Cheese? Please! 11 Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches #ultimatecomfortfood

When temperatures start to dip and the days stay darker longer, there is nothing we crave more than grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re a welcome throwback to the days when mom would griddle one for us as a snack on chilly school day afternoons. But the sandwiches of today go way beyond the two slices of Wonderbread and preternaturally orange American cheese of yesteryear. Chefs are transforming the humble sandwich by using fantastic fromage and A+ add-ons. Here are 11 epic grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ripple, Washington, D.C.
Any sandwich called the Quack Attack is automatically cool in our book. This beyond epic concoction is rich with Cambozola, an indulgent combination of French soft-ripened triple cream cheese, and Gorgonzola. As if that wasn’t enough for quack addicts, there’s also duck prosciutto and a sunny side up duck egg. Make a reservation at Ripple.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Murray’s Cheese, New York, New York
There’s only one word to describe this grilled cheese: amazeballs. Yes, that’s really a word. Look it up. The Spaniard oozes with Idiazabal, a smoky, nutty sheep milk cheese from Spain (duh!), which is complemented by Serrano ham, spicy chorizo, roasted red peppers, and romesco sauce. Make a reservation at Murray’s Cheese.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Big City Tavern, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Better bring your appetite if you want to take down this bad boy. A shroud of melted Provolone is draped over a mound of shaved ribeye perked up with zingy horseradish mayo and sweet caramelized onions. A bib isn’t required, but it is encouraged. Make a reservation at Big City Tavern.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Buddy V’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
You can eat this Italian grilled cheese with a fork and knife. Not that we’re recommending you do that; we’re all about getting our hands dirty. Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s sandwich features fried mozzarella and sits in a pool of tomato ragu and Genovese pesto that’s perfect for dipping. Make a reservation at Buddy V’s.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Delicatessen, New York, New York
Chef Michael Ferraro didn’t want to simply use a few hole-y slices of Swiss for his Reuben riffing grilled cheese, so he substituted in four cheese mac ‘n’ cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, there’s also braised corned beef, sauerkraut, and pickles. It might not be what your zeyde (grandfather) grew up eating, but it’s a sandwich worthy of a new generation of deli-goers. Make a reservation at Delicatessen.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Brick & Mortar Kitchen, Richmond, Texas
Get a little bit of the South in your mouth. Plump with pimento cheese, this sandwich epitomizes everything we love about comfort food from below the Mason-Dixon line. And, it comes with a bowl of tomato basil soup, which is a million times better than anything you ever got out of a Campbell’s can. Make a reservation at Brick & Mortar Kitchen.

Epic Grilled Cheese SandwichesContinue Reading

A Dozen Blue Ribbon Breakfast Sandwiches to Kick Start Your Day #BetterBreakfastMonth

The humble breakfast sandwich is no longer the purview of fast food joints. Now chefs are creating gourmet versions that eschew rubbery eggs and limp rolls for high-quality ingredients in creative presentations. Whether these sandos arrive on an English muffin or a biscuit or in a tortilla or a pita, they are guaranteed to give you a sunny disposition. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, here are a dozen blue ribbon breakfast sandwiches to kick start your day.

Boqueria-Soho, New York, New York
You’ll sound super fancy when you order the bocata de huevos, but you’re really just asking for the egg sandwich. This Spanish-styled startup sammie is far from ordinary, however. It comes with a fried egg, tangy mahón cheese, pickled red onions, cilantro, peppery pimentón aioli, and your choice of avocado or housemade pork sausage.

Blog Boqueria Breakfast_Sandwich1b-XL copy

Zengo, Washington, D.C.
When Sir Mix-a-Lot rapped, “My anaconda don’t want none/Unless you’ve got buns, hon,” he was clearly voicing his preference for breakfast sandwiches served on steamed buns. That’s what we like to think, anyway. At this Asian-Latin fusion joint, they pile the warm white pastries with bacon, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and white Oaxacan cheese. We’re sure the “Baby Got Back” hit maker would approve heartily.

