Grilled Cheese Invitational 2013
4/20/13. Tickets are up, including judging tickets. I got 2 - $57 total.
Kinda pricey but I'm down to go to see what's up - I wasn't going to go without judging though. Evidently the event sucks if you don't have a judging wrist band, and they sell out.
OK so here's the lowdown:
I would go back next year, but there is no way I'm buying judging tix again. F THAT SHIZ. Maybe it wass different in years back, but this year judging sucked.
So let me tell you what judging gets you:
There's 3 rounds of "heats". At the beginning of the "heat", the security dudes open up the "gate" and all the judges bumrush the fence. Have you been to a concert? Do you know what the front rail looks like? Well as soon as the gates opened everyone rushed the rail so it looked like a concert pit 3-4 people deep.
The first heat had some 20-50 competitors. Each one had 1 burner, so they are able to cook ONE grilled cheese at a time. This meant 2-4 samples per contestant per ~5 minutes or so. When the competitor is done, they left up a sign that says "HOT CHEESE". A server then comes and grabs the samples, and delivers it to the judges.
Remember, there are HORDES of judges standing in front of the rail, and there is this poor sap of a server with 4 samples. They determine who gets the sample by some f'd up system, seemingly based on how loud/cute/lucky you are. Of course, when you get a sample you SHOULD move to the back so that someone else can move up to get a sample. There were many, many people who did not. These people camped at the front and got numerous samples, while the poor saps in back got nothing. Maybe these campers were the ones who posted favorable reviews, I don't know.
I spent the first heat trying to do this. Between the 4 of us we got 6 samples in approximately an hour. And yes, we tried to divide and conquer.
We were so disgusted with the judging that we went back to the masses and just paid for our fucking food.
THAT is where this event shines. FUCK JUDGING. For 12 bucks you get access to loads of vendors and trucks that are prodividing for pay samples. Samples range from $FREE to $6, with most being $2 or $5. One sample that really stood out to me was the one from HEYWOOD. It's a 2 year aged cheddar with onion confit spread on sourdough and MIND BLOWINGLY delicious. $2 for the sample which felt like a half sandwich - it's normally $11 on their menu. It also required zero stress and 2 minutes of my time.
So next year, I'm gonna get $12 judging tix and bring $30 to buy boatloads of glorious samples.
The worst part about judging? Out of the 6 samples only 1 was worth a damn. Anyone know where I can get some of this "better than apple 3.14....?"
I was stupid and only did research on CH, where I stumbled on pro-judging posts. Of course, I go to yelp today and find people ranting about the same shit I ranted about, last year. Sigh...
They limited judging tickets to everyone and their mom.
No seriously, it was limited (friends were not able to go because they sold out early).
The problem was mainly due to the asinine queue system. If they had lines where people would pick up a sandwich then GTFO and to the back of the line there would be no issue. it's the fact that it turns into a mosh pit that makes it ridiculous.
I wouldn't have minded if it was really a mosh pit and I could start using my elbows, but it wasn't.
I would say that the other totally idiotic problem, (at least from reading your review of the day) was this:
"Each one had 1 burner, so they are able to cook ONE grilled cheese at a time."
Now that seems like a "recipe for disaster" (or at least for a bunch of pissed off hungry people).