Will the US flip for grilled cheese?

the gorilla cheese bus, new york city

So, what do you do when you invent a successful tech product and sell it for a bag of bucks? Why, start a grilled cheese restaurant, of course. According to the New York Times, Jonathan Kaplan, founder of the company that created the popular Flip camera and then sold it to Cisco for $590 million, plans to open 500 grilled cheese restaurants by 2015.

Kaplan plans to call the chain The Melt, and it will offer soup with the sandwiches. Customers will order from their smart phones, then they will receive QR barcodes (those little square things that look like the snow on a broken TV set). They’ll hold the codes up to a scanner when they arrive to pick up their orders. What you’re supposed to do if you possess a phone that is merely above average, I don’t know.

Grilled cheese is looking like the next cupcake in the world of food fads. The Grilled Cheese Bus is starting up in Durham, N.C., and I dined on a grilled cheese on challah with prosciutto and gruyere from the Gorilla Cheese Bus in New York recently.

Food news roundup

Andrea Weigl’s column in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) explores the fact that the Community Supported Fisheries delivery she signed up for has not been exactly upfront about some of its offerings not coming from North Carolina waters.  Read more here. Weigl believes the misinformation wasn’t intentional. But it raises an issue that has been in the back of my mind. Now that “eat local” has become so popular, some people may begin to view it as a profitable marketing tool. At the moment, consumers must trust restaurants, stores, etc., that the items touted as locally caught or grown actually were. Eaters should continue to ask questions, educate themselves about what is in season and when in North Carolina, and get to know farmers, chefs and producers.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer examines how Target’s touted low grocery prices really stack up. Grab your cart and head here.

If it’s not hot enough for you right now, fire up some Hot and Sour Soup from Cary’s Super Wok. The recipe is in the Independent Weekly (Durham. N.C.) here.

NestMeg begins exploring German food after producing a truckload of cupcakes.

For generations in North Carolina, ramps were something you ate because you were desperate for something green after the cold winter, and it was an excuse for a festival that drew political candidates and moonshine. Now, ramps are haute. They were all over Manhattan menus when I was there a few weeks ago. Now, LeitesCulinaria urges us to pickle them. In ‘shine, perhaps?

A video of two top New Orleans chefs making crab and corn bisque is a hoot. It’s at the Times-Picayune, here.

And this has nothing to do with food, but y’all should read it. It’s the blog by Scott Huler, North Carolina’s Piedmont Laureate, here. This one is about little league baseball, but the blog is usually on just about anything. See it here.