Saturday, April 2, 2011

Grilled Cheese Grill

A few weeks back Dave and I went out to eat at a place that just may have the coolest ambiance of any restaurant in Portland. Except that it's not actually a restaurant. It's not exactly a food cart either. The Grilled Cheese Grill is a school bus turned eatery. The dining room is a converted school bus with the food cooked up in an adjacent food cart.
Grilled Cheese Grill's "Dining Room"

I don't know about you, but I wasn't allowed to eat on the school bus-- and definitely not with grilled-to-order sandwiches, tables built in between the benches and classic 80's music blaring in the background. There's even a school-style intercom that tells you when your sandwich is ready to pick up from the grill (so you don't have to wait outside in the rain for your order). The tables even come equipped with Trivial Pursuit cards to while away the time spent waiting for your sandwich, just in case you have a really boring date--- or, in my case, just need to be taken down a notch. I finally got two questions right... total.

We were racing off to something else so we scarfed our sandwiches down in a hurry. Dave got "The BABS": bacon, sliced Braeburn apples, brie and swiss (he got it on sourdough instead of rye-- I've never been a fan of rye). It was a great flavor combination-- I even managed to snag a couple of bites from him before it was gone.
I ordered "The Stickles"-- a creation of Tillamook Pepperjack, avocado, red onion and roasted red peppers on "Dave's Killer Bread" cracked wheat-- with a side of tomato soup. I wasn't overly impressed with the tomato soup-- it was pretty marginal--  but the sandwich was yummy.
As much as I like trying new flavor combinations, I am a sucker for a homemade Tillamook cheddar sandwich on sourdough. At the risk of losing any foodie cred, I have to admit that I have a weird grilled cheese hang-up from my childhood. When I was growing up my mom always made grilled cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip on the inside (you know, like you would on any cold cut sandwich--but minus the cold cuts). Dave thinks this is super-gross (Who is he to talk? He dips his grilled cheese in ketchup...), but the Miracle Whip gives a tangy sweet flavor that nicely contrasts with the cheese and bread. (Yes, yes, in a cheap Miracle-Whippy kind of way. But old hang-ups die hard.) So every time I have a grilled cheese sandwich anywhere, I wait for the tangy sweet contrast and it always falls short. So if any of you foodie friends have a more tasty sweet-tangy solution than Miracle Whip, I need to hear it! But I digress... back to Grilled Cheese Grill.

We had plans to eat dessert later that evening at Papa Haydn, so I didn't have a chance to sample "The Jaime": mascarpone, Nutella and grilled banana on cinnamon-swirl bread (they suggest eating this one in private). I guess I'll just have to make another trip....

Gourmet food this is not. But I suppose gourmet is not exactly what you'd expect from a converted school bus blaring 80's music that dishes out cheese sandwiches from a cart at all hours of the day and night. But it is a fab spot for tasty comfort food with great flavor combinations and seriously awesome ambiance.


ped crossing said...

My new fav grilled cheese is gouda and provolone on sourdough with fresh basil. Oh yum. :)

Emily Laing said...

STOP!!! You are driving me crazy with the crack sandwich! I must confess that I do miss bread and cheese every once in a while....until I get super sick. Such a cool place though. Wish fake cheese was good, but sadly, it's no better than a slice of velveeta.

janeannechovy said...

Homemade bread and butter pickles should get you sweet tang, plus a little crunch. Making my mouth water just thinking about it.

Ha! My captcha is "singsp"--about time to be thinking about Cantico!

Suzie Petunia said...

Where can I find this place? Does it travel around? So fun, and sounds delicious!

Suburban Adventure Mom said...

We went to the location at 1027 NE Alberta St. in Portland, but I hear they now have another location (a double-decker bus, no less) at SE 28th and Ankeny.