We'd like to take a moment to salute the man/woman/group who decided to make April Grilled Cheese Month. An entire month devoted to reflecting on the wonder that is two slices of buttered bread with cheese, all grilled to melted perfection, may be the best idea ever.
And to celebrate, here's a list of five must-try grilled cheese sandwiches. Because you can never have enough cheese, butter and bread. And if you're feeling inspired today, our test kitchen director Noelle Carter has 12 recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches to make at home.
Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shop: The "vintage" is the classic grilled cheese at its finest. Butter, sourdough and cheddar. It's simple, satisfying and will squash the severest of grilled cheese cravings. If you happen to be a little more adventurous, this Silver Lake restaurant serves "the holy grail" grilled cheese with smoked gouda, slow-braised short ribs and kimchi on brioche. 3337 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 667-1522, www.heywoodgrilledcheese.com.
Ledlow: If Josef Centeno, the chef behind the new Ledlow, Baco Mercat, Bar Ama and Orsa & Winston, is making a grilled cheese, you should know better than to expect a simple sandwich. He calls his version the mac 'n' cheese croque. There's a filling made of tender pasta shells and housemade pimento cheese sauce between two slices of buttery toasted bread. And on top is a layer of melted Gruyere. 400 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-7015, www.ledlowla.com.
Lucques: Simply called the grilled cheese sandwich with roasted shallots, Suzanne Goin's version of the classic sandwich is so much more. Goin caramelizes shallots in butter, then seasons them with thyme. She melts more butter in a cast-iron pan and toasts two slices of bread before topping them with Cantal cheese and the caramelized shallots. The sandwich is finished in the oven until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. 8474 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-6277, www.lucques.com.
Plan Check: During happy hour, the Plan Check downtown location serves a pimento grilled cheese sandwich. Chef Ernesto Uchimura's version includes his ooey gooey housemade pimento cheese with bacon and green chiles. And on the side are a couple slices of tangy pickles. 1111 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 403-1616, www.plancheck.com.
Shuck (At the OC Mix in Costa Mesa): A classic oyster bar with an incredibly decadent grilled cheese sandwich. It's a melting tower of OC Baking Company sourdough bread, five-year-aged cheddar, five-year-aged white cheddar and 10-year-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 420-0478, www.shuckoysterbar.com.