Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Grilled Cheese Invitational 2013 (or, Cheese-ella)

Elbows Mac N Cheese's "Masala Grilled Cheese"
Greetings Readers!

I thought this week that I would take a bit of a break from reviewing the Burgers of Burbank and instead focus on an event that this blog was destined to cover.

The 11th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational.

I know, I was just like you once. I wondered if such a thing as that could actually exist, but it's true. I had actually known about the event since I first moved out to LA, but I always seemed to miss it every year. This time would be different though.

Heading to Downtown LA on a very warm Saturday afternoon with friends, we scoped out the numerous trucks lining the parking lot. Checking the menu listings, we each waited in different lines to grab sandwiches to share with each other. This way we could sample more.

The Counter's "Grilled Cheese Trifecta"
I'm not exaggerating when I say that even the my least favorite sandwich of the day was still excellently made, and absolutely delicious.

My choice was the Masala Grilled Cheese from Elbows Mac N Cheese. This sandwich with its Indian spices, sharp cheddar cheese, peppers and onions sounded great to begin with, but I felt compelled to add a layer of baked mac and cheese. The layer of mac is something I've done before with The Grilled Cheese Truck, and was a decision that added cheesy gooeyness as well as more cheddar flavor to complement the definitive and powerful Indian spices.

The Grilled Cheese Truck's "Cheesy Mac and Rib"

The Cheesy Mac and Rib from The Grilled Cheese Truck was as delicious as it was on my original meeting with them. This sandwich with its Southern style Mac and Cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and caramelized onions is topped off with tangy and delicious BBQ shredded pork. An excellent combination that leaves you wanting more.

The Counter offered something in the way of a more traditional grilled cheese with their Grilled Cheese Trifecta: Cheddar, American and Provolone on grilled Texas Toast. The provolone could have been melted better, but overall the flavors of the three cheeses blended well.

Cheesy Amigos Cart's "Strawberry Chardonnay"

Trailerpark Truck's Cheesy Bloomin' Onion Melt consisted of melted Monterey Jack cheese, house-made chipotle aioli and a healthy dose of crispy fried onion strings on grilled white bread. The fried onion strings gave a bit of textural contrast to the melty cheese, and provided a great additional flavor.

But Lo, Dear Reader! There were not only savory sandwiches, but dessert sandwiches as well.

Stay with me for this one, the two we sampled may just blow your mind.

First up was the Cheesy Amigos Cart's Strawberry Chardonnay. This sandwich used Strawberry Chardonnay Cheddar, fresh bananas and strawberries along with Nutella on grilled Brioche. Obviously different in flavor to the other sandwiches sampled, the straberries added a fresh, crisp flavor to this interesting mix, while the chocolaty Nutella added an excellent, but still sweet contrast. The cheddar was not a sharp flavor, but very mellow and blended well.

Before leaving though, I decided I needed to try the Tiramisu Grilled Cheese from McCalllum's Melt.

Trailerpark Truck's "Cheesy Bloomin' Onion Melt"
Yes, Tiramisu. You're not going crazy and making things up, and neither was I.

This sandwich used Chocolate Bread and filled it with a whipped Mascarpone cheese with a dose of coffee syrup.

I thought I had taken a photo of it, but I may have just eaten the whole thing before I got the chance. Either way, apologies.

It was delicious, and an excellent experimentation with what actually makes up a Grilled Cheese sandwich.

Overall, The Grilled Cheese Invitational was everything I could have imagined, and more. Not only was it a delightful way to spend an afternoon with friends, but it was also a great way to see how local chefs are experimenting with the form of the Grilled Cheese sandwich.

I know I for one will be going again next year, and so should you.

Until next week, Dear Readers!


  1. Hey Jack I found you a pic of that

  2. I want to nom on every photo in this post so bad.

    1. and now you shall in two short months. you just both have to agree to eat some bread for like a weekend.


hey, totally leave your name in your post so i know who is posting! thanks for commenting!