Monday, July 25, 2011

Grilled Cheese

If I had to name my favorite sandwich of all time, I would have to go with a traditional grilled cheese sandwich (pure, white bread, real butter, American cheese), summer camp style. Something about baking them in convection ovens gives these squares of melted bliss a supernatural quality. One is never enough. Luckily, the cafeteria at work makes them this way. Unluckily, when it's "grilled cheese day" and I don't have any cash, there's a high likelihood for an irreparable meltdown (pun intended) with a duration of up to two hours.

In addition to the traditional version,  I enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches with a twist... different cheeses (a slice of pepper jack provides a great kick), fresh tomato slices, granny smith apple slices, and/or bacon, just to name a few. If it's interesting, I'll try it. The only thing I cannot stand on a grilled cheese is mayo or Miracle Whip. In my formative years, PSB used to sneak Miracle Whip on my grilled cheese sandwiches when I wasn't paying attention. Ew, grossness.

Last night, I was skimming and scanning CNN for something newsworthy (anything not depressing and/or related to Amy Winehouse), and I caught this article about nothing other than grilled cheese sandwiches. It's Kate Krader's recommendations, and since she is the restaurant editor for Food & Wine, I suppose she knows plenty regarding this topic of choice.

Intuitively, I have a feeling that the grilled cheese sandwich shops are going to start popping up more often, similar to the burger joint trend. The last time I was in Cleveland, I had intended to go to Melt Bar and Grilled, but I ran out of time. Check out their menu... The Kindergarten, the Northcoast Shores, and the Tokyo Tuna Melt caught my eye.

It irritates me ever so slightly that Cleveland beat Pittsburgh to the grilled cheese sandwich shop (we beat them in more important areas of competition, so it's cool). However, there are two local restaurants that deserve recognition for their notable grilled cheese sandwiches (by my standards)...

Square Cafe in the Regent Square (Edgewood, if we are getting technical) neighborhood of Pittsburgh, has a great version called Square Grilled Cheese (basil pesto, fresh mozzarella on grilled focaccia). Served with a Tomato Bisque, it's a pretty darn tasty meal.

Square Cafe on Urbanspoon

And the Boston Beanery in Uniontown, PA (and Morgantown, WV) also has a great Grilled Cheese Sandwich... you can pick your cheese(s) and add vegetables if you so desire. Actually, their "Beacon Hill Grill" sandwiches are the best items on their menu, in my opinion. In UT, the Beanery is a typical first date destination largely for it's good food and its proximity to a movie theater. On one particular first date (age 16, Valentine's Day, quite nervous), I ordered their Grilled Cheese (safe, reasonable price, proven to be yummy). My date made fun of me (which should have been a sign), but the deliciousness of the sandwich (and the fact that he was a senior with prom date potential) made it all okay. Ah, to be young and [blissfully] ignorant...

Boston Beanery on Urbanspoon