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Meltz puts a creative spin on the grilled cheese sandwich

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Things are heating up in northwest Coeur d’Alene, but unlike scorching summer temperatures, Meltz Extreme pairs two ultimate comfort foods — bread and cheese — for gourmet grilled cheese that’s tasty in any kind of weather.

It starts with Wheat Montana bread (choice of sourdough or wheat; gluten-free available) and thoughtful balancing of textures and tastes. The Briqueso, for example, melds earthy Brie with tangy white cheddar and a garden of grilled veggies: artichokes, red peppers, caramelized onion, zucchini and sundried tomatos ($4.50 half/$6.95). Jalapeno bacon and buttermilk fried onions add crunch to the Border Patrol, made with pepperjack and colby cheeses ($4.50/$6.95). And the Sneaky Greek ($4.75 half/$7.35) is feta and kasseri cheese, nutty hummus, crunchy pita chips, savory gyro meat and tangy tzatziki sauce, brightened up with roasted piquillo peppers, Kalamata olives, tomato and red onion.

For purists, try the cheese-only American Ooze — American, cheddar, colby, Swiss, provolone and Cheez Whiz. Or five into the Ultimate Meltz — white cheddar, garlic jack, fontina, goat cheese, gorgonzola and gruyere ($3.50-$5.95).

Meltz also makes its own potato chips ($.95) and dipping sauces ($.75) from house-made ranch to garlicky basil-tomato. The extreme tomato soup ($.45-$1.85) is made daily, while specials include refreshing gazpacho full of cucumber and chunky tomato topped by a big dollop of guacamole.

Located in the Fairway strip mall at Kathleen and Ramsey, Meltz is the product of another perfect pairing: longtime friends Matt Yetter and chef Joe McCarthy, formerly of Mirabeau and Brix. Watch your sandwich being made while you sit in the cozy urban space — corrugated steel panels, industrial lighting, bold blue tables with butterscotch candy-colored trim, painted concrete walls. A long booth in powder-coated aluminum matches the cute little retro trays on which your food arrives from the kitchen.

When it does, remember two things: finger licking is acceptable (extra napkins are to the left of the soda dispenser) and cheese is more filling than you think (to-go wrappers are available).

Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese • 1735 W. Kathleen, Cda • Open Mon-Sat 11:00 am-8 pm • meltzextreme.com • (208) 664-1717

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