It’s the Cheesiest: Grilled Cheese from Sidekick

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What’s the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had? You probably haven’t had it until you’ve gone to Sidekick, an outpost of Cowgirl Creamery in the San Francisco Ferry Building. Located right next to the Creamery’s cheese shop, Sidekick is a café that has a decidedly cheese-centric menu.

The place specializes in superb grilled cheeses, cheese plates, cold sandwiches (bet you can guess what kind) and mac and cheese. On weekends, the special “Weekend Raclette” is made available — warm cheese melted on toast and served with house-made pickles. At $5.75 per slice, it seemed kind of pricey for just three ingredients — but that was before I saw it being made in front of my eyes.

Right in front of the café, there’s a man (I’ll call him the Head Cheese) whose sole job it is to make the Weekend Raclette. At his station, an enormous half-moon of Wagon Wheel cheese sits under a special high-powered heat lamp. The Head Cheese monitors the aforementioned half-moon, and when the cheese has melted, crusted and bubbled enough to his satisfaction, he uses a large knife to scrape off the top layer and deposit it onto a crusty slice of Acme bread.

It might sound cheesy, but it was love at first bite. So crispy! So melty! So boisterously full of all the things I love about cheese, with none of the regrets. Actually, I did regret not trying this earlier – the delicious pinnacle of melted cheese conquests.

Sidekick also features a full “Milk Bar,” with offerings like “Glass of Cold Milk” ($2), “Piping Hot Recchiuti Chocolate” ($4), and Chai Spiced Tea Milk ($3.75). Simply put, nearly everything on the menu features some form of Strauss Family Creamery Organic Barista Milk ­– a pediatric dentist’s dream.

 I ordered the Piping Hot Recchiuti Chocolate (a.k.a. hot chocolate) and received 10 ounces of custom-made pure dairy heaven. The milk was thick frothy goodness and infused with chocolate that wasn’t too sweet. The drink was full bodied and had a lingering finish (can you even use those words to describe dairy?). I have no idea if “Barista Milk” is even available for purchase by regular citizens, but man, was it good. 

All in all, if you happen to find yourself in the Ferry Building on a weekend and you find that your internal cheese meter has reached a dangerously low level, I’d recommend a trip to Sidekick to milk the menu for all it’s worth.


1 Ferry Building, No. 19, San Francisco

ATMOSPHERE Bustling, with limited bar seating

RECOMMENDED DISHES Weekend Raclette (weekends only)

PRICE RANGE Sidekick salad ($4.75), artisan cheese plate ($10.95)

HOURS Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

PAYMENT Cash, credit