published Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Side orders: Easter menus taking shape

Easter will be celebrated in grand style at area restaurants on April 4. Here are a few suggestions in case you’re looking to eat out:

* Broad Street Grille (at The Chattanoogan, 1201 S. Broad St.): The Easter Lily Champagne Brunch will include such entrees as Oregano Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Cabernet Reduction, Crushed Fennel Seed Rotisserie Chicken, and Cannaroni Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato-Mushroom Sausage and Basil Cream. Also featured are a seafood buffet, salad station, large breakfast bar, desserts, a children’s station and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: $32.95 adults, $16.95 children 5-12. Reservations: 424-3700. Complimentary valet parking.

* Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St.: Set up beneath the gorgeous grand dome, the Choo Choo’s feast will offer a huge culinary display, including an antipasto station, salad bar, pasta station with seafoods, carving station and entrees such as Southern fried chicken and rosemary lamb stew. There also will be a children’s station with the Easter Bunny and special treats. The dessert extravaganza includes made-to-order bananas Foster flambé. Seating will be in The Gardens and adjoining banquet rooms. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Prices: $24.95 adults, $19.95 ages 65 and older, $13.95 children 3-12. Reservations: 266-5000. Complete menu posted at www.choochoo.com.

* Eleven (at The DoubleTree, 407 Chestnut St.): Brunch features a beautiful selections of breakfast and lunch items, including salads, pasta, freshly baked breads, croissants, carved leg of lamb, prime rib, ham and made-from-scratch desserts. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: $24 adults, $12 children 4-10. Reservations: 308-2507.

I received a call from a reader wanting to know where to find Irish butter. Kerrygold is my favorite, and you can find it at most any store in town in the butter section. I usually get it at Bi-Lo. Irish butter is more expensive, but in my

opinion, worth every penny.

In response to a recent article on macaroni and cheese, Becky McGee sent in her recipe, which she describes as the very best she’s ever had. “Every time I serve it, I get raves,” she said. “It is totally decadent!”

Killer Mac and Cheese

1 pound pasta (macaroni or cavatappi)

1 quart half-and-half (or milk)

8 tablespoons butter (no substitute)

1⁄2 cup flour

12 ounces (almost 4 cups) grated Gruyere cheese

8 ounces (almost 2 cups) grated sharp cheddar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

4 small tomatoes, sliced

11⁄2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (preferably French bread)

2 tablespoons butter (for bread crumbs)

Heat oven to 375 F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat half-and-half in saucepan. Do not boil. In another saucepan, melt butter and add flour to make a blonde roux (cooking about 2 minutes). Stir constantly with whisk and gradually add half-and-half. Cook about 2 minutes more; add cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add pasta and pour into a greased 3-quart baking dish. Arrange sliced tomatoes on top. Sauté bread crumbs in 2 tablespoons of butter; top the tomatoes with crumb mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes until bubbly and browned on top.

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