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Grilled Cheese Challenge Judging 2022

To start off the new year, I was excited to be tasked as one of the 3 judges responsible for selecting the city’s best grilled cheese sandwich.

Vancouver Foodster, long-standing food lover and Foodie personality has been bringing such challenges to Vancouver’s food scene for years now. Where he comes up with a theme and interested restauranteurs sigh up to be participants. Not only do they earn the advertising such a competition brings in, but if they win they get the rightful accolades coming to them as well.

My job as judge was to visit all the competitors, and review each of their creations scoring them on their Presentation, Originality, and Taste. The other two judges would do the same, and our combined score would lead to a winner.

And for those who aren’t judges, but want to try their hand at the job, anyone can try all the creations for themselves and vote for their favourite as the people’s choice winner. This can be done following the link below: https://bit.ly/VFgrilledcheese.

Below are the 5 restaurants/food trucks competing for the top grill cheese sandwich and my impressions of them. In the order in which we visited them. However, I will not be revealing my scoring here, you will have to wait until the competition is over and the results are in, after February 6th, 2022.


Melt City Truck: Meat City Melt

Hand made Italian meatballs, marinara sauce, pineapple, and jalapeño Jack cheese; all on sourdough bread with Parmesan cheese and a side of chips and a pickle.

The meatball is homemade and handcrafted by a family friend visiting from Italy, and you can taste how homey it is. The sandwich is instantly comforting with all the thick marinara sauce and stretchy gooey cheese smothering the crumbly meatball, held in place between crunchy, buttery toast. The fun twist is the pineapple slice that adds on pops of sweetness to the mix. Be warned it does get messy and a mound of napkins is necessary. This is probably the most classic rendition of grilled cheese available in the competition.


Kitchen Craft Eatery: The Unlawful Waffle Sandwich

House roasted ham, marbled cheddar cheese and sharp white cheddar between two savoury green onion waffles. Brushed with maple butter, and served with their mustard dip.

The waffle is best served warm when the centre is still fluffy and the edges slightly crispy. You don’t get the maple butter flavour, but you don’t miss it. The fragrant green onion plays well against the salty ham and sharp cheeses, but it is the honey mustard dip that really pulls the sandwich together with its sweetness.


Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck: French Onion Soup Stuffed Meatloaf Grilled Cheese

Homestyle meatloaf stuffed with caramelized onions and baked Gruyère cheese on sourdough bread, served with French onion soup for dipping.

The vision behind this was to turn something that as children we moan and groan about, into a dish we as adults now devour with gusto. And the meatloaf featured in this sandwich is the recipe of our chef/owner’s mother, who called it “magic meatloaf. It’s was magic, because despite the complaints, when it came time to eat, the plate was always clean by meal’s end.

We got very little grilled cheese from this despite all the stretchy strands. The meatloaf and French onion soup is what came through. It was incredibly easy to eat, the meat practically melted, it was as tender as the caramelized onions that surround it. The dip was nice as a way to rejuvenate the sandwich mid way, and acted as a soup on the side. And no other offering thought to give us the classic soup and sandwich combo. It just would have been nice to have the dip thicker, like a gravy for a more substantial dunk. Something richer and saltier like a tangy barbecue sauce, though the pickle on the side did help in this regard.


Crack On Truck: The Take it Easy Royale

Melty cheddar topped with One Arrow thick cut bacon, tomato relish, bacon jam, candied jalapeño, a fried egg, and shredded Parmesan.

This is the ultimate breakfast grilled cheese. Everything you’d expect from a breakfast sandwich, but elevated. Each bite gave you something different. Salty from the thick chewy bacon, tangy from the relish, sweetness from the jam, and spicy from jalapeño. Plus all the fluffy parm you could want to end on. I would pick the plate clean of this.


Salty’s Lobster Shack: Lobster Grilled Cheese

Garlic butter brushed sourdough grilled with a blend of mozzarella, aged white cheddar, and mild American cheeses; finished off with their famous butter poached lobster, seasoned with their old bay aioli.

Who doesn’t like a lobster on anything? Tender chunks of buttery goodness smothered in garlicky richness, and flavoured with plenty of zesty dill. Deceptively light against the crispy toasted bread.


Be sure to try these for yourself as they will only be around for a few more days. Then vote for your favourite at https://bit.ly/VFgrilledcheese

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