Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Grilled Cheese

National Grilled Cheese Day: Celebrate with 12 recipes


The grilled cheese sandwich may be the perfect food. So good that this cheesy, melty, crispy sandwich deserved the entire month of April devoted to it.

April 12 happens to be National Grilled Cheese Day. Being a self-proclaimed grilled cheese fanatic, I like to envision the streets of L.A. closed off for a day of parades, mountains of toasty bread and gooey cheese spilling from every shop in the city, and crowds chanting "We want cheese, three cheers for cheese!" The streets outside my office seem to be empty, so I guess the mayor didn't get the grilled cheese memo, but we have to find a way to persevere and celebrate, even without the parades. Twelve recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches from the Test Kitchen should do. From a grilled blue cheese and pear to a classic croque monsieur, there is a sandwich to satisfy even the severest of grilled cheese cravings.



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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Grilled cheese sandwich with Basque bleu cheese, pears and rasin brioche. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times.

Grilled cheese as far as the eye could see

What a cheesy event. That's a compliment, of course, to the Second Eighth Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, held Saturday near downtown L.A. (as the name suggests, the contest doesn't take itself too seriously). Thousands were in attendance to enjoy music, culinary showdowns, food trucks, and wash it all down in a beer and wine garden. And then there was the grilled cheese competition, featuring more than 200 sandwiches. I lucked out and was asked to help judge, and award a trophy to my favorite grilled cheese 'wich.

I wish I could have given everyone an award just for the sheer creativity of the variety of fillings. 

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Walter Manzke, Eric Greenspan, Ricardo Zarate and more face off on the Hot Knives stage at Saturday's Grilled Cheese Invitational

Grilled-cheese Need another reason to hit up Saturday's Grilled Cheese Invitational?

Evan George and Alex Brown, the creative cooks, cheesemeisters and beloved indie-rock food writers behind the Hot Knives blog are hosting a chef stage. In typical Hot Knives fun-loving bombast, it's called "Hot Knives GCI Thunderdome."

The stage will feature several hours of cooking, including demonstrations by grilled cheese guru Mark Peel as well as the bizarre cocktail wizardry of Food 2's Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, who will shake up their beloved "bloody bacon and cheese" cocktail.

And in what is sure to be an epically cheesy battle royal royale, George and Brown have recruited Walter Manzke (Bastide, Church & State, Le Saint Amour), Eric Greenspan (the Foundry), Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica), Eric Samaniego (Comme Ca), Micah Fields (the Standard) and Nyesha Arrington (Cache) to compete in face-off challenges against one another to see who can melt the cheesiest masterpiece.

The Hot Knives boys, who hold five GCI trophies, will face off against Heidi Gibson, who started a grilled cheese restaurant in San Francisco after winning her sixth trophy.

Twenty brave and hungry audience members will be picked to judge each of these four face-off heats. Only one cook will be crowned GCI Thunderdome master.

Bring your bib.

-- Jessica Gelt 

Photo: Peach with brie on prosciutto crust, on the menu of the Grilled Cheese Truck. Credit: the Grilled Cheese Truck

3 Food Events You Should Know About: Gonzo wine tasting at LGO; Petrossian's caviar class; Eva restaurant and Grilled Cheese Truck get together

Grilledcheese1Sippy-sip at LGO: On Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., La Grande Orange in Santa Monica hosts a wine tasting with unlimited sips of more than 25 wines for $25. Try wines from Veneto, Italy, to Marlborough, New Zealand, to Mendoza, Argentina, for example, along with jumbo lump crab cakes, green chile sliders, spicy tuna sushi rolls, veggie potstickers with toban djan sauce and mini red velvet cakes and double chocolate chip cookies.  

2000 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 396-9145; www.lagrandeorangesm.com. 

Caviar 101: Beginning next Thursday, Petrossian in West Hollywood starts hosting a monthly caviar class led by general manager Christopher Klapp and a "devoted team of caviar experts." Novices and/or aficionados can sign up for the tasting and get how-to-appreciate-caviar tips. Sample up to three types of caviar paired with either Champagne or vodka, along with additional small plates showcasing caviar from chef Giselle Wellman.  7:30 to 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. $35 per person. Call to save your spot. 

