The 9th Annual Lane County Grilled Cheese Experience: Part II

This is the second installment of a multi-part series by DSM photographer Robert Scherle covering Food for Lane County’s 2023 Lane County Grilled Cheese Experience. You can read the previous installment here.

Red Barn Deli
357 Van Buren St, Eugene

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
“Sourdough with Dijon, cheddar, Havarti, provolone, grilled onions, tomatoes and bacon for $14.50 -OR- With marinated tempeh for $12.50”

Red Barn Deli is a beast! They had two offerings, so, I chose the “Grown Up Grilled Cheese” as the other option entailed a bagel.

Big slices of sourdough made this a monster sandwich and the thickly sliced bacon made this the meatiest of the month-long experience so far.
I enjoyed the big slices of fresh tomato as well.

All in all, this is the grilled cheese I would make at home for myself if I was super hungry No pretense. Just solid components applied generously.

A photo showing a grilled-cheese sandwich that's been sliced in half and spread apart a little bit. The cheese, still connected in the middle, forms a web-like pattern while suspended in the air.
Red Barn Deli’s “Grown Up Grilled Cheese” is the meatiest thus far. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Fisherman’s Market Springfield
418 A Street, Springfield

Smoked Salmon Melt
“House-smoked salmon, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onions and capers served between Reality Kitchen sourdough bread with a cheddar crust. Served with fries. $18”

I’m a big fan of smoked salmon so the Springfield Fisherman’s Market grilled cheese offering held a lot of promise to me.  And it was excellent. 

Actually, I think you could put their smoked salmon spread on an old wallet and it would be tasty. 

It was an interesting choice to put the cheese on the outside of the bread but I actually preferred this crusty cheese coat.  I also appreciated the large portion of their waffle fries. Funny that the Eugene Fisherman’s Market didn’t have any sides.

A smoke salmon melt with light colored salmon and cream cheese oozing out of the side of lightly colored toast. Atop the toast is crispy, grilled cheese. It all sits on waffle fries.
Fisherman Market’s Springfield location offers up a unique sandwich with cheese on the outside of the bread. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Agate Alley Bistro
1461 E 19th Ave., Agate Alley, Eugene

Calabrian Pimiento Grilled Cheese
“House-made Calabrian pimiento cheese, white cheddar, provolone, smoked mozzarella and red onion on grilled sourdough.”

Agate Alley’s entry to the month-long experience is proof that if you can do one thing well, you can succeed. 

Yes, their homemade pimento cheese was great, and even packed a little heat, but the backbone of this sandwich was the bread. Grilled and buttered to crispy perfection, I tried to savor the sandwich but ended up finishing it way too soon.  

The accompanying salad was also first rate.  A very well-designed pairing. 

A close-up photo of Agate Alley's grilled cheese shows bright red pimiento pieces and oozing cheese drip off the side of one of the two cut halves. A blurry but vibrantly colorful salad can be seen in the background.
Agate Alley’s Calabrian Pimiento Grilled Cheese sandwich and salad pairing is close to perfection. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Hop Valley Eugene
990 W 1st Ave., Eugene

Pizza Grilled Cheese

Hop Valley is rotating their sandwiches on a daily basis and I happened to hit them on a Pizza Grilled Cheese day.

This was perfect because I love pizza more than I love grilled cheese. I got it with a side salad because my cholesterol is going crazy this month. The sandwich itself was beautiful, juicy, and tasty. The bun they served it on was similar to a pizza crust so this was more like having a slice folded up into a ball. 

If they had marketed this as a pizza sandwich, I would’ve been perfectly happy.

A white plate with a pizza-bread-esque loaded grilled cheese sandwich oozing red marinara out of its sides. Behind it, a brightly colorful salad topped with shredded carrots.
Hop Valley’s Eugene location served up a one-day-only pizza-like variation on Feb. 10. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Cheese Bliss
110 Madison St., Eugene

The Souper Dipper
“Bolillo roll with mozarella, parmesan, chicken, eggplant and broccoli. Served w/ a side of garlic beer cheese for dipping. $15”

Cheese Bliss came up with a unique answer to the grilled cheese challenge and that’s to not grill at all. 

The sandwich, nestled in a soft hoagie-type roll, is heaping with chicken breast, cheese, broccoli and eggplant.  

The “glue” that turns this into a yummy meal is the beer cheese dip served on the side for dipping and/or pouring.  I’m a big fan of beer cheese and this was one of the best I’ve ever had. 

If you don’t know beer cheese, please give this a shot.

A photo of a large "grilled cheese" (it's not grilled) on an open-faced hoagie roll. Easily discernible in the photo is some sliced broccoli and eggplant. On oozing on top is the food cart's beer cheese dip. A cup of the dip is next to the sandwich in a separate container. The lid leaning against it has "Cheese Bliss" handwritten on it.
Cheese Bliss’ amazing beer cheese can be used for dipping and pouring. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

First National Taphouse
51 W Broadway #3002, Eugene

The Mushroom Goat Explosion
“Sweet and rich red wine mushroom jam, layered with tart, creamy chevre and melted sharp white cheddar on buttered marbled rye. $14 Add thick-cut peppered bacon $3”

I was horribly underwhelmed last year but I decided to go back and give them another shot. Fool me once, shame on you…

The descriptor was interesting but the execution was slipshod. The mushroom jam had no flavor and the goat cheese was randomly blobbed on. There also didn’t seem to be any melted cheddar as claimed. I have to say this was essentially inedible before I keep going on and on.

Come on guys, this is for a good cause.
Get it together.

A side view of a half-cut grilled cheese with what appears to be the creamy chevre cheese oozing out of the sides. In between the two slices are regular looking potato chips.
First National Taphouse’s offering is a disappointment to say the least. [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

NW Burgers Annex
418 A St., Springfield

Classic Patty Melt
“Local rye bread, house-made thousand island, grilled onions, Swiss cheese and local raised beef patty with a side of fries. $16.99”

The NW Burger grilled cheese was a patty melt.  Ok, fair enough. Stick with your strengths. 

While the components were well and good, the execution was amiss. The bread was soggy and the patty, which had been pulled from a warming tray, was dry and tepid. 

Total misfire.

A photograph of a "classic patty melt" that consists of visibly soggy bread, dry ground beef, and a topping of cheese and grilled onions. Half decent French fries can be seen in the foreground and off to the side.
NW Burgers Annex’s “Classic Patty Melt.” [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]

Plank Town Brewing Co.
346 Main St., Springfield

The Kaleb
“Mozarella, tomato, and olive-basil tapenade on garlic buttered sourdough. $17”

Planktown presented a beautifully grilled slab of thick sourdough stuffed to the gills with several cheeses and a couple different bacons.
What threw me for a loop was how peppery it was — almost like the skin of a pastrami.

Shock turned into interest and then to deep satisfaction at a sandwich that wasn’t messing around. Great creativity and a memorable sandwich.

A photo of a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich with bits of bacon popping out of its sides on both sides of thick cut tomato. In the background, a cup of yellow-y green soup.
Plank Town’s Grilled Cheese Experience entry is one to be remembered! [Robert Scherle // Double Sided Media]
Robert Scherle

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  1. February 23, 2023

    […] Scherle, our photographer with high cholesterol, has checked out, please check out our first and second […]

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