Caution: Mouthwatering Grilled Cheese Ahead! The Blueprint of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The Construction Site

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A classic sandwich lunch: the grilled cheese!

Ever since I found about National Grilled Cheese month in March, I’ve been mulling over all the city’s grilled cheese offerings (at least the ones I know of!) and hemming and hawing over which one would be my first grilled cheese experience of this special month.  I’ve had a few yummylicious homemade grilled cheese sandwiches at home (I made a grilled cheese, dill, and tomato on a crusty baguette a few days ago and a tuna cheddar melt on French white for lunch today!), but we’re talking grilled cheese outside my kitchen in TO.  Introducing The Construction Site: Grilled Cheese at Work on Yonge & Eglinton! 

The Construction Site at Yonge & Eglinton opened up late last year in 2011 and it is so, so cute.  Not fa-la-la cotton candy cute, but clever and thematically cute!  You can tell a lot of thought went into the particular look the grilled cheese spot was going for, especially in the details.  First off, we have the decor and aesthetics.  You won’t find anyone drilling or hammering away inside (thank goodness, could you imagine?!), but you will find construction-esque things like smooth wood pillars (donning the freshly sanded and primed look!) with nuts and bolts screwed in, yellow construction signs, and wooden frames showcasing pretty posters of cheese hanging on the walls.  Oh, and the walls!  Think of construction drafts and blueprints, but instead of floorplans and architectural drawings, we have outline drawings of sliced bread, swiss cheese, wedges of cheese, cheese graters, and slotted sandwich flipping spatulas on a pretty shade of pale cornflower blue wallpaper.                        

Love the walls!

Ooo, someone's having a grilled cheese & tomato...

The scrapbooking, patterned paper lover in me hyperventilated.  Can you tell I’m smitten?!  I LOVED themed places!  I love it when places brand their image based on, and according to, a specific theme and then run with it.  It makes the atmosphere and overall look so much fun to work with and you get to be really creative when executing the details.  My absolute favourite aesthetic detail about The Construction Site aside from the wallpaper is the food boxes.  Forget the paper bag, styrofoam box and ho-hum take-out container – everyone gets their grilled cheese sandwich order in an adorable flat, square, cardboard flip-top box with a cute-as-a-button construction cheese sign sticker emblazoned in the corner!  I was in conniptions over this!

One of the cutest food boxes ever!

Funny enough, I actually wanted to grow up to be a construction worker when I was in the 3rd grade.  While many other friends wanted to be ballet dancers, models, makeup artists, and doctors, I wanted to build stuff, carry a toolbelt, and lay bricks.  You guys know I don’t lay bricks (not real ones anyway – I lay Lego bricks with my boyfriend!), but I do construct things out of paper and have a scrapbook “toolbelt” at my disposable.  That’s not too far off the mark then, right?  I felt like I was on a construction site (minus the long, deafening clanging noises and hard hats), sitting on a workbench (or a crane on a sunny day) with my cardboard box on lunch break.  Open up the box and there’s your lunch greeting you like an old, reliable friend.  What a wonderful feeling.

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The Goodness of Food at The Depanneur – April Supper Clubs, Drop-In Dinners, and Grilled Cheese Month!

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Never a dull food moment!

Easter weekend has come and gone for another year and while mine was rather uneventful and forgettable, I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful time with their family and friends eating treats, dyeing eggs, baking, hunting for eggs, and cooing at cute bunny things!  Given how lackluster my weekend was though, I’m looking forward to the rest of the month and that means getting my grilled cheese on!  Now that everyone’s bellies are happy and full of chocolate eggs and bunnies, marshmallows, and Easter dinner, it’s time to bring on the grilled cheese for the month of April in honour of National Grilled Cheese Month.  I’ve been having ridiculous havarti and cheddar cheese cravings lately and I desparately need to satiate them with some ooy gooey crunchy sandwiches this month. 

Aside from Cheesewerks on Wellington and Bathurst, Grilled Cheese in Kensington Market, The Construction Site at Yonge and Eglinton, Leslieville Cheese Market on Queen East and West, and Cool Hand Luc on King West, The Depanneur (at College and Dufferin) is yet another wonderful spot you can go to to satisfy those grilled cheese cravings!  While my last and latest visit didn’t involve any grilled cheeses, I’m here to remind everyone that The Depanneur normally serves two kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch (except Mondays because they’re closed), using plenty of ingredients from local farms and businesses and fresh baked bread from local bakeries such as Nice Buns and St. John’s.

A sneak peek of tomorrow's post!

The grilled cheese menu selection ($4 for a half, $7 for a whole, tax inclusive) could be a mozzarella with peameal bacon on raisin walnut bread, a cheddar sandwich with arugula pesto on sourdough, or a cheddar and sauteed mushroom mix.  I’ve been enjoying their breakfast sandwiches thus far, so regardless of whether I get around to having a grilled cheese from The Depanneur this month, I’m just excited to try one at some point in time!

