Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grilled cheese sandwich

Eastside Road, Healdsburg, Nov. 29—
HOME AT LAST, and to stay for a few months. Breakfast was at the motel, an English muffin and bad coffee: but second breakfast: now that was a real treat. Mix is one of those unexpected, undeserved gifts that fall like a miracle from the gods on high. It has the best coffee between Portland and San Francisco, and the best bread and pastry too, and probably the best ice cream, though nine o'clock on a frigid morning is not the time to put that matter to the test.

I was content with a plain croissant, as they called it, though there was nothing plain about it. The surface was crisp and buttery; the interior that curious merging of flaky pastry and real substance that only a perfectly proofed croissant can give you. There's nothing better than a really good croissant, and few things rarer: but you can count on Mix to provide one, every time. And the coffee…

Oh: and their echt Parisian sandwiches, nothing but sweet boiled ham on buttered baguette, the butter infused with just a touch of thyme. We got one of those for the road.

Dinner at home: grilled cheese sandwich, broccoli, green salad. The sandwich was simple: layers of Abondance cheese that we'd bought a few weeks ago at the Kaasplank in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, because we saw it when we went there for nagelkaas, and ever since walking through Haute Savoie among the bespectacled Abondance cows I've loved that cheese, a floral and subtle French take on Fontina or Bel Paese; layers of Abondance, I say, between slices of Ken's version of levain, bought in a three-pound boule in Portland yesterday, and toasted in the black iron frying pan on the wood stove…

The cheese had been vacuum-packed for its flight. When I cut the package open tonight I found inside, nestled against the cheese, a minutely folded, colorful, apparently very special plastic bag to put the cheese in for its storage. Kaasspecialezak, the bag gaily trumpeted in orange script: cheese special sack. We'll see how it works.
Cheap Pinot grigio

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