Fried: Cheesy macaroni bites at Jack In the Box

Macaroni and cheese, plus the deep fat fryer ...

by Sarah Fenske

Macaroni-and-cheese is one of God's perfect foods. Whether it's a high-end version with lobster over at The Capital Grille, the kind your mother made with potato chips on top, or even the kind you make just by adding water, it's comfort food at its best.

There's only one problem with mac and cheese: You can't eat it while you're driving.

But now that I've made yet another trip through the drive-through at Jack In the Box, I've got to amend that statement. There used to be only one problem with mac-and-cheese. Now Jack In the Box has rolled out a portable version.

This isn't a gimmick. No, it's genuine Kraft-style mac-and-cheese, fried into a perfect orange triangle that you can scarf even with one hand on the wheel. And it' s just $1.59 for three. (There's also a bigger size available, but trust me: You won't need it.)

I gave the bites a test run while on the road yesterday and nearly hit a dude in a Beemer. But that's not because these suckers are hard to hold. I'm just a bad driver.

No, these bites really are perfect for a day when you crave mac-and-cheese, but don't have enough time to slow down and pick up a fork. I don't know how Jack In the Box does it, but they really hold together, with a tempura-style crust locking in the warm cheesy goodness with no mess and no fuss. I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the macaroni flavor comes across in this version.

Now, I have to admit, I didn't love these more than the plated version; the fried batter doesn't really add much taste-wise. But the fact that I could enjoy mac-and-cheese taste while still menacing my fellow drivers -- well, that's a really good thing in these days of working lunches and overbooked schedules.

I'll definitely be ordering these again.

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