No substitute for grilled cheese

National Grilled Cheese Day was this past Saturday and once again, I was not being able to enjoy what that beautiful day brought together: bread and cheese. Let’s be real, a girl’s best friend could be diamonds or chocolate. But in reality, I think we all can agree that nothing is better than a fresh, soft artisan, rye bread with melted, aged, sharp New York cheddar cheese — think about that for a second.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are becoming the new cupcake or cronut — as a perfect versatile dish. When I think of grilled cheese, I am reminded that French toast is a similar concept: Old bread used for a better purpose — but you can also create them to be something out of the ordinary.

There are quite a few popular eateries in Los Angeles that have classic grilled cheeses, not to mention the decadent cheesy goodness that leaves your mind running in wild dairy fantasies.

The famed Grilled Cheese Truck — one of Los Angeles’s mobile eateries — serves a mean Cheesy Mac and Rib sandwich, a sandwich that people rave about for days.

To add to the list of fanciful sub hubs, Heywood in Silverlake serves gourmet grilled cheeses, is open till 3 a.m. and also serves gluten-free and vegan options — an obvious reason to make this decadent cheese sandwich palace a place to go to after a long night at the savvy Silverlake bars.

Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese on Melrose Avenue is another place that does not stray from the classic grilled cheese concept of simple bread and cheeses, but they take it to a whole new level inviting in all sorts of sweet and savory breads with an assortment of chutneys and aged dairy product.

LA Weekly’s Squid Ink came up with a “10 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in Los Angeles,” and the amount of cheese and bread is astounding, but so worth it — the number one pick: Local on Sunset. “The 3 Cheese Grilled Brioche Sandwich. A balancing act of childhood whimsy and adult savoir faire,” Squid Ink said. “Served on burnished brioche that is neither too thick nor too thin; the trio of cheddar, jack and swiss cheeses are garnished with subtly tangy oven-roasted tomatoes and a tiny hint of carmelized onion. An additional bonus is the barely sweet, brick-red chipotle ketchup served on the side. Not typical, not necessary, but exceptional. The sandwich comes with lightly dressed mixed greens so you can justify eating the whole thing in one sitting.”

Sounds like a keeper to me.

What makes a great grilled cheese? I believe that it is the chef. Grilled cheese-making is an art form, but you do not have to be a professional to make one — just make sure you know how to use a stove, because otherwise, you’re in deep cheesy goop. To make a great grilled cheese, you have to know what you’re craving.

The grilled cheese is so much more than just a sandwich because eating grilled cheese is a lifestyle. Donut Friend’s owner and visionary, Mark Trombino, told me in an interview that many of the flavors that he used as inspiration for his donuts came from looking at creative grilled cheese recipes, like his most popular donut, the “Jets to Basil,” a glazed donut with goat cheese spread, strawberry jam and basil topped with a balsamic glaze — yes, it is as good as it sounds.

I would like to take a moment to thank the food gods for bequeathing to the world the knowledge and the experience of what it’s like to consume and enjoy a precious, decadent, mouthwatering and savory grilled cheese sandwich. I believe that we should be grateful for the food that is given to us and then devour it wholeheartedly, though a grilled cheese should be eaten with care and devotion because of how immaculate its cheesy qualities are.

I encourage you to eat more grilled cheese. If you are vegan or dairy free, they have alternatives. If you are gluten free, there is gluten-free bread. And if you are a horribly un-American individual who thinks that the simple creation of bread and melted cheese combined isn’t tasty, then you belong in space, but I am sure that even astronauts and aliens would enjoy such a tasty creation.

Here is to ending your day with a grilled cheese. Enjoy!


Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing.  Her column, “In Love With the Edible,” runs on Wednesdays.