I was so disappointed with my grilled cheese sandwich at Fox and Obel last week that it has taken me all week to get around to writing about it. As I was waiting for it to arrive I had tweeted that I was about to get one, and Fox and Obel had tweeted me back to ask me if I had enjoyed it. I did not have the heart to let them down, not even gently.
In reality I totally love Fox and Obel, even the high prices. They have such a vast array of good produce that I always come away with too much, and I will even make the 2 hour round trip in the cold, just because I know that they will have fingerling potatoes out of season, when no-one else even Whole Foods has none. Mind you when I was paying $5.99 a pound last week I just had to not look as they scanned through the checkout. They also have some of the best pancetta, and will cut me an inch thick slice so that I can chop it up to make lardons for my carbonaro. So it’s not all bad.
Back to the Grilled Cheese, in some respects it was probably my fault as I was forewarned by the absence of paying customers in the cafe area, never a good sign. The grilled cheese was advertised as being made with thick, crusty sourdough, real butter, and two cheeses Mozzarella (I think it was anyway) and Gruyère cheese. It came with tomato soup. Now that fact that it took about 30 minutes to arrive did not help my enjoyment, but I am generally one of those people who thinks he is patient when really I am impatient often unreasonably so, I have been known to walk out of a shop if I find the checkout people dithering about.
The Sandwich and the Soup looked good when it finally came, the soup was quite pretty with what I believe to be basil pesto swirled on the top in the shape of a leaf. It reminded me of one of those islands they have built in Saudi Arabia for the rich to waste their money. The soup itself was very tasty, creamy and rich. I found the sandwich to be a bit lacking in flavor and the bread was too hard for me. I just about made everything work by dipping my sandwich into the soup to soften it up and add some flavor. I was kind of bugged as Fox and Obel has a really nice cheese counter, and while I know that Gruyère is a great melting cheese, I would have paired it up with something more flavorful myself. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. The soup was worth returning for, and maybe I would try something else next time.
Fox and Obel is located at 401 E Illinois, it is not really that near to the el trains, but I usually take the 10 walk from the Grand Red line station towards the lake.