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Ode to a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I vaguely remember the first time I had a grilled cheese sandwich.  I was in high school and being introduced to all sorts of foods not present in my Filipino household.  My mom has THE cooking skillz.  That's right-she deserves the 'z'.  While sinigang and pinakbet were definite staples, she could also throw down a mean bolognese or an inspiring butternut squash soup with ease.  She always collected recipes, eager to try out new dishes, but even so, there were certain foods that never made it to our kitchen.

During high school, it was lunch time and after school hangouts with friends that led to the discovery of new foods.  Chili was one, reminiscent of spaghetti sauce, it was somewhat familiar. Packaged, processed, microwavable frozen foods like chimichangas and burritos were also new to me.  They were found in a friend's basement freezer and bought in bulk from the then named "club price."  But it was the grilled cheese sandwich, in its most humble form of nutritionally void sliced white bread and plastic singles cheese, fried up, and served with a squirt of ketchup, that remains a very fond food memory.

My, my, grilled cheese, how you've come a long way...

This tasty treat came from the recently revamped Arts Café.  Between the crusty bread (from Boulangerie Guillaume!) lived some cheddar, onion chutney and apple.  I ate it all.  My lunch date had the other grilled cheese on the menu, which had smoked cheese, pickled beets, walnut pesto. Yum!
For the lactose intolerant/vegan peeps out there: rice cheese is your friend and drizzle it with that Redstar nutritional yeast for extra goodness.

I leave you with an Instagram shot of a detail of the restaurant's decor.