One of the benefits of affluence is the possibility of eating out once in a while, with the frequency correlated with the degree of affluence of course. And in eating out one gets to try new things, or old things done in new ways that would not otherwise have been considered. The web is full of imaginative stuff to make for any meal, but too much choice in some ways simply puts it all out of reach. How to choose? Will this work? Where even to start looking? But in a restaurant of whatever category, you get a finite list which can still be daunting, unless there are so many apparent good choices that risking picking one of them is easy.
Although we jettisoned out of the frequent dining set in the 2008 global financial crisis when we were demoted to SINKS from DINKS, we still occasionally dine out as an occasion to be with friends nearby or friends visiting from afar, and lately we are even loosening up a bit to treat ourselves to couple dining again (not to mention special occasion meals).
To satisfy our curiosity for new dining venues, Bryn Mawr offered up a new mini-shopping area with a La Colombe coffeeshop we used to have to drive to Manayunk for (or on rare occasions enjoy the original in Center City) for their better than most other US cappucinos, and some new food destinations, among which was The Turning Point, a breakfast/lunch/brunch place with an innovative upscale and seemingly more healthy menu. Friends passing through gave us the chance to get a first impression which was very positive, so after the spring semester ended, a lunch date with ani seemed like a great idea to try some other items that had caught bob's eye.
We went for the Roadhouse Stack to share and an appetizer of quinoa chickpea salad with fresh cucumbers and tomato slices on the side and a pile of delicious hummus topped off with chopped sweet red pepper in order not to seem like cheap customers. The appetizer turned out to be enough for our lunch stomachs, going down very easily, but then the Roadhouse Stack arrived to blowout our taste bud circuits and push our comfort food buttons.
Savory Sandwiches, Roadhouse Stack: "Triple stack grilled cheese with a smokehouse aioli, jack and cheddar cheeses, thick crispy bacon, caramelized onions, avocado, tomato and baby spinach leaves 9.25." [2017 dollars] We have never had such an upgraded grilled cheese sandwich ever before in our lives, or even dreamed it was possible. It was really thick and oozing with goodness and would have also been sufficient for both of us alone, but even after the shared warm up dish that preceded it, we managed to scarf down every last bite.
Reproducing it at home was probably not possible, but certainly we could apply our own upgrade to our previous primitive idea of what a grilled cheese sandwich was or could be. The key would be the chunky guacamole spread to which we are addicted as a sandwich ingredient, which is the star upgrade factor. We can't write down a definitive recipe, since this really depends on your imagination and what stuff you have on hand, unless you actually plan ahead and line up special inputs.
We started trying to butter the whole wheat sandwich bread, but our butter is always in the fridge and it is too hard. bob tried scraping with a serrated knife to peel off thin strips that could be sort of spread around unconvincingly on the outside of the bread. Inside on both slices we spread a soft gruyere cheese wedge, you know those little foil wrapped portions in a round cardboard container, and then two thin slices of provolone ovals, and a thin slice of ham, cut to fit, and some cambozola that would not spread either. Still the result without any preplanning was good. No photos of the first attempt.
Shortly afterwards we plan the grand experiment for 5 adults, Sunday lunch before a Mother's Day dinner. We grab a bunch of presliced cheeses from Wegman's to supplement our current supplies on hand. The butter, left out over an hour, is still not cooperative, maybe it needs microwave counseling next time we negotiate with it. That goes on the top side after we layer up the filling, and then it gets inserted into the nonstick frying pan butter side down, allowing the reverse side to get buttered up in the pan. But first spread the spreadable cheese on both inner sides of the bread. Then layer up your cheeses or slice up what you have and evenly arrange them solidly across the surface. We threw in a 97% fat free (?) ham slice but to keep this vegetarian, hold the ham. A Vegan version requires experts to duplicate the cheese and butter. Try to convince the Wedge/Whiz Kid genius chef couple in philly to create something amazing and gooey. The rest of us are already salivating over this dish, but don't forget to spread the avocado mash on the remaining open face of the sandwich before sealing the deal.
We used our As Seen on TV 10 dollar magic frying pan with rotating handle that is an amazing kitchen tool. Buy one immediately to add this el cheapo miracle pan to your own kitchen, with the dr bob ironclad guarantee). But bob did not monitor the hidden face quite zealously enough and was reprimanded by ani when she turned the two sandwiches over and the crust was pretty dark (you might say burned, she did). We were careful with the third, which escaped the extreme coloration. Bob got the burnt one but it was super delicious just the same. Must have just missed a real burn. Guests approved their half sandwich servings with the requisite enthusiasm.
Put your own personal stamp on this recipe, which we leave as a flexible suggestion. You will thank us after your first try. And if you are ever in the neighborhood, give bob and ani an excuse to invite you to try to inspirational dish itself in Bryn Mawr.