A Quest to find Mom’s Grilled Cheese in MKE

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A Quest to find Mom’s Grilled Cheese in MKE

For some, grilled cheese served as a childhood staple that could be varied from meal to meal.

For some, grilled cheese served as a childhood staple that could be varied from meal to meal.

Photo by Claire Gallagher

For some, grilled cheese served as a childhood staple that could be varied from meal to meal.

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Photo by Claire Gallagher

For some, grilled cheese served as a childhood staple that could be varied from meal to meal.

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What does home taste like?

For some, it’s a family recipe. For others, it’s food from a restaurant they regularly visit. Comfort food — whether it’s a full healthy meal, a greasy appetizer or even a big bowl of cereal — offers a feeling of contentment and consolation.

For me, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich. Preferably, it’s made by my mom.

A pretzel bread grilled cheese reminds me of every childhood birthday meal spent in a restaurant, ordering it with a side of fries or soup. Gooey, melted cheese between two slabs of warm carbs — you can’t go wrong.

I ventured out to a few of Milwaukee’s most popular destinations to find where I can taste the best grilled cheese that brings me back, the meal that melts my heart the way the warmth from the toaster grill does to the cheese. If I’m lucky, I’ll even find one that beats the sandwich straight from my kitchen. Sorry, mom.

Comet Café: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

For $9, the grilled cheese came on sourdough bread with American, mozzarella and provolone cheeses with a side of hand-cut fries and tomato soup. The menu offered customizable options of tomatoes for $1, bacon for $2 or ham for $3, but I opted for the standard cheese and bread.

Served on a bed of fries with a small cup of soup on the side, the grilled cheese was buttery and had a nice crispy crunch. The hand-cut fries were delicious; not too salty and had a nice, full potato-y flavor. The soup felt vaguely healthy, with small chunks of tomato.

Overall, the Comet Café grilled cheese, fries and tomato soup is hearty and filling and reminds me why I used to exclusively order a grilled cheese at nearly every restaurant I went to.

Rating: 7.5/10

Ma Fischer’s: Double Decker Grilled Cheese

The Double Decker Grilled Cheese is the size of one-and-a-half standard grilled cheeses: bread-cheese-bread-cheese-bread. It comes with a side of fries, coleslaw, a pickle and a cup of soup. There were two soups of the day, but neither were tomato, so I did not get the soup with the sandwich.

Besides the bonus cheese and bread, the grilled cheese is pretty basic. It is standard white bread with American cheese and reminds me of most grilled cheese sandwiches I would order off the kid’s menu; the double-decker factor did allow for more fluffiness and surface area of cheese. Was it worth the added calories? Probably. But I would rather have had more cheese than extra bread.

Personally, I’m not a fan of coleslaw, but I loved the big juicy dill pickle spear and crispy french fries. I dipped both my fries and sandwich in ketchup and felt very much like a 12-year-old.

The grilled cheese itself is good, but not extraordinary. However, I love Ma Fischer’s and definitely plan to go back. I might choose pancakes next time, though.

Rating: 6/10

The Soup Market (in the Milwaukee Public Market): Three Cheese Melt (with cup of Vegetarian Tomato Bisque)

As a child, I was especially picky with my soups and while I am significantly less now, I do not typically go out of my way to eat soup. Even most of the grilled cheese sandwiches I ate growing up were not paired with tomato soup and were instead dipped in ketchup.

I order the three-cheese melt and a cup of the vegetarian tomato bisque. The sandwich is actually not listed on the public market’s menu; I had seen the grilled cheese on a menu online. However, I ask about the three-cheese melt and the worker behind the counter said they had them available.

For $6.89, the three-cheese melt came with swiss, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses on French bread and is larger than my face. The 8-ounce cup of soup for $4.59 added expense to the meal, but the pairing is too good to pass up.

The Soup Market’s three-cheese melt was delicious. The French bread is crisp and flaky and the mixture of the three cheeses left a gooey inside with a slight deliciously greasy, buttery coating. I know this is a review focused on grilled cheese, but the tomato bisque was equally delicious. The creamy, flavorful soup was the perfect pairing.

It may have been that, on this particular day, the weather was chilly and overcast, and I had a very long week recovering from a cold, but the warmth of this sandwich and soup filled me with comfort and love, and it is one of the best meals I have had in a long time.

Rating: 9/10

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