This month also brings a whole slew of upcoming Drop-In Dinners ($10) and Supper Club events!  If you’ve been keeping up with the The Depanneur’s Food Events in the Food Calendar, you’ll have noticed that Len and his team have been churning out some amazing, creative events: evenings of vegetarian and vegan Mexican and Jamaican, a black and white coloured themed supper club dinner, Nonya and Malaysian cuisine, Cuban flavour, and meat-centric ribs, sliders, and pork meals.  I love, love, LOVE how creative and all-encompassing these supper clubs and drop-in dinners are.  You have meals that cater to meat-lovers, you have ones that are vegetarian and vegan up and down, you have an emphasis on soups, on grains, on dessert, everything could possibly want and think of.  Trust that when I live in the thick of Toronto in the future, I will be at these events!

April Supper Clubs and Drop-In Dinners – I’ll be adding these to the Food Calendar with full descriptions as they come!

  • Sunday, April 21st – A Mexican Culinary Affair With Chef Natalie Ryan (Supper Club)
  • Monday, April 22nd – Vegetarian Eritrean (African) Dinner With Live Music & Coffee Ceremony (Supper Club)
  • Friday, April 27th – Homemade Popovers and Soup (Drop-In Dinner)
  • Sunday, April 29th – Island Fever!  Spicy I-tal Vegan Dinner With Kalmplex

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) with a number of cooking classes, food workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs throughout the month, which you can keep up with on the Food Calendar or on their Twitter @TheDepanneur.  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.

April Showers Bring Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Easter Sweets, and an Earth Day Farmers’ Market & Vegan Food Fair!

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Sweet Easter treats, National Grilled Cheese Month, a vegan food fair, and a month-long fundraising event in support of The Stop Community Food Centre – well, April is looking like one very foodielicious month!  While I was really hoping Veggielicious would be returning for a second round this spring, it doesn’t look as though it’ll be taking place until later on in the year (if at all) so I have my sights and stomach set on a number of other spring food events that I’m just as excited about! 

First off, April is National Grilled Cheese Month!  I didn’t even know such an occasion existed until I saw a special Cheesewerks ad promoting it in the current spring issue of CityBites magazine.  A whole month devoted to cheese and grilled cheese?!  OH.MY.GOD.  One of my favourite breakfast indulgences during university and grad school was to go to one of the best places on campus, Blueberry Hill, for an order of over easy eggs and toast and a foodgasmic cheddar grilled cheese.  It was all sorts of heaven in my mouth and belly.  I love grilled cheese but don’t eat it often enough to satiate my cravings, so this month is as good a time as any to go a little grilled cheese crazy. 

Cheesewerks, located at Bathurst and Wellington, is spearheading this month of toasty, ooey gooey cheesy goodness with an entire month of promotions, new menu items, and lunch specials which everyone can keep up with on their official website and on their Twitter @CHEESEWERKS.  For other delicious grilled cheeses, you can check out the Leslieville Cheese Market on Queen Street East (pictured above), Grilled Cheese in Kensington Market, and Cool Hand Luc on King Street West just to name a few!  The crunchy, melty grilled cheese and veggie sandwich you see up top is courtesy of T&T Bakery & Cafe on Main Street Markham, one of my favourite places in my neck of the woods.  I am so looking forward to going to Cheesewerks and the Leslieville Cheese Market sometime this month (hopefully!), and I would love to check out other sandwich spots to see what other grilled cheese gems I can find.  Feel free to share your favourite grilled cheese experiences and stories! 

April also marks The Stop Community Food Centre’s Stop For Food fundraising event and initiative taking place during the entire month of April at 20 different restaurants across the city.  Stop by any of the participating restaurants (the list can be viewed here), add $5 to the total of your dinner bill (or lunch bill at the Drake Hotel, pictured above), and know that the additional $5 will raise money for The Stop’s drop-in and hunger-fighting food programs. 

In addition, April wouldn’t be April without an Earth Day celebration!  Evergreen Brick Works will be holding a special Earth Day farmers’ market on Saturday, April 21st as well as a vegan food fair!  What you see below are vegan sweet potato doughnut holes tossed in maple sugar by Toronto’s LPK Culinary Groove from a previous market!  I am so excited about this market and food fair, especially considering how I haven’t been back to the Brick Works since last fall.  And it just so happens that Cafe Belong at EBW is a participating restaurant in The Stop’s Stop For Food event, so it’s a great tie-in and a great way for Cafe Belong to do what they always strive to do: showcase some of Ontario’s tastiest, local seasonal ingredients that are at the peak of their freshness.  Earth Day and fundraising all rolled into one!

Here on Ate by Ate, I’ll be promoting the *NEW* Oreo Anniversary Series throughout the month and beyond, as well as the new Sushi Lunch Special series!  There’s so much to look forward to in the coming weeks including more supper clubs and food events at The Depanneur, more farmers’ markets waiting in the wings (the Lunchtime Office Markets just might be making their into Liberty Village!  Fingers crossed), and LOTS of Easter fun including Easter brunches and a sweet Easter dessert tour around Kensington Market!  For a full listing of April’s food events, check out the Food Calendar up on the main menu bar.