On April 20, I ate approximately nine grilled cheese sandwiches and I am not ashamed.
It wasn’t like I had some surplus of cheese and bread in my kitchen, or some weird dietary issue that required me to eat only carbohydrates and dairy—but let’s face it, that would be a convenient excuse.
I was actually a proud attendant of the 11th annual Los Angeles Grilled Cheese Invitational.
The Invitational combined a lot of my favorite things, all in one tummy-ache-inducing day.
There were dozens of gourmet grilled cheese trucks, a beer garden, free samples, a judging event (also with free samples), grilled cheese slam poetry, and my favorite parodying lounge group: Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.
It was a balmy 80-plus degrees in the city of angels when my posse and I made our way through the front gates.
I was completely ill-prepared for the amount of cheese, butter, and beer about to make its way into my mouth.
We started by having a few beers at the beer garden, which in hindsight might have been a mistake given the temperature and our plans to destroy an entire grilled cheese city before sunset.
After getting sufficiently … um … hydrated, we made our way over to the main event, which included four very long rows of chefs, aficionados, experimenters, and enthusiasts all vying for the same thing: the title of Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Each competitor threw out his or her best offerings, and if you were able to fight your way through the crowd of fellow judges, you had a chance to taste some delicious and original cheese concoctions.
As it turns out, I’m pretty good at making friends in high places, so my crew and I got to eat copious amounts of free samples, and I’ll say it was pretty hard to pick a winner out of the bunch.
And because we’re gluttons for punishment, we headed over to the food truck area and ordered up several gourmet sandwiches to nibble on—because five grilled cheese sandwiches just wasn’t cutting it.
My personal favorite was a tiramisu-grilled cheese on fresh raisin bread, which sounds horrifying, but was divine. Second to that was a grilled cheese sandwich with baked macaroni and bacon. Knowing that I will never eat a sandwich that good as long as I live and breathe is the epitome of soul-crushing depression.
After willing myself not to vomit in a public place for the last hour of my time at the Invitational, our group decided it was time to go.
I vowed never to eat another grilled cheese again as I unbuckled my pants in the car for more breathing room.
Then, on Monday, I went to Sidecar in San Luis Obispo and had a bomb grilled cheese sandwich with Vermont white cheddar, caramelized shallots, blistered grape tomato, and brioche.
Some things will never change.
Calendar Editor Maeva Considine is now lactose intolerant. Send your condolences to [email protected]