321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 271-0576; www.petrossian.com. 

Grilled cheese at Eva: Eva chef-owner Mark Gold and Dave Danhi, chef and co-owner of the Grilled Cheese Truck, reunite for a grilled cheese pairing Tuesday. (The two worked together at the Water Grill downtown 15 years ago.) They've collaborated on a four-course menu for $35 and a five-course menu for $50 that will include Danhi's truffled mac and cheese melt along with Gold's butter poached lobster to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month. (See the full menus after the jump.) Wine pairing, $20. Call for reservations. 

7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 634-0700; www.evarestaurantla.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Grilled cheese sandwiches. Credit: The Grilled Cheese Truck.

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Combo Plate: waffled grilled cheese, hangover 'helpers,' celebrating the black truffle and more


--Adding to the menagerie: Eating L.A. tells you why Black Cat Bakery -- taking up residence in the old Mani's space on Fairfax Ave. -- is such an appropriate name. (And it's not just because it joins Black Dog Coffee and Animal in the neighborhood.)

--Got some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? Patina celebrates the black truffle next Tuesday and Wednesday with multi-course menus that include a black truffle peasant salad, butter poached Maine lobster with truffle, and a brown butter truffle sorbet for dessert. The three-course menu starts at $95.

--I could have used this three days ago: The Guardian offers up hangover cures from around the world. And at least one of them -- you'll know it when you get to it -- just might make you sick.

--Get Bizzy: Mashable's 10 apps to watch in 2011 includes Bizzy, poised to compete with Foursquare for sharing your favorite things to see, do, buy, eat ...

--Best idea I never thought of: The Spiced Life offers another use for that waffle maker -- waffled grilled cheese, above -- inspired by Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, "Waffles from Morning to Midnight."

Got any links for Combo Plate? Always on the lookout for something newsy, yummy, funny or weird.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Waffled grilled cheese. Credit: The Spiced Life

'Top Chef Masters' gets cheezy


David Burke, Monica Pope, Marcus Samuelsson, Thierry Rautureau and Carmen Gonzales took a crash course in comfort food on last night's 'Masters,' where they were challenged to make grilled cheeses in the quickfire and Southern soul food for the elimination.

Competitors for this next week's Grilled Cheese Invitational should take heed of Monica's Moroccan melt, piled with feta, farmer cheese and dates on raisin nut bread and drizzled with orange blossom honey dressing. The internationally inspired sandwich won the quickfire challenge, and gave Monica first choice in her pick for protein in the elimination challenge.

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Grilled Cheese Truck hosts 'pre-melt' at Farmer's Kitchen in Hollywood

The Grilled Cheese Truck hosted what was, hands-down, the cheesiest event in all of Hollywood this weekend -- and in the vicinity of the Cahuenga Corridor, that's no mean feat. Hype has been building to an almost deafening roar since chef Dave Danhi announced in mid-September that he would roll out the Grilled Cheese Truck. On Sunday night, he hosted a "pre-melt" at the Farmer's Kitchen in Hollywood. When Danhi quietly announced the event Thursday morning on his Twitter feed, the sign-up list filled up in less than two hours. But last night,  Danhi opened the event to the public.

On the menu: the plain and simple melt with either American or cheddar cheese; the cheesy mac and rib melt with mac 'n cheese, barbecued pork and caramelized onions; the caprese melt with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil; and a dessert sandwich of marshmallows, Nutella and bananas.

In attendance: chef Roy Choi from Kogi; Tim Walker, the mayor of the Grilled Cheese Invitational; cookbook author and tasting tour guide Robert Danhi (who happens to be Dave Danhi's brother); and anyone who likes hot, gooey cheese between two pieces of grilled, buttery bread.

[Pictures after the jump.]

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Grilled Cheese Truck to host 'pre-melt' at Farmer's Kitchen at Hollywood Farmers Market

The Sweet Sammy dessert sandwich made with peanut butter, banana puree with vanilla, rum, Nutella and marshmallow from the Grilled Cheese Truck.

