I've been looking forward to our little Portland trip for quite a while. No, this is not our first time in Portland; in fact, I've been here a good half-dozen times. The fact that Viv and I were going without the kiddies was the real reason for our enthusiasm. That meant more shopping and eating! You can't imagine how much more efficiently you can eat without the kids! We really made good time traveling south on I-5 and arrived in Portland around noon. We went straight to the Grilled Cheese Grill out on Alberta Ave.
Actually, I had all my meals planned out for the next 4 days. Hey, efficient eating requires advanced planning! With a little help from Portland's top food blogger, Elizabeth Fuss (Lizzy Dishes Portland), I lined up some real gems. The Grilled Cheese Grill (GCG) is definitely what you call a unique experience. It is essentially a trailer in an gravel parking lot with picnic tables and a school bus. Yes, there is a converted old school bus that doubles as a dining room. Adorned with some really funky designs on the ceiling, the school bus has both booth seating and bar seating. Novelty? Yes, but it works, what a cool place to eat! The menu itself is quite simple - merely different variations of grilled cheese. Definitely something that everyone can make at home; but for some reason, the grilled cheese here is pretty good.
I went for the simple Kindergartner which is essentially a 2-slice grilled cheese. I added a fried egg and ham. It was a really basic sandwich; yet made oh-so-yummy. Nestled in between 2 perfectly browned pieces of bread were 2 melted slices of gooey real cheddar cheese, a runny fried egg and slightly grilled slices of ham. Completely messy to eat - it was delicious! Viv opted for a gourmet grilled cheese - The Jersey which consisted of sauteed mushrooms, Swiss and turkey on rye. Being a bit less messy to eat than mine, the Jersey was crispier and had a really good mix of flavours. Viv remarked it was more like a melt than a grilled cheese. No matter what you call it, it was delicious.
So why such a simple food, which can easily be made at home, become so appealing at GCG? First, the ingredients are good, so that's a start. Second, the menu is focused, so they are experts at making one thing. Third, how can you not like the venue? It's in a freakin' school bus! That's just plain killer! Also, the GCG is open until 2am on weekends, so you can enjoy some grilled cheese late when you have the munchies or completely in a daze while inebriated.
- Really unique venue
- The grilled cheese is filled with goodies
- Who doesn't like grilled cheese?
- Not the best place when the weather gets nasty