The overall decor of the restaurant is casual but pleasant. The theme? School. Not many of us want to be reminded of our rudimentary school lives when we’re on our day trips in Oakland, but the decorations in the restaurant offer a different vibe. In the restaurant, you feel like a kid. And with an American comfort food as basic as mac ‘n’ cheese, that’s just how you should feel. Paper airplanes are strewn all over the walls. Old trophies are used at coathangers. There are communal tables where you can strike conversation with interesting-looking Oaklanders. An old-fashioned filing cabinet exists in the corner, with alphabetized names of frequents to the restaurant.
I was able to try three different mac ‘n’ cheese dishes at Homeroom. I’ll start with the “Classic”. Homeroom’s menu describes this dish as “super creamy [and] extra cheesy”, and that’s exactly what it is. On this dish, we added the “buttery” breadcrumbs, which provided a nice crunch to the deliciously soft interior of the food. As we forked our way through the massive portion of this basic mac ‘n’ cheese, we were actually able to see the delicate white cheese slowly ooze over the pasta--a tantalizing image.
“Sriracha Mac”: all I can say is that every person should eat this at some point in their lives. The Sriracha mac was unanimously considered to be the best dish out of all three that we tried. Homeroom’s website describes this dish as containing “havarti [cheese], ginger butter, sliced scallions, and sriracha”. The cheese in this dish was superb, and well-complimented by the other ingredients. This mac had the perfect amount of spiciness to it. Should you get this, I would highly recommend also getting the Key Lime Pie limeade; its tanginess goes greatly with the spicy Sriracha mac ‘n’cheese.
Yet another delicious mac ‘n’ cheese offered at homeroom was the “Mexican Mac”. Again, the Homeroom website describes it best: “Niman Ranch chorizo, chipotle peppers, jack cheese, and cilantro, served with a wedge of lime”. This dish had more of a sophisticated taste than the others, as it was a more peculiar mix of ingredients. However, this mac ‘n’ cheese dish was absolutely amazing. Although I picked around the chorizo, they were apparently the most impressive factor of the dish.
Homeroom is a must-try. Even those of you who have yet to be impressed by a cheesy version of pasta, this may be the restaurant that changes your idea of mac ‘n’ cheese forever. The restaurant offers a great variety of other mac ‘n’ cheeses, and a wide array of homemade desserts. The prices are fair and the portions are large--I was eating leftovers for three days. If you’re interested in seeing other goodies Homeroom offers, or want to find their exact location, here’s a link to their website: http://homeroom510.com/ When you go, be sure to fill out a “detention” card for yourself and put it in the file cabinet. For every mac ‘n’ cheese you order, you get one stamp. For every ten stamps, you get a free mac ‘n’ cheese! I hope you all now understand how heavenly that offer truly is.
Here you can find all of our articles up to 2018.