“The culinary world is an interesting place, with interesting people…who put interesting things in their bodies.”
1 P.M. That’s when I woke up today… It wasn’t because I was working, studying or actually being cool for once and partying. No, I just have that poor of a sleep cycle. It’s true that after a 12 hour nap one works up quite the appetite. Not trusting my groggy hands at the flame of a stove, or the buttons of a microwave for that matter, I hopped on over to the Grindhouse Cafe for an afternoon “breakfast”.
Slipping into the cafe clad in a bike helmet and sweatpants with rubber bands strategically placed along my right leg to protect against bike chain snags, I approached the cool and calm, Gabriel Mauch (co-owner of Grindhouse), who seemed unfazed by my apparent lack of fashion sense. As trustworthy as the local pharmacist, Gabe set me up with exactly what I needed to cure my wake-up blues, caffeine. Ordering the new seasonal drink, The Heat Miser, an eggnog latte with house made cinnamon spice syrup, and setting myself up with the latest sandwich special, King George the Fourth, I was in for a delightfully, delicious midday brunch… or linner. Whatever works.
Grindhouse is well known for their unique and bizarre menu items. With crazy past sandwich specials such as the Jammin’ Ham, a scrumptious blend of ham and strawberry-blackberry preserves, or The Party Platter, BBQ tofu, and zesty slaw on ciabatta, there’s literally no limit to what edible ingredients they can squeeze between two pieces of bread. “That’s pretty much the point,” Gabe said in response to the Grindhouse menu, “You can get a sandwich you expect anywhere else, but for here, I want to be able to put apples on a turkey sandwich”. Their first ever sandwich special, which Gabe admits to be their most eccentric, The Usain Bolt, featured Jamaican jerk turkey and coca-cola jerk slaw. Curious as to what provoked him to attempt mixing coke into a slaw, he said it was an old trick he learned from a chef he used to work under who was notorious for using both types of coke…cherry and vanilla, of course.
Not breaking the tradition of originality, this new sandwich named after the famously gluttonous British monarch, King George IV, lives up to Grindhouse standards. A smattering of bold and savory flavors, the King George the Fourth was loaded with tavern ham, caramelized onions and avocados, dressed in gruyere cheese and Champagne Dijon on a croissant. Unfortunately, they did omit one of King George IV’s more favorite ingredients, laudanum, otherwise known as tincture of opium. Apparently, it’s extremely rare… or illegal. I forget which.
Warming up before the bike ride home, I had a chance to get acquainted with Gabe’s so-called “Pastry Wizard”, Traci, the supernatural being responsible for all of Grindhouse’s bewitching baked goods. Although she was not adorned with her enchanted Pastry Wizard button today, as Gabe so eloquently explained, “Just because a wizard isn’t wearing his robe doesn’t mean he can’t cast magic missiles”. Fitting right in with the Grindhouse gang, Traci, like Gabe, believes a recipe is a suggestion, and that ingredients are interchangeable. She told me, “Sometimes I’ll look at recipe and say, let’s throw some cranberries in there. That’ll work. Why not?”. Attempting to explain her instinctual knack for conjuring up pastries, Traci admits, “Well, it helps that my maiden name is Baker. I guess that’s the key. You’re just born a baker”.
Proving that there is more to a man than his work, I was fortunate enough to learn an interesting new fun fact about Grindhouse’s main man, Gabriel Mauch. A viable candidate for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Gabe revealed to me his standing in The RecordSetter Book of World Records as the man who named the most lunch foods in 1 minute while jumping on a pogo stick. Not letting his 15 minutes… well, 1 minute of fame get to his head, he confessed, “I felt cool having my own world record until I saw that I was on a page next to somebody who ran fifty miles while juggling, which is actually a huge accomplishment”. According to him, his success is all owed to practicing pogo stick in grandma’s driveway and attending culinary school. As the old saying goes, greatness is earned, not given.
Grindhouse has decked their halls with a bunch of holiday goodies for the Christmas season, including drink specials such as The Heat Miser latte and The Peppermint Butler, and cool new merchandise including gift bundles of Rishi tea! They also have Grindhouse branded mugs, glasses and just coming in today, T-shirts! So if you’re in the neighborhood of Griffith, Indiana, stop on by and pick some up!
Filed under: Eateries
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