Imagine a world where a croqueta preparada and a croque-monsieur met, fell in love, and had a baby. Not only would that sandwich would be bilingual in Spanish and French, but it would also change the croqueta game forever.
That's exactly what the folks who own the roving grilled cheese truck Ms. Cheezious have done with their newest creation: the croqueta monsieur.
That's right -- croqueta effing monsieur.
The croqueta monsieur was born much like everything else -- out of necessity -- and, of course, with the wise advice of Burger Beast Sef Gonzalez, who recently produced a huge croqueta event at Magic City Casino.
"Sef had asked us if we wanted to be part of Croquetapalooza, and of course we did," says Ms. Cheezious owner and grilled-cheese master Brian Mullins. "My wife had an epiphany one night and thought, 'Let's take the croque-monsieur and add croquetas to it.'"
The not-so-secret formula includes three croquetas, shaved tavern ham, Gruyère, and a béchamel sauce that has more than a couple of handfuls of Gouda. "It's more of a light Gouda cheese sauce, really."
The result is a miraculous sandwich that deserves its proper place in Miami history. Why no one ever thought croquetas, which are already laden with béchamel, would be even better between sourdough and pressed with roux and milk is a mystery. Just be thankful it's finally been brought into our lives for what we hope is forever. And come this month, when Ms. Cheezious opens its brick-and-mortar spot on the Upper Eastside, it will be. "We plan on making it a permanent fixture on the menu."
Till then, you'll just have to deal with it being a special that's available Wednesdays at the usual midweek location of LeJeune Road and Calle Ocho. During a lunch visit last week, about 75 percent of the people waiting had ordered the croqueta monsieur. Most were virgins, while one was coming back for round two. "I split it last time with my husband, but this time around I came to get us both one," said Ana Lucia, who'd just finished working out so she could justify eating the delectable treat.
Says Burger Beast: "When I asked Ms. Cheezious to be a part of Croquetapalooza, I knew they would come up with something very special. They are one of the handful of food trucks capable of creating craveable dishes outside of their regular menu, and they nailed it with the croqueta monsieur. Come to think of it, I could go for one right now."
Limited by the truck's tiny kitchen, Ms. Cheezious is using Catalina croquetas (the sponsor for Croquetapalooza) for the time being. Once the much-awaited permanent location opens, they intend on making their own golden spheres in addition to smoking all their own meats and turning specials into regulars.
"Not everyone can make a good béchamel, so we have to make sure it's done correctly," Mullins says. "Once we open and the trucks are leaving from the store, there's a good possibility it will also be available on the truck at all times, but definitely in the shop."
Ms. Cheezious will be your neighborhood joint where you can have a grilled cheese sandwich, beer, glass of wine, or even a salad. "We want to cater to the one healthy person in a group of grilled cheese co-workers going out to lunch." Eventually, they'll be putting an egg on things and serving breakfast.
For now, though, putting the quintessential Miami finger food on the quintessential French snack has proven successful. So far the truck has prepared for making 80 sandwiches each Wednesday and sold out. Next on the agenda is to take the croqueta monsieur to Gramps on Friday and Saturday evenings. "I'm definitely going to need to double up for that."
We agree. After one too many beers, a croqueta monsieur might just be the only good thing to happen after 2 a.m. As New Times food critic Zachary Fagenson put it, it's Miami's version of the cronut.
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SHOW ME HOW
Might want to trademark the thing, Ms. Cheezious.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha