I’m not sure what I’ll end up being known for in this world. Will I finally start a rock band with my awesome guitar skills? Will there suddenly be a huge market for all the bowls I made in pottery class that are too small for even half a serving of cereal? Will my modeling career ever take off?
The reason I’m pondering these questions right now is because apparently at the moment, the only thing I’m known for is liking grilled cheese. I received three emails about grilled cheese last week. One from a friend in London who seriously only emails me about this topic and two notifying me about “The Big Cheesy” this past weekend, from MK and Frousin Em. “The Big Cheesy” was a pop-up event by TimeOut New York featuring sandwiches from some of New York’s finest grilled cheese restaurants. In writing that sentence, I’m reminded how proud I am to live in a city with multiple grilled cheese restaurants.
I’ve seen events similar to this before, for burgers or tacos, but had yet to indulge before this weekend. Emily and her friends were already buying tickets so there was no whey I could say no. We each paid $30 to taste from 4-5 on Saturday. The opportunity cost of $30 is not much in this city: two Friday cab rides to work or two week’s worth of cart coffee & bagels, so I thought it would be worth it. Plus, along with all the grilled cheese you could eat, you got two beers, which they were calling “free” even though you had to pay for the event. A lady does not turn down free beer.
The event was a little different than I thought it would be. Instead of bite-sized grilled cheeses from many different restaurants, it was decent-sized portions from seven. Most of the restaurants served half sandwiches, with a few cutting theirs into fourths. Some tables had more than one type of grilled cheese available. It was a lot, but, boy, was it Gouda. An hour was more than enough time for the tasting – my stomach sang praise to Cheezus when it realized I was going to have to stop stuffing it full of cheese, bread, and the accoutrements.
Some of the restaurants and their featured sandwich(es):
- Van Horn: Pimento Cheese & Smoked Mushrooms on Caputo’s Sourdough
- Melt Kraft: “Melter Skelter” – VSC “Melter Skelter” Raclette style cheese, pickled green tomatoes, jalapeño, BBQ potato chips and watercress
- Alex Mitow’s All-American Diner: “Challah Atcha Boy” – Garlic buttered challah with Nueske bacon, navel pastrami, aged cheddar, fontina, chipotle apple aioli, and deli-style potato chips
- Murray’s Cheese: “The Peppa Jack” – Pepper Jack & Peppadews and “The Piccante Pig” – Pulled pork, Pepperjack, black beans, and salsa verde
My favorite sandwich was from 5OZ. Factory in the West Village: “The Meltdown” – smoked provolone, brie, horseradish and chive havarti, roasted pencil asparagus, mushrooms, basil, and horseradish pesto. In queso you hadn’t heard, this sandwich actually won the entire competition. What can I say, I have good taste. At least when it comes to cheese.