The place: Cravings Bistro, next to a funky little boutique, at 63 East Main Street, American Fork, UT 84003
Contact info: On Facebook, by phone at (801) 756-3333
- Lunch/Dinner: Mon – Thurs / 11 – 7
- Lunch/Dinner: Fri / 11 – 9
- Lunch/Dinner: Sat / 11 – 8:30
About: Gourmet Grilled Cheeses for Grown Ups! Source: Cravings Bistro on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cravings-bistro/171917332895886?sk=info
The ambiance: Cravings is a funky little bistro with only a handful of tables, with mismatched chairs, and a homey, warm, welcoming feel. You’ll find the menu written fancifully on chalkboards on the wall and sandwich boards, with full descriptions of each sandwich, soup, entree, and dessert. The only downside I found to the entire restaurant was the several grammatical errors popping up all over the menus — I believe I found about four iterations of the word “avocado,” and only one of them was actually correct. But this is the Creative Writing major/grammar snob in me, and I should state that if that’s the only thing I can find wrong with an entire establishment, then you really have nothing to worry about.
The Munch: I am a real sucker for grilled cheese sandwiches. (Indulge me for a second): when my nephew ended up having emergency plastic surgery this summer, my brother-in-law insisted the hospital cafeteria’s grilled cheese sandwiches were actually pretty good, and I have to say he was right. I had two that weekend, just to make sure.
But Cravings doesn’t serve up anything even sort of like a hospital cafeteria grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, I am quite certain Cravings’s sammies would point and laugh at those hospital sandwiches if they weren’t so gosh darn nice. A friend and I each ordered our own, then shared half with the other. Those two were so delicious, I naturally had to then get a third half. I ordered:
- the abc — granny smith apple, candied bacon, and cheddar on french bread
- the tba — fresh turkey, candied bacon, avocado, tomato, and cheddar with a caramelized red onion mayo on french bread
- the french dip grilled cheese — homemade pot roast, swiss cheese, sauteed, grilled onions, and mayo on french bread with a side of au jus
In writing the description of each sandwich, I feel as though I could simply close this blog post right here, and that would be entirely sufficient. These are not the grilled cheese sandwiches you will ever be able to make at home. Oh, you can try. You can buy yourself a cast iron skillet (I’m speculating that’s what they use at Cravings) and a sandwich press. You can purchase all the ingredients and make yourself a pot roast and a roasted turkey in the oven or crockpot, and you can try to put together all the things that make these sandwiches so idyllic. But you won’t quite get it right, and you won’t know why.
Of the three, the TBA takes the cake for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it was about that particular sandwich that was so sky-high delicious to me, more than the others. The turkey was fresh, not sliced or deli meat, and it was piled on. The cheese melted perfectly, and if you haven’t eaten candied bacon, you will want to start this afternoon. The avocado was smooth and creamy, the tomato was a perfect, acidic accoutrement, and the caramelized red onion mayo was slathered on just enough to add a good, rich flavor without overpowering the rest of the sandwich.
The french dip grilled cheese, too, proved to be a near perfect sandwich. The pot roast was remarkably tender and juicy, and had they said, “Oh dear, we’re out of cheese and bread,” I probably would have settled for it just fine. The swiss cheese was a perfect culinary decision on the owner’s part — cheddar would have been too sharp and would have taken away from the flavors melding in that sandwich, but the swiss cheese added just enough bite and good flavor to simply enhance. I love sauteed, grilled onions, and they, too, were exactly what the sandwich called for. The au jus was rich and dark and delicious, and was not, as with many others I’ve had in the past, too salty.
While I will admit to the ABC being my least favorite of the three, I am in no way indicating that it was not a completely delicious sandwich. It just fell a little short of the other two, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves food. While granny smith apples are relatively difficult to eat on their own, thanks to their especially tart properties, they pair very nicely with cheddar cheese. Add to that the candied bacon, for extra sweetness, and you have a well-balanced marriage of sweet and tart and savory and salty. I would absolutely order this (or any) sandwich again.
The bill: Because my friend had a buy one, get one free coupon via text, the total for my one and a half sandwiches totaled around $7. Their prices are extremely reasonable, and if you follow them on Facebook or join their text club, you can manage getting out of there only spending a few dollars at a time.
Total score: 9/10 — you’ll want to go hungry and wear loose-fitting pants because the selection of grilled cheeses is vast and the cupcakes and cookies for dessert looked divine (although I was too stuffed to even try one).