Archive for September, 2010

@ Hudson’s Grill

“The Ultimate Grilled Cheese.” Take note, Denny’s – this is how it’s done: melted cheddar, jack and american cheeses, crispy bacon, and FRIED FUCKING PICKLES on three slices of sourdough. (Mind-grenade, right?) In the interest of full disclosure, fried pickles don’t exactly come standard on this thing…but not only did the waitress not even bat an eye, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even get charged for them. (See “Fried Dilly’s” on Hudson’s appetizer menu.) Well, I won’t keep you in suspense, it was EPIC. Perfectly grilled, soaked in butter, cheeses falling out of it on all four sides….and mmmm pickles. I could only eat half. This was a guilt-inducing 10/10. I might be ruined for the others. ($7.99)


@ The Filling Station, in Wausau

The “grilled cheese and soup” special – american on wheat. Let me start right there. Now, maybe I’m off base here, but I was a little perturbed to discover they’d made my sandwich on wheat bread without asking me. (Don’t misunderstand me – plain old white bread is not my preference…but it IS the standard, like it or not.) This sandwich was tiny and dry, and a ‘kid’s-menu-grilled-cheese’ in every sense. I knew going in that it was nothing special, but still had some expectations. Fortunately, I had chicken dumpling soup to dunk it in – which was actually quite good. I try to be fair when I order sandwiches take-out, (styrofoam is not kind) but it was an eight block drive. I’m not grading on a curve for that. To be fair, I ordered this over the phone without a menu. What I was actually after, was their “deluxe grilled cheese,” which sounds super tasty. (There is hope for redemption!) Had I known it was their $2.84 kids menu grilled cheese, by my very own rules, I wouldn’t have ordered it. This was a disappointing 2/10. It’s important to note, though, my co-worker had their burger and house fries and raved that they were both scrumptious.   ($2.84)


@ Denny’s

The much anticipated “FRIED CHEESE MELT.”  Four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. I was pretty amped up to eat this thing, especially after all the “bad” press it was getting. (See ‘scapegoating-fitness-crazies’ in the Blogroll.) Who would have thought a reject from the kids menu with 4 mozzerella sticks jammed into it would evoke adjectives like “beyond gross,” and “disturbing?” Really, man. Get a grip. The sandwich was good. TREMENDOUSLY salty, though. The bread was pretty unremarkable, and not really appropriately sized. (There was a fair amount of sandwich with literally nothing in it.) Dare I say, it could have used MORE cheese – but I thought the marinara was a nice touch. I gave it a 7/10. Ultimately, I wouldn’t say it lived up to all the hype, but I did find it a pretty nice value at 4 bucks.


@ Becket’s in Oshkosh

The “Grown-up grilled cheese.” Swiss, provolone, cheddar, and grilled peppers and onions on sourdough. Looked great on paper, but it just didn’t come together. Cheeses were ok, but everything else was really unremarkable. Veggies were still crunchy. I gave it 5/10. (Ok, so it probably didn’t deserve the 5. I may have been swayed by hipness and ultra modern furnishings. That may have been a factor.) ($7)


@ The UMR Cafeteria, in Wausau

The “Deluxe Grilled Cheese.” Both the size of the sandwich and proportion of cheese to bread was just about right. It had several kinds of cheese, which is a must for me. Sadly, the grilling was pretty spotty, (barely grilled on one side) and the grilling agent was definitely not butter. Icky after-taste. I rate it a 4/10. ($3.99)

@ The Nook, in St Paul


This place is apparently pretty famous for their burgers. That said, it should have come as no surprise when this dreadful thing showed up: hatefully constructed with gaping hole, at least three slices of unmelted american cheese, and all topped off with a sprinkling of grill droppings. Clearly, the kitchen staff does not take kindly to audacious patrons who snub their cheeseburgers. I didn’t actually finish it, but I can say it’s possibly the worst grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever been served, due largely to the disdain with which it was prepared. I awarded it a shameful 2/10…and am seriously considering writing them and asking that they have the decency to remove it from their menu. To their credit, though, the fries and burgers were, in fact, delicious- evidenced by Kate actually finishing a whole one. ($5.50)

(See below, The Nook gets a piece of my mind.)


The Nook
Attn: Mike Runyon & Ted Casper
492 Hamline Ave S.
St Paul, MN 55116


Re: Grilled Shamrocks Cheese Sandwich

Dear Mike & Ted,

I visited your fine establishment on Saturday the 26th, at the recommendation of friend   who boldly asserted that you guys made the best burgers anywhere. He wasn’t wrong. I enjoyed a bit of one at the end of our meal, and it was effing delicious. That said, a burger wasn’t actually what I ordered. As a longtime lover of grilled cheese sandwiches, I’ve recently made it my mission to scour the earth for the perfect grilled cheese. Adopting a simple 1-10 rating system, and a photoblog to chronicle the process – I’ve devoured many. When I saw one on your menu, I couldn’t help myself. I knew better, but alas.

Knowing that burgers were your specialty, it should have come as no surprise when this dreadful thing showed up: hatefully constructed with a gaping hole, at least three slices of not-quite-melted American cheese, and all topped off with a sprinkling of grill droppings. Clearly, the kitchen staff does not take kindly to audacious patrons who snub your cheeseburgers. I really didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, and certainly mean no disrespect to local artist Michael Birawer, who allegedly endorses the thing. Now, I didn’t actually finish it, but I can say it’s possibly the worst grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever been served – due largely to the obvious disdain with which it was prepared. (It scored a 2/10.) To your credit, the fries and burgers were, in fact, absolutely delicious. I’ve never even seen my friend Kate finish a whole cheeseburger.

You’re probably wondering, “So, what’s your point?” I’m glad you asked. As a devoted grilled cheese enthusiast, I cannot stand idly by while an establishment with such obvious principles serves such a sub-par grilled cheese sandwich. What I’m asking is simple: approach it with the same fervor and gusto as you do your burgers. Use more than one kind of cheese, add some garlic, some bacon, make it with three slices of bread, for effs-sake! Or, I beg of you. On behalf of grilled cheese lovers everywhere: remove it from your menu. Please.

Sincerest Regards,




@ The Great Dane, in Wausau

Smokey gouda, sharp cheddar, basil pesto, and applewood bacon on wheatberry-grain bread. This was pretty tasty. I wasn’t in love with their pesto, (it was a little bit processed for my liking) and the whole mess was bordering on soggy. However, the bacon was top notch and the cheeses were melty and plentiful. Overall, a solid 7/10. (On a side note, these fries are a 9.) ($9.50)


@ The Red Eye, in Wausau

This is the holy grail of grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s made from THREE slices of house-made bread, white cheddar, mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmigiano, roasted garlic and chive aioli. It’s as sophisticated a grilled cheese as I have ever eaten. Despite the social implications of the SERIOUS garlic on this sandwich, it’s definitely a 10/10. Go get one right now. ($7.99)


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