Here at Voracious, we have discussed the McGangBang. We have debated the Double Down, laughed about IHOP's Pancake Stackers and even invented the "Turducklavearken," aka Turducken X-Treme (which is comprised of a chicken inside a duck, inside a turkey, stuffed inside a spring lamb, jammed into a veal calf then roasted inside a whole pig). Now, we have yet another example of what is apparently becoming an American obsession: shoving foods inside other foods.
That picture above? It's of Denny's new Fried Cheese Melt--an "update" to its $2 $4 $6 $8 value menu. And I put quotation marks around "update" because no one has yet invented a punctuation mark meant to express the combination of irony and disappointment that such a development deserves.The sandwich in question is not really all that complicated. It's just four deep-fried mozzarella sticks inside a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, nothing more. And yet, once again, it's getting all kinds of press because people (like me and, apparently, everyone else in the whole fucking food world) are just obsessed with either crying over the culinary End Times being brought on by such calorie-intensive nutritional hand grenades or trying desperately to find ways to do the last digestive nightmare one better by taking some already-bad-for-you food and, I don't know... Making a cheesecake out of it, or crusting it with lard and deep-frying it.
Call it the Double Down Effect: the food marketer's nirvana of finding a product which, either through horror or desire or a combination of both, blows up in the public consciousness and makes news simply by existing. This latest Denny's experiment? It made the CBS Early Show today. A Google search for "Denny's Fried Cheese Melt" returns over 6000 hits. And almost all of the major food blogs have written about it already--most of them expressing (once again) their mock outrage that something like this could ever be done in the land of the Double Down.
But here's the thing... That sandwich? It looks kinda good, doesn't it? Maybe not the Denny's version, necessarily (because, really, Denny's ain't exactly a bastion of culinary excellence or anything), but the idea of it speaks deeply to some basic human need for fried cheese. Because I am a certifiable cheese fanatic, I just can't help but thinking that if it were done differently, somewhere else, by someone else, it might be...delicious--and totally worth whatever caloric damage it might do to my girlish figure.
Like what if it was made with fried Beecher's cheese curds like those served at Steelhead Diner (both places that I have already talked about once today), stuck in a 50/50 mix of Tillamook sharp cheddar (still one of my favorite American cheeses) and a nice aged gouda or gruyere, then grilled between two slices of soft, artisan bread (nothing too heavy or whole wheat-y)? Tell me that wouldn't be one king hell mother of a sandwich.
Any other suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em. Use the comment button below.