A few weeks ago I got an email inviting me to an event hosted by Tillamook Cheese at a local restaurant, The Monterey. Tillamook makes my favorite cheese and I love The Monterey. I barely finished the email before I wrote back with a resounding, “YES!”
I eat cheese as a snack. Often. Like, when normal people have an apple or some chips… I will grab a slice of cheese. Cheese is delicious and you cannot tell me any different. Even before this event, I would go out of my way to buy Tillamook whenever possible and, lucky for me, my favorite store (Costco, you know I love the crap out of that place) sells it. Plus, remember my birthday weekend brunch at The Monterey? HOW COULD THIS EVENT GO WRONG?!?!?
Luckily my elevated expectations were actually met by the event. It’s shocking, I know. This was one of my favorite blogging events that I’ve attended.
First of all, in addition to a great PR rep, there were two actual Tillamook employees there. Sometimes brands use a PR company to throw a party but no one staffing the event knows enough about the brand to really discuss the company in depth. And since the event was a small dinner (there were less than 15 of us- excellent point number two) there was ample opportunity to discuss Tillamook’s practices and company culture (which is kind of a funny pun, because you know… culture? cheese? Get it?). These are the details I want to know about when I’m supporting a brand.
And the food? Thanks to the chef at The Monterey, the food was out of this world. Tillamook worked with the chef in creating the menu but they gave him pretty free reign. And he did not disappoint. Just check out some of this deliciousness:
Before we sat down, there were cubes of Tillamook cheese to snack on (of many varieties, but the extra sharp is my favorite) and a cheese dip that was to die for… thankfully I am now the proud owner of the recipe for it.
Next up was a grilled cheese, which you think… eh? How exciting could that be? But this grilled cheese was amazing, with a mix of three different types of cheese. The bread was perfectly sliced- not too thick or too thin- and just crunchy enough. I added some of The Monterey’s house made pickled cucumbers, which was a great touch (in my humble opinion). Oh, and those are pickled green tomatoes next to it. They were surprisingly spicy and a nice addition. I told myself I wasn’t going to eat my whole sandwich but by the time the next course came out… oops! It was gone.
This was fine because I needed to give my “irresponsibly hot” bone marrow cauliflower gratin a chance to cool down as I worked my hunger up again. It was also delicious, though a bit rich. The richness probably was compounded by all the cheese I had been eating up to that point. And yet I still ate a ton.
When I learned that we would end up with a famous Monterey poptart, filled with Tillamook’s 3-year aged extra sharp cheddar, I was somewhat skeptical. Only because I didn’t know how I felt about my beloved poptart being filled with cheese.
I couldn’t have been more wrong in my skepticism. This poptart was delicious and I wanted six of them. The combination of the cheese and the crust and the icing was perfect. The Monterey does not mess around.
We got some awesome Tillamook goodies (a cheese board! a cheese slicer!) and after all my chatting with the reps from Tillamook, I am now dying to go to Oregon to visit their factory. And they let us know that they’ll be back in town starting on May 19th, with a kickoff event for their Tillamook Loaf Love Tour arrival in San Antonio at the San Antonio Zoo. My boys are beyond excited and are already planning on how to win the grilled cheese contest that will be happening (we will lose, they like the most disgusting combinations of food). Personally, I’m excited for more samples of CHEESE. Check out the Loaf Love Tour Schedule for more details- just search for San Antonio.
If you’re in town, plan to attend. The reps from Tillamook are a hoot and you’ll enjoy yourself. I’ll be the one with three kids decked out in orange and glaring at you as they try to kick your butt at the grilled cheese contest. I’ll probably also have cheese stuffed in my cheeks, so I may have trouble chatting. Just go with it.
See you then!
(Update: I forgot to mention that I was not asked to write about this event and I certainly wasn’t told what to say. All opinions are my own!)