13. The Grilled Cheese Truck


 By 8:30pm

Yesterday was really windy. It was scary, beautiful windy. It was American Beauty, plastic bags windy. It was also the night The Grilled Cheese Truck FINALLY took it to the streets. After two months of incessant Tweeting (even I was getting crabby about them), they opened their order-here and pick-up-here windows last night at The Brig in Venice. The plan was for them to have a short and sweet maiden voyage, from 8:30-10:15pm, and then make way for Kogi.

The firsts in line (note the avid reader and her PARKA (wind))

I arrived at 8pm (I was supposed to get there at 7:30, but that darned wind knocked out a bunch of traffic and streetlights). It was fun to drive across town at rush hour and encounter the intersection of Sepulveda and Venice without a traffic light (sarcasm). So the leisurely glass of wine with friends before grilled cheese times was cut short. I really hate being late.

About 9:30pm. (Hi Zack!)

Turns out I could have been as late as I wanted. The truck's grill was down and their opening was postponed about an hour and a half, until a part was delivered to get it up and running again. Did I mention the wind? So a very long line formed around the parking lot, people were reading, texting, chatting, their dogs were even co-mingling. Hair was blowing. Some folks got into the communal spirit of the affair. Some people were irritated and left. The line shortened a bit. Chef Dave Danhi’s (of Water Grill fame) partner, Michele Grant helped to placate the hungry hundreds with samples of their tomato and pumpkin soups, tater tots, and caprese grilled cheese sandwich bites. All very tasty and ideal snackables for the brisk evening.

And then, at 10pm, the line began to move and the melting was a go.

Note the "ahhh, our grill is fucked!" scurrying going on in the truck.

 Michele Grant's scramble for happy-time samples for everyone.

At one point, I walked to the non-serving-food side of the truck and bumped into The Brig’s owner, also named Dave. He and chef Dave are buddies. He was getting his complimentary Cheesy Mac and Rib: macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar, bbq pork and caramelized onions ($7). Wanna hear something cool? He gave me half! I guess I looked all professional with my camera and tripod. Oh, that reminds me, I know I said I was going to solely use my camera phone for this project – being consistent with the whole mobile theme – but this was a night shoot, and I needed to break out the fancy stuff. I digress…

Dog and hair

The menu

The Brig's Dave holding The GCT's Cheesy Mac and Rib.

A close-up of the Cheesy Mac and Rib (photo courtesy of the Grilled Cheese Truck)

So here’s the deal. That is a mean grilled cheese! Perfectly grilled, crispety crunchety toastedy bread, and hot gooey beauty inside. The bbq pork was savory yet slightly sweet, and devilishly good. It’s hard not to have a joker-esque smile whilst eating this steaming delight, in a cold parking lot, with a hundred other happy folks (and wind), at 10pm. Watch out LA food truckers, because the GCT is takin’ it to the streets. Danhi has taken his honed chef skills and found a creative and delicious way to share it with the people. And what better cuisine than the cheesy, goodness (and little slices of Americana and nostalgia) of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Kudos!

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