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I’ll Melt With You*

*I swear the timing of this post with Valentine’s Day is purely coincidentally.

The Grilled Cheese sandwich: The pinnacle of  your childhood. The rainy day snack. The easy-to-throw-together dinner now that you’re a lazy adult. Maybe you like to keep it old school with Wonder Bread and a Kraft Single or maybe you like to get fancy with a little Gruyere and sourdough. Whatever your pleasure, Valley Shepard Creamery’s newest outpost in Reading Terminal Market – Meltkraft – is putting a twist on your favorite classic.

All the cheeses are made on-site, including their mozzarella, which is hand pulled and fresh daily. Their sandwiches are panini-pressed and are sure to please the palate; from the Valley Thunder with brisket and mac & cheese to the Somerset, a variation on the Cuban sandwich.

Plus they use this ridiculous, industrial, automatic panini maker!

You can also opt to add other things to your sandwich like duck fat, bacon or truffle oil. I decided to go for the Valley Thunder with truffle oil, and was given a choice of sea salt or dill pickle chips on the side. I went with pickle because – duh – when would I ever have pickle chips again?

The sandwich was a little more squished then I would have expected, but I guess that’s the nature of the industrial strength beast. I also smelled the truffle oil more then I could taste it, and there was less brisket and mac & cheese in the sandwich then I would have expected, especially in a sandwich I’m paying nearly $10 for (Then again, there’s also the time I paid $17 for a truffle short rib grilled cheese). Maybe this truffle grilled cheese idea is good in theory and not so much in execution. I guess it’s just a case of “Fool me once, fool me twice”.

Either way, I’m interested to check out some of their other menu items (including the sandwich with watercress – which the girl who ordered in front of me asked what that was as she was in the middle of ordering said-sandwich), and especially their fresh mozzarella which I anticipate I’ll probably buy and consume by the pound. Meltkraft is a great addition to Reading Terminal and sure to create a cult following.

Cornered.

I think we can all agree that sandwiches are awesome. They’re probably the most imaginative food creation on the planet. You take two pieces of bread – whatever kind you want: wheat, white, whole grain, kaiser rolls, ciabatta, naan, crust, no crust, etc. Then, you put some awesome stuff between those two pieces of bread – meat, cheese, spreads, sauces, glazes, veggies, what have you – and BOOM! Insta-meal. It can be hot, it can be cold, you can fry it, grilled it. Traditional or haute cuisine, there are just endless combinations of deliciousness in the sandwich kingdom.

Exhibit A: The truffled grilled cheese at The Corner.This bad boy came stuffed with braised short ribs and a hefty $17 price tag, but I figured I’d give it a whirl. I mean, truffled grilled cheese with short ribs – doesn’t that sound absolutely decadent?

Unfortunately, this sandwich was a complete let down. Yes, the braised short ribs tasted nice but I just kept struggling to find even the slightest hint of truffle in this sandwich. Was it in the cheese? Were the ribs cooked in it? Was the sandwich fried in it? Nothing. I felt cheated and lied to. How could you be so cruel, $17 grilled cheese? (God, I can’t believe I paid $17 for a fancy grilled cheese)

Exhibit B: The burger club at Supper. Available only on their brunch menu, this double decker monster features a 6 oz Pat La Frieda blended patty, and the traditional BLT elements of a club sandwich.

Now, imagine my surprise when I began tasting truffle with each and every bite. Prominent, delicious, finger lickin’ good even! I didn’t remember seeing it on the menu description but on a quick Google search, low & behold, the burger is topped with truffle mayo! I wasn’t losing my mind; this is what truffle should taste like. It should be present and in your face, caressing your taste buds gently. I practically cried tears of joy. Sandwich redemption had arrived.

Like snowflakes, no two sandwiches are alike. There’s no greater proof of that then the two sandwiches that I ate recently. Both came served on fluffy, thick bread, cut diagonally and served with a side of fries. Both claimed to have contained elements of truffle oil.  But taste wise, sometimes one sandwich fulfills all your hunger needs while another just leaves you high and dry.

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