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.


Mom Eats Fried Hot Dogs for the 1st Time

I'd say the highlight of the weekend in Bergen County, New Jersey is our last dinner, at Hiram's (as seen on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations).  We try Fried Hot Dogs for the very first time!

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This place is no fuss...

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...just yummy, fried food...

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...including hot dogs.  It gives the meat that extra snap.

This whole post sounds like a BuzzFeed title doesn't it?  In honor of all the peeps who recognize me while I was in NJ from my BuzzFeed Food Videos - exciting/fun but a little weird!

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I am Snapchatting (@mslynnchen) most of my trip home to NJ.  But most of that is gone now.

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My Mom lives in a different area of NJ than I grew up in, so we're still learning about good places to eat.  I am digging the pizza we order from Fort Lee Pizzeria and this dinner from It's Greek to Me...

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...where my Mom ate her first Pita Sandwich.  She doesn't like feta, so she's not the biggest fan of Greek Food.

Any other Fort Lee Foods I should try next time I'm in town?

Friendly's (Tenafly, NJ)

Back before the suburbs were littered with Starbucks, there was really only one place for teenagers in my town (Cresskill, NJ) to hang out after school - Friendly's in Tenafly.  Technically, it is only one town over - but close enough. Last night I met up with some friends from high school at our old haunt; I really wanted to go there because the chain doesn't exist on the west coast.

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It's pretty much the same, with some updates in the upholstery and carpeting.  When I was a teen I could only never afford an actual dinner unless I came with my family, and that was always so traumatizing, I'd try to order the quickest thing so I wouldn't be seen with my parents.  The horror! Not that it helped, Friendly's always has the SLOWEST service.

Things moved pretty quickly last night - and I could finally buy myself a full meal!

This is their patty melt, which comes with grilled onions and swiss.  I asked for no cheese but it came anyways.  That's Friendly's for ya.  I subbed the meat for a Boca Burger.

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The fries aren't very crispy or well-seasoned but that's nothing some salt and two big globs of ketchup couldn't fix.

Friendly's really isn't about the food, though.  It's all about the dessert! So many nostalgic options, from Fribbles to their infamous Happy Ending sundaes (I believe this signature sundae was named before the X-rated massage term was coined).  I didn't see any Watermelon Rolls (their popular sherbert cake) in the freezer case - just this Lemonade one, which didn't exist back in the day.

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Feeling ultra nostalgic, I order the Cone Head off the kiddie menu.  Two scoops of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, a hot fudge-dipped sugar cone, whipped cream "hair," and Reese's Pieces candy eyes/nose.

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I love catching up with my buddies from high school.  My friend Guy Olivieri has written a book too, So You Wanna Be a New York Actor?  I remember when we used to be in The Pajama Game together!

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