Not too long ago a certain James Beard Award-winning writer wrote an article about food blogs in Food & Wine Magazine. And then all hell broke loose.
The dust has settled and most of us food bloggers have chosen to respond with what we know best: food. In particular we're featuring a certain type of food that the writer took as symbol of bad food blogging, the cheese sandwich. This gave me the perfect opportunity to try a local shop that I keep walking past and telling myself to go try it.
Say Cheese! has been a Hell's Kitchen spot for the last several years and it bills itself as the "Home of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich."
The shop is filled with just a few tables and chairs in primary colors against a natural brick wall on one side and simple long white wall running back to the counter, above which hangs a blackboard listing the different sandwich and smoothie options.
The menu features a number of melts and flats filled with everything from pesto to artichokes. I decided to go a bit more traditional and ordered "The Big Cheese", a three cheese (muenster, provolone, wiss) sandwich with roasted red peppers, garlic and red onions on olive bread.
The crunchy and gooey combination are what make grilled cheese sandwiches so delicious for me. But the sweetness of the peppers was an unwanted contrast to the salty melted cheese and it interrupted my moment with with Mr. Crunch and Mr. Goo. My first bites were also rather messy as I fought valiantly with the pepper bits and onions when they tried to slide out of the sandwich; I would try to ram them back in, but I lost that battle and they ended up spread all over my tin foil covered basket. The bread was decent, but its crunch could almost be defined as "jaw-breaking." I yearned for Wonder Bread.
Maybe its my not-so-refined palate or that I just like to reminisce about the simple versions I ate during childhood, but I think I prefer a plain grilled cheese sandwich on that Wonder Bread, even ones with *gack!* Kraft singles. Yes, the orange hue is unnatural (and probably terrible for you, too), but there is something so strangely comforting in that color. I connect happy moments in my youth to that bright orange-as-Halloween cheese sandwiches.
Reflecting on this particular cheese sandwich, I probably would've been better choosing a funky version with some odd combination of ingredients. Well, at least I had my say and my cheese for food blogging.Say Cheese!
649 9th Ave,
NY, NY 10036
Between 45th and 46th Street
Pete Wells Loves Cheese Sandwiches