There was a period in my life when I had lunch every Saturday at Kokomo, a lunch counter in that odd part of Farmers Market between DuPar's and the place where they grind the horseradish.
Kokomo had a rack of movie magazines to read while you waited for your malted, and it was famous for its overloaded hamburgers and its New Orleans-style egg dishes. But the dish I ordered every time was the grilled cheese sandwich – the torta de queso al carbon – which was a crunchy, toasty thing stuffed with smoky gobs of chipotles pureed with sun-dried tomatoes, a few leaves of cilantro, and melted cheddar and provolone cheese that oozed from the crisped, sourdough toast with every bite.
You could get the sandwich with a rasher or two of chewy, double-smoked bacon inside, and I always did. In the days before Barq’s sold its soul to the Coca-Cola Co., Kokomo was the only place in town where you could score an icy bottle of the intensely herbal root beer, which they flew in from New Orleans.
My wife despaired: She liked going to different restaurants, not the same one every time. I was faithful and happy.