Grilled Cheese Grill

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.

The Good:
- Really unique venue
- The grilled cheese is filled with goodies
- Who doesn't like grilled cheese?

The Bad:
- Not the best place when the weather gets nasty

Grilled Cheese Grill on Urbanspoon

11 comments:

holly said...

Oh my, those grilled cheese look delicious enough to kill for. Just watched an episode of Unwrapped yesterday about grilled cheese sandwiches and now this!

I really want one badly. Please bring one back. Just kidding.

Can't wait to see what your other food adventures will include. Are you in time to catch the Portland Food Festival? I have wanted to go to this for years. If so, it's held on the same weekend as the Elephant Garlic Festival just outside of Portland.

Sherman said...

Hi Holly, I'm back in town now, but I was there over the weekend and did take a look-see at the food festival along the waterfront. However, I was too full of grilled cheese, Voodoo Doughnuts and Mocha from Stumptown. LOL...

holly said...

Ok, you know you're killing me.

You were there at the right time, but you were too busy pigging out to catch a food festival?

That's just blasphemy in my books.

Sherman said...

Holly, I have to agree with you on that one. I was soooo full, I couldn't eat anymore. There were a lot of diverse food stalls too. Heavy on the Latin food since there is a big Latin presence in Portland. What a shame! I was there and I didn't try a thing! But... at least I tried some good restaurants while I was there. Keep an eye on the upcoming posts!

shokutsu said...

What a unique concept! I've heard so many good things about the vibrant and diverse street food scene in Portland, hope you have more to report on.

Sherman said...

Hi Shokutsu! I visited quite a few places while in Portland, but unfortunately I missed the food carts. They were featured on the Amazing Race 13 and there are so many different ethnic foods to choose from. I vow to visit them next time!

Danny said...

Whoa! I totally missed out on these restaurants. Have to make a list for my next trip to Portland.

Kevin said...

Why do we not have this here in Vancouver? Open till 2am, this would be best if you were drunk or realllly wanted some late night munchies.

Vancouver is so primitive in the food offerings, street food, food carts, late night, etc.... makes me sad.

drea said...

Oh wow, that looks so good. I love grilled cheese sandwiches and I will probably eat them until my face melts off. Looks like Portland is a lot of fun, will have to go check it out!

Sherman said...

Danny, yah there are so many that I missed too! I need to head back sooner than later.

Kevin, I hear ya. Vancouver has so few cool dining options for late night. Wouldn't it be awesome if Japadog opened until 2am? Or maybe Kintaro?

Drea, until your face melts? Wow, that's hardcore for grilled cheese... LOL...

Follow Me Foodie said...

I love grilled cheese with egg and ketchup. I would have totally put the egg on their too.

I like how you answered the questions I wanted to ask... what makes it so special? Good ingredients and ambiance... got it!... as long as it wasn't too expensive because I'd feel like it was a novelty otherwise.