Ignore the calories; focus on the yumminess.

What: The “Mac & Cheese-ZA!”

Where: Billy Q’s, 36901 Cook St., No. 7, Palm Desert; also at 38180 Del Webb Blvd., Palm Desert

How much: $12 to $26 ($16 as a small, as shown)

Contact: 760-404-0681 (Cook); 760-636-5180 (Del Webb); billyqs.net

Why: It’s surprisingly nuanced.

I thought the menu description of Billy Q’s “Mac & Cheese-ZA” sounded gimmicky. “Creamy Velveeta combined with macaroni and hickory smoked bacon,” it said, before adding, in all caps: “IT WILL SURPRISE YOU!!”

For one thing, macaroni on a pizza? Really? For another, what could possibly be surprising about macaroni, bacon and … Velveeta?

Then the pizza arrived at our table. Not only was I indeed surprised; I was downright impressed.

The surprise came from the fact that these ingredients worked on the pizza. The macaroni was soft enough without being mushy, while the bacon added salt, smokiness and, well, bacon. Then there’s the Velveeta—a “processed cheese product” that had not passed between my lips in decades—which brought everything together, serving as the sauce and providing creaminess. Last and most certainly not least, Billy Q’s standard crust (gluten-free, sourdough, broccoli cheddar and cauliflower crusts are also available) was sturdy enough and quite tasty.

Man, it was good—even though I shudder to think how many calories are in each slice.

Billy Q’s, which is celebrating a decade in business this year, also offers a lot of other pizza varieties, as well as appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches (both hot and cold) and pasta dishes, at two Palm Desert locations—one on Cook Street, the other in Sun City. The service was good, and the prices are reasonable; I got three meals out of the “small” pizza, and I’m not exactly known as a diminutive eater.

I offer not only my compliments to Billy Q’s, but also my apologies, for thinking their “Mac & Cheeze-ZA” was a mere gimmick. Far from it—in fact, it was one of the best, and certainly one of the most unique, pizzas I’ve had in the Coachella Valley.

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...