The heat index is reaching hellish heights, and the last thing you want to do is slave over a hot stove or grill. You might not even want to order anything warm at this point. The obvious solution? Pass the cheese, please. Plenty of local restaurants offer refreshing cheese plates with crisp wine pairings that are perfect for the dog days of summer. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Bin 152 specializes in cheese plates, “most that people have never heard of,” says owner Patrick Panella. They offer over 20 varieties, like English Stilton, French Morbier, and Spanish Mahon — all for $7 each. There are also 15 charcuterie options, and 30 wines by the glass (over 100 by the bottle). The cheese is served with a freshly baked baguette.
Al di La allows you to create your own cheese plate from their wine bar menu — you can choose three for $10, or choose more if you like. Try the Pecorino Toscano, a dry sheeps milk cheese; a Piave with a candied fruit mustard; or the Toma, a semisoft cows milk cheese with cherries rehydrated in marsala. You can supplement all that cheesiness with a selection of meats and veggies, and, of course, Al di La’s extensive wine selection.
O’Hara & Flynn also lets you create your own cheese plate, starting at $6.50 for one cheese, $13 for two, and so on. They’ve got 10 varieties to choose from, like an Italian Robiola or the soft Green Hill cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Ga. The plates come with bread and California olive oil, and you can choose from 38 wines by the glass to accompany them.
Fish offers a cheese plate ($8) with a daily rotating selection, always with one hard, one soft, and one blue cheese. On Friday, you’ll find a Roquefort, a hard Petit Basque, and a soft, creamy Saint-André. The plate includes baguettes and fruit — like golden raisins, cherries, and apricots — macerated in honey and wine.
Social has a three-cheese course that includes an Angry Goat Cheese, a Moody Blue, and a Spanish manchego. It’s served with black truffle honey, sour cherry compote, walnuts, and toast points for $13. Social’s wine studs will help you choose the perfect wine to suit your tastebuds.
Want more? Trattoria Lucca, Avondale Wine & Cheese, and Caviar & Bananas also offer tasty cheese and charcuterie plates — call ahead to find out their specials.