But I’m obviously not the target customer for deca Restaurant + Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, which is celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month (Wait — donuts and bacon only get a day, but grilled cheese merits an entire month? The puppet-masters behind this nation’s arbitrary holiday observances have their priorities out of whack.) with something called a Zillion Dollar Grilled Cheese.
Since there is not yet a zillion dollar note, nor consensus on exactly how many dollars constitute one zillion, the restaurant is generously selling the sandwich for the low, low price of $100.
So what on Earth is in it?
According to deca, it’s “enveloped” — not merely wrapped, or more accurately, sandwiched — in “artisan country sourdough bread, and cooked until golden brown in Laudemio Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi EVOO.”
Considering I can get an entire, righteous loaf of artisan sourdough from the local bakery for a few bucks, and even though this particular oil goes for something like $60/bottle it can’t take more than a tablespoon or two to make a grilled cheese (though some people prefer using mayo), we’re not seeing the cost justification yet.
Then there’s “thinly sliced black Iberico ham, sourced from pigs living primarily in the south of Spain, allowed to roam free in the pasture eating acorns until they are of proper size.”
Okay, so it’s getting a little more expensive, but it’s also roaming — much like that acorn-chomping pig — outside the realm of a grilled cheese.
Speaking of which, we’re several ingredients in and no mention of what is providing the melty goodness.
For that, deca uses “40-year aged Wisconsin cheddar infused with 24K gold flakes.”
And there you go. The cheese and the gaudy bling factor in one ingredient. I’ll never understand this fascination that some people with disposable income have for eating gold. It only results in some very pricey poop.
But deca’s not done yet, throwing on some heirloom tomatoes and 100-year-old aged balsamic vinegar, and a bit of white truffle aioli to ratchet up the fancy and the price.
Still not enough? Why not toss some froie gras on top… and a duck egg?
And just in case you felt shortchanged, it comes with a side of lobster mac and cheese.
If it helps, think about this as a $70 sandwich with a $30 side dish.