The moment I heard about the Grilled Cheese Invitational, I knew I had to go. Being the quirky comfort food that everyone can relate to, I thought it’d be a fun event!
I was surprised I was first in line at the Grilled Cheese Invitational!
After learning my lesson with the Food Truck Festival. I arrived early with my prepaid ticket in tow. Even though I arrived two and a half hours before grilling time started, I thought there would be a handful of people in line. I was wrong. In fact I was the first one there! This stuff never happens to me. I chatted with a few people in line; namely Kathy & her brother who were looking forward to judging the event.
I must say that it felt good to be the first one through the gate. No rush, no pressure and at this point, the lot wasn’t packed at all which allowed more place for people to roam free.
A humorous speech lead by the mayor of cheese town opened the event. It clearly set the tone which was just for everyone to relax and have fun which many people didn’t need to be told twice. In fact people were being civil towards each other, no matter how crazy the event got in my experience.
Humorous buttons at Tillamook's Tent Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
My first stop was at the bright orange Tillamook cheese tents. They were giving away samples of their sharp & medium cheeses as well as buttons with catchy phrases like “All You Need is Loaf” and “I Loaf You”. Definitely was cute so I took some pins for myself & some cheese samples too. I then headed over to their grilled cheese tent where they were giving free samples of grilled cheese. Buttery and melted, just the way I liked it. No complaints here.
Steaz Fair Trade Tea at the Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
Next up I tried some black tea from Steaz that was very refreshing on this hot afternoon. I found out that they sell them at Target so I’ll definitely look for it when I’m in next time. Hard to believe I overlooked this yummy tea before.
Pacific Organic Tomato Soup at the Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
Then I had a sample of a classic grilled cheese accompaniment: tomato soup compliments of Pacific Organic Food. If I had known, I would have saved my Tillamook grilled cheese for dipping with this satisfying soup!
Fresh Burrata at the Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
I made my very first purchase at The Point & Campanille’s booth. I ordered the Fresh Burrata which contained burrata, cherry tomatoes & salsa verde I found the presentation to be elegant but it fell apart rather easy. Despite it being a tasty sandwich, I expected more for my money. I’m glad this was one of the first vendors that I went to as the line only grew even more the rest of the day. When I was there I was probably the 6th in line. I will say the service was very prompt but probably won’t return a second time.
Artisan Cheese Gallery's Four Cheese Blend at the Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
My next stop was at Artisan Cheese Gallery where I tried a quarter of a four raw cheese blend that included fontina & cheddar with paprika aioli and sweet onion confit. The sandwiches were displayed on painted porcelain plates and were wrapped in a palm leaf. This by far was the best presentation of the day and the taste was delicious. The staff was very friendly & polite & seemed very passionate. A definite plus. My friend was joining me later in the day & I made sure she tried this sandwich. She also agreed that it was very good. I felt that this vendor was underrated. It barely had a line for the duration of the day despite it serving one of the better sandwiches. I’ll definitely keep them in mind though because after my experience, I know they won’t disappoint.
Hot Knives' Band Camp at the Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
Next was Hot Knives which made it clear that they were five time grilled cheese champions. They had three different sandwiches offered at different times of the day. Band Camp which was composed of cheddar and apple butter was served at the time I was there. I will say that this was one of the vendors with a confusing line. With one line for ordering and another for pick up, it seemed straight forward. However, with no signs at opening and no crowd control, it quickly got tangled with other lines. After all the chaos, I walked away with my Band Camp in tow. I marveled at the way the apple butter and cheese just wove together so intricately. It clearly was a salute to carefree times when all things sweet were king.
The Champ from Greenspans at the Los Angeles Grilled Cheese Invitational
I moved on over next door to Greenspan’s where the line was even more chaotic. By this time, the Grilled Cheese Trucks had two very long lines and Hot Knives’ line was bleeding into Greenspans’ as well. The staff didn’t seem to know how to handle the line and were asking up patrons why we weren’t forming a line. It was a very odd question to ask as we simply were being lost in the shuffle as well. I had The Champ which was raisin bread, apricot, tomato, and white cheese. It was easy to see why this sandwich was worthy of its name as the sandwich really showcased the sweet side of cheese. I’m glad that despite the line drama, the sandwich was worth it.
I bypassed the Grilled Cheese Truck this time around. Despite them having two trucks, both lines were insane, but rightfully so. I had such a good experience last time that I decided to bow out and let others enjoy.
Mint Crack from The Sweets Truck Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
There were also some other non grilled cheese vendors there. The one that I was really glad I was able to try after all this time was The Sweets Truck. A truck chock full of cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and coffees & teas? Who could ever go wrong? I had some of their wonderful mint chocolate crack & took home some farm brownies for my husband. We were both equally happy & I’m thankful I didn’t have to chase this truck down as it really doesn’t come to my area.
Short Rib from Wold Fare's truck. Grilled Cheese Invitational Los Angeles, CA
Another truck I tried, but this time for a second time was World Fare. The double-decker truck with a dining area on the roof? Ingenious! Their selection of small bites including short rib, chicken, vegetarian & mac & cheese truffle balls are worth checking out. I had the mac & cheese truffles at Food Blogger Forum last month & I tried the short rib this time. In its own little bread bowl, it was a very practical little snack.
After trying the non cheese trucks, we went to check out the All American grilled cheese vendor which was unfortunately, sold out so we just chatted at the spacious seating area after a long carb & cheese friendly day.
Until we eat again!
The Grilled Cheese Invitational was definitely a fun event. The pre sale tickets were a welcomed change to the event. If you arrive early, you could actually visit all of the vendors in about two hours. Obviously the longer you stay, the longer the line. I would recommend people to go to the event next year & experience the fun. I would probably come next time to partake in the judging of the grilled cheeses which was actually sectioned off. It would have been fun to see the unique & wacky combinations people came up with! However, no matter how wacky, cheese makes everything better!