Saturday, April 12, 2014

'Hood #32: Westlake for the Grilled Cheese Invitational

Kraft slices chaps & string cheese bullets
Today was all about cheese & bread at the Grilled Cheese Invitational, a quirky festival held in Westlake (just west of downtown LA) that includes cheese calling, a costume contest, the Mayor of Cheese & just general goofiness.  The event actually started as a group of friends competing at a backyard bbq to see who had the best grilled cheese and grew to become a cheese lovers paradise.

I went two years ago as a contestant (I entered with a sandwich of goat cheese, provolone, basil, strawberries and pepper jelly on sourdough, but didn't win). This year, I bought a judging ticket, which was a much more relaxing (and fattening!) way to enjoy the day.

It's sort of luck of the draw which sammiches you get to rate as a non-professional judge—luckily my friend MJ had a gift for charming the servers into giving us the ones that looked really good.

Our favorites:
The Crust Lord with nut bread, some amazing cheese, caramelized shallots & lemon

Banana split cheddar grilled cheese, fresh whipped cream with maple sauce

Yeah, people get creative with names - this one had a mild cheese & pesto ... my 2nd  fave behind Crust Lord
I also liked some gooey cheesy mess called the Famous Queso Dip Grilled Cheese that involved pepper jack cheese, Velveeta-Rotel Dip Cheese Slabs and Dijon-Mayo Butter on crusty bread—seemed like it would rule at a Superbowl party.

The dud:  (sorry): something involving (we think) apple butter and ricotta.

The only other time I went to this festival was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and it was hot & felt like a suburban event - with this being so close to downtown LA, it felt far more funky. Super nice crowd.  Small town even though we were in a big city.

BTW, Westlake as a neighborhood is probably most famous for MacArthur Park, which is melting in the dark, all the sweet green icing flowing really, MacArthur Park is a real park which has a bit of a dodgy history, but according to what I read online, the neighborhood is in an upswing (as is much of downtown LA).

No comments:

Post a Comment