Archive for October, 2010

@ The Wausau Mine Co.

“Miss Piggy: A blend of four melted cheeses on sourdough with sliced ham.” I was optimistic when this thing showed up. It looked like some kind of natural disaster where lives would be lost. As you can see, the cheeses were tremendous. Unfortunately, being that (at least) three of the four cheeses were outside the sandwich, they didn’t really count. What was left was unimpressive; bland sourdough that didn’t taste like sourdough, and ham that tasted all rectangular with rounded corners. (Oh, you know what I’m talking about.) I gave it a 5. I wouldn’t have it again….but enjoyed the cheese-paper immensely. ($6.59)

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@ The Filling Station: Take Two.

The “Deluxe Grilled Cheese w/Bacon:  Our own thick bread grilled with bacon and three slices of american cheese.” You can’t tell from this angle, but this bread is THICK. Like, encyclopedia thick. (I’m not complaining.) Once again served on multigrain – but this time a dense and chewy multigrain. The cheese and bacon were ample, appropriately proportioned to the mass of bread. I would have preferred to see the american paired with something else, like a swiss, sharp cheddar or a muenster….but it was good. Once again, I took to dunking it in their yummy chicken dumpling soup. Only this time, it wasn’t to help choke the sandwich down. I gave it a 6/10, and would have it again. ($4.74)

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@ Bistro 212, in Stevens Point

“Grown-up Grilled Cheese Panini:” Muenster, cheddar, and bacon with basil garlic mayo on multi-grain bread.  Sounds good, right? What’s that? Can’t see any of that awesome stuff in the picture? Hrm. Funny, I didn’t taste any of that stuff either. Maybe it’s invisible bacon?  Maybe, (since Bistro 212 is attached to a gym) they’re trying to promote healthy eating? At any rate, this was a (hilarious) disappointment:  from the soggy, downright used-looking sweet potato fries, to the decorative orange garnish. Where to begin? First of all, let’s start with the name. There was nothing grown-up about this sandwich, nor was it by any stretch a “panini.” Clearly, the fellow holding down the fort on this day has no idea what he’s doing. I should have been tipped off when we were the only people in the whole place – or maybe when we were grossly undercharged at the counter, or perhaps when he apologetically muttered “we’re really low on everything,” as he set down our food. This was one slice of cheddar on multi-grain bread. And tiny. I gave it a 3/10, but it’s only because I have a sense of humor. . . . and because the oranges slices were divine. ($6.50?)

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@ Jack In The Box

“Pastrami Grilled Sandwich:” pastrami, melted swiss, and pickle strips on grilled artisan bread. (No mustard, please.) In the fast food landscape, there aren’t too many grilled sandwiches that can be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s car. (Sadly, a quick glance at their location map reveals a midwest, bare.)  This was an awfully tasty alternative to what surely would have been another disappointing late night drive thru misadventure. If you can look past how fatty this pastrami is, it’s pretty salty and scrumptious. In addition to being a pretty good-sized sandwich, the bread was actually good. Despite the bonus points scored by the pickle strips, it clearly needs more cheese – which is why I had to give it a  7/10.  ($4.65)

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@ Cafe 440, in Eugene

Although simply called, “Grilled Cheese Sandwich,” this was anything but ordinary: White American, Tillamook cheddar and Havarti cheeses with roasted garlic aioli on grilled sourdough bread.  First, I must talk about this bread. Apparently sourced locally, (as all their ingredients, I’m told) from a place called the Bread Stop, it is unequivocally the best fucking sourdough bread I’ve ever eaten. Thickly sliced, dense, moist, and perfectly grilled. The cheese and garlic aioli were creamy and delicious in a way that makes your eyes roll back in your head. If there had been more of it in there, I wouldn’t have complained. That said, I cannot award a 9 to a sandwich that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about in the 24 hours since I ate it, can I? 10/10   ($7.50)

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@ Tillamook Cheese factory, in Tillamook

“The Centennial Grilled Cheese:” (created for their 100th anniversary in ’09) Tillamook sharp cheddar and vintage white medium cheddar on sourdough bread. You probably can’t tell from the photo, but this was a beast of a sandwich. I did not finish. (Although, since rehydrating from the night before took precedence over eating, I had a belly full of pepsi before I even started.) The cheeses were delicious. The combination of cheddars were a sharp and buttery mess of awesome. Grilling was just right, and the bread was huge and decent.  I immediately bought two blocks of the vintage white to take home with me. I gave it an 8. ($6.99)

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Visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory

The Tillamook cheese factory is a thing of beauty. When we arrived, my pants were still soaked with saltwater from my first meeting with an ocean since 2004….so I was gleeful. Being from Wisconsin, you’d think I’d have already had a big cheese factory experience – but I’m not sure we have a cheese mecca such as this. (If we do, please advise.) We were told by the lady in the gift shop that this place sees almost 3,000 visitors per day.  The free cheese samples alone would have made this a destination, so you can imagine my wonderment:

That’s right folks, all cheddar. As it turns out, Oregon seems to know a few things about cheese. (Wisconsinites, I look forward to your emails.) I was elated to discover their cafe served a grilled cheese.  Being that I’m used to there being only one on a menu, when I saw the words, “grilled cheese,” I read no further. (Sadly, had I read on, I would have seen that there were, in fact, seven.) As it turned out, I was quite pleased with the one I ordered, but tragically bummed that I missed an opportunity to try a grilled cheese called “The Pacific,” made with Tillamook cheddar and shrimp. And before you ask, no: there was no way I could have eaten another bite. (Although I still managed to make room for free cheese samples and three scoops of ice cream.) The drive east was uncomfortable.

Review to follow.

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