Friday, August 21, 2009

Sweet Cheesus

There's a fine line between delicious and disgusting, and the Cheesus burger from The Grilled Cheese Grill is a definite straddler. It features a thick burger between two old school grilled cheese sandwiches, one with american cheese and sliced pickles, the other with colby and grilled onions. Delicious, disgusting......could go either way, could be a little of both.

The Grilled Cheese Grill is one of those Portland food carts I have vivid dreams about. It's a mobile grilled cheese emporium that's technically stationary, although if motivated enough, the owners could pull up stakes and set up camp somewhere else (like my neighborhood). A smallish airstream trailer functions as the kitchen, a funky school bus has been fashioned into the cafe, complete with booths and a counter, and there's also an outdoor seating area with picnic tables. It's a compound devoted to the almighty grilled cheese sandwich, and it's about as novel a place as you'll find.

The menu reads like a K - 12 curriculum for grilled cheese sandwiches. The Pre-Schooler is a plain old grilled cheese with the crusts cut off. The Kindergartner has matured a little; the crusts are left on. The First Grader is one slice of white, one slice of wheat, American and cheddar. You then graduate to the upperclassmen, with The Pops (tomato, havarti, and honey mustard on Dave's Killer Cracked Wheat), the Morton (meatball marinara, ricotta, mozzarella on grilled italian sourdough) and ten other intriguingly cheesy options. GCG also offers three grilled sweet sandwiches, one of which, the Elvis, has no cheese, just peanut butter and bananas (and bacon, if you want to fork over another $1.75). If you're wondering where the tomato soup is, it's in a cup, for $2.50.

There's a laundry list of add-on's, too: potato chips, roasted jalapenos, sauerkraut, and a fried egg, to name a few of the embellishments. I like places where you can phone it in on one visit and order one of their concoctions, and then assert your personality on another visit by coming up with your own quirky creation and no one gripes about it.

I keep wondering why there aren't more places like this in Evanston, or Chicago for that matter. Where are the cool, cheap, novel destination places with fanciful food and dirt cheap prices (Prices start at $4 at GCG and don't go above $6 for a meat-laden grilled cheese. The Cheesus Burger is a pretty reasonable $8)? Obviously, someone needs to step up and take their rightful place at the stove. Any takers?

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