Restaurant Rewind | Airport Edition: Paschal’s + One Flew South ATL

On my way back from visiting Sunshine in Sarasota, I was stuck with a 2.5hr layover in the gigantic Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport. I figured with 5 terminals, there had to be some decent food to discover. I did a quick poke around the internet and came across Food & Wine’s Ultimate Airport Survival Guide. Since I was below the Mason-Dixon, their suggestion of Paschal’s classic Southern fare seemed like the perfect choice. And why have I never heard of Bruce’s Green Hot Pepper Sauce before?!?

At Paschal’s, I threw down on some fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, collards greens, + cornbread.

After I savored my last bite, I checked my Twitter to see that Taylor from Mac & Cheese shot me a strong recommendation to try One Flew South, the other suggestion on the F&W guide. Then there was Taylor’s follow-up: Do not miss anything “Benton’s” on the menu – bacon or ham – if you do pork. Oh, I do pork and I def have to do pork recommended by someone who’s been a vegetarian for over 20 years. I hopped on the tram and headed to Terminal E – proud in my Phillies shirt on a quest for bacon.

Sweet jesus… a beautiful, fine dining restaurant serving sushi and southern fusion… in an airport. While I waited for my Benton’s selection to arrive, I sipped on a serious, perfectly-made Vesper. Thank you, bartender who’s name I forget who has a dad who lives in Philly!

And then my glorious plate arrived… crisp frisee tossed w. a pink peppercorn vinaigrette flanked by Benton’s bacon + Sweet Grass Dairy goat cheese topped w. basil poached pears. It was so fresh with truly beautiful flavor combinations and damn near the best bacon I’ve ever had.

Did I mention I was in an airport?

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To Taste: Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese

Dre’s main request for Friday’s dinner was Mac & Cheese WITH BACON to accompany my Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozz Stuffed Chicken Breasts. On a shopping trip last week, I picked up the most adorable red casserole dish and this was the perfect opportunity to christen it. I needed to refresh myself on Mac & Cheese basics and Alton Brown seemed like my go-to man. I forgot how easily you can turn a basic rue, some milk, onion, & cheese (and bacon, of course) into the most comforting of foods. Mmmm, Mac & Cheese!

Shredded Mozz, Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, & Velveeta

I put Dre in charge of finishing up the Mac & Cheese. He crumbled bacon and tossed it into the macaroni & melty cheese mixture. The jumbo macaroni were perfectly filled up with the bacon & gooey cheesiness. He gets half the credit on this cooking venture for that move!

Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese

No Baked Mac & Cheese is complete without a crunchy crust and why not have it add to the cheesiness! Dre crushed up some Cheez-Its, tossed with melted butter, and sprinkled on top. It added a crunchy texture to the creamiest, yummiest Mac & Cheese I’ve ever tasted, if I do say so myself! And how cute is that casserole dish?!

Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese w/ a Cheez-It crust

Smokey Bacon Mac & Cheese

adapted from Alton Brown’s Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

  • Macaroni – (1) lb, cooked al dente
    • Farfalle, Orchiette, Spirals & Shells all work well, too
  • Butter – (3) T + (2) T
  • Flour – (3) T
  • Milk – (3) cups
  • Whole Grain Mustard – (1) T
  • Paprika – (2) tsp
  • Bay Leaf – (1)
  • White Onion – (1/2) med onion, chopped
  • Shredded Cheeses – (4) cups or more
    • I used (2) cups Mild Cheddar, (2) cups Mozzarella, & (1) cup of Smoked Gouda
  • Velveeta – (8) oz, cubed
  • Smoked Bacon – (4-5) slices, cooked & chopped (optional, I guess…)
  • Cheez-Its – (1.5) cups, crushed
    • Next time, Goldfish!
  1. Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Melt (3) T of butter in a heavy pot on Med and add flour. Stir for about 5 min until it turns a light caramel brown, watching closely.
  4. Add Milk, Mustard, Paprika, Bay Leaf, Onion, & S&P and stir. Bring to a simmer on Med for about 5 min. Remove Bay Leaf.
  5. Immediately add the cheese mixture to the pasta in a large bowl or your stock pot and coat. The bacon crumbles can go in now, too.
  6. Pour mixture into a large, greased baking dish or casserole.
  7. Crush (1.5) cups of Cheez-Its in a sealed plastic baggie and then toss with (2) T melted Butter in a bowl. Sprinkle over Mac & Cheese.
  8. Bake for about 30-40 min until bubbling. Remove and let it sit for (5) min before eating.