Hello, my friends! Did you miss me? Apologies for the impromptu hiatus, but I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately, a bad habit which zaps all of my brain power and leaves precious little leftover for writing.
On the plus side, I’ve been doing QUITE A BIT of cooking and eating, so I have a backlog of topics to write about! Huzzah! I also have two dear friends who are PROMISING me some guest posts – let us hope they get the chance to write these because both topics are pretty exciting. I’ll say no more for the moment.
Among the many wonderful things I’ve eaten since February, one sticks out in my mind as worth talking about here despite the fact that on its surface it is one of the LEAST adventurous foods you can imagine. On the face of it this food is simple, cheap, and made up of ingredients that everyone reading has eaten at least once, and I’d even go out on a limb and say that at least 98% of you enjoy, if not downright love, the results.
As you probably guessed from the title, we’re talking GRILLED CHEESE. The very icon of homey plainness, am I right?
But you see, this is no ordinary grilled cheese. This is a grilled cheese from Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, the latest addition to Boston’s sudden upwelling of food trucks. For years, Boston was a roach-coach wasteland, with only a few stalwart’s like Speed’s and Sami’s flying the banner of quick food from a truck. In the past year or two, however, perhaps in response to the less than stellar economy, these suckers are popping up everywhere, with a bit of a twist. Rather than the straightforward hot dog trucks of New York and other major metropolises, Boston’s food trucks seem to be focused on taking one food or concept and trying to elevate it at the same time that they’re offering it on the side of road, wrapped in paper. I’ve written about Clover, of course, with its vegetarian focus, and in recent months we’ve gained a cupcake truck and one specializing in banh mi. So grilled cheese, why the heck not? In many ways it’s the perfect food to grab from a truck – minimal ingredients, minimal equipment, and it can be eaten while walking!
In addition, Roxy’s has chosen the perfect location to sell their sandwiches – Cleveland Circle, right in the heart of Boston College country. They’ve got perfect late-night post drinking fare, and they’re positioned to take advantage of that fact. They’re also positioned perfectly near my sister Kelly’s apartment, so I made plans to visit Roxy’s with her – TWO good reasons to go to a part of the city I never get to (though I did live there, once upon a time). We were joined by office-mate, fellow-Marathoner, and food-adventurer Jess, who lives not much farther away than Kelly.
SO HOW WERE THE SANDWICHES, you ask? Well, there are a few more things I think you need to know about Roxy’s approach to grilled-cheesecraft before I answer that.
Point 1: They use mayonnaise, not butter, to coat the outside of the bread before grilling.
Point 2: At the time we visited, there were three-four kinds of sandwiches to try, but we selected only two.
Point 3: Roxy’s griddles other things, like cheesecake. We forewent this in favor of frozen yogurt/ice cream from
Mix Chill, so I can’t tell you how that is.
Point 4: They also fry a few things, including onion rings and pickles, and I can and I WILL tell you about those!
ON TO THE SANDWICHES!
Jess and I elected the “Rookie” – Monterey Jack cheese and tomato with whole-grain mustard. All sandwiches are on Iggy’s white bread. We also both ordered fried pickles.
Kelly ordered the Green Muenster (ho ho) – Muenster cheese (duh), with guacamole (the green) and bacon (got nothin’.) She got a side of onion rings, which the gentlemen serving us mentioned were an experiment.
The verdict: The Rookie was great, though it will be even better with some decent tomatoes when summer hits. Jack isn’t the most exciting cheese in the world, but the mustard added much-needed zip. The mayo coating makes for a very good, less greasy crust than butter, though I’ll admit to missing the salt that it adds. (YES, I USE SALTED BUTTER ON MY GRILLED CHEESE. WHAT OF IT?)
The Green Muenster was tasty, but we all agreed we wanted more from it. Muenster is ALSO not a particularly tangy cheese, and the guacamole wasn’t tangy enough to make up for it. We all agreed that an addition of salsa, or even more onions in the guac, would be welcome.
The fried items, on the other hand, were like ambrosia, especially the pickles. Roxy’s uses Grillo’s Pickles, cut into coins, then battered and fried into the most amazing crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside salty and vinegary treasures I can imagine. There’s also a special sauce that is tasty but unnecessary to the greatness of these beauties. I would like to get Roxy’s batter recipe, and then stay at home for the rest of my life, frying things.
The onions had the same knock-out coating, which held up to our walk home. I believe it’s a beer-batter, with Guinness as the beer, and I fully intend to retro-engineer it at my earliest convenience. Seriously, it’s like tempura and beer-batter had a baby – light, yet flavorful. Dang.
Ultimately, though the sandwiches were good, it’s those pickles that will bring me back to Roxy’s. At least until I discover their secrets for myself!