Archive for February, 2011

Visit to fromagination, in Madison

I took a little “break” from grilled cheeses, to indulge in twenty minutes of nose breathing in fromagination, right on the capital square. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

Aside from the intoxicating smell in here, they also have these absurd, (fantastical) cable-controlled ceiling fans….that I foolishly neglected to photograph. In addition to mongering delicious artisanal cheeses, they also monger some delightful accompaniments – like sandwiches, crackers, mustards, jams, and tiny little macaroons. (It’s important to note here: despite my deep love of both fancy cheeses and the various forms of the word “monger,” I do not claim to know much about the proper usage of either.)  Fortunately, the two guys behind the counter were friendly, helpful and unpretentious – and (seemingly) unfazed that I meant to desecrate their artisanal cheeses in my panini press. They suggested Pleasant Ridge Reserve (a Gruyere style cheese) and a Marieke Gouda. Frankly, I probably would have bought whatever they told me to. I don’t fool with mongers. It came as no surprise, then, when (smashed between slices of MSC’s sandwich loaf) it was nothing short of glorious.

(And how could it not be, with packaging like this??)

Do visit, if you can. And please, don’t forget the orphans. These, poor, helpless little cheeses don’t even have the tears to cry.

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@ Madison Sourdough Co, in Madison

“Grilled Cheese: Havarti, provolone and sun-dried tomato pesto on white sourdough.” This was my second GC of the day, and initially, was just going to be a bread stop. (As it happened, I discovered the sandwich while perusing their website.) So, two birds, as it were. When it arrived, I was rattled. What’s this big, cold wet mess all up in my sandwich?! Silent rage. DON’T IMPOSE YOUR DIETARY AGENDA ON ME, MSC! No, calm down. *breathe* Unfortunately, it was pretty much downhill from here. The “tomato pesto” was more paste than pesto, the bread was seemingly pressed with no butter whatsoever, and the cheese was frankly difficult to locate. It was verging on combustible. (In retrospect, this is all very confusing…as I bought a loaf of their sandwich bread, and it made an excellent grilled cheese.) Fortunately, I only had to eat half of this, thanks to the benefits of teamwork.  I gave it a 4/10. Sorry MSC. This hurts me more than it hurts you.  ($7.50)

@ Ella’s Kosher Deli, in Madison

This was my first stop on a recent trip to Madison. I’ve been here a number of times over the years, but not in any official, grilled cheese capacity. As one look around this place will tell you, nobody actually comes here for the food. The plethora of animatronic whirligigs and other creepy circusry make this a destination for children and tweakers alike. Their menu is literally 20 pages long, and they boast a number of (I guess?) Jewish favorites. (I.e. Matzo, kugel, tongue sandwich?) Interestingly, internet sources confirm that despite what their name might suggest, they are in fact, not Kosher.

But, they have a big fiberglass banana. So…who cares. 

“Grilled Cheese w/American:” Pretty standard stuff. It was small, but it was pretty alright. (The pickle was skunky.) Curiously, the sandwich itself occupied only about 1/5 of the plate it arrived on. That aside, it was sufficiently crunchy, buttered, and melted – and was a nice light start to what promised to be a small marathon of grilled cheese consumption that day. Actually, I get the feeling they might make a lot of these. I gave it a 6/10, and we escaped without seizure. ($5.10)

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