Posts from the ‘Indiana’ Category

@ The Mark Dine & Tap, in South Bend


I’m not sure where I thought the University of Notre Dame was, but I didn’t know it was two blocks away from the final grilled cheese (#9) of our adventure, or the last place I would ever eat brie on purpose.


“Not your everyday grilled cheese: Bacon, caramelized onion, brie, cheddar bread.”

You’re probably wondering why I would do this to myself again, and I don’t actually remember. I can only assume it met my search criteria – something like: Indiana, close to an I-80 off ramp. At any rate, it was a horrible mistake, and I knew as soon as it arrived. There was brie rind poking out of it, the onions looked like kraut, and it was already triggering fight or flight impulses in my brain. I took a bite, because I had to, and just held it in my mouth.


I filled my mouth with cola, and swallowed hard. My eyes were watering. Whhhhhhhhew.

My husband hadn’t noticed my distress, but he also hadn’t ordered anything, so by now he’s just looking at me, expectantly. (“Well?”) Shit now what?! Sending it back would be humiliating, (“SIR there is mold on this cheese!”) and asking for the check and abandoning it would be worse. (“We thought one of us was hungry, but turns out, we’re not.”) I decided I’d take a crust bite while I weighed my exit strategies. But, my mind (and esophagus) had already begun shutdown sequence. Tiny heaves were happening, and he was watching me now. “You need me to eat that, don’t you.”

So, my selfless husband ate the Brie. (“It was okay.”) And I was never so happy to eat chips, and flounce out into the sunshine like I’d cheated death.

After my ordeal, rating the experience was tricky, since I can’t just give bad ratings to sandwiches made with ingredients I don’t like, and ate on purpose. Upon careful reflection, I pardoned it with (an awfully gracious) 6/10, just to show that there are no hard feelings. Which, of course there are, because I almost fucking died back there.

@ Steak ‘n Shake in Elkhart

Greetings, my cheese loving friends. Every year, Grilled Cheese Month somehow manages to reenergize me (i.e., fill me with guilt) and get me off my lazy, neglectful posterior. I hope this post finds you well, and appropriately celebrating comfort food’s finest holiday. I spent this past weekend in Madison, (swilling wine, abusing my credit card) and returned home with 5 lbs cheese in tow – including a 2 lb loaf of Tillamook Vintage White that I scored on my maiden voyage to a Costco. (YES, the very same cheese I forgot in a Portland refrigerator in 2010.)

The below begins a road trip I took out east in September of 2011. (I know, SHAME.) I convinced my husband that the largest VW show in the US would be much more fun than a drive west to see state parks, purely because the grilled cheese prospects west of WI looked positively dismal. This is the first (of nine) I ate on that trip.

I enjoyed the above (Grilled Cheese + Bacon) in Elkhart, Indiana – day 1 of our trip. I’ve only been to a Steak ‘n Shake once before, but have always thought of it as fast food. It’s not. This wouldn’t have been that important, except that we were trying to catch up to a rally, and needed to make it to Pittsburgh(ish) by nightfall. They weren’t busy, but we managed to escape the wait staff’s radar for a full 15 minutes. When she discovered she’d neglected us, she was loudly, wildly (and embarrassingly) apologetic. From here, things moved quickly.

The sandwich was good. The American cheese was melted and sufficient, bacon was decent, and it had a good crunch on it. I also noted that it was appropriately sized for an adult – not a kids menu item serving dual duty. I awarded it a satisfactory 6/10. The free milkshakes and cookies we were forced to take with us weren’t bad parting gifts, either. ($4.48)

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