20 June 2009
The Hot Brie $5.50 & The BABS $6.00
I know what you’re thinking—what is this, a food blog or a sandwich blog? The truth is I love sandwiches and if you’re against them, you should stop reading this blog, because there are a lot more of them to come.
When I heard about a grill dedicated to two of God’s greatest accomplishments—bread and cheese, I thought to myself—“get me there now!” Aside from being on the depressingly gentrified Alberta St. (which don’t even get me started on . . .) this grill has some major things going for it: its inventive as all get out, the sandwiches are incredible and from what I can tell, the owners are quirky and fun!
Where does your mind wonder to when you think of grilled cheese sandwiches? Do you remember your mom cooking up some cheddar and white bread on a rainy Portland afternoon, you anxiously waiting while watching Three Ninjas with your two brothers wrestling in the living room? Hmm, that’s exactly what I was remembering too! The owners of this place claim: “Well if you can’t get your mom to make you a grilled cheese right now, we’ll be your mom. A couple of bearded dudes in a food cart will be your mom.” Let me just say, they put my mom to shame!
My friend and I ordered The Hot Brie and The BABS—they gave us two cards for our order. I was Don Aase and she was Jerome Kersey. We waited anxiously just as we used too, but this time underneath yellow and orange umbrellas, sitting around large, wooden picnic tables. The owners used this lot fully to their advantage. Eating here feels a little bit like a playground with the gravel, a little like the front of a school, with the bus. Finally they arrived: two perfectly made grilled cheeses, with golden brown tops (honestly my mom used to burn our grilled cheeses until they were black, so already they were doing a heck of a lot better).
First bite of The Hot Brie, well hot brie of course, and tomatoes, complimented by red peppers and spicy mustard on sourdough bread. It was complex enough to make it exciting, but standard enough to remind you were still eating a grilled cheese. The BABS, which I think in the end I decided I liked a bit more—was filled with melted blue cheese and Swiss, thick and crispy bacon and apples on rye.
Just as we were finishing, the Portland rain began to pour and we were forced into the life size school bus. Two artists were finishing up a mural which will span the ceiling of the bus. The tables inside are covered with old school photos and trivia cards.
Grilled Cheese Grill really does take you back your childhood—take your kids or just your friends—and bite your way to a simpler time, a time where all that mattered was that grilled cheese your mom was cooking up for you.
Next on my list to try: The Gabby (your classic grilled cheese—but with four cheeses) and a cup of their homemade Creamy Tomato Soup, $7. And for dessert, The Jamie, mascarpone, Nutella and sautéed bananas on grilled cinnamon swirl bread.
1027 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
Hours: T-TH 11:30-9:00 pm
Fri-Sat 11:30-2:00 am
Sun 11:30-3:30 pm