Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Ploughman's ten-year-old lunch at The Headquarters

Old cheese is good cheese at Venissimo

My Hook's cheddar
My Hook's cheddar
Place

Venissimo at The Headquarters

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

What's the best lunch deal at The Headquarters downtown?

Four slabs of ancient cheese in a stretch of crunchy baguette and a fresh pear for $6.50.

That's a deal? You betcha. Those four golden slabs happen to be worth $15 on their own. This is Hook's Cheddar, from Wisconsin, the most expensive cheese in the store.

We're at Venissimo. Basically they sell cheeses from around the world, but they also make little meals up for you too. Like cheese sandwiches ($6.50), panini ($7.50), $10 cheese plates or $15 fondues for two (except you've got to find somewhere to cook it up yourself).

But this deal of deals is hidden in the sandwich choices. They have four items:

"The sweet: double cream brie and fig jam."

"The savory: tangy cheddar and spicy apple garlic jam."

"The nutty: famous gruyère + red onion confit."

Gwen, Michelle

Or — and here is the jewel — "The Independent: Any cheese on any bread."

Hmm. Now that really got my attention, last time I was here.

"Any cheese?" I asked Rob Graff, the guy serving me (and also Venissimo's "Academy of Cheese" manager),

"Any cheese."

"And still $6.50?"

"Of course. That's the deal."

He told me they rotate hundreds of cheeses from a total stock of around 2,000, so, wow.

Last time I was here I went for a beautifully sharp, rich bûcherondin cheese (from the Loire Valley in France). This also was a deal, because the bûcherondin goes for $22.70lb.

But when I asked what the most expensive danged cheese in his whole shop was, he didn't hesitate. "Hook's Cheddar, from Wisconsin," he said. "Ten years aged. It gets sharper in taste with age. And more crunchy little calcium crystals. The fifteen year is even sharper, and even more expensive. We don't stock that one. The ten year goes for $40 a pound."

I knew then I had to come back. See if he was good to his word.

So today's the day. But actually, it's Gwen and Michelle behind the counter.

They tell me most folks ask for a gouda or a nice soft brie when they have a choice.

"So you have to choose what bread, fruit, and cheese you want. What would you like?" says Michelle.

"Uh, the pear, the baguette, and for the cheese, do you have the cheddar, the, uh, Hook's Cheddar from Wisconsin?"

The $6.50 deal

There' s no hesitation, no expression like, "So you're trying to take advantage with this $40 cheese, put us out of business?"

"Not a problem," says Michelle, and Gwen goes off to find the big yellow brick and cut four thick slices off it.

I take it out to the nearest table, along with a 99-cent Arizona Tea fruit punch I was slurping when I came in.

I spread everything out, and start off with a chomp into the cheese. Hmm. It's fruity sharp. Deep yellow gold. But what's really delicious is the crunchy crystals. Gwen told me they're tyrosine. Now I'm out here I look them up. Huh. Says here they make you feel happy. Produce adrenaline, dopamine, all those feel-good neurotransmitters. Now I've got to eat it. The day's happy pill. I stick the cheese back in the bread, and have at it, with side-bites of pear.

But would you call this a meal? Four slices of this stuff gives the protein for all the rest. And yes, you can tell it's aged. Has that, not moldy, but, well, venerable flavor that counters the sharpness and those crystals. Whatever, together, they're more than enough.

And, natch, doesn't hurt that you know you're biting into the bargain of the decade.

(Venissimo holds all kinds of cheese classes, including pairing with wines, beers, even whiskeys. Also, how to make your own.)

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Essential views in Del Mar

City council retreats on plan to suspend complaints
My Hook's cheddar
My Hook's cheddar
Place

Venissimo at The Headquarters

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

What's the best lunch deal at The Headquarters downtown?

Four slabs of ancient cheese in a stretch of crunchy baguette and a fresh pear for $6.50.

That's a deal? You betcha. Those four golden slabs happen to be worth $15 on their own. This is Hook's Cheddar, from Wisconsin, the most expensive cheese in the store.

We're at Venissimo. Basically they sell cheeses from around the world, but they also make little meals up for you too. Like cheese sandwiches ($6.50), panini ($7.50), $10 cheese plates or $15 fondues for two (except you've got to find somewhere to cook it up yourself).

But this deal of deals is hidden in the sandwich choices. They have four items:

"The sweet: double cream brie and fig jam."

"The savory: tangy cheddar and spicy apple garlic jam."

"The nutty: famous gruyère + red onion confit."

Gwen, Michelle

Or — and here is the jewel — "The Independent: Any cheese on any bread."

Hmm. Now that really got my attention, last time I was here.

"Any cheese?" I asked Rob Graff, the guy serving me (and also Venissimo's "Academy of Cheese" manager),

"Any cheese."

"And still $6.50?"

"Of course. That's the deal."

He told me they rotate hundreds of cheeses from a total stock of around 2,000, so, wow.

Last time I was here I went for a beautifully sharp, rich bûcherondin cheese (from the Loire Valley in France). This also was a deal, because the bûcherondin goes for $22.70lb.

But when I asked what the most expensive danged cheese in his whole shop was, he didn't hesitate. "Hook's Cheddar, from Wisconsin," he said. "Ten years aged. It gets sharper in taste with age. And more crunchy little calcium crystals. The fifteen year is even sharper, and even more expensive. We don't stock that one. The ten year goes for $40 a pound."

I knew then I had to come back. See if he was good to his word.

So today's the day. But actually, it's Gwen and Michelle behind the counter.

They tell me most folks ask for a gouda or a nice soft brie when they have a choice.

"So you have to choose what bread, fruit, and cheese you want. What would you like?" says Michelle.

"Uh, the pear, the baguette, and for the cheese, do you have the cheddar, the, uh, Hook's Cheddar from Wisconsin?"

The $6.50 deal

There' s no hesitation, no expression like, "So you're trying to take advantage with this $40 cheese, put us out of business?"

"Not a problem," says Michelle, and Gwen goes off to find the big yellow brick and cut four thick slices off it.

I take it out to the nearest table, along with a 99-cent Arizona Tea fruit punch I was slurping when I came in.

I spread everything out, and start off with a chomp into the cheese. Hmm. It's fruity sharp. Deep yellow gold. But what's really delicious is the crunchy crystals. Gwen told me they're tyrosine. Now I'm out here I look them up. Huh. Says here they make you feel happy. Produce adrenaline, dopamine, all those feel-good neurotransmitters. Now I've got to eat it. The day's happy pill. I stick the cheese back in the bread, and have at it, with side-bites of pear.

But would you call this a meal? Four slices of this stuff gives the protein for all the rest. And yes, you can tell it's aged. Has that, not moldy, but, well, venerable flavor that counters the sharpness and those crystals. Whatever, together, they're more than enough.

And, natch, doesn't hurt that you know you're biting into the bargain of the decade.

(Venissimo holds all kinds of cheese classes, including pairing with wines, beers, even whiskeys. Also, how to make your own.)

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Unemployment leads to Ocean Beach baking

The bread man
Next Article

The Tobacconist: Stogie story

His job is to sell pleasure and desire, cigars “hand-rolled tenderly by beautiful women on their thighs.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close