The Hunt for the Elusive Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It is almost December, and for the most part of this fall going into winter, the weather in this part of the country has been uncommonly warm, but if you live in plains country you know that winter can and will come at any time. We can have 50 + degree weather and it will turn on a dime and drop 20-30 degrees just like that.
Today is a perfect example, the weather man was reporting 50’s and 60’s all this week, with the lows being in the high 40’s towards the end of the week. This morning when I got to work at 7:30 it was really nice out, but when I left the doctor’s office at around 3:30 it was cold, windy and blustery. 
Today was supposed to be my last doctor visit, but I guess the doctor just can’t get enough of me, because he wants me to come back in a month. I have been given the clear to start weaning myself off this obnoxious boot, and had thought let’s go out and celebrate that small victory because…well, we were really hungry!
We haven’t lived here long enough to have checked out all of the restaurants, so we decided to venture outside our normal haunts to something semi-new. Our choice was CRAVE.  We have been to the CRAVE in Omaha, Nebraska, and their food is savory, the restaurant itself in Omaha is dimly lit and exquisitely chic, but a CRAVE just opened up in Sioux City, Iowa this summer, and I have been dying to check it out.
For the past month or more I have been longing for a simple grilled cheese sandwich with a delicious- side cup of tomato soup. Weeks ago we tried our luck at an iconic “bread, soup and salad” franchise, and they had grilled cheese and tomato soup on the menu, but wonderful it was NOT!  To say I was severely disappointed is an understatement – the Grilled cheese sandwich looked like a 3 year old made it for his or her mother on Mother’s day or some other special occasion. 
When I think grilled cheese, I envision a dark brown toasted bread, with yummy, gooey cheese dripping out the sides of the bread, and…when you bite into it…you taste the buttery and crunchiness of the toasted bread and the warm melted cheese.  When my “franchised-made” food arrived to our table, it was a plain, white pasty bread, which was barely toasted on one side only, and the cheese looked like it had been peeled from a thin layer of pre-wrapped plastic.  The sandwich looked like it had been sitting there for several hours before serving.  I really had high hopes and was looking forward to that grilled cheese sandwich.  I was MAJOR-LEAGUE bummed! 
I guess grilled cheese just isn’t that popular anymore, because over the next several weeks, I looked for the elusive grilled cheese sandwich on the menu of several popular restaurants…with a side of tomato soup of course…but to no avail.  Then today, as I perused CRAVE’S menu I saw it!  I thought my eyes must be playing tricks on me.  The lunch combo advertised a four-cheese grilled sandwich with tomato and basil soup.
When we placed our order, I was greatly surprised when our wonderful waitress, Lashondra, informed me that it was indeed a four cheese grilled sandwich with tomato basil soup.  Did anyone else hear that musical choir of angels singing? Had I FINALLY found the elusive grilled cheese sandwich? 
We also ordered a plate of restaurant-style, multi-colored, nacho chips and guacamole and pico de gallo for an appetizer.  I absolutely loved the creamy guacamole with the fresh and tangy tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs, spritzed with a lime…yum!
When our entr’ee came I was not disappointed – there it was – six little triangular cut sandwiches, each  flanking the sides of the cup of tomato soup.  The soup was bursting with flavor…from the rich tomatoes, to the aromatic basil and other seasonings, to the parmesan-bread crumbs and pistachio garnish.  But I digressed…
Tasty guacamole and chips.
My delicious soup and highly-anticipated grilled cheese!
My husband Lee opted for margarita flatbread and tomato soup.
Bright, warmly decorated and inviting Crave restaurant.
Anita anxiously awaiting her grilled cheese sandwich!


The star of this story was my new-found grilled-cheese sandwich…that elusive sandwich I had been craving for weeks…ironically I found at CRAVES! The bread was toasted to perfection…a nice, crisp, golden brown, with a parmesan-buttery layer on the outside to add that bit of salty flavor. The cheese met my eyes delight – there was no scrimping here – it was overflowing down the sides of the bread…very warm, moist and gooey!  When I dunked a piece of the cheese-filled bread into the tomato soup, it instantly became that tomatoey-rich cheese sandwich I so desired…ahhhh!  On a cold blustery day, there is nothing like the warm butteriness of grilled cheese, with a warm, comforting cup of tomato basil soup! There was even enough of the grilled cheese for me to have for lunch tomorrow!!!
What is your comfort food?
Where is your favorite place to grab a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich?


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