MELTZ Extreme Grilled Cheese of Coeur d’Alene wins the title and raises the bar.

In the world of food, inspiration can strike when you least expect it. For a culinary mad scientist, it can be as simple as the sight of a single ingredient, a scent of the grill or the touch of a crunchy, salty snack. Chef Joe McCarthy is all eyes, ears and nose when it comes to food. He can smell it. He can see it and he will know exactly what it will taste like. During a layover in Seattle, he noticed a sign for a potsticker pie. “If they can do a potsticker pie, I can make a potsticker grilled cheese.”

And so, in a matter of days, Chef Joe went from idea, to concept, to menu item. Executing each key ingredient, from the potsticker pork loaf, to the fried wontons and the fresh green onion. Incorporating the Sriracha-Chili sauce into an aioli that mixed well with the blend of provolone and pepper jack cheeses. This Asian creation wouldn’t be complete without a dipping sauce. Starting with a soy base, he added and tested sesame oil, simple syrup and various spices until the consistency was right and the dip actually adhered to the sandwich in just the right way.

“He was a force to be reckoned with when he walked in the door,” said MELTZ manager Lori “Lou” Davey. “After (seeing that sign) he had multiple plane rides to think about all the flavor profiles he needed to be in there to qualify for a potsticker and how he was going to equate that into mass producing.”

To make one sandwich is one thing, but to be able to recreate the same layers of flavor day after day after day takes some fine-tuning. A ratio of ingredients carefully measured and mapped out to meet the standards of taste and curbside appeal: that’s the magic of MELTZ.


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