We may not have the most dramatic changes of seasons in Los Angeles, but for the past two years, the month of April has become a season all of its own for me… One that is dramatic, beautiful, and full of glorious cheese.
It was two years ago that I first found out that Clementine, one of my favorite bakery/cafes in Los Angeles, makes at least one specialty grilled cheese sandwich every day during the month of April (closed Sundays). Their most standard version is an aged Vermont Cheddar on Country White Bread, with a choice of bacon and/or roasted cherry tomatoes, but looking at their brochure, it’s obvious that they are mining from a very deep knowledge and love for variations of melty cheese and toasty bread.
The theme of the names this year is based on the idea of a Cheesedance Festival, like a film festival. I went for the inaugural sandwich yesterday, Deconstructing Dagwood, which had cheddar, swiss, pastrami, salami, chopped olives, tomatoes, roasted peppers, pickles, mustard, “and whatever else we can find in the fridge” on a crusty roll. I forgot to take my camera along, but trust me, it was dramatic, beautiful, and full of glorious flavor. It will also be served again on April 24.
Chad and I actually sat down with the schedule to plan when we want to go… which was somewhat fruitless b/c I would have ended up putting a star next to every date if we’d seen that idea through. My waistline and wallet will probably determine my attendance.
So… if you’re in LA… some dates you may want to keep in mind… even though I doubt you could go on a “bad” day even if you tried…
- April 4 (and 19) – Mediterraneo – Aged Provolone, Sauteed Spinach, Marinated Artichokes, Basil, Garlic, and Chili Flakes on crusty bread.
- April 6 – Short Cuts (Small Sandwiches, Presented in Combination) – The Gouda, the Bread and the Buttery:
- Goudafellas – Smoked Gouda with Meatballs (and Marinara Sauce for dipping)
- As Gouda as it Gets – Aged Gouda with Young Garlic and Fried Capers
- Gouda Night and Gouda Luck – Red Wax Gouda with Turkey, Wisconsin Bacon and Russian Dressing
- April 11 – High Steaks: Panino Royale – Havarti, Gorgonzola, Grilled Steak, Bacon, and Balsamic-Roasted Onions on House-Made Panini
- April 12 (and 25) – The Philadelphia Cheese Steak Story – White American, Provolone, Rib Eye Steak, Peppers, Onions, and Mayo on French Roll
- April 16 – Basque in Glory – Etorki, Bayonne Ham, and Fig Preserves on Crusty Bread
- April 30 – Medianoche in the Garden of Gouda and Edam – Gouda, Edam, Ham, Roast Pork, Pickles, Mayo, and Mustard on Pan Cubano.
I could go on… and on… Oh, one more, my favorite name – “Melt: Collateral Heatings of Sharp Cheddar and Crispy Bread For Make Benefit Glorious Sandwich of Tuna.” I think Borat would be pleased.
It may not be surprising that this grilled cheese has pedigree. Annie Miler, the owner and chef of Clementine has worked with Nancy Silverton, who among many other things, created Grilled Cheese Night at Campanile (which still happens every Thursday night). The Buffala 66 sandwich (on April 17) has mozzarella, pecorino, italian sausage, red onions, and fennel pollen on country white, and “clearly owes its inspiration to Nancy Silverton and the fennel sausage pizza at Mozza.” I’ve been dying to go to Mozza, and this is yet another reason to check it out… and see how the open-faced versions of melty cheese and toasty crust (aka pizzas) there compare.
And if you can’t make it to LA this month, Nancy Silverton has a rather wonderful Sandwich Book, that also includes sandwich cookies, such as versions of oreos and nutter butters to make at home, or in culinary school.