As a kid growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., I regarded the tiny but bulbous jar of pimentos in our kitchen cabinet as an exotic ingredient. It meant chicken à la king from scratch, not the Swanson version over toasted white bread. After we moved to the South, my passion really bloomed: Y'all have this addictive concoction called pimento cheese.
Jalapeño Pepper Cheese Spread This white-cheese version has a vinegary tang and a slight kick — with no trans fats, carbs or sugar. And the company started in a Midlothian garage! Available at Kroger and Martin's
Pimento Cheese and Turkey Sandwich I fell for it hard when I worked at the Times-Dispatch. This hearty sandwich makes a bad day better, and the almond shortbread is a perfect finish. 203 N. Foushee, 648-3225
Mosaic Café and Catering
I recently discovered their smoked-Gouda pimento cheese, and I'm hooked on this nutty blend of three cheeses (company secret). The best part: You can buy it by the pound. 6229 River Road, 288-7482
The Black Sheep's
double-decker sandwich The one-block-off-Broad location, cozy booths and art-filled walls are half the event here. The other half is the toasted rye, red onion and homemade PC. 901 W. Marshall St., 648-1300
Homestyle Cheddar and Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Grated sharp cheddar and mayonnaise are the bedrocks of this tasty, but not overpowering mix, which I prefer to Ukrop's cream-cheese blend. Available at Martin's