Chef Speak: LA Street Food Fest

Angeleno foodies flocked to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this past Saturday for the return of the LA Street Food Fest. Around 5,000 guests braved the heat and crowds to sample some of the best street food Los Angeles has to offer. After tasting more tacos, cupcakes, hot dogs and ice cream than we care to admit, we had the chance to catch up with Dave Danhi, President and Chef of The Grilled Cheese Truck, who shared a recipe for a summery grilled cheese.

The Grilled Cheese Truck's Summer Heirloom Tomato Caprese Melt

(serves 4)

  • 8 slices of white or French bread
  • 1/2 pound butter (room temp)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 each of your favorite Heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices.
  • 8 leaves sweet basil, shredded
  • 2 each 8oz balls of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic syrup
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • In a mixer, beat butter and mayo together until smooth. Be sure to scrape the bowl several times to ensure even mixing.
  • Butter 4 bread slices on one side and place buttered side down on wax paper.
  • Place mozzarella on bread to cover each slice.
  • Place tomatoes on top of cheese.
  • Sprinkle shredded basil on top of tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with approx. 1/2 tablespoon of each balsamic syrup and olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover with remaining mozzarella.
  • Butter remaining bread on one side each and lay on top of cheese.
  • Heat griddle to medium/high heat (350 degrees).
  • Place Melts on griddle and cook "low and slow" until golden brown.
  • Flip and cover with a bacon press or other heavy object (another griddle or saute pan will work).
  • Cook until golden brown.
  • Remove from pan and allow sandwich to "rest" for one minute.
  • Cut on diagonal and enjoy!

Chef Speak is a bi-monthly column by LA-enthusiast Heather Taylor in which she explores LA's diverse and dynamic food culture, featuring interviews with Angeleno chefs of-the-moment, seasonal recipes, and rising restaurants.

(All photography courtesy Heather Taylor)