Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Probably the best cheese I've been introduced to recently is Quark. Weird sounding name (blame the Germans) but it tastes incredible. It looks kind of like ricotta cheese and shares a similar flavor. Very mild, slightly sweet, and kind of reminds me of a mix between whipped cream and ricotta. Try it on a mild cracker with fresh raspberries and blueberries for the best taste. Or try dipping a strawberry right into it. You can pick Quark up at Venissimo Cheese (one of my favorite places on the planet - more on that later) or other specialty markets. Since it's best known in Europe and Australia, you can't find it in most supermarkets. But trust me, this one's worth searching for.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
If you find yourself in the LA area, be sure to make a visit to http://www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com/. Every day, The Grilled Cheese Truck is in a different location, so you have to follow their Tweets to see where they'll be next. The simple grilled cheese is amazing, but I think next time I'll try the Harvest Melt, which has roasted butternut squash with sauteed leeks, balsamic and agave syrups. They even have a dessert grilled cheese with roasted banana puree, Nutella and marshmallow. I'm really hungry and my mouth is watering just thinking about this! Too bad I'm in San Diego right now. Maybe my boss wouldn't notice if I popped up to LA for a "meeting".
Probably the most interesting cheese-related product I've run into is IncrEdibles. It's the same concept as an ice cream push up, but with mac and cheese inside. Sounds pretty gross. I saw them years ago at a cross country meet. They were pushing the product as a way to eat on the go, like before or after a meet, for your kids in the car, a quick time-saving dinner, etc. I actually missed the beginning of the race because I wanted an IncrEdibles t-shirt. Got the t-shirt, sucked in the race. But after, I got myself a mac and cheese push up. It wasn't bad. Kind of hard to get over the concept of eating mac and cheese out of a push pop, but not terrible tasting. They have scrambled egg ones too. Here's a pretty funny article that came out around the same time that IncrEdibles hit the market. I wasn't able to find anywhere that actually sells them now, or if Breakaway Foods (the company responsible for this oddity) is still in business, but trust me, you aren't missing much.
There's a lot of really cool cheese-related stuff around town. Like at Stone Brewing Co, who will be having a Beer & Cheese pairing event on Tuesday, October 19. I've never been to one of their pairing events, but they do a bunch of them - beer & chocolate, beer & organic foods, beer university for women...great events from a great brewery. If you've ever been there, you know the people at Stone truly love what they do. And they're a little...off. They put a lot of effort into the beer and the menu. This particular pairing is beer with French and Belgian cheeses, which I'm sure will be amazing. Tickets are only $39 here. Maybe I'll see you there!
Cheese and I go way back. I've always loved cheese, probably more than a normal person should. There's a reason this is called "Cheese Baby", and that story is one of the first ones I tell people when they meet me. So here it is. I was 14 years old, and at that stage where you can stuff your face all day and not gain an ounce. My mom used to get me whatever food I wanted. She would buy the frozen mozzarella sticks that I absolutely LOVED. A stick of cheese battered and fried in grease...what's not to love?! I had them for dinner one Thursday night, went to school the next day and ate them again at lunch. That night was the high school football game and I went out to eat at Denny's after the game. If you've ever gotten their sampler platter you know how awesome it is. And you also know that it includes mozzarella sticks. Like I said, I love cheese.
Anyway, the next day I woke up and felt like I was dying. I couldn't even stand up, I just laid on the floor and cried. My parents scooped me up and ran me to the emergency room. I was screaming in pain. After talking with my parents, the doctors figured out that I probably had something wrong with my stomach or intestines.
They gave me a sonogram like I was pregnant, and discovered that there was a ball of cheese stuck in my stomach. CHEESE. It was HUGE. I got to see it on the screen, like it was my little cheese baby. It was completely disgusting. And too big to fit into my intestines. That's what you get for eating 22 cheese sticks in a 24 hour period of time. They pumped me full of morphine and had me hang out in the hospital all weekend while they figured out how to get rid of it. Morphine is an amazing drug, to which I am forever grateful. I got to spend two days mumbling "more drugs" and "cheese baby" to anyone who would listen. I can't even finish the story, I think I've blocked the rest out of my subconscious, because I have no idea how they got the cheese out and I've never wanted to ask.
So that's my cheese baby story. My love of cheese has only grown from there. Although I've never been able to eat a fried mozzarella stick again.