Holy Macaroni (and more)…

Okay, it’s official, I’ve been a terrible blogger the past few days and I give you my deepest apologies.  It’s hard to cook when you’re not in your own kitchen with your own stuff.  This all being said, I think that I have just the meal to help me redeem myself.  

As I told all of you before, my parents just relocated to New Hampshire.  While they just found a house in Bedford, they’re working on remodeling the the whole thing from top to bottom (at it’s starting to look ah-mazing!) so they’ve been staying in a little apartment in downtown Manchester.  The kitchen in particular is small so we’ve been going out to eat a ton.  At first glance, the area looks a bit dreary but the food options are far from limited.  I blogged earlier in the week about the cafe, Baked, and now I’m introducing you to another downtown Manchester gem, Ignite.  This place is absolutely ridiculous, good ridiculous that is.  It has one of the most eclectic menus I’ve seen a in a long long time.  Better yet, it’s not eclectic in the there-are-pig’s-feet-and-mongolian-llama-on-this-menu sense, it’s more like oh-my-gosh-there’s-pealla-AND-pad thai-on-the-menu-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-get kind of eclectic.  Needless to say, it’s awesome.  The second that I saw baked macaroni and cheese on the menu I was totally won over though.  Since it was a new restaurant, and I had high hopes for the place, I asked the waitress (who was crazy helpful and absolutely wonderful) what she thought of the dish.  She immediately began to rave about it and told me that I should definitely take advantage of the offered opportunity to add steak tips as well.  While I was a little hesitant, I trusted her and decided to add ’em on in.  The more the merrier right?  We also ordered an appetizer of scallops wrapped in bacon nested in reduced Vermont maple syrup.  As a Vermonter, I had to give it a shot.  

First thing’s first, the scallops were fantastic.  Cooked perfectly and seared to perfection with that awesome golden brown crunch.  The bacon somehow achieved a level of bacon nirvana, both tender enough to stay wrapped around the scallop and crunchy enough to add a really fantastic texture in every single bite.  The maple syrup pulled everything together, you got the natural salty taste from the scallop, the smokey taste from the bacon, and that sweet sticky taste from the syrup.  Check it out:

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Now on to the star of the show, that mac n’ cheese with steak tips!

This was a pretty awesome dish.  I like to think of myself as a sort of mac n’ cheese connoisseur and this one ranked fairly high, about an 8.  It had tender bow-tie pasta with a creamy cheddar cheese and a baked breadcrumb top.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the steak tips, although at first I was weary, I quickly became a huge fan.  The steak tips were cooked perfectly, packed some seriously great flavor, and baked right into the mac n’ cheese.  I only had two small complaint-ish points (complaint seems like too strong of a word): 1)  I would have loved to have a little more flavor in the cheese sauce and 2)  I’m a huge sucker for a great bread-crumbly crunch in a baked mac n’ cheese.  Overall though, this dish was delish!Image

 

Some other eats and clinks worth salivating over from Ignite:

Fried pickles with a Jamaican relish, you haven’t snacked until you’ve had a fried pickle.

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And an Orange Julius cocktail, not even kidding it tastes EXACTLY the way that the real frozen treats do!

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If any of you ever find yourselves in Manchester, definitely hunt this place down.  Even if it’s just for a drink, it’s totally worth it!

Keep eating and clinking!

-C

 

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