Grilled Cheese Month Is Here!

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.

9 Responses to “Grilled Cheese Month Is Here!”

  1. erin Says:

    Yum! Thanks for the tip on this. I’ve heard good things about Clementine, but I’ve never been. The Basque in Glory sounds fab (as do most of them!).

  2. Nina Says:

    Sure — I hope you get a chance to get there.

    And just my luck — shortly after I discovered your blog, you announced that you’re leaving for grad school in NY! Ah well, at least you’re going to my favorite city in the world, so I can live vicariously through your blog. 🙂 Best of luck!

  3. Natalie Says:

    Hi Nina, it’s been a while since I stopped by – glad to see you are still food’n out with delicious visuals as well. Take care, Natalie

  4. Nina Says:

    Thanks, Natalie! Glad you’ve stopped by again.

  5. Tommy Says:

    Basque in Glory… Oh, yes. Etorki rocks. It’s my favorite basque cheese. I’ve heard about this Clementine place and their month of grilled cheese… probably on the Splendid Table.

    Oh, I got me some blood oranges and spearmint. Gonna riff on your sorbet idea this weekend. Wish me luck.

    By the way, I’ve just set up my own food blog. May I blogroll you once I get my links set up? I think my readers (well, reader… I’ve only got one so far) would dig the Nap. Cheers!

  6. Nina Says:

    Congratulations on your new food blog! So glad that you’ve become one of us. 🙂 Please add me to your blogroll. I’ll add you, too, if you don’t mind. And great with work with your baguettes, btw! I admire home breadbakers… In a way, working at a bakery is almost easier b/c you get to practice shaping on hundreds/thousands of pieces of dough and use deck ovens that are perfect for bread.

    I’d never heard of etorki before! I love the name. Only four days until I finally try it. Yesterday, there was a sandwich with manchego, mahon, quince paste, and lomo on rosemary bread. Lomo was another new thing to me — cured pork tenderloin… awesome. I’ve been on a huge spanish food kick recently… and am working on a Spain-inspired candy bar.

    And good luck with your blood oranges and spearmint!

  7. Tommy Says:

    Thanks, Nina! By all means yes, do add me to your list. I’m still working on my blogroll. There seems to be a bug in the new version of blogger which brings up an error message when I try to add the link list (anyone out there think they can help with this?), so it may be a while yet.

    My cousin Barry and his wife Shellane are in the planning stages of opening a Tapas bar in downtown Seattle, and are doing a lot of, um, research, shall we say… As it happens, Shellane spent three years acting in Barcelona (she apparently had a pretty good gig going as one of the local “stock american” actors). I’ll hip them to your blog and they can send along any spanish candy bar ideas they may have…

  8. Nina Says:

    Cool, thanks! Right now, I’m working on a riff of the Spanish treat of chocolate, olive oil, and salt on toasted bread. I’d do anything to go Barcelona to some research. Um, or even Seattle, for that matter… 🙂

    And looks like the blog roll issue was resolved. Thanks for including me!

  9. BonBonBar at Clementine! - Sweet Napa Says:

    […] Clementine has long been one of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles. And after having written about their grilled cheese month and other amazing culinary feats, I’m very excited to very say that you can now buy BonBonBar products there! […]

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