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I am taking my 4 year old to the National Zoo late this afternoon and we are going to want to eat an early bite to eat. She (being a 4-year old) loves the mac and cheese. Anyone have any suggestions of a good place in DC? I also want to eat, so we are trying to avoid chains, etc...

So far, I think the best we have had was at Mia's (pizza) in Bethesda, but we don't want to trek up there.

Thanks in advance.

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I am taking my 4 year old to the National Zoo late this afternoon and we are going to want to eat an early bite to eat. She (being a 4-year old) loves the mac and cheese. Anyone have any suggestions of a good place in DC? I also want to eat, so we are trying to avoid chains, etc...

So far, I think the best we have had was at Mia's (pizza) in Bethesda, but we don't want to trek up there.

Thanks in advance.

I am understandably biased, but I love the M&C at Central along with the creamed spinach and faux gras and charcuterie and chili soup.......oops

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Maybe I'll lose some gourmet points for this, but I like the mac and cheese at the Florida Ave Grill. Now, I'm sure Vidalia has the best, but I'm a postdoc. I can't really do Vidalia.

Also, a friend says the mac and cheese at Oohs and Aahs is good. But the last time he was there was a year ago, so...who knows if it's still open, let alone good.

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Maybe I'll lose some gourmet points for this, but I like the mac and cheese at the Florida Ave Grill. Now, I'm sure Vidalia has the best, but I'm a postdoc. I can't really do Vidalia.

Also, a friend says the mac and cheese at Oohs and Aahs is good. But the last time he was there was a year ago, so...who knows if it's still open, let alone good.

Florida Avenue Grill is an underappreciated gem, so you certainly loose no points with me.

Oohs and Aahs is still open, but I don't care much for the style of Mac and Cheese that they put out. Theirs is the style that is literally melted cheese on the macaroni, I prefer my Mac and Cheese to be in a cheese sauce.

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In order of preference:

Ray's: The Classics - very creamy four-cheeze blend (blue optional); mac is tender, not mushy

Vidalia - the flavor of the goat cheddar is hard to beat; I don't remember specifically the texture of the macaroni

Central - good texture of mac; cheese combo is tangy-ly tasty, but rather stringy [sorry, Mark]

hope that helps

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My kids love the mac and cheese at Firefly and at Hank's (especially paired with the shrimp and calamari). Both give you relatively good proximity to the Zoo. Firefly is probably easier for that age seating wise and for the fun of the tree and lights. If she is too tired for a restaurant, Whole Foods in Tenleytown has a decent mac and cheese to carry out.

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I don't know how popular it would be with a small child, but the Mac & Cheese with bleu at RTC is so good that my lactose intolerant fiancee eats it knowing full well what the consequences will be later (painful).

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I can't believe that no one has mentioned the Mac & cheese at Equinox. Last I looked, it had a black truffle reduction with it. Just so comforting and delicious.

Also, I'm willing to bet that Bourbon's Mac & cheese is good, their chili mac is a favorite of mine.

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On a more down-scale level, I have to say that the rumors about great mac and cheese at Levi's Port Cafe are true. Even if it sits at a steam-table, it was moist (though not runny) and had a good cheesy flavor--one of the best restaurant renditions I've had.

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Thanks for all the great recommendations. As it turns out, my daughter got pretty tired after the zoo and we just ended up going home. Such is life when you have kids...

However, we did make some pretty mean grilled turkey, cheese, and bacon sandwiches when we got home. Oh, we also made oatmeal-butterscotch cookies as well.

Maybe we will try the mac and cheese outing next weekend.

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Ah-ha! There's even a mac & cheese thread here! This is a great board!

This is a serious topic; this mac & cheese thing.

Have always thought Central was the best in DC. But, now, I think Birch & Barley may get the edge. I'm also quite sure Bourbon isn't top 20 though.

Thumbs up also on Central and Bourbon, but have never had B&B. I would throw Rustico's in there on a good day. Sometimes it is a bit greasy, but generally top notch.

Twisted Vines on the Pike now has a couple of full size meals on a revamped menu, including a mac and cheese. It was quite good as well with 2 kinds of cheese, penne and bacon. mmmmm bacon.

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