Posts tagged ‘5’

@ The Millstone, in Iola


“Grilled Cheese: American on sourdough.”

I was pretty happy with myself for scoring a grilled cheese respite on a day trip to Iola (population 1229,) and even more pleased to find one that served a dozen varieties of gelato. As I understand, this place has some historic value as well, although I don’t claim to know all the facts, as their website is a little bit feckless. (Is it a museum? A gift shop? Restaurant? Who can tell.) Anyway, it’s a charming little place with friendly service, eclectic decor, and greets its guests like this:

There is something to be said for first impressions.

Although their menu carried a bevy of promising grilled cheese prospects, (my accomplice had a pretty creative hawaiian panini with bacon, onion and pineapple)  for whatever reason, I decided to test the least redeeming of these. Say what you will, I still think the grilled cheese with the fewest ingredients can be the most delicious, and also the hardest to get right. In this case, unfortunately, less was not more. Admittedly, I was pretty charmed by the curious little nubbins on the bread crust – but as lunches go, it was pretty mediocre. Off-putting, too, was the unending stream of sax-y, Kenny G muzak, which (coupled with fact that the place was otherwise empty,) somehow made me feel like I was on an awkward first date. I gave the sandwich a 5, and the gelato a 7. Worth a visit, so long as you’re ordering the gelato, or sandwiches with a 4-ingredient minimum. ($3.95)

@Soda Pop’s, in Eagle River

Greetings, grilled cheese friends. Here we are, on this, the very last day of Grilled Cheese Month. I offer you this humble and belated review in exchange for your forgiveness – for what has surely been a gross mishandling of comfort food’s finest holiday. I have paid proper homage to neither GC day or GC month, and you deserve much, much better, dear readers. Both of you. 

“2010 winner of the Grilled Wisconsin Cheese Recipe contest. Wisconsin Sarvecchio Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese: wheat bread with pesto, Wisconsin Swiss & Cheddar, sliced roma tomato, then finished with winning Wisconsin Parmesan cheese grilled on the outside.”

Behold, the winning submission in the grilled cheese contest held in Eagle River this past August. Soda Pop’s boasts being one of the oldest operating soda fountains in Wisconsin. Perhaps more noteworthy, though, is their adjacent retail space, offering 150+ varieties of old-timey bottled soda. (Probably one of the few places in the midwest one can still actually peruse these gems in person.) We wandered in at 2:00 on a saturday, eight of us. They were reasonably busy, so we split ouselves in two groups. Still. There. Was. Waiting. Although the boy who waited on us was earnestly apologetic about his own service – it was hilariously clear that he wasn’t holding himself accountable for it. After all, he couldn’t possibly be expected to provide adequate service under these conditions. (I mean, have you SEEN all these people??)

If you’ve read any of my past reviews, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m not all that keen on tomatoes. Despite my aversion, I’ve been trying to make a sincere effort to order more items “as-is.” (As much to broaden my own horizons, as to support the “integrity” of the process. Frankly, if you removed the word ‘without’ from my vocabulary, I would sometimes be hard-pressed to order a meal.) Perhaps predictably, both juicy slices still landed right back into the bottom of the basket after only one bite. Just couldn’t do it. Sadly, even after that wrong was righted, it still didn’t come together for me. The parmesan crust offered a promising texture that unfortunately, the rest of the sandwich just didn’t deliver on. Neither slice of cheese was melted, and the pesto that I was so optimistic about left much to be desired. Ultimately, I just have to believe something was lost in translation here. If this sandwich truly did justice to the original, it must have been one hell of a contest. After our meal, a thirty minute wait for our bills ensued, during which we joked that after they were paid, we could just ask for the menus back and order dinner. I gave it a 5/10, and a “Meh.”  I will be back for the soda.  ($5.95)

@National Coney Island, in Detroit

I had an hour and forty minutes on the ground in the Detroit airport, and managed to rustle up a grilled cheese in the McNamara Terminal. I had never heard of National Coney Island before, but a quick google revealed that they have 20 locations throughout Michigan. (Something about this seems less than “National” to me, but apparently no one’s policing this.) I was pretty hungry, so it kind of hit the spot. Truthfully though, it offers nothing special. It had a nice crunch on it, but whatever they grilled it with wasn’t all that tasty.  I gave it a 5, and as my mom is apt to say, “Well, I would eat it if I was starving…”   5/10

@ 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)


@ 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)


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