Who has the best grilled cheese sandwich in Kitsap?

This is a $10 Grilled Cheese Sandwich #Grahamwich
Flickr photo by BrentDPayne

Today, April 12, is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Yes, there’s a day to celebrate practically any kind of food, but today’s — actually a book with 50 grilled cheese recipes and a food truck in Portland dedicated to it. Beacher’s in Pike Place Market hosted the author of aforementioned book Monday afternoon

On Thursday, Poulsbo’s Central Market will host a cooking demonstration titled, “Grilled Cheese á la Pain du George (bread)”

Need I make any further case for waxing on about grilled cheese?

Admittedly, one of the additional reasons this food holiday piqued my interest enough to write about it is my recent pining for some downtown Bremerton grilled cheese offerings. Two Blocks Up on Pacific Avenue in Bremerton has an “ultimate grilled cheese” sandwich, with cream cheese, cheddar, well-buttered bread and more is a regular Monday special, and tomato soup always is on the menu then. The Coffee Club Diner on Park Avenue also serves up a “Grown-up” version with three cheeses and onions. They haven’t stopped serving it, I’ve just stopped working downtown, and making it from my home office just isn’t the same.

This all brings me, though, to the questions (this is the interactive part of the blog, folks):

What are your criteria for a good grilled cheese sandwich? Should it purely be cheese or contain extras? And where is your favorite place to have one and what makes it so good?

I’ll try to kick off a discussion by answering the first two: It has to have a lot of cheese all gooey and melting out the sides between two thick slices of white bread buttered and crisped to a light brown, not too hard toast. I’m a big fan of ones containing cream cheese and cheddar, but once you put anything non-cheese on it, it ceases to be a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s just a grilled sandwich; the world must have rules. Except if it has bacon, because everything is better with bacon.

As for the last, my grilled cheese ordering experience has been pretty limited to Bremerton. I’ve heard tale of offerings elsewhere, such as a grilled cheese and panini sandwich with Fontina at MorMor in Poulsbo.

18 thoughts on “Who has the best grilled cheese sandwich in Kitsap?

  1. Try a lightly buttery crisp panini grilled rye bread hugging hot oozing sharp cheddar escaping the rye edges, flowing down the sides to the hot plate with a sizzle. The light tang of gourmet hot tuna and slivers of Clausen’s bread and butter pickles and the thin transparent tangy red onion spears grab the taste buds and don’t let go.

  2. Other than at home, my favourite is still from The Library in Th Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City: gouda and cheddar on challah.

    A chef friend also made it once with mayonnaise on the outside instead of butter. Quite tasty, actually…

  3. This seems to be a recurring theme whereas in the past to consider putting a grilled cheese on the menu would be close to unthinkable. With the advent of the panini and the love of varied gourmet breads and cheeses, the varieties of the the grilled cheese are endless.

    The subject of restaurants who offer grilled cheese fare has been discussed in many venues and has been quite successful for several Portland restaurants which specialize in high end grilled cheese items. The new program “America’s Next Great Restaurant” even featured an up and coming restaurant idea aptly named “Meltworks” (which has since been knocked out of the running) but only goes to show that the grilled cheese sandwich can succeed on a higher quality restaurant menu. It’s not just for kids and college students anymore apparently and when the economy cuts like a knife things definitely change how society eats.

  4. Times have changed. A grilled cheese sandwich is not something I would order…though a mayonnaise outside coating sounds intriguing.

    I make my own from a low calorie base mayonnaise and includes very finely chopped various pickles, pickle juice, celery, onions and keep adding stuff until I get the flavor I want without the calories. Diet 7-Up or equivalent diet soda is added until I get the right flow.

    fyi and for cheese lovers watching calories, Cabot cheese 50 % or 75 % low fat cheese is the only low calorie cheese I can eat….its a delicious. 60 calorie & 2.5g fat for a 1-oz serving.

  5. By the way, that grilled cheese sandwich from The Library in New York City was August 11, 2001. It was after 11pm and fit the bill for me and my husband to share (with a roasted tomato bisque). The only item I’d add to mine would be tomato; otherwise, I’m a bit of a purist about it. The mayo instead of butter was quite interesting indeed. Though not something we regularly order or prepare, we’ve since had a child who is now six. Naturally, it appears as a potential meal more than before, but in moderation.

  6. “What are your criteria for a good grilled cheese sandwich? Should it purely be cheese or contain extras? And where is your favorite place to have one and what makes it so good?”

    1. A good grilled cheese sandwich is one I make at home. The idea of paying a restaurant to fix something I can do better at home is not appealing.
    2. The fun of making a grilled cheese sandwich is getting the right combination of ‘extras’ with the right cheese in the right amount.
    3. Home and it is only good if the idea and experiment worked.

    That said…if I was traveling and wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, I would probably order one…depending on the kind of cheese they used.

