Tom tries it: Grilled cheese grudge match

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For this week’s food fiasco, Tom Miller was accompanied by The Chronicle’s very own Peter Medlin in an effort to hunt down NCC’s best grilled cheese offering. A three-way competition, much like the Bagel Blitz, this grudge match will be comparing the melty offerings of Au Bon Pain, The Cage and the school’s very own Kaufman Dining Hall. As an introductory note, all of the grilled cheeses came at the price of just one swipe. Say cheese, please!

Au Bon Pain

Nestled between two toasted pieces of hearty sourdough bread, ABP delivered a delicious, ooey gooey mixture of melted cheddar and what seemed to be Swiss cheese. At 600 calories this sandwich may not be for the health conscious but don’t let that be a deterrent — this sandwich was met with overall applause from both Peter and

Photo by Tom Miller

myself.

The only improvement that needs to be made here is a slight increase in toasting time. Slightly funky sourdough bread cuts perfectly through the richness of the interior cheese mixture, and with the low price and overall quality of the sandwich, we must recommend it! Peter awarded four out of five swipes to ABP while I raised him by half a swipe, to four-and-a-half out of five.

The Cage

In an attempt to mimic, to the best of our abilities, the cheese mixture of ABP, we decided to opt for both American and Swiss cheeses in our sandwich from the cage. Despite this attempt, The Cage failed to deliver. The only sandwich of the three that we did not finish, this grilled cheese featured indistinct bread, bland and barely melted cheese and what we thought might have been a piece of wax paper. The strange Swiss cheese cut through any other flavors here and left us, literally, with a bad taste in our mouthes.

Photo by Tom Miller

Peter made note that this sandwich was in dire need of a drink to accompany it, and should only be consumed as a last ditch attempt at nourishment — a sentiment that I shared. It should also be heard that we were both left with a strange film-like substance that coated the palette, something I have learned to associate only with Laffy Taffy. Peter was generous enough to award The Cage one-and-a-half swipes, I struggled to offer even the meager one swipe out of five.

 

Kaufman Dining Hall

Photo by Tom Miller

Kind of a wild card, Kaufman offers a DIY experience. Left to our own devices, we again tried to replicate ABP’s fantastic grilled cheese – opting for shredded cheddar cheese, that we assumed would be more conducive to a good melt, and sourdough bread. After putting this sandwich into the panini press we realized that while it may look just like The Cage’s sandwich, we knew the ingredients were, at the very least, a minor upgrade.

Nothing extremely magnificent came out of our experience at Kaufman, but neither did anything that was completely disgusting. Our sandwich had the signature cheese “oozability” that we had been searching for so desperately since ABP, as well as bread of a decent quality with an admirable griddling on it. Since we were able to finish the sandwich we decided to nestle it into the middle point: awarding it a unanimous 2.8 out of five swipes.

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