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The Classiest Grilled Cheese Money Can Buy: Seattle's Croque Madames

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You may not think about the croque madame very often; after all, unlike pizza or pho or sushi or a sloppy-ass cheeseburger, it's not the kind of thing people ever crave. That's too bad, though, because croque madames are awesome.

On paper, at least, the croque madame seems pedestrian at first; it's just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. But upon closer inspection, the croque madame yields dividends in pleasure: with all the eggs and toast, it can be breakfast. But the inclusion of ham would indicate that it can be a filling lunch. Yet the croque madame ALSO usually comes draped in a sophisticated stole of sauce mornay or bechamel, which plants it firmly into dinner territory. So it's probably the only food item, besides cold pizza, which can easily be served for every possible meal. Even brunch. Even break-brunch, the meal between breakfast and brunch. Even break-brulunch, the meal between break-brunch and brunch. So awesome is the croque madame, it fits comfortably anywhere on the fractal equation of the meal-time continuum.

The best croque madames have not one, but TWO eggs on top. That's because the croque madame was invented by amorous French chefs who thought the croque monsieur wasn't erotic enough. So to sex up the croque monsieur, the original grilled ham and cheese sandwich, they put a set of tits on top of it. Ideally, the ham used should be the classic Parisian ham, thinly sliced, pink as the rubber parallelogram erasers you used in grade school, and unapologetically salty. The bread should be crusty and toasty, yet not too hard to cut. There should be SHITLOADS of cheese; in fact, the croque madame should be as cheesy as Nickelback. And the sauce should be as finely textured as the beige suede on a spec house couch.

We went all over Seattle to find the best iterations of this erotic sandwich. Who makes the best one? Read on! Because of the vagaries of Google Maps, I couldn't figure out how to make the numbering go in reverse, and so this list is ranked with the WORST one first. Oh, the horrors of technology!

[Editor's Note: To view the full glory of Surly's descriptions and scroll down, click "Show my approximate location" on the lower right of the map]

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Gainsbourg

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Toulouse Petit

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Cafe Campagne

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Maximilien

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Cafe Presse

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Spring Hill

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