The Mac Shack Love Attack
This week, my husband got in a horrible car accident that totalled our car. Our car is DONE. My husband’s face is…well, perfect, as always. Thank God. When stuff like this happens, it really makes you take a second and think, “As long as his face is still pretty, everything will be alright.”
Needless to say, I’ve been feeling a little down. I was craving Mac’n’Cheese, that oh-so-comfy comfort food that makes everyone feel better. In particular, I was craving “The Brooklyn” from The Mac Shack. When I tweeted my predicament, The Mac Shack told me they would bring it to me.
car crash + sadness = need for Mac
= need for car to drive to get Mac + no car
= disappointment and thwarted desires
Bring it to me? Yep, they said it sounded like I’d had a rough week and I deserved a little comfort. A RAOM, they called it: a “Random Act of Macness.”
And let me tell you, it was just what I needed. We devoured that thing.
Of course, it has been quite the journey to get to this point. I’ve had The Mac Shack three times and it wasn’t until today that I felt ready to write a review. Full disclosure: I realize now that only once did I pay for my meal, and that was a partial payment. This does not influence my review, as you will see.
The first time I had The Mac Shack was on Grand Opening day. I was really excited, since you know, Mac and Cheese is kinda my thing. I was lucky to find out about The Mac Shack via Big Man, after he’d been trolling around on Twitter. I freaked, like I do, and this was before we realized they were giving away free Macs to their first 500 Twitter followers. Whaaaaaa?!
So Big Man and I followed them and received our coupon codes for free Macs. On opening day, we drove all the way over to West Blvd at W. 38th Ave. When we got there, we were turned away! Temporary closure due to the overwhelming response on their first day of business. I was pissed and I didn’t hide it. Like any sleazy snob, I vented my frustrations on the Internet behind my semi-opaque mask of anonymity. Immediately, I got a tweet to return to the restaurant as it was just a miscommunication.
Grumble. Grumble. This better be good, I thought.
So, we snuck back in. As usual, I didn’t pay attention to the menu and assumed that the three sizes of “Regular,” “Ultimate,” and “Jumbo” equated to “A Little Hungry,” “Fairly Hungry,” and “Really Hungry.” So, for the three of us, I ordered a regular Lobster Mac ($15), a regular Classic Mac ($6), a regular Bacon Cheeseburger Mac ($8), and an ultimate Royale ($16). We used two of our coupons and only had to pay for the Lobster Mac and the Royale.
So, it took about 45 minutes to get our food, which was tiresome, but understandable considering this was their first day of business. Overall, I liked the Mac, but I didn’t love it. I wasn’t blown away. The portions were large and the value was there. A “Regular” feeds 1 person, an “Ultimate” feeds 2, and a “Jumbo” feeds 3-4. I would’ve known that if I had read the menu. The Macs were good, particularly the Classic and the Bacon Cheeseburger, but I feared that my expectations had been a little high. Remember, I’m always looking for the Mac that takes me back to my childhood.
Obviously, no self-respecting reviewer would publish a review based on a Grand Opening experience. Of course, I don’t have any self-respect, but I still waited to write the review.
Thwarted in my attempts to get back to The Mac Shack, I wasn’t able to return incognito. About a month or two after their Grand Opening, they had a media event and I made it on the guest list (I’m not usually one of those bloggers who gets these types of invitations). So, I headed back and was able to try their re-worked menu. This was a great experience because I was forced to try a lot of Macs, some of which I would never have ordered on my own. And that is how I met Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is a lovely Mac made with Naramata Blue Cheese and AAA Sirloin Steak, with caramelized onions and mushrooms in an aged balsamic reduction and rose sauce. Blue Cheese in my Mac? Whaaaaaaa?!
But it was The Brooklyn that really caught my taste buds at the media event. Sure, I also enjoyed the Lobster Mac (yet again), which comes with a hefty portion of lobster even when you aren’t at a media event (yes, it did the first time I tried it too). The Veggie was tasty, although not something I would personally order on my own. The breadsticks with tomato dipping sauce were better than expected. And the Bacon Cheeseburger Mac was good the second time around.
But only one of these Macs lingered in my memory: The Brooklyn. (My musings on why we are drawn to certain Macs can be found here.) The rest were good, but only the Brooklyn would keep me coming back. It is something about the sweetness of the caramelized onions mixed with the tanginess of the blue cheese that just makes me crave it. The large slices of tender steak don’t hurt either.
Which brings us back to the present time. Today, The Mac Shack brought me an ultimate Brooklyn. Whenever I get free food (which is very rare), I have to ask myself one very crucial question:
Would I pay full price to eat this?
So an ultimate-sized Brooklyn is $17. Tonight, this fed Big Man, after a long day of work; myself; and Little Man, a growing boy. Dinner for three for $20. Yep, that’s a deal that I would gladly pay for.
Is this the best Mac’n’Cheese I’ve ever had? No.
Is this the best Mac’n’Cheese in all of Vancouver? Maybe/Maybe not. That really depends on you. What kind of Mac’n’Cheese do you like? Let me explain.
In my quest for the best Mac’n’Cheese, I’ve heard a lot of recommendations. You can’t believe how many times I’ve been told to go to Burgoo for the best Mac in the city. And again and again I have to say, “Sorry, I like a lot of things at Burgoo, but the Mac ain’t one of ‘em.” But think about that for a minute. Why do so many recommend Burgoo? Is it that their taste buds are seriously flawed? I don’t think so. I think that everyone is different and, thus, everyone wants something specific and unique in their ideal Mac. For myself, I was lucky enough to be able to try a lot of the Macs at The Mac Shack until I found one that was the right fit for me.
Will I eat at The Mac Shack again? Definitely.
It works like this. If you love burgers, you aren’t going to stop until you try every single burger you can get your hands on. Now, once you eat your way through the city until you find your number one favourite burger, does that mean you stop eating burgers everywhere else? No way!
Similarly, I don’t plan to stop looking for that number one best Mac ever, but in the meantime I’m sure I’ll continue to crave The Brooklyn.
Find your favourite Mac at:
The Mac Shack
5395 West Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6M 3W4