Mactacular: Betty's Fine Food & Spirits

From the Mactacular: Betty's Fine Food & Spirits edition

Betty's Mac & Cheese

My mouth always arcs upward when I look at all the tchotchkes, bric-a-brac and knickknacks that adorn Betty's in the Short North. That daffy pack of pooches canoodling above the bar looks like it might've escaped from the kitschy ceramic kennel of schlock-loving mega-artist Jeff Koons.

And the fleshy bevy of naughty Bettie Page-like illustrated ladies would be right down Koons' flirty alley too. Fortunately Betty's food smartly follows suit with its pop-arty turns and risque takes on classic comfort fare.

The Hook: Throw 'em a little curve

Betty's does mac and cheese with a twist. Make that twists: fun-to-chew loopy rotini pasta is used and the spunky flavors swerve toward the Southwest.

So you get a bowl of twirly, scored noodles outfitted with diced and sauteed poblano peppers (the chili relleno kind) plus onions for a dash of heat and a pinch of crunch. Lending a touch of cob-kickin' sweetness is a sprinkling of corn kernels. Roping it all together is the warm embrace of a sharp and tangy cheese sauce.

As you polish off the hefty bowl, you might notice your torso is rhythmically twisting to and fro - don't worry, that's perfectly normal at Betty's.