First, there's my dear old Seattle favorite grilled cheese at the home of the world's richest mac & cheese and the best darn cheese curds I've ever had, Beecher's Handmade Cheese at the famous Pike Place Market. Their flagship cheese best resembles a sharp white cheddar, but deeper and more complex. It makes for a fabulous grilled sandwich, especially with tomato.
A little closer to home (at least my current home), my previous favorite was the fragrant grilled cheese sandwich at Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building. Just the fact that I order this in lieu of my beloved shellfish at a quality seafood restaurant serves as a testimony to the greatness of this Mezzo Secco, cave-aged gruyere, and Fromage Blanc masterpiece. But I dare you to stand in line smelling all that rich, salty, cheesy goodness and NOT order it.
Just yesterday a friend introduced me to my new favorite - and I can have more than one favorite if I darn well please, thank you very much. SOMA's new American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, as the name so subtly suggests, specializes in these artery clogging sandwiches. We split the classic Mousetrap - Tillamook sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, and monterey jack on sourdough, with tomato added, of course. This full-flavored traditional sandwich truly lives up to expectations. Nothing blah or bland here!
And we split the Mushroom Gruyere - fontina, gruyere, roasted wild mushrooms, gold potatoes, melted leeks, caramelized onions, and thyme butter. This was an earthier, heartier experience, each bite full of new and increasingly complex surprises.
This friend and I are quite the Chatty Cathies together, but, the instant these arrived at our table, silence fell. There's almost no better test for good food. These passed that test with flying colors. I can't wait to go back and try the Moscone with fresh mozzarella, fontina, roasted tomatoes, basil-lavender pesto, and kalamata olive tapenade. Also the bread pudding (sweet & savory options) and, of course, the tomato soup, especially with the classic Mousetrap. They also have meaty sandwiches, but that just defeats the whole purpose of a grilled cheese in a way other toppings don't, in my humble opinion. At that point, it's just a hot sandwich. And few things are as worth tarnishing my cholesterol count for as a good grilled cheese.