Friday, July 15, 2011

The Cherry On Top - Will & Pop's


It seems like the Girls with Guts keep ending up at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham—not that we’re complaining since it has been the site of some great times and great food. This time, we went to celebrate National Rainier Cherry Day.

The “Northwest Cherries Tree to Table” campaign selected Fullsteam as North Carolina’s representative for a national celebration of cherries. Since Fullsteam had some stout already brewed and ready for the fermentation process, they simply added Rainier cherry juice to create their signature cherry menu item. The event was also billed to include free cherry bounce hand pies to the first 50 attendees.

Unfortunately, the GWG are working girls and were unable to make it in time for the start of the event—we were told that an eager line was ready and waiting at 4 p.m., quickly claiming the limited edition pies to go with the cherry beer. Sad that we missed out on the delicious, homemade cherry pies (but glad to see the enthusiasm), we went forward with our plan to try the beer and sat at one of the indoor picnic tables.
To our unseasoned beer palettes, the drink didn't seem much different than other stouts we've tried. The smoky, coffee-like flavor was strong and kept us from detecting a cherry taste. Being a heavy beer, it probably wouldn't be our first choice on such a hot day, but we enjoyed the taste experiment. The beer is also limited edition—they expect it to last about a week, but once it's out that's it!

After much disappointment over the cherry pie shortage, we were quickly consoled by the sight of Will & Pop’s friendly green food truck parked outside of Fullsteam. A familiar presence in the late-night Carrboro scene, the truck’s birthplace, it appears to be moving in on Durham’s food truck monopoly.

The menu can vary, but their signature is the classic grilled cheese served up with a creative twist (and clever names). We won’t use the word gourmet because that is not their aim (tagline: “so good make ya smack ya pops”), but the ingredients are local, fresh and served with a smile.

We ordered two sandwiches to split—the Hot Hipster and the Stoner. The Hipster is a grilled cheese with mango chutney, or for $.50 more you can get it “hot” by adding habanero cheddar—we went for the latter. The buttery sourdough is perfect for grilled cheese and held up well while mango chutney poured out the sides adding a sweet n’ tangy contrast to the cheese. Just when you are about to tell yourself it’s not that hot you start to realize it kind of is.
The Stoner…well, now we understand why it gets that name. This is the ultimate fantasy sandwich for kids (and stoners) of all ages. Combine the flavors of banana, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff (plus brownie for $.50 more) and serve it on grilled bread and you’ve got yourself dessert. This sandwich will soothe a severe craving with one bite. It’s pretty rich so we recommend sharing.
One of us has experienced Will & Pop’s before and admittedly has a soft spot for the Hippie—grilled cheese with guacamole. Also of note are the homemade flour chips and guacamole which were not available on this occasion, although nachos with pork were on the menu. They’ve also been spotted serving up burgers at Earth Day in Chapel Hill earlier this year. With such a variety of carefully prepared classics, we are glad to see them crossing the border!

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