At the end of my summer vacation I fell and broke my dominant wrist in 12 places, so finding food to eat gracefully with my left hand hasn’t been easy. One afternoon on the way home from the doctor, my husband suggested we stop somewhere for lunch. I really wasn’t in the mood until he pulled in front of a small restaurant in Del Mar Heights called Grater Grilled Cheese.
3545 Del Mar Heights Road, C6, Carmel Valley
Grilled cheese sandwiches were one of the first things I learned to make for myself as a latchkey kid growing up in the 70s, so I managed to be slightly enthusiastic about the place. We walked into the bright and cheery bistro and placed our order with one of the owners, Gaston Corbala, who told us his business had started as a food truck and now they have three locations and another in the works. I found it all interesting, but my wrist hurt and I was hungry. I just wanted to bite into a grilled cheese sandwich.
There are plenty of options on the menu, and you can create your own, but I went with the Grater Grilled cheese signature sandwich, with five cheeses, Applewood bacon arugula , caramelized onions, and smoked jalapenos. My husband, who’d been my nurse for two months, decided he deserved the lobster grilled cheese made from butter-fried lobster, Krab, and Sierra Nevada pale ale aioli.
We sat down and watched students from nearby Torrey Pines High School pick up their orders, business men in suits carrying out sacks of grilled cheese sandwiches, and ladies who lunch, drinking wine and delicately eating the cheesy sandwiches.
What I loved about my sandwich, besides the grilled sourdough bread, were the cheeses— goat, three kinds of cheddar, and Gorgonzola — it cried out for a cup of their creamy basil tomato bisque, but I knew my left hand wasn’t up to reaching my mouth.
My husband took a bite of his lobster grilled cheese and butter ran down his wrists. He took another bite and then smiled.
“Okay, there’s the lobster,” he said.
We had ordered the Pomme Frites with truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. It came in a silver bucket and we chowed the hot crisp French fries that we first dipped in the house ketchup.
When we left the restaurant I smiled for what seemed like the first time in a month.