I Said Cheese

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I’ve had a mad love affair with cheese nearly my entire life.  Grilled cheese sandwiches were a favorite as a child. Any cheese would do.  Yellow Cheddar, White Cheddar, Provolone, Jack, Swiss…those were the classics.  Then, when I was seven I discovered Kasseri.

Kasseri is a very sharp Greek cheese and has a very potent odor that most people cannot stand.  I, on the other hand thought it was the greatest cheese ever made.  My parents could not figure out why I loved it so much, they bought it once to try and didn’t like it, but me?  I would eat it by the wedge…gnawing on it like a little mouse.

Every time we took a trip to our favorite gourmet deli in Portland, Elephants Delicatessen, I would go straight to the cheese section and locate my Kasseri. “Tara, this is the stinkiest cheese!  Are you sure you don’t want something else?”  My dad would say.  I didn’t want anything else. I couldn’t wait to gnaw away at the greatest cheese I had ever had!

As an adult Food Pervert, my love for cheese has only grown and matured over the years.  Cheese plates and wine are by far my favorite snack.  I love my cheese all ways: soft, hard, creamy, crumbly, sharp, flavored, mild, goat’s milk, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, anything except for Blue Cheese.  Blue is the one I don’t do.

The day before my birthday, my friend Brooke offered to take me out to lunch as a present.  The location was my choice. I thought about what I really wanted:  a cheese sandwich!  I did my research and found Say Cheese, a gourmet cheese shop and cafe.  They specialized in sandwiches and the online menu had gotten me very excited.

Say Cheese, is on Hyperion Way in Silverlake.  The minute we walked through the door  I was in Food Pervert Heaven.  The shop was small, but well stocked with cheese of all kinds (including a blueberry stilton) and other gourmet goodies like almond cookies, truffle oil and chocolate covered potato chips!  We made our way to the other side of the building where the cafe lived.  It was small and cozy, the absolute perfect setting for a rainy Monday lunch.

I immediately ordered a cup of coffee.  I had a feeling these people knew how to brew.  My cup never made it to empty the entire course of lunch and dessert; a very good sign.

The menu consisted of two columns; vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches, both with a large variety of cold or oven toasted options.  I went with the Ortolano; a classic Italian combination of roasted eggplant, sun-dried tomato tapenade, fresh mozzarella and parmesan on toasted ciabattina.  It was served on a white plate with a mixed green salad.  The Ortlano was huge, I could only eat one half!   I always judge a sandwich by the bread quality, and this ciabattina met my standards.  It wasn’t too dry or too soft.  It pocketed the warm inside fillings just as it should have, with crispness and uncluttered flavor.

For dessert, I couldn’t resist the macaroons.  I love coconut, especially in desserts and can’t say no to any opportunity to try a new macaroon.  The plate with two cookies were brought to the table in a shockingly elegant display.  They were dressed to the nines in vibrant strawberries and swirls of chocolate sauce.  I approved their quality after my first taste.  Macaroons must have the perfect amount of moisture locked into their hearts and these certainly did.

Say Cheese impressed me with it’s merchandise and it’s Parisian Cafe charm.  The coffee was rich, the food was flavorful and well prepared and the atmosphere was comfortable.  I am a fan of the quaint and unassuming.  Now, where did I put that Kasseri?!

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Author:The Food Pervert

Tara Redfield, The Food Pervert, is an actress, writer, host and obviously food lover. She started her blog and website, "The Food Pervert," in 2010 after an incredible visit to New York City. Her soul acknowledged a genuine passion for food and a desire to share her experiences with friends and family. She’s been sharing ever since. One of her most exciting experiences living in Los Angeles has been working on the TLC reality cooking show, “The Take Home Chef” with the charming and talented Curtis Stone. Redfield has a true love for cooking, dining, travel and story telling. She continues to spread the food love by visiting restaurants, markets, and food festivals as often as possible and sharing her finds through photos and stories. TV Host Representation: Paul Barrutia Commercial Talent 9255 Sunset Blvd. Ste. 505 West Hollywood, CA 90069 310.247.1431

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