Posts from the ‘National’ Category

@ 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)

@ Five Guys burgers and Fries

I like it here, for several reasons.

They name their current potato farmer on a whiteboard at the entrance. They have a giant sign inside, wherein they claim to be the “Willy Wonkas of burgercraft.” They keep their groceries in the middle of the dining room. Their fries are both greasy and magical, and taste of potatoes. And almost everything you’ll see is eatable, edible. I mean, you can eat almost everything.

Maybe not the grilled cheese, though. It’s an inside out hamburger bun, with some american cheese falling out of it. If you close your eyes for a minute, I expect you already know exactly what this tastes like. So, I’m not even going to go through to motions, and insult you with a lot of snarky wordplay.

Ok, fuck it. I wrote a haiku.

my palate is sad

how many guys does it take

to make a grilled cheese

@ 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)


@ 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)


@ 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.


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