Food Fight: Battle of the Pesto Grilled Cheeses
Who doesn't love grilled cheese? And when it's made with pesto, even better. Crazy thing is, we found two of our favorite Houston lunch spots -- Tiny Boxwood's and Blacksmith Coffee Bar -- making just that.
Tiny's version ain't so tiny...
So obviously, we tried both so you wouldn't have to.
Ladies and gents, prepare for the greatest battle of them all, The Battle of The Pesto Grilled Cheese:
First up: Tiny Boxwood's Grilled Cheese & Pesto $11, served with fries
TB's version comes packed with loads of rich and gooey aged gouda. You need to do a double-take to realize, ah yes, there is some greenery in there, but once you take the first bite, that doubt disappears as the flavors of garlic, fresh basil, and nutty and sharp Parmesan punch through. The sandwich -- made on grilled, just-charred slices of sourdough (perhaps a bit more char next time?) -- comes in three pieces. That must be for maximum dipping ease, because the sandwich is served alongside a sweet, chunky tomato sauce. Oh, and a pile of crisp, shoestring fries for good measure. We suggest ordering a freshly squeezed lemonade, too.
Next up: Blacksmith's Grilled Cheese $8, served with chips or salad
And Blacksmith ain't messin' around either.
Blacksmith's grilled cheese has a similar feel, but their bread is a bit crustier, and griddled entirely (versus just the grill-marked version from Boxwood's). This means there are more chances for the bread to reach that perfect buttery crisp, and more chances for the cheese to melt through and develop a deep, golden brown crust. Again, ours could have been grilled a bit more to really knock our socks off. The pesto is light and fresh, while the oodles of oozing fontina provide that milky, rich flavor. Rumor has it you can add on bacon and an egg, making it perfectly breakfast-appropriate. We're sorry we didn't. May we suggest doing so and ordering one of their excellent cold-brewed iced coffees?
Winner: By a hair, Tiny Boxwood's
If you don't mind the $11 price tag, Tiny Boxwood's grilled cheese takes the cake, but mostly because of the dipping sauce. The marinara provides the ultra-decadent sandwich the little bit of acid needed to cut through the richness. Plus, dipping your fries in marinara is a bonus. In the end, we would have preferred both sandwiches to be a bit crisper and gooey-er. Blacksmith's version was so close, but it would need more acid -- a tomato or perhaps even tomato jam -- to bring home the trophy.