[UPDATE 12:36 p.m.: sign-ups for the "pre melt" are full, but there is a waiting list in case of cancellations.]

While readying the Grilled Cheese Truck to roll out, chef Dave Danhi quietly announced via Twitter this morning that he'll be hosting a pre-melt this Sunday, Oct. 11 at the Farmer's Kitchen at the Hollywood Farmers Market. Danhi will be dishing out sandwiches from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Those who want to attend should sign up for the event via the website. Expect a line.

Danhi's been testing a slew of recipes including a traditional cheddar and tomato melt with bacon bits sprinkled into the crust; the Caprese Melt made with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic syrup and fresh basil; and the Sweet Sammy (pictured at right) made with King's Hawaiian bread, roasted banana puree and Nutella

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: The Sweet Sammy dessert sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Truck. Credit: Robert Danhi.

Sampler Platter: Vendy Awards, giant burrito eat-off, America's best burgers, Costco comes to New York City (sort of)

Push cart vendor Lourdes Sanchez of Santa Ana

A burrito bigger than a baby, the truth about Thousand Island dressing, Korean barbecue in Koreatown and more in today's food news roundup.
-- Street food gets the red-carpet treatment at New York's Vendy Awards. Gourmet
-- Govind Armstrong, executive chef of 8 Oz. Burger Bar, shows you how to make his grilled cheese and short ribs sandwich. Epicurious
-- Essex parts with chef Chris Ennis, trims menu, will expand. Food Fair by Diego opens in Mid-City West. Eater LA
- -Binary Tastebuds and Choisauce compete to see who can eat more of the massive Special Burrito at Manuel's El Tepeyac. L.A. & OC Foodventures
-- America's best burgers. (No L.A. joints on the list.) Travel & Leisure
-- Man starts business delivering low-cost Costco items to New York City residents. New York Times
-- Quarrygirl lists L.A.'s top five omnivorous restaurants for vegans.
-- Where Thousand Island salad dressing and six other condiments get their names. Mental Floss
-- Eating LA checks out the $16.99 all-you-can-eat meal at Hae Jang Chon.
-- Hungry Kat noshes on pork belly, spareribs and stew at Ham Ji Park.
-- Just four days after announcing that its new Vegemite spread would be called iSnack2.0, Kraft says it will axe the name because so many people hate it. News.com.au
--The Boston Globe has a beef with reality cooking shows.
-- Bangladesh rewards farmer who killed more than 83,000 rats in an effort to protect crops. AP
-- First Lady Michelle Obama approaches diet and exercise with moderation and sanity. NY Daily News (On Nov. 10, she'll kick off "Sesame Street's" 40th anniversary season with an appearance that focuses on health and nutrition.)
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Pushcart vendor Lourdes Sanchez of Santa Ana. Credit: Karen Tapia-Anderson / Los Angeles Times

Grilled Cheese Truck to roll out in early October in Los Angeles


It seems so obvious, it’s hard to believe no one thought of it sooner. Of course Los Angeles needs a grilled cheese truck. Thanks to Dave Danhi, it's about to get one.

Capitalizing on the success of two hot food trends -- nouveau food trucks and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches-- Danhi plans to launch the Grilled Cheese Truck in early October, provided the permitting and inspection process runs smoothly.

For its initial rollout, the Grilled Cheese Truck will feature a menu of four to five standard sandwiches, including a plain grilled cheese sandwich on your choice of wheat or white bread; a caprese made with heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil; and a California melt made with smoked turkey, avocado, bacon, tomato, Monterey jack and cheddar. There will also be a specialty sandwich of the week (perhaps a triple-cream brie with brown-buttered apples and sage on walnut-raisin bread) and one or two dessert sandwiches (perhaps vanilla-poached apricots with mascarpone or goat cheese). Sides will include fresh tomato soup, house-made sweet-and-spicy pickles and either tater tots or fries (he's taking votes via Twitter). The menu is still in flux. He's trying to keep the price point for every item under five dollars and may serve the specialty sandwiches as sliders.

Perhaps the most unlikely aspect of the Grilled Cheese Truck's gooey road to fruition is that the man who started it admits he's never much cared for grilled cheese.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.