Friday, June 15, 2018

Best Bets: Grilled Cheese

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 2:54 PM

Grilled cheese at the Rendezvous - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Grilled cheese at the Rendezvous
Grilled pimento cheese at Lisa's Lunchbox - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Grilled pimento cheese at Lisa's Lunchbox
Grilled cheese at Cafe Keough, - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Grilled cheese at Cafe Keough,

I never thought I’d visit the Rendezvous and pass up the ribs, shoulder, brisket, and chicken for - a grilled cheese sandwich. But that was what I was in the mood for.

I know of three great grilled cheese sandwiches downtown near my office at Union and Front. They’re all different. And they’re all under $10.

The Rendezvous offering comes with your choice of bread. I chose Texas toast. And it arrives with brown grill marks on the buttery-yellow bread.

It’s actually a children’s item, said Tina Jennings, one of the owners. “Plus Michael Donahue,” she says.

It’s on the children’s menu, which was devised a year and a half ago, Jennings says. “My nieces - Anna and Katherine - felt like we needed a children’s menu. We were trying to come up with different items. We do the chips with nacho cheese, chopped chicken plate, shoulder plate. We decided to do grilled cheese.”

Originally, it was two buns with cheese. Then they decided to add butter. And use Texas toast. “It sort of evolved.”

They use cheddar cheese. “We use the cheese we put on the cheese plate.”

A cheese sandwich isn’t something people want when they come to the Rendezvous, Jennings says.

That doesn’t mean adults can’t eat grilled cheese at Rendezvous. “We have a cheese sandwich on the menu,” says owner John Vergos. “And if you want it grilled, just ask your servers. We’ll be happy to do it.”

Vergos says they began experimenting with the sandwich after I came in and ordered one. “We added more butter and experimented with putting a dash of seasoning on it.”

Adults can get Texas toast if they want their cheese sandwich grilled. “We’re also looking at ciabatta bread, too,” Vergos says.

I ordered the grilled pimento cheese sandwich at Lisa’s Lunchbox. This time, I ordered the sandwich on rye bread. The grill marks still are visible on the rye bread. This sandwich, which is pleasingly spicy, is enough for two lunches. This is a lot of cheese.

"It's one of my mom's favorite things," says owner Lisa Getske. "When I opened up Lisa's Lunchbox, I loved spicy pimento cheese. She always likes her's grilled. So, I guess that's how it happened."

People like the cheese on other sandwiches, she says. "They like adding it on BLT or ham and turkey sandwiches."

Getske's grilled pimento cheese sandwich is contagious. "Yours looked so good I had one after you left. I did mine on wheat."

Cafe Keough’s grilled cheese sandwich comes in cheddar, fontina, and Swiss. The bread is a baguette from La Baguette. You also get a lot of cheese on this sandwich. And it comes with soup.

All three were fabulous. And the temperature was in the 90s the day I ordered these.

Lisa's Lunchbox Opening New Location

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 11:24 AM

Lisa Getske, owner of Lisa's Lunchbox. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Lisa Getske, owner of Lisa's Lunchbox.

A fourth location of Lisa’s Lunchbox is slated to open in early July at 6070 Poplar in Triad Centre III at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway.

In addition to signature salads, wraps, paninis, and smoothies, owner Lisa Getske is expanding the breakfast menu to include homemade quiches, sausage rolls, and breakfast sandwiches.

In 2006, Getske left a corporate franchise and launched her own brand in the Ridgeway Loop business district. Lisa’s Lunchbox restaurants are located at 5885 Ridgeway Centre Parkway, 2650 Thousand Oaks Blvd., and 116 South Front Street.

For now, no Lisa’s “Dinner Pails” are on the horizon.

“We’re just strictly breakfast and lunch,” Getske said.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Salt/Soy to Debut Downtown

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 3:03 PM

Nick Scott, second from left, was among the participating chefs at the June 8 Le Bon Apetit fundraiser. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Nick Scott, second from left, was among the participating chefs at the June 8 Le Bon Apetit fundraiser.

Nick Scott and sushi will reunite when Salt/Soy debuts June 29th at 409 South Main food court for a pop-up dinner.

Scott, a former executive chef and, later, general manager at Bluefin, is chef/owner of Salt/Soy, which will open as a restaurant in mid-July.

He came up with the concept about a year ago. “It’ll be a sushi/raw bar,” he said. “We’re going to do dinner for the pop-up, but going into the place, we are going to do lunch and dinner.” It's set to open in mid-July.

Asked why he decided to return to Japanese cuisine after so many years, Scott said, “I’m spoiled rotten and I’m used to eating great sushi. Selfishly, I wanted to do it. But I feel there’s a void there.

“We’ll offer not a crazy expensive sushi bar, but very quality-driven. We’ll also do ceviche and raw bar stuff and small plates and omakase (Japanese tasting menu).”

Scott still will wear his other hats. “I’m still chef/owner at Interim. I’ll still be there. I’m basically going to trade out the beginning of the week. And plan on doing omakase dinners down there (Salt/Soy), monthly wine dinners at Interim and monthly butcher dinners at Alchemy.

“I’m bouncing around, but I’m going to be cooking everywhere.”

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