The great grilled cheese off

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(Photo by Natalie Sealover)

When you walk into Circe’s Grotto Café, you’ll be greeted by the smell of fresh baguettes and the sound of Mumford and Sons playing in the background. The quiet chatter of studying students may surround you as you find a table, but most of the noise will be coming from the vibrant staff diligently crafting your meal. On the other hand, if you stroll into Persimmon, you’re greeted by the hustle and bustle of a café combined with a laundromat. Conversations bounce off the walls, coming from gregarious college students, the staff is always around for a little small-talk as well. Circe’s Grotto and Persimmon boast different vibes, but they do have one very important thing in common — they make outstanding grilled cheese sandwiches.

While Persimmon and Circe’s Grotto each have stellar qualifications — and fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches, I set out on a quest to find out whose version of grilled cheese reigned supreme — in my opinion.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a quintessential part of a college student’s meal plan. The go-to comfort food is desperately desired during periods of stress, such as finals week. When you’re craving a little piece of your childhood and wishing dropping out was an option, your grilled cheese game has to be on point. Although some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches are ones that are sloppily made after late nights on the town, sometimes you deserve a little special treatment. That’s where Circe’s Grotto and Persimmon come in. With huge popularity on campus, both these restaurants are perfect places to grab a fantastic sandwich.

Circe’s Grotto owner and operator Nick Stella described his menu as a combination of “fast food with good, basic wholesome fresh food.” They aim to provide customers with a “down-home comfort sandwich.”

Persimmon owner Robert Cassi explained that their use of all-natural and organic ingredients is a major part of crafting their sandwiches. “Persimmon is about quality and service first,” he stated.

Circe’s grilled cheese did not disappoint. Stella described his Circe’s-style grilled cheese as a “combination of two good, medium bodied, flavored cheeses with a sweet tomato and thick slices of creamy avocado.” Although the cheese itself tasted a little bland, the combination of tomato and guacamole gave a burst of flavor. This sandwich also has a satisfying crunch to it, making every bite as enjoyable as the last.  An added addition is the aesthetic of the sandwich. It literally looks too good to eat — this is an Instagram friendly plate.

Persimmon’s adult grilled cheese was surprisingly good. With smoked gouda, sharp cheddar cheese, prosciutto and granny smith apples, Cassi “wanted something with a little more flavor.” The combination of salty prosciutto contrasting with sweet apples does the trick. This sandwich melts in your mouth, with gooey cheese providing an intense flavor. It is the ideal comfort food sandwich. My favorite part has to be the green apples. That first taste of apple mixed into the sandwich is what takes it from above average to exceptional. The amount of flavor this sandwich has may be too sophisticated for a child, it truly is adults only.

Both sandwiches offer more than your typical cheese-on-bread grilled cheese, and although both sandwiches were outstanding, Persimmon’s ultimately came out the winner due to the combination of bursting flavors. The blend of cheeses itself was perfectly balanced, and adding in the apples and prosciutto made it a 10/10.

*This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of The Yard.

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