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Battle Bacon Mac: The Office Versus Johnnie Brown's

As far as comfort food goes, macaroni and cheese is numero uno. Whether it's straight from the box or whisked together from bechamel and shredded cheddar, the creamy pasta is a favorite at joints all across South Florida. But recently, two similar versions have popped up in downtown Delray Beach. Is this town big enough for the both of them? Let's lay out the facts to find out who wins Battle Bacon Mac.

The Office's Mac and Cheese, Delray Beach
At David Manero's gastropub, the Office, mac and cheese graces the à la carte menu at $8 a pop. It's a far cry from your mama's mac, this version. Long, penne-style pasta is caked in ultrarich cream sauce that tastes like a blend of sharp cheeses. It's hit with truffle oil and then dashed with bread crumbs and bacon before being popped under the broiler to crisp. Creamy, crunchy, salty, bacony, this mac has it all.

Johnnie Brown's Three Cheese Bacon Mac, Delray Beach

The restaurant -- named after famous Floridian Addison Mizner's pet

monkey -- took over where its predecessor, Elwood's, left off, serving

cheap bar food and barbecue right off the tracks downtown. Its three-cheese bacon mac tastes like a version you'd whip up at home, only with

all the stops pulled out. Corkscrew fusili pasta is given the cheesy

treatment with cheddar, Parmesan, and spices. Big chunks of bacon float

throughout, and the whole thing is broiled to a loving, bubbly brown.

Unlike many macs, this one actually tastes better once it cools a bit.

The cheese and spices become more flavorful, and the bacon really leaps

out. At $5.25 an order, this is one cheap bowl of mac to boot.

Winner: The Office

You just can't deny the ultrarich bacon mac at the Office. Sure, it's

probably twice as likely to give you heart problems, but all that

buttery, creamy goodness and salty bacon is worth the trouble.

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John Linn

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