y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: National Grilled Cheese Month: Eva's Grilled Cheese Night and the 2010 Invitational Retrospective

National Grilled Cheese Month: Eva's Grilled Cheese Night and the 2010 Invitational Retrospective

April is National Grilled Cheese Month. So to celebrate this cheesy month, I engaged in a Pleasure Palate dinner at Eva Restaurant for Grilled Cheese Night. Eva Chef/Owner Mark Gold partnered with Chef/Co-Owner, Dave Danhi, of The Grilled Cheese Truck to offer several courses of grilled cheese sandwiches and side dishes.

Course 1: Danhi's sharp cheddar and gruyere on  parmesan crusted sourdough bread with Gold's cream of tomato soup.
Course 2: Danhi's triple creme brie grilled cheese, carmelized onions, prosciutto crust on black peppercorn bread, with Gold's braised artichokes. The artichokes sat in a creamy, lemony sauce that we all loved.

Course 3: Danhi's faux-ly cheesesteak sandwich with provolone, homemade pickles, crispy onions, French bread. Gold's prime beef over charcoal covered with Cheez Whiz sauce.
Course 4: Danhi's truffled fontina mac and cheese melt paired with Gold's butter poached lobster.

Course 5: Danhi's vanilla mascarpone cheese and balsamic strawberries on sweet brioche with Gold's chocolate fondue. The drinks were part of the cocktail pairing, which got rave reviews from my fellow diners. The ones pictured were called "cherry blossom" and contained brandy, kijafa cherry, lemon, cane syrup.

In celebration of this most comforting of comfort foods, and since my plans prevent me from attending the 9th Annual  Grilled Cheese Invitational (GCI), I am sharing a 'retrospecitve' of last year's fun. 

This year's festivities take place on 4/23/11 from 11:00a.m.-6:00p.m. at Los Angeles Center Studios. 

Tillamook was the sponsor of GCI
Tillamook sponsors the GCI, so this cute little cheese wagon was parked prominently at this large, crazy cooking contest, dedicated to perfecting the art of grilled cheese.

Judging Table
A couple of friends and I applied to be judges and were able to get into this sectioned off area and sample entries to our bellies' desire. Still, one had to be assertive and crafty to snag a tasting as the melted sandwich quarters were being served, small batches at a time. It was also a warm day and crowded event.

With over 230 competitors, people spared no creativity in order to stand out, along with their creations. It was as much fun watching them than it was tasting the "sammiches".

The Cheese Ballers
This one was called the Panty Dropper - oh my!
Cute aprons and Tower Sandwiches
10 year old Jake was rocking out a delicious self-invented entry

Sandwiches competed on originality, execution and visual appeal. With over 80 sandwiches, there was more than most people can get to. Here are some of my favorites from judging tastes. 

The Jakester
An awesome 12 year old named Jake Feldman made this most creative concoction containing sauteed chorizo, onions, grilled portabello mushrooms, tomatoes and of course, lots of cheese. The outer red color comes from a crust of ground up Flaming Hot Cheetos. It was so wrong, it was kind of right. My brain said no, but the child at heart in me said YES.

L: Duck confit grilled cheese R: Saigon Spice
The duck confit sandwich was decidedly gourmet and I had two tastings while watching many judges wrinkle their noses at duck and pass it up! It contained duck confit, duck foie gras and goat cheese.

The competitive categories broke down into The Missionary Style, The Kama Sutra and The Honey Pot (this year they are adding a Love American Style category. My friend Cecilia Fabulich won Judge's Choice with the delicious entry on the above right. Her Saigon Spice sandwich contained pulled pork, mango, slaw and cheese of course!

Peanut Butter Jelly Cheese Sandwich
This flatter sandwich had cheese and jam on the inside and peanut butter coating on the outside which just worked really well.

The Honey Pot category
I passed by a lot of the sweet entries, preferring savory. But this one stood out and was worth a long wait. It contained cranberry bread, dulce de leche, goat cheese, cream cheese and  banana tempura. Great flavors and textures.

Creative presentations 
Not all servings came in little white paper plates. The two above came in very tropical packages. On the left is the Flatbread Jam Sandwich, peeping out of the creature's mouth. On the right is a sandwich wrapped in a banana leaf.
Collecting ballots
The judging instructions consisted of getting a sample from a runner, eating sammy, voting on sammich, putting vote in ballot box.

Mayor of Cheese

More competitors in costume

Overall, the GCI is definitely worth the trip, if at least one time. If these shots piqued your interest, by all means go and enjoy!

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2 Responses to “National Grilled Cheese Month: Eva's Grilled Cheese Night and the 2010 Invitational Retrospective”:

  1. I totally loved the Jakester. Maybe, we should do our own Grilled Cheese Invitational. :)

  2. Great idea, Pleasure Palate! Good complement to the s'mores parties.

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