I decided to come out of hibernation this winter to attend Joylister’s Grilled Cheese Fest. Bread + Cheese + Butter + Heat = Deliciousness! Grilled cheese is one of my favourite comfort foods, so when I heard about this event, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to attend. The $40 ticket price for all you can eat grilled cheese, soup and some beer seemed a little steep, but I was willing to shell it out because I am a lover of cheesy goodness. After taking part in the ‘spectacle‘ that was the grilled cheese fest, I am thinking it may have been wise to continue hibernating a little more.
The event had so much potential; great vendors, great assortment of grilled cheese and soups, and all you can eat for 5 hours! Unfortunately, the evening seemed doomed right from the start. As opposed to writing a post detailing the catastrophes of the night, I have decided to make a HITS and MISSES list instead.
1) The Vendors. The 10 or so vendors that came to the event really were incredible. While there were some ‘technical’ difficulties throughout the night, they persevered and wanted to try and distribute as many grilled cheese sandwiches as possible. Some of my sandwich highlights include:
- “The Wafella” by Leslieville Cheese Market. Gluten Free Waffles, Coconut Gouda, and Nutella. Probably one of my favourite sandwiches from the night. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was so tasty I regret not waiting in line for a 2nd!
- Creme Fraiche Market. 2 yr old cow cheddar, caramelized onion chutney, and organic butter. We luckily grabbed this sandwich on our way out the door at 9:55 pm. The sandwich (and lack of line) definitely helped to redeem this rather disappointing night
- “The Sheeva” by The Construction Site. 4-cheese mac & cheese, egg loaf, panko bread crumbs, parmesan. Seriously…Mac & Cheese inside a grilled cheese? Yes please! Two of my favourite foods merged into 1. It was delightful to see and eat!
1) Event Organization. Everything that could possibly go wrong with organizing an event happened with the Grilled Cheese Fest. From waiting outside in the cold for nearly 40 minutes, to taking almost 2 hours before I ate my first grilled cheese, this event was a catastrophe from the get-go. I did manage to snap a nice pic of Roy Thompson Hall while freezing my butt off in line though (trying to be a little positive here).
2) Lines, Lines and More Lines. Going from one line to the next is not my idea of a good time. I also seemed to have picked nearly the wrong line no matter where I went.
LINE FAIL #1 – Waiting 35 minutes for Cheesewerks only to find out that they had power issues and couldn’t make any sandwiches until power was restored. They redeemed themselves though (I will detail at bottom of post).
LINE FAIL #2 – Waiting 25 minutes in line only to find out that the Market Garden (by Eaton Chelsea hotels) was out of the vegetarian grilled cheese offering and were only making tandoori chicken grilled cheese. C’MON! 1.5 hours at the event and still no grilled cheese!
3) Dividing and Unconquering. What was most unfortunate about the event was the fact that I was separated from the group of people I came with. If we had any chance of securing food (or beer), it meant splitting up into different lines and grabbing extras for someone else. Most of my friends left within the first hour due to frustration. I probably had longer conversations with people waiting in line with me than my actual friends. For that reason alone Joylister, you are getting a rather large BOO and thumbs down from this grilled cheese lovin’ gal!
Since the event took place, many people have gone to social media to send their thoughts to Joylister on how disappointed they were with the festival. Joylister is apologizing for their disastrous event and are offering refunds to anyone who emails them and complains. However, I have to give credit to Cheesewerks for making a statement on twitter this morning by offering a free grilled cheese sandwich this weekend to anyone that purchased a ticket to the event.
I took them up on their offer and headed down with my friend to get our free treats. We were immediately greeted with a large smile and received fantastic service. We ordered some of their house-made sodas and waited patiently for our sandwiches to be grilled to perfection.
The sandwiches were delicious (as expected), and we definitely saw some other items on the menu that peaked our interest. In particular was the “Candy Bar Grilled Cheese” in which a candy bar of your choosing is melted inside a grilled cheese sandwich and served with strawberries and maple syrup. After chatting in the restaurant for a couple of hours, we decided we were in the mood for something a little sweet and decided to be adventurous and try the dessert-like sandwich. Our taste buds were super happy with our decision. In the end, we had our own grilled cheese fest at Cheesewerks and were pretty happy about that. Needless to say, I don’t plan on attending any future Joylister events.