• So for my third birthday post I’d like to talk about me. You know scratch that. I talk about me all the time. Let’s talk about grilled cheese sandwiches.



    I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I make them a little bit different than the American cheese and wonder bread route.


    You will need the following:

    2 slices 1″ thick brioche bread (buy a loaf and hand slice)


    grated smoked gouda (for smokiness)

    sliced havarti (for creaminess)

    grated aged cheddar (for tangyness)

    diced serrano chili (for spicyness, optional)

    grated parmesan cheese

    Coat a heated frying pan with butter and lightly brown one side of both pieces of brioche.

    Reduce heat to low-med and place both slices of bread in the pan uncooked side down with enough butter to coat the slices.

    Sprinkle enough grated gouda to cover one slice and enough aged cheddar to cover the other.

    Add diced serrano to either side (or both if you like it spicy)

    Lay the sliced havarti on top of one side and place a lid over your pan.

    Slow and steady is the name of this portion of  the recipe. Wait patiently for the cheese to melt checking occasionally. If the bread is browning lower the heat.

    When the cheese is almost melted marry the slices and sprinkle parmesan on one side. Place the parmesan side down and let that side brown. Repeat for the second side.

    Remove the now completed sandwich and cut it in half diagonally (it hast to be diagonally otherwise it won’t taste right.)

    If the cheese isn’t oozing when you make the cut you can oven cook it until it does. Do not put it back in the pan because it’s browned to perfection at this point.


    This reminds me of a book I read many years ago in which a grilled cheese sandwich (self toasting), abandoned by it’s owner, heats itself to the point of dripping cheese. The cheese drips onto a supercomputer that is responsible for the manufacture of Artificial Intelligence chips for the majority of robots in the known universe. The supercomputer malfunctions and starts to question life and existence. It instills a new directive in all the robots.. a quest for alien life. This could not be more problematic for a society dependent entirely on their robots. A food serving robot ends up taking five elderly rest home dwellers on an adventure as a result.

    “Even so, those effects would have been minimal save for the unique sequence of events which occurred. Those included (but were not limited to) the specific three varieties of cheese (i.e.,Cheddar,momatsui, and baby Swiss), which when taken as a tripartite unit were of just the right consistency to melt at just the right rate to precipitate the crisis.

    Had the sandwich been left in a less critical region, say, the tech supervisors’ lunchroom, it would not only have been noticed immediately but, because such rooms were contamination-sealed against the escape of far smaller impurities, would have been rendered harmless in its oozing.”  – Alan Dean Foster   Codgerspace



    I like how he used three cheeses as well.


    ..and now back to wine..

    I went to an annual two day wine tasting by a group called the Family Winemakers Association not too long ago.

    Imagine a football field.

    Now imagine it filled with wine.

    That was pretty much how extensive the wine tasting was.

    Around 250 wineries each with 2-10 wines they wanted you to try. With well over a thousand wines to choose from judicial planning is necessary.

    It took about thirty minutes just to walk the length of the wine tables.

    Each of the wineries represented was family owned and had someone from the winery there to pour the tastes. They were also very friendly, knowledgeable and excited to share their love of wine.

    I’ve gone for many years. Generally I would go both days, but on the first day I simply scoped the place out. I would talk with fellow oenophiles, quizzing them about which wines stood out. After doing this I returned the next day with a friend and tasted just the wines I had earmarked.

    With only five hours in the tasting, hitting over a thousand wines is damn near impossible.

    This year I only went one day.

    Starting with dry white wines, then light reds and then bold reds to finish it up.


    I took note of three wineries that I enjoyed for their hospitality and bang for the buck.

    First off representing the Ca’ Momi winery was Jimmy Smith. Fun, entertaining and absolutely in love with wine he was a hoot (yeah I used that word.)

    One of his wines was a frizzante (lightly sparkling) white that was unusual and  engaging, just like him.

    The wineries tasting notes for the Ca’ Secco Sparkling NV:

    This refreshing and gently frizzante white wine has hints of tropical flavors with delicate notes of pear, apples and lemon zest and tastes of stone fruit from the apricot family.

    This zesty, nearly dry white wine, comes from an unusual mix of grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat; fermented a second time in pressurized, temperature-controlled tanks, where it becomes sparkling before bottling.


    Next is Robert Stemmler. Amazing wine for the price…


    See the empty bottle on the left? Robert Stemmler’s Vin Gris, at $17, was the bomb. I wanted to just stay at this booth and get multiple samples.

    If you remember the post I did about cloning this is a good example of a winery using multiple clones of the same Pinot Noir grape and blending them later. The clones and percentages were:

    40% Pommard

    30% Wadnenswill

    30% Martini


    Their tasting notes:

    Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes that are picked after the sun sets, and the night temperatures drop, capturing pure fruit expression and bright
    acidity. It is lightly pressed into neutral oak where the varied selections come together creating a wine with a hint of salmon color with appealing citrus aromas and a lively finish.

    Light coppery pink, this rose has a bouquet of lemons and tangerines, which intensify on the palate alongside tangy grapefruit, gooseberry and musk melon. Minerality carries the wine from start to finish.



    Last was a very knowledgeable fellow from Rack & Riddle by the name of Bruce Lindquist. He and I geeked out about wine for a bit while the friends I was with patiently humored me.

    The sparkling wines they offered were great.

    One in particular struck my fancy.. the Rack & Riddle Blanc de Blanc   $18.00
    100% Chardonnay

    Beautiful green apple and tropical notes in the aroma follows through in the mouth with a smooth fine mousse. Finishes with lingering finish of light tropical flavors.


    So after three laps I walked out having had a fabulous time talking shop and socializing.

    -Jonathan Hood