It’s a novel food delivery method that might go over your head — both literally and figuratively.
“I was confused about it,” said spectator Nicole Schuman of Astoria as she watched a parachuting grilled cheese sail by. “I just wondered how hygienic that would be. But this is the most entertaining thing I’ve seen all week!”
The flying sandwich was just one of dozens dropped from the roof of Greenpoint bar The Diamond last Thursday by Jafflechutes, an Australian “pop-up, float-down” restaurant concept. After starting the transient eatery last August in Melbourne, founders Adam Grant, David McDonald and Huw Parkinson were able to raise enough money to bring their parachuting jaffles (the Down Under term for toasted sandwiches) to New York thanks to an online crowdfunding campaign.
“Jaffles are a special food in Australia,” Grant told us. “They’re a food that lots of people eat as children — a kind of mid-afternoon snack — and for that reason they evoke memories of all the fun things that go on during that time. Practically, they’re a good food to parachute because they’re sealed around the edges and you don’t have to worry about leaking melted cheese onto people’s heads.”
After setting up a makeshift kitchen of stainless steel Breville sandwich makers on The Diamond’s roof, Grant and sous chefs Nerissa Herbert, Melissa Tickle and Vlada Edirippulige toasted their jaffles to golden perfection. They then wrapped the savory pockets of cheese (American cheddar purchased exclusively from corner delis to reflect the event’s secret bodega cat theme) in aluminum foil, tucked them into brown paper bags and secured them to miniature plastic parachutes using colorful pipe cleaners. Each Jafflechute is marked with the name of the customer who reserves it in advance by sending payment via PayPal — $5 for cheese and tomato or cheese and jalapeño, and $6 for cheese and bacon.
“The wind seems a bit tricky tonight,” Grant told us as he surveyed The Diamond’s outdoor garden below. “Sometimes they fly too far to the side.” He assured us that any wayward jaffles would be replaced with new ones, though.
And quite a few of the chutes did end up in a backyard next door (not a bad little surprise to find on your patio, eh?), but that was all part of the fun. A number of grilled cheeses that were feared lost after landing on a fire escape were retrieved by a sporting neighbor and returned to their rightful owners below. Jaffles that were caught mid-flight by athletic onlookers were applauded merrily. All in all, $5-$6 bought patrons dinner and a show.
Though decidedly gimmicky, the sandwiches themselves received favorable reviews for flavor. “It’s a good sandwich,” said Greenpointer Sean McNalley between bites. “It’s great to have something like this fall out of the sky.”