National Grilled Cheese Day

Did you know that Saturday, April 12th was National Grilled Cheese Day? Incidentally, we decided to take an impromptu road trip to Columbus, OH just for this very food item. We were floating around a couple of ideas of what to do with our day, but we knew we wanted to start with breakfast at the Taste of Belgium at The Friendly Market in Florence, KY.  This is a fairly new market, definitely not as big as Findlay Market in Cincinnati.  We've been to the downtown location of Taste of Belgium for brunch, and I've been meaning to get back because the Belgian Toasts I had were amazing. They have a more limited menu at their market locations, but I was plenty satisfied with this delicious Banana & Nutella Waffle.
Taste of Belgium Florence, KY Banana and Nutella Waffle
After our breakfast stop, we decided to head up to Columbus, which is less than a couple-hour drive from Cincinnati. We had yet to visit the capital of the state we now call home, so of course I was excited to see some place new. We first stopped at this cute Topiary Garden, which features a topiary interpretation of George Seurat's Post-Impressionist painting 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte'.
Topiary Garden
It is just barely spring (we even had snow on the ground yesterday!), so the plants weren't entirely green and full, but it was still a neat place to visit.
Topiary Garden
And then it was time to get our grilled cheese on!
Melt Bar & Grilled
Tom + Chee, home of the grilled cheese donut and a local favorite of mine, had posted an article on their Facebook page, 5 of America's Most Over-The-Top Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, which of course featured themselves on the list as well as Melt Bar & Grilled. Since this was the only other restaurant in Ohio on the list, I was ready for a visit asap.  And you know how sometimes, you get all hyped up for a place that ultimately fails to deliver? Or is it just me? Maybe I just have a problem with managing my expectations? Ah, well, anyways...this place was damn good. Like to the point where Francisco said this could be our new Chicago Diner. Chicago Diner has long held the title of our fave restaurant, and we would occasionally make the 4-hour round trip drive just to have lunch there.

Melt has received its share of national attention - and for good reason because they are doing amazing things with food. They offer a standard menu of outrageous grilled cheese along with special features. It was such a tough call, especially since nearly everything can be made vegetarian. I ended up going with the 2 Bagger, the featured sandwich for the second week of April. Sausage, sweet barbecue sauce, cole slaw, fries, and cheddar cheese all come together to make one amazing sandwich. Francisco went with the Cleveland Cheese Steak, which was also crazy tasty.  
Melt Bar & Grilled
We had started our meal with an order of Hangover Fries, which was basically their take on poutine. Tasty, but I would have preferred more cheese curds. We usually have a ton piled on when we make poutine at home.  (We really love our cheese!)
Even though we were crazy full at this point, I couldn't resist insisting that we walk back a couple of blocks to visit Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. I have actually picked up a pint of Jeni's ice cream locally and had no idea that they had scoop shops.  The line for this place was out the door, but it was sooo worth the wait. We sampled a couple of flavors and ultimately ended up with a scoop of Brown Butter Almond Brittle and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries. OMG, this was possibly the best ice cream ever?
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Haha, I think our only regret for this little trip was not bringing a cooler so we could have brought goodies home with us!


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