Celebrating all things cheesy, we attended our first Grilled Cheese Invitational this past weekend on April 28th! We arrived at the Rose Bowl on a hot, sunny afternoon and were greeted with free event parking, which LA natives know is pretty much unheard of! After a short walk to the gate, the first thing we noticed was the huge line of tables on both sides of the stage filled with grilled cheese sandwich experts crafting their cheesy creations. There were multiple heats throughout the afternoon, with four different classes of competition with their own unique restrictions on ingredients. In front of the chefs, festival goers who opted for a judging pass were able to taste test the competing sandwiches and vote for their favorite ones. Unfortunately, judging passes were sold out when we bought our tickets but we highly recommend opting for this if not competing, because you get to be part of the action! Nonetheless, we decided to check out what else the festival had to offer.
For those not part of the judging, there were dozens of vendors and food trucks offering their unique versions of the grilled cheese. A couple of the most popular were the Grilled Cheese Truck, with its signature BBQ pulled pork melt, and Rebel Bite’s marinated short rib grilled cheese.
The Grilled Cheese Invitational’s cheese sponsor, Cabot Creamery, had a tent that offered free grilled cheese sandwiches on a rotating menu featuring their different cheeses all day long as well as free samples of cubes of various cheeses. We grabbed a pepper jack and sharp cheddar sandwich and decided to head to the beer garden to escape the heat!
The beer garden consisted of about ten different breweries, many of them local, with brews on tap for $5. Honestly, on this hot day, nothing tasted better than a creamy, spicy pepper jack grilled cheese with an ice cold pale ale! We hung out for a bit and listened to a bagpipe marching band pass as it made its way through the festival grounds.
All in all, the Grilled Cheese Invitational offered a relaxed atmosphere that never seemed overly crowded. A couple of the lines for vendor food were pretty long, but there was enough free cheese offered to satisfy your appetite. If you love cheese, our recommendation is to go for the judging portion, unless of course you are competing instead!
PiiQ’d by David
~Oh and by the way, we just started a PiiQ page on Facebook so go check us out, thanks!