REVIEW w/ pics: Grilled Cheese Sandwich Tasting at Meltdown etc.
Last September, I set up a tasting of the ultimate comfort food, grilled cheese sandwiches at Meltdown etc in Culver City, a part of town that's starting to be quite a foodie mecca. Our ooey-gooey-cheese fest started with the perfect accompaniment, a tart tomato soup, which definitely paired well with the first three sandwiches we partook in.
We started off with their Classic Three Cheese sandwich, which consisted of sharp cheddar, Meunster, Fontina, Roma tomato on sourdough bread. For this particular sandwich, there are different variations to its ingredients. The three cheeses stay the same, but you have the option to add separately or together, a roma tomato and/or applewood bacon. For our tasting, I opted to include the tomato, simply because I like how it added a fresh, juicy acidity to every bite of the sandwich.
Up next was their Cheddar, Ham and Apple sandwich that was made up of sharp cheddar, smoked ham and apple butter on sourdough bread. In truth, the apple butter seemed a strange bed partner to the other two ingredients, but I was willing to give it a whirl. Surprisingly, it was a total hit with me. Usually, I don't like ham because I find it too salty for my taste, but the sweetness of the apple butter actually counter-balanced that saltiness so much so, that I could have happily eaten a whole sandwich without complaint.
Just around the corner came the Turkey Melt with brie, oven-roasted turkey, arugula, cranberry-horseradish mustard on walnut bread. Of the three savory sandwiches we sampled, this was my least favorite. Usually, I'll pick turkey over ham any time of the week, but not in this case. What I found lacking or should I say missing was the cheese. There just wasn't enough of it. The turkey portions were generous, but with the word "melt" being part of the sandwich name, cheese is an important part of equation and unfortunately, it was MIA.
Also, while I loved the addition of the arugula which added a nice peppery kick, I was a little disappointed in the cranberry-horseradish mustard, which I expected to add more oomph to the sandwich and it didn't.
With three of Meltdown's savory grilled cheese offerings under our belt, it was now time to experience two of their "Sweet Melts". First up was their Goat Cheese, Fig and Honey sandwich on walnut bread. What's interesting about this sandwich is that if you are someone who doesn't like goat cheese because of its pungency, you may actually be able to eat this sandwich and even like it. The sweetness of the fig preserves and the honey cuts into the piquancy of the cheese, which may make it more palatable to goat cheese naysayers.
Last, but not least, came the Brie and Apricot sandwich, also on walnut bread. I've actually had this sandwich before and at first, I couldn't quite equate melted brie mixed with apricot preserves as being a good combination. My first bite; however, made me a convert. The mildness of the cheese was a perfect foundation for the tart-sweetness of the apricots.
Overall, this was a fun little tasting and I think we were able to get a good sampling of Meltdown etc grilled cheese sandwiches. For those of you who weren't able to join us, I guess you'll just have to live vicariously through my photos below. :-D
To see pics, go to:
Neighborhood: Culver City
9739 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
OK, it's a cute, nostalgic idea. But that three-cheese sandwich you started with costs $6.75, and appears to come with no sides at all. By the time you add "gourmet" chips or a salad and an "artisan" soda, you are up to $15 or more for lunch (hopefully including tax and tip) and I'm still hungry.
Hmmm...interesting....the grilled cheeses of my youth were a little more burnt than what they seemed to do there.