Hunt for Better Cheddar
DC on Rye
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 23:02
You wouldn’t believe it, but I ove it when sandwiches play hard to get. Something about chasing after an elusive sandwich is immensely gratifying to me, and I had a run-in with one sandwich in Georgetown that is the most elusive of them all.
One Thursday afternoon last semester, when I was done with my class in Walsh, I went to M Street to find something good to eat, something to reward myself for almost getting through the week. On my way back to Harbin, I took the usual shortcut through the Village B courtyard, but there was nothing usual about my encounter there. As I turned the corner onto O Street, I stopped dead in my tracks; in front of me sat The Big Cheese, a food truck that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches and also boasts a number of accompanying items such as tomato soup and hot apple cider. A passer-by might have thought I had stopped to read the menu, but I was really just buying time so I could think through the critical decision I had to make.
You see, this was my first time I had ever seen The Big Cheese, and I didn’t know when I would see her again. My eager taste buds told me that I was passing up an opportunity that might not present itself again for weeks (or even months). However, my appetite told me that I probably couldn’t handle both a grilled cheese and the burrito that I had scraped up on M Street and that I should wait to try this particular sandwich until the next time the truck rolls around.
I make it a habit to never disagree with my appetite, so I went back to my room to consume my burrito. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about the grilled cheese sandwich that I had turned down just moments before. When I finished my burrito, I rushed back to O Street to see if The Big Cheese was still there, but that glorious food truck had moved on to serve another lucky D.C. street corner.
The chase was on; I entered into a pursuit of that sandwich, and I used all my spare time to relentlessly search for The Big Cheese food truck. I signed up for email and text updates, I looked at the food truck’s schedule daily and I even checked her GPS status online. But The Big Cheese was always one step ahead of me. On a number of occasions, she tweeted last call for the 37th and O stop just moments after I had walked into class, and even though I was tempted to leave, I think everyone in my econ lecture would have noticed if I left class for twenty minutes and came back covered in the evidence of where I had been — with crumbs all over my shirt and shiny butter residue on the sides of my mouth. In my effort to get to The Big Cheese in her last moments in Georgetown, I timed the walk from White-Gravenor to the truck, but I always arrived just as she revved her engine and pulled away from the curb.
After a few weeks of the most frustrating game of cat and mouse I have ever played, an extraordinary opportunity presented itself: class was cancelled, so I prepared myself for an ambush. As casually as I could, I camped out by the O Street entrance to the Village B courtyard, justifying my awkwardness with the prospect of a sandwich phenomenon. She finally rolled around, opened up for business and put my sandwich — the first — on the grill.
After what seemed like an eternal pursuit, I decided to order the most classic-sounding item on the menu, the Full Vermonty. A simple composition of cheddar cheese and sourdough bread — this was the grilled cheese from my childhood. The fact that I had searched so hard for this sandwich made each part taste better. My teeth strained the butter-saturated bread, eventually tearing through to the molten cheese inside. Every bite sent more and more gooey cheddar cascading over the edges of the sandwich, which served as the perfect excuse to slurp the excess molten cheese from around the edges. It took only a few seconds to polish off the entire thing, but it was worth every moment of that chase.
David Chardack is a freshman in the College. DC ON RYE appears every other Friday in the guide.