Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Greatest Event in the Universe

Ladies and Dudes, it's the Grilled Cheese Invitational!!!

I happened across this on one of my meanderings originating on TastyFever's blog. I'm just so damned excited. Someone loves grilled cheese sandwiches as much as- nay, much more than I do. SO much more so that he created a festival for the greatest food combination known to man.

"Bread. Butter. Cheese. Victory!" says it more eloquently than I ever could. But what takes this little corner of the U.S. to the next level is the first rule of the Grilled Cheese Invitational:

"1) NO FLAME-THROWERS! Yes, this means you. No ice-melters, Molotov cocktails, you name it. If you bring something that even vaguely resembles a flame-thrower you WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE."

That's a direct quote. What kind of badassery is going on out West? I'm even more excited for my adventure to begin than I was yesterday. So far I've only seen these events occurring in crazy Cali. I'm thinking of introducing this to sleepy Westlake, Ohio.

A quick run-down of the event follows:

"Anyone is welcome to attend this event and judge sammiches. You do not have to compete in order to judge. All judging is done using standardized ballots and a patented, computerized database that scientifically tabulates the results to determine the winners.

"The 1st 6th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational will be mankind's greatest achievement since the invention of fire!" says Tim Walker, the event's founder and organizer. "This year we will have more cheese than ever before. More competitors, more sammiches, more everything!"

Awards are determined by audience vote for each sammich.

Attendees are handed sammiches and rate them accordingly. We then tabulate the results, dispense trophies and wrap ourselves up in the cheese glory!"

For the winners, there will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophy awarded in each category. There will also be two Spaz awards that will be given to different sammiches that are the biggest Spazes, executive judge awards and mountains of grilled cheese for everybody!

On April 19th, we will part the mighty mountain of fresh-bakedloaves, wade knee-deep in the melted cheese and swim eye-high in the butterfat, but only a few, only the proud, the cheesiest, will earn the sacred right to hold a glimmering, golden trophy aloft for all to see and scream to the malignant heavens above: "I am a f@#king grilled cheese champion™!"

I fervently hope and pray to make it to one of these invitationals within my lifetime.

In the meantime, I'll be practicing my grilling skills.

This excellent information is courtesy of www.grilledcheeseinvitational.com

C & D Produce Outlet

If you've never been to a Latin American country, this little market on Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens is a good way to get a feel for one of those places without spending on a ticket or getting sick.* I mean, aside from all of the strange (and run of the mill) cheap fruits and vegetables fresh off the farm truck (pictured damn near everywhere on this post), C&D sells PINATAS (!!!), my favorite foreign soda, Inca Kola (Peru's delicious, bubble-gum flavored national soft drink) along with a rainbow of sodas from Costa Rica and Colombia, coconut water, votary candles with every Santeria saint, soft cheeses from Honduras, cleaning detergents that will burn a hole in any white woman's hand, and basil plants with leaves bigger than my fist. That's a small sample of their selection, and you get English speaking people and clean air!

As you can see, I went camera-mad with the colorful and weird fruits and veggies available. Like these fuzzy green things to the right, and those green stalks with white flowers on them in the first photo. I clearly don't know all of the names for the vegetables (fruits?) but I went ahead and bought a bit of everything with the abandon of someone who does not know how to use them in recipes. It's a refreshing approach, and affordable at this place. I wouldn't have gotten away with paying so little for the same amount of produce at Whole Foods.

All sorts of cars are parked in front of this little shed: AMG Mercedes, Toyotas, Dodges, Mustangs. I crossed a small German woman rooting through the cherry pepper basket. She commanded me to buy them now ("Zey are $1.29 a pound this week! Sixty cents cheaper!) and gave me her recipe for pickled peppers: vinegar, water, and salt . Simple enough, right?
An Indian woman carrying a basket full of ginger, cinnamon, bags of habanero and thai chili peppers agreed with her. I'm not arguing with her.

I bought my first tomatillos here and I'm very excited. I also bought fennel for a light salad, anjou pears, bananas, strawberries, tiny eggplants, ancho chiles, quinoa, cherry peppers, and zucchini. I bought two weeks' worth of vegetables and goods for under $22.00.

I wish I'd known about this place when I was making my chili last October. I didn't have the right source of heat for it, and it came out very bland. There's a whole section at C&D for dried poblano, chipotle, ancho, and serrano chili peppers.

I'm moving to Ohio in June if everything works out with my boyfriend. I wonder if I'll find anythiing up there that's neat in this way: a mish mash of goodies from around the world in one spot. My boyfriend says all places are the same, especially by major interstates. Usually that would be a turn off, but having found quite a few great little food places here I find myself hoping he's right.

You can visit C & D Produce Outlet on your own:

C D Produce Outlet Inc
7243 N Military Trl
West Palm Beach, FL 33410
(561) 842-3345
Need a map?