Steak, Potatoes & Cheese

If you read my initial post on More Chz Plz, you would know that there would come a time when Donovan’s Steak House macaroni & cheese would acquire another mention. Donovan’s is where my love for a thick, juicy filet began but what keeps me coming back is the amazing service.


Donovan's Filet

Donovan’s Filet

Located in the Biltmore area, my bosses love to visit the steak house every few months. They know the staff and General Managers so well that they were given a plaque with their last name for whichever booth they are seated in. Then joins Ashley to the mix, miss little macaroni. My bosses couldn’t understand why I didn’t want a seafood tower and rather a side dish of macaroni.

Donovan's Baked Macaroni

Donovan’s Baked Macaroni

Donovan’s creates the dish from scratch, casserole style. Smoked cheddar, bacon and crusted bread crumbs are all baked and served right out of the oven. Macaroni isn’t the only cheesy dish that I have to order every time I dine though. Another from scratch dish that I crave just writing about are the Au Gratin Potatoes.

I love making Au Gratin at home, so I know how much time goes into making the side dish. The potatoes have to be sliced thick enough so they don’t fall apart after cooking, but thin enough so that they still melt in your mouth. Donovan’s hand layers with plenty of Gruyere cheese and bakes until a perfect golden brown.

Order all of the above and you will have plenty of leftovers for a reminiscent lunch.


Modern Macaroni – Classic Dish

I’m in the PR world and love to attend networking events to keep in touch with other locals in the industry, swap war stories and garner advice. One group that is very active on Facebook decided to have an in-person meet up at Modern Steak, a Fox Restaurant Concept.

Modern Steak was one of the many long-distance date spots that my fiancé and I had before he took the plunge and moved back to Arizona, so it has a special spot in my heart.

Not only do they have great steaks and optional at-your-own-table baked potato bar, but the happy hour menu is phenomenal. So much great food for the price. What is something on this menu, making it relevant for this post, but of course a baked classic macaroni and cheese with smoked cheddar.

Mac and Cheese from Fox Restaurant Concepts

Mac and Cheese from Fox Restaurant Concepts

To me there are many different ways to make macaroni, and Modern Steak had it just how I like it – creamy sauce that slips through your fork with a crunchy top.  Baked in a medium sized metal dish, the macaroni is finished with a crispy brown bread crumb.  The dish is served with a spoon for a reason – even for the cheap price, there were at least 3 of us scooping at the creamy shells.

UPDATE: Since last visiting Modern Steak, the restaurant unexpectedly closed. As we have seen from Sam Fox restaurants that pop up, we can only hope a similar concept with these amazing side dishes appears again soon.


Citizen’s of Macaroni

Seeing old friends is always a refreshing stance during the hurried, work-filled weeks. Catching up on lives that have all changed so much puts into perspective how quickly time passes without a sudden care.

I had been to Citizen Public House before for a Valentine’s dinner with the fiancé. Although, I usually hate set menus, I enjoyed each course; just never made it back to the dim-lit, upscale and cozy pub.

The setting last week was for the well known crafty cocktails, appetizers, and talk about the future.

The Citi-Zen handcrafted cocktail was my drink of choice. Made with Absolut Pear vodka, Domaine de Canton, ginger liqueur, housemade sweet & sour.The best part is the rock candy that doubles as a martini stirrer.

Pork Belly Pastrami with a Brussels sprout sauerkraut, Burrata and Chicken & Waffles made it to the table to share. We couldn’t be satisfied without a couple orders of the Bernie’s Mac and Cheese as well.

Citizen Public House Macaroni and Cheese

Citizen Public House Macaroni and Cheese

Cavatappi is not my favorite pasta, but it was cooked well so no complaints. I couldn’t tell if it was the Emmental as it can become spicy when aged, but the M&C had a bite that I loved. The Gorgonzola and tomato relish gave it the savory component that had us order two more bowls for the table.

We ended the night with the peanut butter dessert and smiles.

After I left, I kept thinking of the rock candy in the Citi-Zen and the elementary science experiments when I had home made. For all of you who never had a rad teacher who showed you how to make rock’s your rock candy recipe:

Homemade Rock Candy recipe

Homemade Rock Candy recipe


  • 1 cup of water
  • 2-3 cups of white sugar
  • Food coloring
  • Wooden skewers
  • Clothes pins
  • Champagne flutes or a mason jar
  • Pot to boil water


  1. Boil the water and add a quarter cup of sugar until all is dissolved.
  2. Clamp a skewer with a close pin near the top, dip in the simple syrup, then roll in sugar. Place in flute or glass jar to dry.
  3. After cooling the simple syrup add to your flute/mason jar. Then use a generous amount of food coloring to each glass. The more the better for the sugar to catch the color. Make sure the skewer is in the middle of the class and not touching the bottom.
  4. Wait 3-7 days, then break the top of the sugar with a butter knife. Hang it upside down to get excess liquid off. Package for a later day or enjoy!

Cheesy Valentine’s

Prequel: I have a fiancé and he will be mentioned in many of these posts, but as JRS.

Present time: Valentine’s Day. A day for wasting money to prove your love. Don’t take that last sentence as if I don’t love receiving delivered flowers at work. Just a statement that I recognize now that I’m older.

JRS and I had multiple things to celebrate last weekend and decided to have an early Vday dinner at the new Chandler steak house CHoP. It is owned by the same creators of The Living Room and Sushi Room. Walking in, it reminds me of The Keg. Hostess in short FBD, with an immediate view of the simple, modern steakhouse engorged by a large bar. It was super busy so it is evident that South West Chandler needed something of the sort. Long story short, I ordered the mac and cheese even though there were multiple options to accompany my filet, because obviously it’s the right choice. This decision is prior to this blog, so no decent pic to share. #morechzplz rating? It was a four out of five. Not the bees knees best, but definitely good enough to come back for. The tender and perfectly cooked filet next to it may have flawed my judgement.


This dish inspired my day of Valentine’s dinner cooking with the following mac and cheese side to accompany our own filet and lobster meal:

Inspired by the Chandler, AZ steakhouse.

Inspired by the Chandler, AZ steakhouse.

Preparation for two (with plenty of leftovers).

1.5 cups of shell macaroni
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half (or more milk)
1.5 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1.5 shredded jalapeno jack cheese for some bite
3/4 cup breadcrumbs

Cook macaroni following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water; set aside.

Butter a baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir flour into the butter until smooth and bubbly. Stir in the dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually add milk and cream, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cheese and continue to cook and stir until melted.

Combine the macaroni and the sauce and pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and bake for about 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and topping is lightly browned.

Second day reheat still magnificent.