Grilled Cheese (n): A comforting, sometimes decadent creation where a simple cheese sandwich is heated until crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Pairs well with tomato soup.
|Gouda, Black Bean Hummus, Guava Jam, Pickled Jalapenos on Brioche with Green Salad and Jalapeno Vinaigrette $10|
Unless y'all are lactose intolerant or haters of melted cheese like my mother (still question my genetics from time to time), then you've probably had a grilled cheese sandwich at some point in your life. It probably used simple white bread (I'm thinking Sunbeam) and a slice or two of Kraft Singles American cheese (you know, the individually wrapped kind that's so orange it probably glows in the dark). Perhaps you dunked it in canned tomato soup. It may have been your favorite thing on Earth.
Well, I have a grilled cheese replacement for you. In fact, I have a cafe with incredible specialty coffee that serves gourmet grilled cheeses along with a rounded out all-vegetarian (trust me, you don't miss the meat!) menu of soups and salads, cheese plates, and even a unique take on macaroni and cheese (pssst, it's baked in a loaf pan, chilled, then sliced off to serve, griddled and baked until bubbly). Have I peaked your interest?
Last spring, a spot called The Queens Kickshaw opened in Astoria (Queens, NY). This is my 'hood, so suffice it to say, I've eaten a LOT of their food. In fact, I've tried 5 of the 8 amazing grilled cheeses on their menu, as well as the mac and cheese. And I keep coming back for more... All of their sandwiches are served on freshly baked bread from the famous Balthazar Bakery in Manhattan. Their cheeses are also top notch, and each additional component is made fresh. I've had the pleasure of sitting at the bar and watching the chef cooking up grilled cheese after grilled cheese. It's hypnotically delicious.
Some of my favorites include the Great Hill Blue which is served with prune jam and fresh pear on cranberry-walnut bread. It's paired with a green salad topped with pickled blueberries. This tangy and sweet combination gets some crunch from the walnuts. A truly perfect balance, the chef referred to it as one of his favorites as well.
|Great Hill Blue - Prune Jam and Fresh Pear on Cranberry-Walnut Bread with Green Salad and Pickled Blueberries $11|
Their award-winning Cheddar and Mozzarella is served on rich brioche with a cup of comforting tomato soup, made on the premises... not from a can. It elevates a typical pairing of grilled cheese and tomato soup to something truly special. My only compliant is that I want more of it...
Another favorite is their Gouda grilled cheese which blasts your palate with black bean hummus, guava jam, and pickled jalapenos, all piled on more of that perfect Balthazar brioche. It's a fan favorite, a very popular choice, and I can see why. It brings it all to the table and you just can't get enough.
Wherever you're from, if and when you come to New York City, don't forget about the other boroughs. We may not be able to bring you Times Square, the Empire State Building, and all those other tourist attractions (*cough* overrated *cough*), but when it comes to grilled cheese, Queens can bring it!
The Queens Kickshaw40-17 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11103