ABC's of Grilled Cheese

Who better to ask for the basics on how to make the best grilled cheese than Chef Eric Greenspan?

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The Bread.  You want your slices to brown evenly, so Eric says not too use the really good, artisanal stuff.  But not "shit bread," either.

The Cheese.  Place it on both sides!  Choose a nice melty Gruyere or Fontina.  I personally love good old classic American.  If you want that beautiful "cheese pull," use mozzarella or sharp cheddar.  Avoid fresh goat cheese, which is too crumbly/dry.  Also steer clear of hard, aged cheeses like Parmesan.  Although they'll add great flavor, they're not going to stretch the way you want them to.

The Stuffing.  Eric isn't against fillings.  Greenspan's Grilled Cheese has a whole lot of inspiration - everything from vegetables to spreads to meats.  I personally like to keep cheese as the star (no meat) and bypass things that are too rich, like mayonnaise or avocado.

The Butter.   For years, I've been impatiently spreading butter on the bread before grilling, which causes the slices to break.  Eric shows me you can just throw it into a hot pan to grease it, place the bread/cheese on top, then immediately turn the heat to cook low and slow.

The Pan.  Use a nonstick skillet and cover it up to help melt the cheese.  You can also add some water around the sandwich to make the middle cook faster, as demonstrated by Eric in the video!


Big G's Deli in Winslow, Maine

Most things I thought were amazing as a kid haven't really held up as an adult.  I'm constantly buying my nieces/nephews toys that I loved growing up, and feel like I'm always disappointed (even though they're not).  Commercials I thought were brilliant - I'll search for them on YouTube and realize I was an idiot.  But this breakfast sandwich.…I mean, I guess I wasn't a small child when I first became obsessed with it.  It was almost 20 years ago that I first sunk my teeth into the bread at Big G's Deli in Maine and fell in love.  During our recent trip there I brought Abe, and we couldn't stop talking about this food, even days later.

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First, there's the potato cake perfection - perfectly golden and seasoned.  Not too oily or greasy. They bring ordinary ketchup to another level.  And the breakfast sandwich is just grilled bread with eggs - no cheese or meat.  I'm sure the addition of both would've sent me into the stratosphere but we were going to be sitting in a car/plane for 9-10 hours; I made the executive decision to show some restraint.


The Danforth Inn - Portland, ME

Our stay is hosted by The Danforth Inn.

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Good morning from Maine!  We just spent the night at The Danforth Inn - a luxury boutique inn that's been around since 1823 and seen a lot of action.

We were greeted by the sweetest staff, and showered with chocolates...

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...plus a delicious meat/cheese plate.  I ate most of it in this bed (in a plush robe of course) which felt as luxurious as it sounds.

In love with these pillows.  (If you're following my vlogs on my YouTube Channel, you know I've got a pillow obsession lately.)

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We're staying in the Eastern Promenade Room - there are some lovely common areas.

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A second floor sitting room - another one on the third.

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At the tippy top there is a roof-top Cupola...

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It's hard not to take a million photos up there.

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My cousin Hannah has actually eaten at their restaurant Tempo Dulu before - she said it was one of the best meals of her life.

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I really wanted to experience some lobster in my sweatpants by the water (and I did) so we skipped their exquisite tasting menu...

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...but I got to experience breakfast and mocktails for breakfast this morning.

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Our stay at The Danforth Inn was complimentary, but this is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own - and guys, I have a seriously high opinion of this place.

Day Trip to Santa Barbara

One of the things I love the most about living in Los Angeles?  Quick weekend getaways.  One of the things I hate the most?  The traffic driving there/back.  I'm really not one who likes to stay out late, so I wake up daily - even on Saturday/Sunday - around 6:30 to 7am.  And THAT is the perfect time to make a day trip to Santa Barbara.

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Park easily at the Four Seasons Hotel (above) and take the most glorious bathroom break.  Heck, snack on one of their free apples in the lobby.  Then walk along the beautiful beach...

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...amongst the ridonculous homes.

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Drive to the Santa Barbara Public Market... ...where you can do everything from shop for produce at Forager's Pantry...

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...to organic meat at Belcampo...

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...and Crazy Good Bread.

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We arrived at Julia Child's favorite Mexican Restaurant, La Super-Rica Taqueria, just as it was opening. Lines can get longer later in the day; we didn't have to wait too long for our food.

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Pork Taco...

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...Perfect Guacamole...

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...and a heavenly Cheese Quesadilla....

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...all on freshly-made, soft corn tortillas.

After we were done, we walked up/down State Street, and headed back home with very little traffic - just enough time to catch the tail end of the Larchmont Farmer's Market, take a nap, see a matinee at The Arclight, and read the paper.  Such a perfect Sunday.