The last gourmet macaroni and cheese I sampled brings to mind two of my favorite TV shows as a kid…
I used to watch Full House religiously every afternoon with my sister, and there’s one episode that stands out as a favorite. Little Michelle is trying to earn her Girl Scout cooking badge and Uncle Joey is helping her. In true Michelle fashion, she thinks that simply combining two of her favorite foods will create a delicious new dish. One of the concoctions combines canned tuna and ice cream. While both are good separately, together they are not. I can’t remember her other recipes, but you get the idea. Finally, with Joey’s help, she makes orange juice popcicles.
The other show is Wheel of Fortune, which I used to watch with my dad. Being a words-person and obsessed with all things clever, one of my favorite puzzles is “Before and After”. It combines two phrases that have the same word (one at the end and the other at the beginning), such as mac ‘n’ cheese and cheese sandwich.
Which, oh-so cleverly I must say, brings me back to my review. Thought up by the brains behind The Grilled Cheese Truck, Dave Danhi, this macaroni “dish” is not served in a bowl, but instead between two slices of Texas toast. This popular LA food truck combines two of my favorite foods (actually one more, but I’ll get into that later) to create an even more scrumptious meal, just like Michelle tried to do. It’s like macaroni and cheese knocked up a grilled cheese sandwich to procreate a mac ‘n’ cheese sandwich. (That’s the “before and after” if you haven’t caught on yet.)
Before I describe the Cheesy Mac and Rib sandwich, I’m just going to say it now: It’s amazing! The bread is toasted just right and moistened with a perfect amount of butter. I don’t know if they put cheese on it before slopping the macaroni in, but it really doesn’t matter. There’s plenty of gooey cheddar cheese to go around. The third yummy ingredient that I mentioned above is BBQ pulled pork (which is actually optional). So for those of you who like meat in their sandwiches – I’m raising my hand – this is for you. However, I actually found the result to be the opposite of what Michelle encountered with her failed mixtures: Separately, I typically don’t like meat in a standard grill cheese sandwich or in mac ‘n’ cheese. But when you combine the two carb- and cheese-loaded items, meat is great mixed in, especially BBQ pulled pork. The meat version also has caramelized onions in it, which adds a nice hint of sweetness, along with the BBQ, to the palate.
Served fresh off the grill, piping hot and out of a truck nonetheless, I was left completely satisfied. The creator of this sandwich, which actually spawned the idea for the business when Danhi entered it in LA’s 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, is pure genius, not to mention the brilliance behind his grilled cheese cookery on wheels. The menu had an extensive list of different grilled cheese sandwiches, ranging from $3 for a standard sandwich with American cheese to $7.75 for the Brie Melt with smoked turkey. I almost ordered the Brie Melt, which comes with doubled-cream brie, sliced pears, honey and smoked turkey, but changed my mind at the last minute. I’m very glad I did; though I don’t doubt the other one would have been very delicious. I’d like to track the truck down and try some others. But that will have to be a whole different blog series.
The “restaurant”: The Grilled Cheese Truck, Los Angeles
The “plate”: Cheesy Mac and Rib sandwich, $7.50 ($5.50 minus the meat)
The ingredients: Macaroni and cheese, sharp cheddar, Texas toast, BBQ pulled pork, caramelized onions
The verdict: An utterly amazing mac ‘n’ cheese masterpiece that you can eat with your hands!