Short rib grilled cheese by Govind Armstrong. From Epicurious.
April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and Los Angeles has lots to offer in this department. We’re not just about vegan-gluten-free-macrobiotic juice cleanses, OK? We like to eat, too, and that includes gooey melted cheese on perfectly toasted bread.
The grilled cheese that really changed the way I look at this particular sandwich was Chef Govind Armstrong’s short rib grilled cheese with red onion marmalade. The first time I bit into this ingenious concoction was at the now-shuttered 8 oz. Burger Bar on Melrose Avenue, and I loved every flavor-packed bite, making me realize that the lowly grilled cheese could be anything you want it to be — which in this case meant stuffed with slow-cooked meat and onions. You can still get it at Armstrong’s Post & Beam, thankfully.
Then the Grilled Cheese Truck came along, with its Cheesy Mac and Rib carb-on-carb sandwich (short rib, caramelized onions, and macaroni and cheese) and delightful dessert grilled cheeses. There’s a reason why the lines for this truck are so long. And the brick-and-mortar/truck combo The Melt has a good spicy version in The Mission made with pepper jack and jalapeno on sourdough.
And while we wait for Chef Eric Greenspan’s temple to this comforting sammy (simply called Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese) to open, which is slated for April 11, and lament the end of the Grilled Cheese Invitational on April 12, we can visit BLVD 16 at the Hotel Palomar through Sunday, April 13, for specials, including a prosciutto, truffle pecorino and arugula pesto grilled cheese.
Or, we can make some of our own interesting combinations, courtesy of Loews Santa Monica Beach and Loews Hollywood hotels.
You may recall the pastrami doughnut sandwiches I sampled at the Loews Hollywood recently. Now a similar version called Mister Crunchy will be offered all month at the hotel’s H2 lobby bar. And Loews Santa Monica’s Fireside Lounge will have its Fiesta Grilled Cheese, appealing to our Californian tastes. If you want to try your hand at making these yourself, check out the recipes:
- 1 “Telera Style” yeast/raised doughnut roll
- 3 oz. thinly sliced Virginia Smoked Ham
- 1.5 oz. thin-sliced Wisconsin Cheddar
- 1 oz. thin-sliced Monterey Pepper Jack
Split the doughnut roll. In a Teflon pan, over low/medium heat, lightly brown the cut side of the roll until crisp. Turn roll sides over to lightly brown the outer sides of the roll. Preheat the top broiler in the oven to 500 degrees. As this is taking place, layer the ham and cheddar slices on each side. Cover pan. After the cheese begins to glisten, place the 2 halves together to form the sandwich. Top the sandwich with the Pepper Jack cheese, and glaze under the top broiler. Cut and serve.
Fiesta Grilled Cheese
- 3 oz. jalapeno pepper jack cheese
- ½ avocado
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ½ lime juice
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 1 tablespoon butter
Coat grill with butter and heat. Spread butter on both sides of sourdough bread slices and place on grill. Add cheese to both slices of bread and let melt. Add ½ of avocado sliced along with lime juice and lime zest. Remove from grill. Sprinkle roughly chopped fresh cilantro on top of the avocado. Put two slices of bread together and slice.