It seems New York is perpetually in April... or London... or Phuket during monsoon season. Not only has it not stopped raining since mid-May, but it's been is-the-world-ending?-I-think-maybe-it-is rain. That said, I love rainy days. I really can't get enough of them. I'm too pale for any "fun in the sun" and gloomy weather makes me feel like I can curl up with my laptop and some cheese, guilt-free, and call it a night. But some people still like to leave the house when it rains and if you are one of these ambitious folks, you can always venture out for your cheesy fix. After all, there's really nothing more rewarding in this life than eating a meal comprised of as much melted cheese as possible. Here are some of my favorite melted cheese meals, and I've been around when it comes to cheese dishes in NYC, so if you have other recs, send 'em my way.
Queso Fundido at Cascabel Taqueria I order queso fundido any time I see it on a menu. It's basically melted cheese that you turn into tacos, which happen to be basically my two favorite things of all time. And while I've had some pretty knock-out versions (notably, Empellon Taqueria), Cascabel Taqueria was really where I fell in love. Scoop out generous portions of droopy cheese, in this case flecked with chorizo and poblano pepper, and wrap up in a warm corn tortilla. Repeat. Die happy.
Kashkaval Fondue at Kashkaval (or Kashkaval Garden)This wine and cheese bar is actually owned by a friend, but I'd adore the place either way. They have a mean cheese list, and you can't go wrong with any of their tapas, but try the kashkaval fondue and you will never be the same. The eastern European sheep's milk cheese melts like something out of a fairy tale. If you're clever, you'll take your time, allowing the yummy crusty layer that sticks to the sides of the pot get more and more crusty. Peeling off these crunchy bits after a glass of wine and a pot of bubbling cheese might be one of life's most satisfying sensations, if you ask me.
Croque Madame at Petite Abeille WARNING: YOU CAN ONLY GET THIS SANDWICH OFF THE BRUNCH/LUNCH MENU WHICH IS AN ISSUE ME AND MY COMMENT CARDS ARE WORKING ON. This sandwich is so crave-worthy. I wake up more Saturdays than not requiring a croque madame and Petite Abeille makes my absolute fave. Especially since I spend more Friday nights than not dreaming about grilled cheese. What could be better than buttery toast with oozy cheese sandwiched in between? Oh, that's right: French buttery toast with Gruyere all over, ham, a fried egg on top and Belgian fries on the side.
Rarebit Burger at Murray's Cheese Bar Other things I've had a Murray's have been great, particularly the expertly crafted cheese plates and a stellar burrata appetizer, but the burger that comes with a pot of melted rarebit cheddar was probably the most memorable. Especially since there is way too much cheese for the burger, so you get to dip every spare morsel of food in your remaining pot o' cheese.
Raclette at The Bourgeois Pig I made the mistake (?) of ordering this during a book club meeting. Needless to say, my discussion points were nil cause I was too busy asking a tray of melted cheese, roasted red potatoes, cornichons and balsamic onions where it had been all my life.
Honorable mentions: gorgonzola pizza at Celeste on the Upper West Side and open-faced lasagna at Cafe Fiorello.