Walter Mencken 10 a.m., July 23
$7 Lunch: Venissimo Cheese
I’m what you might call a Cheese Head, for no other reason than that I love cheese. I am not, however, a Fancy Cheese Head. I mean, I do love fancy cheese, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a goat cheese and a sheep cheese or a raw cheese and a pasteurized cheese. One day, perhaps. But not today.
When I wander into Venissimo Cheese in Mission Hills, I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the choices.
Holy abundance of cheeses, Batman!
Luckily, no one else is in the shop and I can ask all the questions I want of Jessica, the oh-so-patient woman behind the counter.
In the end, I ask her to give me the most popular cheese on a French white baguette. (The other bread options are seedy sourdough or ciabatta square, all from Bread & Cie.)
The top seller, Jessica tells me, is Fromager d’Affinois, a French double-cream soft cheese made from cow’s milk ($9.25 per pound).
“Do you want spread?” she asks. “It costs a little bit more.”
By “spread,” she means Dalmatia Fig Spread, and by “a little bit more,” she means it’ll take my lunch from $6.50 to $7.00.
“Bring it on,” I say.
“Apple, grapes, or pear to go with it?” Jessica asks.
I go with the grapes.
Jessica packs it all in a little paper bag with handles and sends me on my way.
Although the lunch begs to be eaten under a tree in the park, I eat it while driving.
I do love a good fig spread, but today it makes the already sweet cheese double sweet, and my sandwich tastes a tad dessert-y for my liking. I’ll stick with the cheese alone next time. And there will be a next time. I’m thinking tomorrow.
Venissimo has four locations, three in San Diego County, and one in Long Beach. The East Village location on G Street has a Panini press and a meat slicer, expanding your lunch choices a bit.
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