SONY DSC

MP Taverna, Astoria, New York
This fully loaded egg souvlaki should be known as a Greek hangover cure. The pita comes packed with spicy lamb sausage, French fries, onions, and feta. In between bites, you can rationalize your questionable choices from the night before to your understandably skeptical dining companion.

Blog MPTaverna_Fully Loaded Egg Souvlaki 3_Courtesy of MP Taverna copy

Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Consider this break-of-day treat a high-end Egg McMuffin. Scrambled eggs, pork sausage, and American cheese (of course!) are packed between two halves of an English muffin gussied up with a spicy aioli. Ronald McDonald, sorry, but you are running a so-distant-we-can’t-even-see-you second in this race.

Blog Blue Duck Tavern Breakfast Sandwich copy

The Garden at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, New York
Executive chef John Johnson evokes the bagelwiches you used to put together when you had breakfast at your bubbe’s house. A sesame-speckled circlet comes with ribbons of smoked salmon, plenty of cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, and capers. Not included: your grandmother’s constant questions about why you haven’t settled down yet and produced lots of grandchildren for her to spoil.

Blog The Garden Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel New York Catskill Smoked Salmon Bagel copy

Brio, New York, New York
You’ll need two hands to tackle this hefty breakfast burger. The epic edible comes piled high with a fried egg, apple wood-smoked bacon, a shroud of melted Provolone, arugula, and tomato jam. Remember, there’s no shame in requesting extra napkins.

Blog Brio Brunch Burger copyContinue Reading

Laying Claim to Hummus; News on Your Next Receipt; Year of the Sandwich + More

The Zohan attributes his skills and energy to a steady diet of hummus. And all his years as a Mossad agent. 

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Don’t mess with the Zohan. That’s probably his hummus you’re eating. [Wall Street Journal]

* Need another reason to carefully read your restaurant receipt? You can catch up on the day’s news! [Forbes]

* The flip side to the world’s worst work shirts? A Miami Beach restaurant welcomes diners who pay in pesos. [Florida Today]

* Where do the world’s top chefs eat abroad? At really amazing eateries. Duh! [Guardian]

* Remember that whole thing about one man’s trash is another’s tasting menu? Well, these poor people really were eating trash. Ewww. [Global Post]

Continue Reading

Top Chef Texas Episode 12: Chef Ed ‘Teddy Roosevelt’ Hardy on the Joy of Tofu

Having exhausted her wardrobe, Padma borrows daughter Krishna's onesie for tonight's episode.

He’s speaking softly and carrying a big stick, but we were still able to revisit the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

How scary is this first speed challenge? As you move up the food chain as a chef, is it possible that you lose some of that prep-chef speed, when it comes to taking down, like, 40 chickens or whatnot?

A year ago I wouldn’t have admitted it, but its true. You DO lose some of your speed. I can feel my Super Chef speed being drained away by that vile, despicable, chef kryptonite known as meetings. Most of them are about how to motivate my staff. I always have the same answer: “A stick! Duh!”

Is there a solid corn dekerneling technique? Sometimes in my farm mags, see special tools for it, but I always just use a knife. Not sure if mine would pass muster with Chef Cora, though.

Always just use a knife. Flip the knife around and use the flat edge to “juice” the corn if you so desire.

Chef Cora? Let’s talk about “Chef” Cora. She’s not a chef. Not by a longshot. She’s a media creation. True, she was sous chef at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn for a year (now closed) and was Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Don Giovanni for, like, half a year. But from that to Iron Chef? Nada. She’s deliberately kept her career off her bio because there isn’t anything there. We deserve better. She’s not qualified to judge toast, much less pasta. And, before my wife jumps on me for being harsh to Lady Chefs, let me repeat that some of the best chefs I’ve worked with in the business are women. Missy Robbins at A Voce, Meg Grace at The Redhead, Melinda Bradley at Canon Seattle, Melissa Close at Palladio — I’ve been  honored to work with them all. Cat Cora? Not so much.

You forgot Lisa Griffin! What is Grayson’s disconnect here with the pasta? I mean, she pulls it out, but that was like a hot mess. Is pasta-making a skill you can lose if you don’t use it?

Continue Reading