I was tempted by many favorable scents, but I had to stop at the little yellow-painted storefront near the top of the hill for a bite to eat, a friendly place called Sisters Goumet Bistro. The moment I walked in the host kindly asked me if I wanted a margarita. It was 1 p.m. I deferred.
While I was waiting, the host came by and struck up a conversation. He mentioned something about Sisters being a small concert venue, and I mentioned that my pal Robb did that sort of thing. Turns out Some Guy Named Robb was indeed playing Sisters that weekend. I made a mental note to pass along what I thought of the food.
We were just chatting away when my order came up. The sandwich came on a plate with a bag of plain Lays potato chips. I pulled out my camera and took some shots.
Mind you, that was no easy task. It smelled damn good. The bread looked crusty and crunchy and the cheese just goo’ed out across where it had been cut on the diagonal. I must admit, I took far fewer shots than I usually take. I had to have at that sandwich.
But the real genius in the sandwich was the preparation. Not content to just grill some bread, at Sisters the assembled sandwich is dipped in Parmesan before it’s grilled. This gives the entire exterior a nice sharp flavor and crispy crust that just adds this delicious weight to every bite. It is by far the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had, and that’s saying something, considering how many grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve sampled across the nation.
I didn’t even touch the chips, just slipped them into my bag before I left. I was thankful for my waitress who kept coming by to refill my tea. She asked about the sandwich, and I told her she absolutely had to give it a shot. Not spicy, not spicy at all, but damn good.
On the way out I glanced down at the pastries under the counter. They looked so awesome. I just knew, though, that if I even acquiesced to a simple taste, I’d never make it to Joe’s for my dinner with friends. Yeah, just another spot I have to revisit.
You’ll find Sisters Gourmet Bistro on Main Street in Historic Downtown Van Buren, about a half block down the west side of the street from the depot. They have a liquor license (hence the offer of a margarita) and the membership is free. They‘re open for breakfast and lunch every day, and for dinner every day except Sunday. (479) 474-4949.