A peanut butter and jelly mozzarella grilled cheese
4871-B Newport Ave, San Diego
It’s been over six years since I started encountered a booth slinging memorable grilled cheese sandwiches at local farmers markets. Back then, Zach Heinz and his then girlfriend Kate Uhle were operating the Mad Munch Grilled Cheezers Co. part time, on top of their day jobs. But in the past few years the now-married couple has made the business their main gig. And effective last summer, Mad Munch got a place of its own, on Newport Avenue.
A baked potato with all the fixins, but in grilled sandwich form
It’s a fitting location for a grilled cheese business that seemed most at home at the OB Farmers market. Just a small counter shop next door to OB Hardware, the fixed location Mad Munch offers two dozen different takes on the grilled cheese, including daily specials and weekend breakfast sandwiches.
A small shop tucked into Newport Avenue
Purists will find a straight up melted cheese sandwich, the O.B. Cheezer (7), blending cheddar, colby jack, and mozzarella, grilled on sourdough with a seasoned compound butter. But what mad Munch is known for kicking this classic version up a notch by adding all kinds of cheese-friendly ingredients, including but not limited to pickle chips, avocado, roast beef, and mashed potatoes.
Just a counter and limited seating, but a step up from farmers markets.
As I learned while visiting the shop, cheese-friendly ingredients can include peanut butter and raspberry jam. At least, they join mozzarella on the After School Special ($7). Mad Munch serves its sandwiches in a sort of small pizza box, cut into four, and the sight of elastic mozzarella strands stretching between quarters while creamy peanut butter and purple jam ooze out the sides of the buttery grilled bread convince the eyes it can be done. What a delicious hybrid of two childhood favorites. I usually prefer creamy, but can't help wonder what crunchy peanut butter could do to this sandwich.
I had another positive experience with Kater’s Taters, a mashed up of a grilled cheese and baked potato. A hash brown patty joins cheddar and Monterey Jack, the potato followed by sour cream and chives. In place of bacon bits, strips of bacon complete the package. It’s impossible to hate this. The PB&J grilled cheese may not be a great candidate to dunk in the house tomato soup ($3), but this one sure is.
So would the roast beef and salami Zach Daddy ($8), the tomato and avocado T&A ($7), or the goat cheese and pesto Totes MaGoats ($7). This is basically a place you can order grilled cheese to suit your mood, then take it out to a picnic table to nosh and take in one of the great OB pastimes: people watching.