Perhaps it started with Campanile's Grilled Cheese Night on Thursdays years ago. This high-end restaurant (which would otherwise never serve the likes of grilled cheese in their gourmet menu) even claims to be the first to hype grilled cheese in Los Angeles. It was a hit with celebs like Reese Witherspoon and written up in all the glossies. Soon other restaurants followed, like Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica, making a high-end grilled cheese with brie and apples. I liked it, but it wasn't classic enough to bring on childhood nostalgia. I think the cheese needs to be yellow-orange for me to get that warm fuzzy feeling.
Then came the Grilled Cheese Truck which is known to have Twitter stalkers all over Los Angeles and lines around the block. This month, waiters at the OK! Magazine party were passing around mini grilled cheese sandwiches on silver platters.
But now, people are going beyond just grilled cheese. They are offering the whole package. Grub in Hollywood is known for making comfort food chic, and they came up with the After School Special; a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Their buttery sandwich and all-natural soup laced with tarragon made me feel all cuddly.
So far, my very favorite grilled cheese with tomato soup combo (and there are plenty of places to choose from now) is at The Bowery on Sunset in Hollywood. While known for their craft beers and burgers, their crisp and gooey grilled cheese sandwich is pure comfort. And their tomato soup is creamy like a bisque, topped with a piece of toasted baguette smothered in herbed goat cheese. It's enough to make me wish it were raining in our city of eternal sunshine.