Saturday: Grilled Cheese Invitational at Dolores Park
February 21, 2009
The 2nd annual Northern California regional championship of the Grilled Cheese Invitational was held outdoors for the first time, the smells of sizzling sandwiches wafting out across Dolores Park. Anyone could enter and make a sandwich that fit into the categories of Missionary Position (traditional grilled cheese), the Honey Pot (sweet/dessert sandwich) or Kama Sutra (anything goes). Some people truly took the sexual theme to heart: A crew plated their "Ménage à Fromage" (croissant, balsamic, strawberries, almonds, ricotta, honeycomb) with a Magnum condom on the side, declaring, "They're so hot, they make you wanna fuck after you eat them!"
The anticipation for the event was heavy, and all 500 tasting wristbands (available for a $2 donation) were gone just five minutes after they became available, an hour before the start time. Because there were so many people waiting and observing, it wasn't enough to have a wristband in order to acquire and then judge a sandwich based on presentation, taste, "Wessonality" (aka style) and "spaz" (weird factor). You still had to stand out to a server in some way, whether screaming your head off, flashing your chest or standing out in a banana suit. But that became part of the fun and the spectacle, especially since it was hard for most people to see too much of the cooking process from behind the yellow tables.
Personal bias: I didn't get the opportunity to actually taste a sandwich.
Random detail: Although it threatened to rain, it luckily stayed dry for the duration.
By the way: The next Grilled Cheese Invitational takes place on March 14 in Austin.