Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seaside Mac & Cheese “On ‘Da Beach”

I am in The Abacos for the annual holiday sailing vacation where each anchorage or docking puts us just a short dinghy ride away from fruity rum-riddled cocktails, unbelievable fresh grilled fish sandwiches and deep fried delights like conch fritters and grouper fingers (J the BF’s favorite). During our stop in Hope Town, J’s sisters insisted we take a long beach along the beach to a spot they only referred to as “the mac & cheese place”.
After a 20 minute stomp down an incredible stretch of beach, where we encountered no more than 3 other people, we arrived at “On ‘Da Beach”, a non-descript simple beachside bar set atop the dune attached to a small cluster of vacation condos. The menu consisted of basic grilled items (no fry-daddy here), fruity drinks laced with banana rum and an among the available side dishes on the sandwich menu, a mac & cheese option for an additional $3.

Though J the BF and I shared both a cheeseburger and an incredibly delightful jerked wahoo sandwich, we each insisted on our own order of the mac & cheese. Casserole style, the dish is served in big square hunks like a lasagna with multiple layers of almost over-cooked textured large elbow pasta, a rich custardy and cheesy sauce, diced chilis and peppers and covered with a thick layer sharp cheddar cheese on top. The dish had a pleasant heat to counteract the richness. It was an unexpected, but perfect, accompaniment to our cheeseburger in paradise.
J’s youngest sister asked the server for the recipe and, while she happily agreed to write it down for her, we never got a copy. I think I can come close with some modifications to my mom’s recipe, but without the beach, the sun and the sound of the Atlantic, I’m sure it just won’t taste the same.

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