Photos: The Grilled Cheese Invitational, L.A.'s Best Cheesy Event
Now in its 8th year, the Grilled Cheese Invitational last Saturday attracted thousands of people looking to munch on one of the world's favorite comfort foods. In previous years, attendees complained of the lines and large crowds, but the ever-changing festival made a huge step this year by moving its location to L.A. Center Studios and adding a grilled cheese food court. Did it work? It seemed so as less complaints were aired, which means Los Angeles' cheesiness can only get better from here on out.
While the Grilled Cheese Truck, Chef Eric Greenspan and The Oaks Gourmet took top honors in the food court, hundreds of grilled cheese zealots competed in three categories--missionary (your normal grilled cheese), kama sutra (a grilled cheese with other ingredients) and honeypot (dessert!)--hoping to win top honors.
One of the winners was 10-year-old Jake Feldman who won a few trophies. His most talked-about sandwich was The Jakester: Potato bread, Tilamook cheese, queso fresco, grilled portabello mushrooms, sauteed onions, tomato, butter, ground spicy cheetos, sauteed chorizo.
Because LAist was asked to judge, we found a place in our heart for Wassim Elkary's Canadian Maple Syrup Grilled: Bread, Muenster Cheese, Maple syrup cookies, Funions, Cheese pringles extreme hot ranch, Lychee juice, cinnamon. He said he invented it when he was drunk.
But not all grilled cheeses sounded so whacky (even if they tasted so good). Mike Romano's delicious My Creamy Classic was just that: bread and cheese in perfect proportions.
Some serious competitors traveled afar to compete. A pair of New Yorkers came out and represented their city with a grilled cheese made 100% from home-town ingredients. A pair from Berkeley did the same.
One theme found throughout the competition area was the choice of butter as many touted their use of farmers market butter, mainly from California or Vermont farmers (what about Wisconsin?!). Many others also use special techniques like using bricks or double grilling each side of the bread (it makes a big difference).
If anything, the Grilled Cheese Invitational is a living cookbook, full of passion, new ideas and amazing comfort food that makes Los Angeles sane, if only for just an afternoon.
The full list of winners can be seen here.