    Did the restaurant make their own mayo? I once sampled every mayo brand sold in a regular grocery store,settled on one and use the same brand today – in the low calorie edition.

  7. I can prepare everything at home that I’ve had in a restaurant. Eating out is part of business meetings, socialising, and sometimes just taking a day off, hanging out with family, and being treated/served while soaking up the atmosphere.

    The way we make grilled cheese (cheese toasty) is to toast the bread, add cheese, then melt it in the oven. No butter or mayo. And yes, mayonnaise was freshly made by the chef. In our home, however, one is more likely to find Vegenaise. Which one did you choose?

    All this talk has me hungry for a grilled cheese. We’ve not had one in at last six months.

  8. Good points. I limited my opinion to only those outings for the sole pleasure of a meal out…and I haven’t done that in years.
    I’ve not heard of Vegenaise and pretty sure it wasn’t part of the mayo taste testing I did many years ago. What is most appealing about it – is it all vegetable?

    The mayo I chose was Best Foods. For my taste buds at that time it didn’t have a flavor overpowering the food, just enough to compliment it.

  9. I like Vegenaise because it’s healthier, tastes better, and doesn’t have eggs. There are five different types (Original, Organic, High Omega-3, Reduced Fat and Grapeseed Oil). Try some and see if you like it.

  10. Thank you, I’ll try it. I googled Vegenaise and compared it to the Best Foods I use. The Vegenaise is also gluten free though one listed ingredient puzzles me. It lists soy protein in the product – yet claims 0 protein. Thanks for the tip…

  11. This is from their website (FAQ):

    Why does Vegenaise contain soy protein?
    Soy protein is used as an emulsifier in place of eggs. It is used in very small amounts (note there is 0g of protein) and comprises less than 0.25g per serving and less than 2% of the total volume of the product.

    We’ve found that the amount of soy in Vegenaise is so small that even some people with sensitivities to soy can enjoy Vegenaise. To be safe, people with sensitivity to soy should consult their physician regarding the advisability of testing this product.

    Although the amount of soy protein in Vegenaise is quite small, there are some that cannot or chose not to consume any soy in their diets, so we are in the process of developing a soy-free Vegenaise recipe.

  12. Interesting!
    I love the taste of soy sauce but the heavy use of salt is too much for me these days. The low sodium works though and a teaspoon or two of soy sauce in a cup of tea happens to be delicious.

    The Vegenaise sodium content in their low calorie product has 4 g and the regular only 3 g of sodium…not bad.

    I’ve contacted the company to buy a jar online – got to try it.
    Thanks for the information… Sharon O’Hara

  13. I’m not a salt fan so we don’t use it for ourselves. I also don’t eat soy sauce but my husband loves it. Once in a blue moon I’ll use mushroom soy for a dish.

    By the way, you can get Vegenaise at Fred Meyer and Safeway in the health food sections. Also Central Market. Enjoy!

  14. Safeway didn’t have Vegenaise. Fred Meyer does have the regular Vegenaise and I tried it last night on a plain cheese sandwich in a frying pan on the cook-top.

    I liked the flavor – it has a nice kick to it and it spread nicely on the soft dark rye bread I used.

    Unlike the low/no sodium butter I would have used on the outside of the bread to cook it in a frying pan, the Vegenaise caked and made a sticky mess in the frying pan and the spatula scrunched the sandwich scraping it out of the pan. The sandwich looked like it lost the battle.

    It might have worked fine had I heated the pan with a cooking oil but I’m trying to keep calories down and didn’t use it. With sodium free butter on the bread I wouldn’t have needed the cooking oil and it wouldn’t have made a mess.

    The taste was great…it looked unappetizing…battle worn out of the pan.

    The gluten-free/egg free mayo was a taste treat.
    The $6.99 price seems high.

  15. Have you considered baking your cheese sandwich instead of frying it? Good to hear you enjoyed the flavour. Until organic and/or health food become(s) more mainstream, it does tend to be more expensive.

  16. Yes, the oven would work fine but I’m playing around with induction cooking at the same time … a different kettle of fish than electric burners and I like it better than gas for home cooking – my opinion.

    I tried the same cheese and bread using no salt butter yesterday and the same cook-top and frying pan method and got the same scrape out of the pan results.

    The problem could be the cheese – grated…

  17. I’ve got a question:

    Where can a person who loves to cook – especially soups – give the end results it to people who could use it?
    The kitchen is clean but its a home kitchen…not commercial.

  18. I figured you’d have the same results with butter. Induction cooking is great, and more efficient. It takes the right mix of heat, food, and pan. It’s worth it, however.

    As for your other question…it’s probably an issue to give this food to the public, though it does depend on the product prepared. There are some exceptions and procedures listed in the county health department’s handbook, as well as required permits.

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