Bread and cheese. Haha! The Flavor Bible is always great to have by your side, making sure that flavors can be very compatible with each other or can be daring and take the opposites attract approach. Oh and the internet and a memo pad, I love going online and looking up things to help stir the imagination pot.
For starters, you want to know what is going on in the world of food and see what trends are happening so I think magazines like Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Cheese Culture, et because these are the things that the public are reading and when go out to eat, look for items similar to try. Other places of inspiration would be to revisit classics or to take a look at different cultures and then create our little twist. Also a very fun way for me is to see some of the dishes the best restaurants in the country are doing and then transforming and translating it into a cheese sandwich. Can’t forget the heart of Cheezus, cheese & charcuterie boards are of the greatest inspiration!
To be honest, only takes about a day! I think others in the food business can attest, the longer you are doing something, the more you know in your gut whether things will work or not. I think for myself and Cheezus, it’s much easier than let's say someone doing molecular gastronomy at a Michelin Star restaurant haha.
I always tell people if it wasn’t good then I wouldn’t sell it but if I had to pick, then I have 2! It’s so tough because they are all so good but 1 that I really enjoy is our “Make America Grate Again” which includes Pawlet (Consider Bardwell Farm) + Pleasant Ridge Reserve (Uplands Cheese Co.) + Reading Raclette (Spring Brook Farm). I can be confident and say that this has to be one of the best grilled cheese west of the milky way! My other favorite is the “Screaming Jesus On A Ferris Wheel” because it screams with flavor - Manchego (D.O.P.) + Fresh Chorizo (Belcampo), Peppadew Peppers (Peppadew) + Saffron Infused Honey (LSG Honey). You get the fat, salt, sweet, like whoa!
I love that there are others like me that really care about the kind of food & beverage that people are consuming and it’s not always just about the end product but about all of the ingredients that go into the product. Food is medicine right?! So let’s start caring about what we consume.
Oh man, right off the top of my head I believe we use about 13-15 different cheeses. I know that many people that do cheese sandwiches love to keep it easy and simple but we have found a way to introduce other cheeses through those popular cheeses. There are SO many cheeses out there, especially good ones that it would be a shame if we stuck to the same ones. Some of the cheeses that I use are Fiscalini Cheddar, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Silano Provolone D.O.P., Le Gruyere A.O.P., Di Stefano Fresh Mozzarella, etc.
So fun but can get hectic! It is so important to create the energy and vibe for the customer, they are looking to you to be a special part of their day and people always remember how you made them feel. So nothing but good feels here, we want you to when you grow old and tell stories to your grandchildren about that one time you visited Cheezus and how it made your day. Loud music for sure!
To be completely honest, I want the same feeling you get when you first fall in love. Grilled cheese sandwiches I think have a special place in many people's hearts and when you take your first bite, I want you to forget about everything negative going on in your life or the world and live in that euphoric present time and really just sit there and enjoy the sandwich. Nothing else should matter besides you and the grilled cheese sandwich.
I love to share experiences with other people whether that is wining & dining or hiking on Runyon or partying at a club or etc. When it is your time to go, the memories that will leave their last impressions will be the times that you spent with people and how they made you feel. Life is about eating, drinking and having fun so everyone should be doing exactly that!
We began offering different variations of grilled cheese sandwiches and now it has morphed into different variations of sandwiches that emphasize cheese. We have one menu that is breakfast style where all sandwiches include an organic, pasture raised fried egg. We have another menu that is lunch style where the sandwiches have different items like vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, herbs, spices, etc. And lastly, we have a menu that is dedicated to only cheese options with one being all California cheeses, one being American cheeses, one being Italian cheeses and one being best melting cheeses based on science aka pH levels.
We have been selling our grilled cheese sandwiches over 6 months now, crazy to think! Our flagship location would be Brentwood on Sundays, there are such great people there and they very understand exactly what we are doing. Our 2nd location is CSUN on Tuesdays, which has been a lot of fun. Cheezus loves the kids! It has been awesome passing onto kids the knowledge of why you should not be using Wonder Bread and Kraft Cheese. Haha.
I think the one sandwich that rises above the rest is our “Incredible Hulk”, it's pretty incredible. All of the sandwiches of course use Organic Country Loaf Sourdough Bread (Clark Street Bread) and then on the Hulk we have Aged Gouda (Beemster Classic) + Smoked Bacon (Belcampo) + Avocado (Farmers Market) + Chili Lime Sea Salt (Jacobsen Salt Co.) + Fried Egg (Kepner Farms). I mean, how could you go wrong!
Quick note, I wanted to point out that we take great pride in letting people know where those ingredients come from. We want to be very transparent and let you into Cheezus and take as much pride eating the sandwiches.
Well we had just moved down from Portland Oregon and started working at restaurants but really wanted to do something that we could call ours. We wanted to take an already existing idea and give it the upgrade that it needed and the one thing we had thought of that really needed it was the grilled cheese sandwich! We are very passionate about eating real food and using only the finest ingredients and just because the grilled cheese sandwich started with Wonder Bread and Kraft Cheese doesn’t mean it needs to stay there. We wanted to be the Lamborghini of grilled cheese sandwiches! Use the best bread, best cheese and best accoutrements that we could source. Now it has morphed into sandwiches inspired by our love of cheese with some other options currently being developed.
Be prepared. Know your costs. And ultimately do something to help the greater good for people. You need to really think about what you are doing and doing something positive for these people in not just taste, but the quality of the food you are sourcing. If you offer food that isn’t helping a person physically, mentally or spiritually then why even do it? Another piece of advice, use what customers know, have it be the best and then use it to help push other products that may be more foreign to people. For example, I can win people over by having a cheddar but not just any cheddar, I have Fiscalini Cheddar who is the only american cheddar that wins at the competitions in London. People know cheddar, taste how good this cheddar, I can know get you hooked on other cheeses that may be a little unfamiliar like Pawlet.
We source our bread from Clark Street Bread located at Grand Central market and he has some of the best bread around town. He uses naturally leavened bread made in the old world style so it tastes great and is great for you! It is the only food that you could only eat for the rest of your life and be fine because it contains all of the minerals, etc. So you can feel good about the bread that we use in our sandwiches.
Well, lets just say I have a cheese guy. Haha! I go through an importer/distributor of gourmet cheeses and other gourmet items. They have been extremely helpful through this process, many higher end restaurants in Los Angeles are going through the same person. I would have to say that Lydia from DTLA Cheese had given me the connection, so if you are wanting to find any cheeses that I use, many of them can be found with Lydia at DTLA Cheese!
We have about 15 different items with usually 1 special. It seems like a lot but I mean cmon, there are so many great options, how could you possibly narrow it down! haha.
Nothing. Well maybe lobbying to be able to drink beer/wine at the farmers market haha! We celebrate such old food like bread, cheese, meat, etc and beer/wine were so important back then as well. Beer & wine go so well with cheese so it pains me to not be able to offer it to drink! Maybe a brick and mortar space will have to happen in the near future… :)