Grilled Cheese Sammy at Hog Island Oyster Bar

by foodhoe on April 19, 2009

Ferry Building, San Francisco | 415.391.7117 | website
previous visits 2.17.07; 7.26.07; numerous posts about the oysters

Does the milk taste good? asked her grandfather.

I never drank such good milk, said the child.

Then you must have more, said he, and filled the mug again quite to the top, and placed it before the child, who was eating hot bread, spread thickly with the hot cheese, which was like butter from the heat and tasted delicious.  She now and then drank her milk and looked meanwhile perfectly happy.

except from Heidi, by Johanna Spyri published in 1915.

This was one of my favorite books as a child growing up, containing action, adventure, sublime drama and some of the most glowing descriptions of simple meals ever.

I had a predictably pavlovian response when I heard that it’s National Grilled Cheese Month, which I guess some marketing firm decided was a good sensible meal to push during the first two weeks of April because those who owe money for taxes have to send off the dreaded payment, leaving the coffers bare and so we must dine on comfort food, and cheap too.  Everyone loves grilled cheese sandwiches, and Kraft is offering the chance to win a free pack of Kraft Singles. Visit to tell the world why grilled cheese makes you smile and you’re entered. Each week, 500 winners are chosen at random. Talk about marketing, they’re even sponsoring the 2nd annual Grilled Cheese Invitational later this month in L.A.

Mister K makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich which I am compelled to have accompanied by a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, but I was at work when the craving hit.  Fortunately, I am walking distance to the Ferry Building, which offers every possible delight for a hungry person.

I had the most satisfying lunch ever at Hog Island oyster bar (menu), which serves an awesome grilled cheese sandwich!

The version served is more like the Swiss Raclette, and you have to at least look at this post to get what I mean, unless you are Swiss and know about it…  I found a recipe here, although when I saw the amount of cheese and butter, I decided it’s better to get this at a restaurant where we can claim we don’t know what goes into the sandwich, just that it tastes good.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fromage Blanc, Mezzo Seco & Cave Aged Gruyere served with house made pickled vegetables ($12). The cheese is mixed with fresh herbs and oozes out of the perfectly crusty Acme ciabatta bread.  I loved the acidity of the crisp pickled spring carrot and crunchy fennel that had a hint of cumin.  It was a delightful combination, the only thing missing was a bit of mustard maybe…

Since I had to go back to work, I didn’t have a nice glass of wine or beer, but I should have asked for a hot herbal tea to help warm me up rather than the iced tea because it chilled me to the bone and I could have suffered from cheese balls!  According to fxcuisine, Valaisian parents tell their children that ‘If you drink something cold with raclette, it will turn the cheese into a hard ball in your stomach and you’ll be sickAlcohol prevents the formation of the ball in your stomach’.  At this time of year, the outside dining area was still in shade and a little bit on the cold side.

But the walk back to the office along the water was in the bright spring sun and I enjoyed it very much.

In parting to my ode to the grilled cheese sandwich, I’d like to include a link to the infamous Food and Wine article about the cheese sandwich blog and the bloggers response for your entertainment.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

mark April 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I just went on a day trip up to Hog Island’s headquarters in Marshall, CA…good thing I picked the windiest day of the year to do it!

marks last blog post..lemon basil oil


grace April 20, 2009 at 7:50 am

i do love a good grilled cheese, and i think this one certainly falls into that category. that combination of cheeses sounds fantastic, and i love crispy ciabatta. yum.

graces last blog post..birthdays and broiled bliss


Rosa April 20, 2009 at 9:17 am

A great grille sandwich, market and view! I’m jealous ;-P!




The Single Guy April 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

That’s funny that a place that sells raw oyster would think to offer grilled cheese sandwiches on their menu! 🙂 I never grew up with grilled cheese sandwich since cheese isn’t a main ingredient in Chinese homes, but I do like any grilled sandwich with some kind of cheese. But not just cheese by itself. I have yet to try that American craze. I do love your photos of the cheese sandwich. I can almost see the cheese melting.

The Single Guys last blog post..Batter Up: Tres Agave at AT&T Park


Gastronomer April 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Cheese balls sound painful 😉 I’ll be heading to the Grilled Cheese Invitational this weekend. I’ll be thinking about you Foodhoe.

Gastronomers last blog post..Jim ‘N Nick’s Cheese Biscuits


foodhoe April 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

mark, I love going up to the farm, but not so much in the wind… too bad
grace, yes very good and gooey, much better than Kraft cheese!
rosa, we are mutually jealous of the views we each have!
single guy, thanks. I think that most people like to fill up with a well rounded meal… it would take many dozen oysters to fill me up! The cheese was all cow girl creamery and what a fantastic sandwich it was…
gastronomer, ooh I’m jealous! be sure to have wine with all that cheese


Cookie April 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Wow, I never knew Hog Island made anything besides oysters! I guess I love their bread too so it only makes sense that they make grilled cheese. MUM…imagine those with some hot sauce!

Cookies last blog post..I’m the Next Platinum Chef!


Su-Lin April 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Oh, now that’s another book that I’ve not read…and you’ve given me all the more reason to read it!

Nice grilled cheese!

Su-Lins last blog post..Roasted Artichokes


Tu Cong Van April 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Very impressive photos. Can I have 1 grilled cheese sandwiche please 🙂

Tu Cong Vans last blog post..Cooking Class


Melissa April 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

What beautiful photos! That grilled cheese looked rather special. Tasty.


Faine G April 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I think the combination of grilled cheese sandwiches and fresh oysters sounds divine, although I had never thought of it before. Those photos are worthy of framing I think, perhaps as an example for all eternity as what a grilled cheese should be.

Velveeta grilled cheese: have their place, never-ever, guilty pleasure…?

Faine Gs last blog post..Miners: Winston Salem New Southern Cuisine


foodhoe April 22, 2009 at 11:18 am

cookie, they have a bunch of other stuff – all delicious too
su-lin, it’s such a sweet story that shirley temple starred in a long time ago!
tu cong van, thanks for visiting!
melissa, thanks and yes I’m already craving another one
faine g, yeah that would have been better, next time! ya know, I’m about to go track down one of the american style grilled cheese sammy…


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