Cheesed Off

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!
    wafella grilled cheese leslieville cheese market
  • 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).
Outside Roy Thompson Hall2) 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.

Cupcakes and Pumpkins


Pumpkin Parade Sorauren Park

I am pretty sure I have indicated in a previous post that I absolutely love Halloween. There are really two reasons why I love it. The first is I love having an excuse to wear a costume. The second is that Halloween parties typically fall around my birthday, so it is great to be able to convince (or guilt) all of your friends to get into the spirit and dress up with you.

I am always impressed by the people that think of their costumes well in advance. As much as I love costumes, I am not that much of a planner and I typically wait until the week before to figure out what I am going to be. I also love to make all of my costumes from scratch and take much pride in doing so. Previously I have been She-Ra, a Paper Doll, and this year, a cupcake! Here are some picture instructions I made to help anyone wanting to make a cupcake costume (y’know, if you are curious!).

This year I was not alone in my crafty Halloween ways, but actually had an entire posse of cupcakes with me – pretty scary I know! But seriously, all of us on the dance floor at Lee’s Palace was quite the scene. We kind of went against Halloween norms of wearing something skimpy and tight, and went all out and well, BIG! It was actually nice not having anyone in your personal space at a bar as you kind of had this protective barrier around you. Anyway, I think the pics will speak for themselves as to how cute we all looked that night!


So have you ever wondered what you can do with your beautifully carved pumpkin after Halloween? Especially if you have taken lots of time to make a really intricate design and still want to show it off? Well look no further – you can bring your pumpkin to a Pumpkin Parade! Many parks across the city are now hosting pumpkin parades the day after Halloween (November 1st if you needed me to be more specific). It is pretty much a way for people in the community to showcase their wonderful works of art with hundreds of others in a little exhibition of sorts. It is quite the spectacle to see almost 2,000 pumpkins lit up in a dark park. People also create the most amazing designs. I think the big highlight this year was the Rob Ford in prison pumpkin. It definitely drew in quite the crowd. Check out my pics below for some of the highlights!

In the Art of the City

I think I am going to now remember the return of Fall as the time of the year when not only the leaves change colour, but when the city transforms into an art lovers paradise. I don’t know much about art. I know I like walking around museums, going to arts and crafts fairs, and checking out various exhibits – pretty much I like to look at pretty and interesting things (who doesn’t, right?). I guess I am just impressed by talent. Well Toronto had a lot of talent in the city to welcome Fall, with the Queen West Art Crawl and Outdoor Show, The Word on the Street Festival, and of course, Nuit Blanche. These are three annual events that I try to go to each year and wanted to share some of that experience through the use of some pretty pictures (because like I said, who doesn’t like to look at pretty and interesting things?).


Now unfortunately I did not get to see as much of the Queen West Art Crawl as I would have liked to this year. While the crawl lasts the entire weekend, I only managed to go down on the Sunday to check it out as it was raining on Saturday (which to me means stay at home in my pj’s and catch up on all of the bad TV I missed during the week). Sunday also coincided with the Word on the Street Festival – so I had to split up that day to be able to get to both festivals. Yay for good sneakers and public transit!

My favourite part of the art crawl is the outdoor show that takes place in Trinity Bellwoods Park. I love walking by all of the tents and checking out the work made by local artisans. It is also free – so no real barrier for anyone to attend (although donations are welcome!). You can buy all sorts of handmade crafts and art at the show, including paintings, photography, jewelry and pottery. I didn’t end up buying anything at the fair (mainly because I don’t have any walls that are currently empty in my tiny condo to place art on), but I hope to one day when I have a much bigger pad and want some one of a kind pieces!


For those of you not familiar with the Word on the Street Festival, it is pretty much a large one-day festival in the city that celebrates writing and reading. It’s a great place to hear local authors read passages from their work and answer questions, schmooze with local publications trying to pimp out their products, as well as just get deals on books.

I love this festival because it really has something for everyone. No matter the genre or type of publication (book, comic, magazine, newspaper, etc), you will probably be able to find something that interests you at Word on the Street. I also especially loved seeing all of the kids in attendance and how much fun they were having reading and watching the various performances. It is a great family event and there is tons of stuff to do and see to keep you busy for hours (and potentially empty out your pockets if you can manage to squeeze your way up to a booth to get some of the good pickings).

I didn’t manage to buy anything at the festival (mainly because I was pretty tired and didn’t feel like having to carry anything heavy home), but I did manage to score a very tasty samosa. Another great thing about festivals in the city is that there are fantastic food trucks available to get some tasty eats. This was definitely needed after an exhausting day of walking from the west end of the city to the north. It can definitely make a girl hungry!


Nuit Blanche is probably the Mecca of all art festivals in the city. Each year, it seems to get bigger and bigger – not only in attendance, but in the number of exhibits to physically check out. I tried my best to see as much as possible this year, but had to end the night just before 2 am as I had an early morning flight the next day. It was a perfect evening for the event (well until about 1:30 am or so when the rain started), but felt that the city/organizers could have done a better job coordinating street closures. Intersections like Queen/University as well as Queen/Yonge were not closed down for the event making it very difficult and dangerous to cross the street as well as creating huge bottlenecks. I am certain that this was one of the event’s largest complaints and I am hopeful that it will be corrected for next year.

Overall, I was very impressed with Nuit Blanche. I think some of the exhibits were quite grande and spectacular, and really made for a memorable night. City Hall was definitely quite the scene with Ai Weiwei’s ‘Forever Bicycles’ installation as well as Boris Achour’s ‘The rose is without why’ light-up poem. However, none of the exhibits can really match the buzz and spirit that the city itself was generating that night. Toronto was kind of transformed into this magical place, filled with people just wanting to explore and enjoy the experience. This is how I always feel in the city when I am discovering something new, so it was great to experience that with thousands of other people that night.