Where are all the single dudes? I went to a grilled cheese and beer night at Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica and it was all women. At a GRILLED CHEESE and BEER night! Now, I’m not sad for me, I’m sad for all the single dudes who are missing out on these great opportunities to meet women. And meet women who are into grilled cheese and beer, fer crissakes. The dudes were probably down the street at Father’s Office wondering where all the ladies were.
Anyway, this night’s event was an intimate affair with 20 women…and one couple, sitting around two long tables shoved together in the middle of the cheese shop. Andrew Steiner, cheese guru and owner of Andrew’s Cheese Shop, was charged with filling our bellies with yummy grilled cheese and the goodness of artisanal brew.
The menu took us through five beers and grilled cheese pairs:
- McAdam’s extra sharp cheddar soaked in Miller High Life on top of a seven-grain bread and paired with Corsendonk Apple White
- Lincolnshire Poacher and Quickes oak-smoked cheddar on top of harvest bread and paired with Meantime India Pale Ale
- Pesto, prosciutto, Fontina d’Aosta, Baby Parmigiano on olive bread and paired with La Fin du Monde
- Munster Gerome on a baguette and paired with Allagash Tripel
- Romano, barbecue sauce and Black Forest Ham on Saison and paired with The Bruery’s Black Orchard
They were all tasty to be sure but my fave pairings were the McAdam’s with the Corsendonk which could be enjoyed on a summer’s day as well as the Munster Gerome and Allagash. That beer was divine and so decadent. I also found that I just liked some of the beer alone like La Fin du Monde and the Black Orchard, which I actually first enjoyed at the LACABAL Craft Beer Fest the week before.
Even though the grilled cheese was in fact just melty cheese atop bread and not sandwiches, all five were still enough to sate the hungry. And it didn’t hurt that we were treated to seconds and thirds as the case may be. The beer pours were just as generous. As long as there was a bottle with beer in it, we got extra helpings.
Andrew was a great host, though — funny, exuberant and knowledgeable. He moved us through the pairings with ease and kept the gaggles of girlfriends entertained.
After the last pairing was served, a lot of us girls shopped the gourmet foods on the shelves (Saltistry salts, Dry Soda, Fran’s Chocolates) as well as perused the cheese cases. I couldn’t resist a $10 5-ounce can of Squirrel Brand creme brulee flavored almonds. I know, but I just had to have it. The girls behind the counter had treated us to a sample and once I had that taste of sweet creme in my mouth, I didn’t want it to leave.
And of course while I was here, I couldn’t say no to a rope of the mozzarella cheese made fresh every Wednesday. It’s $9 a pound but fortunately Tiny Nancer split it with me. We also scored a sample of balsamic reduction to drizzle on it. FYI, this was tasty stuff in a sandwich with some tomatoes and basil.
Speaking of sandwiches, the cheese shop has a selection of seven or so ($9 each), from a prosciutto sandwich with sliced pear, honey mustard, shaved asparagus and St. Agur blue cheese to a smoked salmon one with roasted peppers, pesto, capers, red onion and Bellwether Farms creme fraiche.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy beer or wine here yet but Andrew is working on getting the permit. Once that happens, this will be the perfect one-stop shopping place for a chill gourmet night in.
If you want to sign up for the grilled cheese night ($35 a person) or even the Cheese 101 class ($25 a person), go to the cheese shop’s Web site and add your name to the mailing list to be notified of upcoming events.
Andrew’s Cheese Shop
728 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90403 (map)