This daily dish isn't one that I've cooked, but damn it was inspiring! On Saturday, husband and I attended the Grilled Cheese Invitational in downtown L.A. If you're thinking that sounds like some kind of crazy, cheesy and deliciously good time, you'd be right. We had signed up online to be judges, which meant that we had the opportunity to eat and rate grilled cheese sammiches (the official spelling btw).
There are three categories of grilled cheese for this event
1) "The Missionary Position" - a standard grilled cheese sammich, standard bread, standard butter, basic cheeses (i.e. American, Cheddar, Swiss etc.) More than one cheese can be used, but no additional flavors or spices.
2) "The Karma Sutra" - Any grilled cheese using exotic spices, flavors, fancy breads - but must be at least 60% cheese.
3) "The Honey Pot" - Same rules as for the Karma Sutra, but it also has to be sweet because this is the dessert category!
There were 4 judging heats and let me tell you how much fun it is to throw out your hand, have someone stick a tidbit of gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in it, chow down, then fill out the boxes to rate it. My husband, our 2 friends and I were each grabbing different sandwiches and sharing the tasty morsels while analyzing how well the cheese pulled apart and how golden brown the bread was. By the end of the first judging heat, we'd probably tried mouthfuls of 12-15 sandwiches each. Now, that may not seem like a lot but if you add it up, it's like eating 3 or 4 full grilled cheeses within the space of 20 minutes. My favorite sandwich from this heat was a toss up between the macaroni and cheese with pulled pork sandwich, and the croissant filled with an artichoke dip with Parmesan and Asiago cheese, topped with a sprinkle of paprika.
The second judging heat was about an hour later and by that time, a lot more people had arrived and the judging area was much busier. It's probably a good thing that I wasn't able to grab as many sandwiches to try because I really think my stomach would have burst from some kind of cheese overdose. I'd put a beer or two in there during the intermission between heats, which I'm sure didn't help. I was so glad I squeezed the last sandwich I tried into the last spare corner of my stomach as it was a cheesy delight grilled in truffle oil with duck confit. A delicious way to end my day of gluttony.
Needless to say, after the second heat, and the heat from the weather, we decided it was time to pack it in and ended up going home to take a nice 3 hour nap.
So, if you're in Los Angeles this time next year, or you can visit one of the regional contest in either Northern California (SF/Oakland area) or Austin, I highly recommend you checking it out. It's a cheesy good time!
P.S. Excuse the grainy cell phone pictures. This is what happens when you leave the house with camera in hand and then realize that the battery is in the charger. Yup, I'm smart. :)