Cheesed off

The Sierra sandwich is Aspen Glen’s most popular food item.<br>

The Sierra sandwich is Aspen Glen’s most popular food item.

Photo by David Robert

The grilled cheese sandwich. Bread. And cheese. Grilled. Astonishing for its simplistic beauty, the GC sandwich has long been a staple food for 8-year-olds and bachelors. However, it’s not something I would usually recommend ordering out, since the appeal of the GC sandwich is that any idiot can make it. So it is a dire day when one is compelled, for whatever reason, to order a grilled cheese sandwich. And a direr day when the grilled cheese sandwich arrives somehow flawed.

A group of friends and I recently visited Aspen Glen Bar & Grill, a cozy place in the middle of deepest Sparks that’s a sort of replica of a mountain lodge—complete with fake trees.

I was eating with a bevy of vegetarians, and they were quick to point out that all of the salads on the menu, a good half dozen, contained meat. Which is odd, but it didn’t seem to be a problem as our waitress didn’t balk at any of our extensive alteration requests and suggested a few of her own. The salad names are all golf-themed, the burgers are ski-themed and the sandwiches are named after local areas. I ordered the Washoe sandwich ($7.99): grilled roast beef with provolone, pepperoncinis and a “special sauce” with a heavy citrus taste not much to my liking.

Tim opted for a garden burger variant of The Chute ($6.99): pepper jack, green chile, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion. Tim pointed out that the burger called Out of Bounds ($6.99) was actually the most traditional burger on the menu.

“Is this authentic Aspen cuisine?” he wondered aloud.

My rather finicky, heavily vegetarian friend Danielle ordered the Treehugger Wrap ($5.99)—cleverly named so that you can’t help but feel a tad embarrassed when ordering it. It turned out to be a sort of side salad wrapped in a tortilla. As she was serving it, our waitress—as friendly and helpful as she was throughout our visit—noticed the wrap was dressed in Caesar dressing, which wasn’t what Danielle had ordered. She apologized and said she’d be right back with a new one.

“Actually, you know what, can I just get something else?” Danielle spoke up. “How about, like, a … grilled cheese sandwich?”

In a fix, and compelled by the fear of a rather un-enticing vegetable wrap, Danielle ordered one of the great American comfort foods. It wasn’t on the menu but was no problem. It was $4.25, arrived quickly and was, at first, fairly satisfactory, until it was discovered that one whole corner, nearly a quarter of the sandwich, was completely cheese-less.

I don’t even know what to say about that. It’s a grilled cheese sandwich. But without cheese, do you know what that is? It’s grilled bread. Grilled bread. It was very sad. Although in all fairness, it wasn’t part of the menu.

Anyway. The bar seems like a good place to hang out. The cheery regulars were having a good time, our waitress was great, the classic rock was cranked up, they have some decent happy hour specials ($1.75 domestic drafts and well drinks 3 to 6 p.m.), and I suppose the food tasted better the more beer I drank. But it’s probably a better place to go for an after-meal drink and maybe some fries than it is for an actual meal—or a grilled cheese sandwich.