…for ladies who lunch shamelessly
In March of 2020, just days before the world shut down, I Thelma’ed* out to Colorado for a road trip with Louise of the West. On the last day we had an encounter with a green chile bison burger at the Old West Café in Fort Garland. It was divine – I don’t mean my usual exaggerated divine, but the kind of divine you can’t shake from your taste memory.
Weeks later, when we were all suffering from pandemic isolation, I’d text Louise, “but that green chile burger…” She’d immediately call so we could deconstruct the ingredients and relive the delights of that moment. I mean, it was only a hamburger, but it changed the parameters of all my future trips – now we had a quest.
My next visit to CO was 6 months later during that one week we thought the pandemic was over; my sense of time is so wrecked that I think it was fall of 2020. We ambled into the Sagebrush BBQ & Grill in Grand Lake and naturally our eyes locked on their Southwest Burger. But wait, what’s this Brisket Grilled Cheese sandwich? I’ll tell you what it is – triple-decked sammie heaven. With fries. Naturally we ordered that along with the burger and with the first bite found a new friend – now we had a thing.
We define sammies as any deliciousness cradled in a loosely defined bun, so in 2021 our après-ski obsession was a Carne Asada street taco from the Shreddy’s Tacos in Fraser, Colorado, conveniently parked in front of the Fraser River Beer Company. And now we had an obsession.
Flash forward to my winter 2022 visit and our morning yoga sessions and afternoons of Nordic skiing were carefully planned around our lunch schedule. Day one we were seriously jonesing for brisket grilled cheese and green chile burgers, but were sidelined by snowfall. Housebound, Louise broke out her secret sammie-making skills and presented me with this gem, cementing our sammie sisterhood. We officially have a tradition:
Louise’s Alpine Apple Grilled Cheese
- slices of fresh sourdough bread
- butter to grill
- Emmentaler cheese, sliced
- Gruyère cheese, sliced
- Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
- trimmed baby spinach leaves
Heat grill pan or griddle to a feisty medium. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place on grill. Add thin slices of Emmentaler to cover the bread surface. Repeat with apple slices, spinach and Gruyère. Top each sammie base with bread buttered on the outside.
Grill until toasty and carefully flip. Once the sizzling calms down after the flip, turn off heat, cover to let the cheese melt and the bread toast.
Enjoy with salad or sheet cake, because either works.