Monday, April 29, 2013

Having a Meltdown

I have always believed that I share a poetic soul with Flo Rida.

In truth, we have very little in common. Unlike Flo, I have never studied international business management at the University of Nevada. And he (one must assume) has never purchased a Groupon for laser hair removal.

And yet...Ohhh, sometimes I get a good feeling. I get a feeling that I never, never, never had before.

And that feeling is either the result of paying someone to aim lasers at my body in an undeniably first-world quest to never shave my underarms again, or the feeling that floods my heart when I see THIS:

Quite simply, "a dude hanging out of a truck holding food."

I recently spent several days in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The impression that these sister cities leave is a green one. I mean that non-metaphorically. It is literally very very green everywhere. The feeling of a city carved out of the emerald green heart of a forest is a wonderful one, and certainly the polar opposite of Los Angeles.

I was lucky enough to tour the beautiful Asiatic gardens at Duke University, and walking through its peaceful symmetry I was struck with the unfamiliar feeling that there was an alarming amount of photosynthesis going on around me. The air so clean, you could see why anyone would have happily trundled a tubercular mother or wife off to breathe such luxury oxygen.

The other color you must experience when in Raleigh is ORANGE. As in the Tang-hued American Meltdown truck, which taps into the basic carnal human need to eat melty ooozey gooey things. To pull a sandwich away from one's face slowly, in order to preserve the stretch of creamy cheese from lips to bread.

There's a reason grilled cheese is the penultimate comfort food. This is a sandwich you interact with. You crunch it down, consider the best corner to start with, bite with intention, and lean back to watch the special effect you have created.

Many times I will visit a truck, order what I want, eat it, and check that truck off the list. Not so with American Meltdown. I would easily return and try everything, one by one. This is a menu designed with your moods and mouths in mind. There is a sandwich here for every one of you, and on any day you might face.

Need a vacation? The Orchard, with sautéed apples and sliced ham melted into cheddar cheese on crispy Italian bread is what you want. A departure from everyday life.

Feeling fancy? I had the Pigs 'N' Figs with local goat cheese, figs, balsamic reduction, and a sheet of speck. The tart cheese was luxurious, and softened the natural graininess of the chewy fig. Btw speck is juniper-scented magic, and if you are unfamiliar with it or have never had it before, just buy it and put it on everything. Salt-cured ham is cool like that.

The Beer& Bacon Melt puts robust cheddar, bacon, and arugula on sourdough. This one is for when you feel tavern-y, like cozying up with your thoughts or friends someplace dark and old. This is a sandwich full of big flavors, every bite balanced and delicious, and above all hearty.


This is the kind of food you have once, and crave forever. Go to Raleigh. Breathe the good air, and eat a grilled cheese sandwich.
Let your Flo Show.


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