Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? From the looks of the sold out crowd filling the room to capacity at New School of Cooking’s first ever Pop-Up, some melty goodness between two slices of bread still rank shigh on people’s list of comfort foods. I know it does on mine.
Chef Eric Greenspan, owner of The Foundry on Melrose, and passionate competitor on The Next Iron Chef, kicked off his six course grilled cheese tasting menu with smoked salmon and goat cheese on brioche.
“I promise you” he announced in master of ceremonies style, “No one will leave here hungry!” A round of applause exploded like a thunderclap. We were off and running.
Pumpernickel, burrata and crispy pancetta followed. Josh McKnight paired each course with a tasty well-matched beer selection from Stone Brewing Co. Cheddar, mustard, apples and pancetta on sourdough came next.
Am I seeing things, or are the portions getting bigger as we go?
Throughout the evening Chef Greenspan visited every table. “Are you having fun?” he asked. “You’re fun!” one fan shouted back. So true. He shared his enthusiasm for locally made artisanal cheeses and promised to feature them regularly at his new restaurant, Grilled Cheese. “The Champ” is an appropriate title given to the sandwich that took first prize at the Grilled Cheese International: beef short ribs and tallegio cheese on raisin walnut bread with stone ground mustard, arugula and apricot caper puree. Women were licking their fingers. Men were closing their eyes and nodding. I saw it. I was there.
The staff scrambled to get “The Elvis” plated for our grand finale. Delicately toasted white bread filled with peanut butter and banana, then topped with marscapone and a dusting of cocoa powder. I crave one as I am writing this. Slightly sweet and light and a tiny bit crunchy. So sad it all had to end. Did you miss it? Catch the next one, because Pop-Ups are part of the New School’s plan to make this Culver City kitchen classroom, your new destination for fun dining. More to come.
Oh yeah, Chef Greenspan stayed after to sign aprons. You gotta love it.