Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Gouda, Gouda, Gouda

Six years ago Tina and Katherine Tonn lived in Nina, Wisconsin and decided to start their food truck adventure. For the time being, they used a kitchen in Milwaukee, which called for a lot of traveling; eventually, commuting got to be enough. Less than two years ago, they moved into Eleven25 at Pabst and purchased a space in the cafeteria on the main floor which is open to the public. The Gouda Girls now use their restaurant as the base kitchen for their food truck.

Between the sandwiches, burgers and macaroni and cheese, they use 10 different kinds of Wisconsin cheese. They try to buy their cheese and vegetables locally whenever possible. Katherine says their best selling items are both the Cheesesteak and the Roma.

Just this year, The Gouda Girls took first place in Milwaukee’s Bacon Fest with their Smoked Gouda and bacon macaroni and cheese. “We knew our customers liked our Smoked Gouda and bacon recipe, but wow, how amazing,” Katherine says. “We felt very honored to have been included with so many great chefs in such a competitive division.” Since this event was a qualifying competition, The Gouda Girls will be heading to The World Food Championship in November to participate in its bacon division.

I first ordered something a little more than the classic grilled cheese, but one not with all the bells and whistles; I ordered the Triple, which has Gouda, Colby Jack, and Havarti. The sandwich was toasted/grilled enough so the bread was soft yet still had a consistent golden coat from the butter, evenly spread to every corner on both sides. The dark golden ring surrounding the edges provided that extra crisp from the crust. The butter also supply’s the little bit of saltiness that the palate needs to compliment the cheese and bread.

The Triple is served warm, not too hot, so that you can indulge in your “curbside comfort food” right away. Layers of white and yellow cheeses provided various tastes within the sandwich. As the Havarti brings the smooth creaminess, the Colby Jack carries the mild taste, and the Gouda gives you the short happiness of both sweet and sharp essences.

The first bite was like expected, a stringy mess as I pulled away the sandwich, gooeyness spilling out. Simple, yet delicious. Every bite after is less and less stringy but still pleasing as you bite into a great proportioned bread to cheese sandwich. You would think three different kinds of cheese would be too much cheese for one sandwich; but they made it work. Over all, the golden bread and complimentary, smooth gooey cheeses made for a sandwich that is truly comforting.

On another day, I tried the Havarti Hottie. Given the name of it, along with the habanero cheese incorporated within the sandwich, I thought it would be a reasonably spicy sandwich, so I ordered that (I love spicy-hot foods). However, I was sadly disappointed. Not only was it not spicy at all, it was sweet to boot!

The sandwich included Havarti, Habanero Jack cheese, thick-cut bacon, and fig jam – which is actually more of a sauce consistency. At first, I thought it was the bacon that gave the grilled cheese it’s sweetness. Then I thought to myself, they forgot the Fig Jam, so I asked for an addition side of jam. It turns out that the fig jam was the ingredient giving the sandwich it’s sweetness. it’s the fig jam that separates this sandwich from a simple grilled cheese with bacon. I would suggest serving it with a bit more fig jam and embrace the sweetness of the sandwich.

After accepting that I wasn’t going to get the spicy-hotness I thought I was going to, I embraced my sweet tooth. I dipped every single bite of my grilled cheese into the condiment-sized dish of fig jam, savoring it’s saccharinity. The jam and bacon synchronize superbly; together it reminds me of sweet, maple smoked bacon and then you add the mild cheese, it’s great.

As far as the bacon, I tend to like mine extra crispy, but their bacon was great. There wasn’t much fat at all and it’s cooked just past flimsy and right before crispy, right when the most aromas and flavors are emitted. I noticed the thick, heartiness of the bacon; they’re not thin, fragile slices and you get about two pieces per sandwich.

Unlike The Goud Girls food truck, their restaurant has a small breakfast menu. I would never have known this unless I went into the restaurant – their website is solely focused on their food truck side of the business. They offer either a breakfast sandwich or a breakfast bowl and they open at 7:30 A.M. for those early risers.

I ordered the Breakfast Bowl which consists of hash browns, macaroni and cheese, and an egg made your way; you can order it sunny side up, over easy, or the yolk well-done. The hash browns texture was al dente, some strands golden from the skillet/griddle. With my first bite of potatoes, immediately I thought they were a tad salty. I hoped it was just that bite. But no, every bite was very salty.

I asked for my egg over easy and once I split open the yolk, it oozed out of the egg white and dripped over the macaroni and potatoes. The base of the yolk helped subdue the saltiness of the hash browns and added a bit of flavor to the macaroni. I’m not sure if they use the same macaroni they sell by the bowl for this dish, but if they do, I think the cheese got lost in the shuffle. I barely saw, let alone tasted, any hint of cheese; it was more like buttered macaroni.

I’ll definitely have to return to try their fan favorites, the Cheese steak and the Roma, but also their macaroni and cheese, both their regular and whatever specialty they have that day, since their specialty is consistently changing. Over all, I enjoyed the sweetness of the grilled cheese with fig jam, it was a nice twist on your original grilled cheese. I’ll stick with the food truck food  and certainly try their macaroni and cheese next time.


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