I have little patience for things with lines; I have little patience for things in general, but when the end of the line promises me grilled cheese and beer, I am more inclined to put in the time. The Big Cheesy event, held this past weekend at Openhouse Gallery, drew in crowds of grilled cheese tasters, ready to cast their votes for best grilled cheese in NYC. Reigning champ Melt Shop stole the show once again, in my opinion, but there were definitely a lot of solid competitors in place – as one very wise cheetah once said…it ain’t easy bein cheesy. Here’s the play by play:
Stand on line and be hypnotized by the scent of melting cheese. Your nose is your guide. If nothing else, it keeps you waiting on line because you know that scent will soon be in your mouth.
Take a ping pong ball. This will be used to cast your vote for your favorite grilled cheese.
Grab a beer from Sixpoint Brewery. Sip. Once again be blasted by the scent of smoky, melted cheese. Accept the fact that you might smell like cheese for the rest of the day…and be very, very ok with it. In some cultures, I bet it’s considered sexy.
First bite: ‘wichcraft’s grilled cheese with mushrooms. I am a big fan of ‘wichcraft sandwiches, and this one was nice and buttery, but I didn’t think it had enough cheese. I mean CHEESUS CHRIST the event is called The Big Cheesy…
Second bite: Murray’s Cheese Bar grilled cheese with “secret 5 cheese blend” on pullman bread and a smoky tomato soup for dipping. I love a good grilled cheese and tomato soup, so this one was a front runner for me for a while. Only thing it was missing was Funyuns. Yea I said it.
Third bite: Milk Truck’s grilled cheese with mushrooms, blue cheese, McClure’s spicy pickles, on rosemary pullman bread from Blue Ribbon Bakery. Strangely, and I hate to say this, didn’t love this one. I love all of those things separately (I salivate just thinking about McClure’s spicy pickles), but for some reason all of the ingredients together didn’t totally work for me. Sorry Milk Truck – had I had the opportunity to try the bacon version, I think I’d be singing a different tune.
Fourth bite: Melt Shop’s grilled cheese with aged cheddar, Nueske’s bacon, and cranberry onion chutney on super crusty bread. Now this is the type of sandwich that calls for a CHEESUS CHRIST dance – arms raised high above your head, maybe a twirl, and definitely finish with a bow to the creators of this sandwich. SO CHEESY. There was cheese oozing out of this one from every crevice, folding over that delicious bacon and sweet chutney…my god. These Melt Shop people know what they’re doing. Needless to say, they got our votes.
Fifth bite: Sons of Essex grilled cheese with truffle, gruyere, goat, parmesan, sauteed mushrooms and babay arugula. This one was actually quite tasty as well, and I loves me some truffle, but it just didn’t have that same ooey gooey cheesiness that Melt Shop had.
Ones that we’re sad we missed: Say Cheese apparently made two grilled cheeses, one of which was a sweet S’more grilled cheese with Nutella, mascarpone, and graham cracker dust. OK WHERE THE HELL WAS OUR MEMO FOR THIS ONE?! I guess that would be my one complaint about The Big Cheesy – they only give you one hour to taste, so if you get caught up bullshitting, you might miss a grilled cheese or two. And then you will be sad.
All things considered, The Big Cheesy was a great time. I mean you can’t really go wrong with grilled cheese and beer, can you? The winners are as follows:
1. Melt Shop (DUH)
2. Say Cheese (DAMMIT)
3. Sons of Essex (YAY TRUFFLE)
See ya next year!