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The Great Food Search: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

IN THE September 28 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andThe Great Food Search
SECTIONS

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!

Among the comfort foods, there is one that is truly a comfort—the Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

At its simplest, you put a slice of cheese between two pieces of bread, and…Flame On! If you want elaborate…Have I got a Food Search for you! I went to Sanger, Fresno, and Clovis to find GCSes for every craving.

Benaddiction (Food truck, location varies)— www.benaddictiontruck.com
Call or text 559-269-1968
Fat Bottom Grilled Cheese—$6

FatBottom: Those are hunks of bacon in Benaddiction's Fat Bottom Grille Cheese sandwich.

I found this bad boy of the GCS family at the CArtHop event on Eaton Plaza, across from the Central Library in Fresno, where they bring some major rolling eats for lunch on Fridays. Slam some Gruyere, Gouda, Jarlsberg, fresh Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Cheddar onto cheese-crusted sourdough, and let your taste buds start singing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” On top of that, there’s a list of $1 extras: Bacon, Ham, Egg, Avocado, and Tomatoes. I had chunks of bacon that had no idea what “strips” look like. The blend of cheeses is really rich, and the crisp coating on the bread crackles with every bite.

BenAddiction: Follow this food wagon --Please! You'll thank me.

Denny’s—536 Academy Ave., Sanger, 876-2106
Fried Cheese Melt—$4

Denny's Fried Cheese Melt

This isn’t on the menu anymore, but it’s still on the computers, so you can ask for it. It starts out as a garden variety GCS with cheddar and swiss, but they throw a trio of mozzarella Sticks in between the cheeses, and serve it up with marinara sauce on the side. Munching your way through the breading on the cheese sticks and dipping into the sauce makes you forget you’re in a Denny’s; you are transported to some Italian bistro in New Jersey (I didn’t get all the way to Italy, but the mental trip was pretty cool). Here’s my plan: everybody goes into Denny’s and orders the Fried Cheese Melt; they’ll be so overwhelmed that they’ll have to put it back on the menu (probably at a higher price).

Foster’s Freeze—630 Academy Avenue, Sanger, 559-875-8130
Grilled Cheese Texas Toast—$2.99
Ham ‘n’ Cheese Texas Toast—$3.99

That's Texas Toast on that Grilled Cheese from Foster's.

This is what started this quest. I heard about the Grilled Cheese Texas Toast, and I was talked into giving it a try. Two thick slabs of bread hiding slices of Cheddar and Swiss, gently toasted. It was nice and creamy, and quite a bargain.

The Ham ‘n’ Cheese version is worth the extra dollar.

Grilled Chz—1345 N. Willow Ave. #110, Clovis, 559-797-8715
www.grilledchz.com
Sloppy Chz—$3.99
Grilled Apple Chz—$5.79
Double Cream Brie Delight—$6.59
Combo (Sandwich + soft drink + soup, Mac n’ Chz, or Fries—add $3

That's Real Cheese in Grilled Chz's Mac 'n'Chz.

Sometimes, the alphabet is your friend, putting this place at the end of the list. My eating team converged on the Clovis shop of Grilled Chz (Yes, that’s how they spell it), and I do believe that this place should be attacked in groups. Imagine a sandwich place devoted to the GCS. The variety is astounding, the choices (6 cheeses, 6 breads, 7 flavored butters, and 26 add-ins…plus, you can put the cheese on the outside) are brain-freezing, and first-time customers should try one of the Suggestions. That’s what the three of us did.
The Sloppy Chz features American Chz, Sloppy Joes, and Crispy Potato Sticks on White Bread. It’s like a cleaner, less-mobile Sloppy Joe, meaty with a crunch of potato.

The Grilled Apple Chz starts with Havarti, adding Grilled Apples, Bacon, Mayo, and Dijon Mustard on Whole Wheat. It’s mild, with a zing from the apple and mustard. You can’t tell there’s bacon in it until the first big bite—Then, you know it’s there.

The Double Cream Brie Delight combines Brie, Fig Paste, and Almonds with Smoked Turkey or Bacon on White Bread. Ooh, so creamy and smooth, plus the apples and turkey (I wasn’t ready for their bacon).

The combo options were interesting. The Tomato soup had a deep, tomato-ey flavor, was hot, and was great for dipping the sandwich. The Mac n’ Chz—it’s real cheese, man, and don’t you forget it! The fries are Plain Jane fries, but the size is of note; you might be tempted to start an impromptu game of Jenga with these things.
(By the way, there’s another Grilled Chz location at 2088 W. Shaw Ave. # 103 in Fresno.)

You should smell the tomato soup, perfect for dipping a sandwich at Grilled Chz.

I’ll admit that Grilled Chz is my favorite, but if I see the Benaddiction truck, I’m likely to stop. Foster’s is good for grab-and-go, and a late-night craving could send me to the nearest Denny’s.

It’s all good, people.

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife, his daughter, and a spinster cat.

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