Cheese is one of top food cravings in DC culture. It’s a versatile comfort food that pairs well with other ingredients. Cheese lends itself to classics like the mac and cheese or grilled cheese to reinvented gourmet grilled cheese. Cheese can be paired with so many ingredients, including chocolate-covered bacon, and it can even be lit on fire. Here are the top five places to get your cheese fix in DC.
The Big Cheese
(703) 855- 6987
One of the most celebrated cheese mongers in the area is Cowgirl Creamery who sells its crafted cheese to a company that takes it a step further into gourmet grilled cheese. The Big Cheese is a roving food truck that offers unique grilled cheeses for those with a sophisticated palate. Try the Midnight Moon, which combines the goat cheese gouda with caramelized onions on a multigrain bread for that tangy sweet flavor. For another tangy sweet treat, try the Mt. Fuji, which combines the MT Tam brie with crisp, sweet Fuji apples and honey on a multigrain. For a spicy kick, there’s the Thrilled Cheese, which offers up the chipotle cheddar mixed with jalapeno and guacamole on sourdough. Visit The Big Cheese’s Twitter account to find out where the truck will be each day.
527 8th St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
For dinner and a cheesy show, try the saganaki, which is a cheese that is doused in brandy and then set on fire tableside and put out with lemon juice. The result is a crunchy, salty, delicious cheese that is one of the most popular dishes in this Capitol Hill restaurant. The saganaki starts with Kefalograviera cheese, which is traditionally made with sheep and goat milk that has a rich aromatic smell that’s delicate yet salty. Cava also offers the Kefalograviera mixed with feta on its fries as well as baked and grilled cheeses.
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2411 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301
What better place to get your cheese on than at the master of fromageries, Cheesetique in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. This spot has large deli cases filled with some of the most obscure cheeses and perfectly crafted favorites that anyone has ever seen. But past the case is the restaurant. Of course, it has cheese on the menu that rotates daily, but one of the most decadent cheesy dishes is the lobster mac. Gemelli pasta is tossed in perfectly melted Fontina fontal and lobster meat scented with a hint of tarragon. It’s rich without being too robust so that the sweet subtle lobster can shine through. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are four other macs to choose from classic to goat, blue or Parrano with cauliflower and pancetta. There is also a large selection of crafted, artisanal grilled cheese to choose from.
Co Co Sala
929 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
For a twist on a classic mac and cheese, try Co Co Sala’s bacon mac and cheese. Although it may sound benign enough, this incredibly rich mac and cheese starts with orecchiette, a small dimpled round pasta that is drowned in four different cheeses for a rich, velvety base. The crispy bacon is served as a chocolate-covered edible decoration on top. Although chocolate and bacon may not appear to be likely bedfellows, they actual pair well together and only compliment the decadence of the insanely cheesy mac and cheese. As per the usual, Co Co Sala’s food is a feast for the eyes. The portions are reasonable, but the taste is explosive and surely a dish to try when looking for a super cheesy take on a classic mac and cheese.
Stoney’s Bar and Grill
1433 P St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Nothing says cheesy like a classic grilled cheese sandwich and the one that made Stoney’s famous is the super grilled cheese. Aptly named, this supped-up grilled cheese oozes with cheesy goodness on classic, crisply grilled white bread. The super comes topped with tomato, bacon and onion, but if that’s too much stuff, go with the classic. There’s also the grilled ham and cheese. And to make your day even more cheesetasic, add an order of the mac and cheese, which is made in house with a mix of American, parmesan and cheddar cheese with the optional chicken or bacon add-ons. Check Stoney’s out on Mondays when the grilled cheese is only $3 at happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture
Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.