A Short List of the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from This Year

Grilled cheese and short rib sandwiches with pickled caramelized onions and arugula (photo from Bon Appetit)

If you were once a poor college student (like me) studying abroad in Russia and you didn’t know how to cook yet, dinner becomes the sorriest meal of the day. Monday is plain bread. Tuesday is toasted bread with raspberry jam and butter or nutella. Wednesday through Friday: more bread. Saturday, you get creative and add a slice of cheese. Sunday, though, is when you really get fancy and treat yourself to the holy grail of homemade dinners on that sad thing you call a stove. You make a grilled cheese sandwich.

Because grilled cheese sandwiches helped me survive cold White Nights, drunk Russians pounding on my door, and the lack of a working heater, I have a special place in my heart for this simple sandwich. In honor of National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, I thought I’d take you through a photo tour of the top three grilled cheese sandwiches I either consumed, ogled, or dreamed about in the past year.

Jump if you eat cheese.

Fried grilled cheese from the Texas State Fair (photo by Carol Shih)

1. The fried grilled cheese sandwich from the Texas State Fair - I’m a late bloomer. For the first time in my life, I tried a fried grilled cheese at the 2011 State Fair, and the entire thing made my heart go ba-dum ba-dum. The bread was fried in a crispy, but not-too-crunchy manner, encasing sun-colored cheese that melts onto your tongue. Best of all, it was served with a little side of watery tomato soup that made it all go down easy. A little bit too easy.

Grilled cheese sandwich with avocado, mozz, and spinach (photo by Carol Shih)

2. Fried Avocado and Mozz Sandwich – I started a sandwich blog in late November that I’m too ashamed to link here. I attempted, for 100 days straight, to make a different sandwich each day and take photographic evidence. Some of them turned out so terrible, I wouldn’t even dare offer my pitiful creations to a starving person in Sierra Leone. Others, like this one, I’d make again. This grilled cheese with avocado, spinach, and mozz was inspired by my State Fair experience and took a little over five minutes to fry. I set my skillet on high, poured down the veggie oil, and got right to work. Four bites was about all I could take before my arteries begged me to stop, please stop. I done fried that baby good.

Grilled Cheesus (by Rob Corso and Meg Sheehan)

3. Grilled Cheesus – I haven’t actually consumed this sandwich yet, but ever since I watched that episode of Glee where Finn has a glory-hallelujah moment and sees Jesus on his grilled cheese sandwich, I haven’t been able to stop daydreaming about eating Jesus’ face on top of my bread. Is this considered blasphemous? A sin? Well, whatever. I finally Googled “Grilled Cheesus” and found an entrepreneurial couple from Brooklyn who decided to actually make a machine that allows my dreams to come true. I’m…amazed.

If you’re also in the mood to celebrate, here are 40 grilled cheese sandwich recipes for you to try at home.

4 comments on “A Short List of the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from This Year

  1. Carol

    I am enjoying your work here. You should link your blog.

    Have you tried Ruthie’s Grilled Cheese sandwiches? If not, look at your food truck map and eat one or two. Extremely tasty.

  2. These pictures and descriptions whetted my grilled cheese sandwich appetite! Too bad I have neither sliced bread nor cheese to satisfy this craving…I will be on the watch-out for grilled cheese sandwiches for at least the next 24 hours.

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