As I have shared before, I love enjoying a good meal with a good friend. Said good meal becomes a great meal, however, when I am eating with someone who appreciates food (thats is, has as much of a food obsession) like I do. Luckily I have a good friend who is basically my food twin, and is always recommending great restaurants to me – yes, Albano, I am talking about you.
While I was home this weekend, I met Albano for a late lunch in the Mission area, at a place called Mission Cheese. Now, if you know me, you know I love cheese – like, seriously love it. When I go to my favorite grocery store in Davis (Nugget Market, holla), I will stare at the insane cheese case for days before selecting something – they all just look so good to me. So, you can imagine I was excited for lunch at this little spot.
Excitement aside, I was a little apprehensive whether a cheese-centric restaurant could really be all that fulfilling – I mean, there’s really only a couple things you can do with cheese to base a meal around before it gets boring, right?
WRONG. I loved every part about my lunch here, from the small dining area that opens up onto busy Valencia street (excellent people watching), to the friendly staff, to the limited but outstanding menu.
We started with the Mongers Choice cheese flight. They have four types of cheese flights here: California, Midwest, Vermont, and Mongers Choice (you also have the option to build your own plate). Because the people working here are all cheese experts, I really recommend doing the Mongers Choice flight. They take into account what kind of cheeses you like (hard, soft, stinky, whatever) and select what they think would be best. Our flight was awesome. I can’t remember exactly what cheeses we got, but I know there was a cow’s milk one, and a blue one – all of them were delicious though. The plate comes with some bread, cornichons, figs, and dried cherries, all of which were perfect accompaniments.
We also got some wine. Since I am a rube and know next to nothing about wine, I had Albano choose for us. It was very good, and the glass was generous.
After our cheese flight, we ordered two more substantial items, the first being the California Gold sandwich. This was SO good, probably one of the best paninis I have ever had. It came with two types of cheese, prosciutto, and fig preserves – such a classic and fulfilling combination. The fig preserves definitely made this sandwich.
The second larger plate we ordered was the mac and cheese (obviously – how could you go to a CHEESE restaurant and not order mac and CHEESE). Hands down this was the best mac and cheese I have ever eaten. It was incredibly simple – no add ins, just cheese, pasta, and breadcrumbs – but I think that is what made it so great. The breadcrumbs were perfection; they were so crispy and golden, perfectly shielding the melty pasta lurking underneath.
We finished off the culinary adventure at Xanath Ice Cream (he got FIG ice cream and it was so cool), but Mission Cheese was truly the highlight. If you are a cheese lover in the Bay Area, please go here. Everything on the menu looked amazing, and I can’t wait to return.