I joke that I come to Rogers Arena for the food and stay for the hockey. During my last visit after the Concession reboot I missed trying the grilled cheese stand, so I made a point to do so today.
Who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese? It brings you back to a place of your childhood. A warmth in you belly, a smile on your face. It is one of those comfort foods you don’t grow out of. When you take buttery sweet toast and gooey stringy cheese, and bring them together with a choice of select ingredients you have a taste sensation that both adults and kids can appreciate. And if that isn’t enough, enjoy it with a side of beer for a more grown up taste.
The stall was serviced by a legion of people. It was a busy night and a fairly big game, they were operating with the need for speed. Chefs in white prepped the bread and one manned the heated flat top, toasting multiple pieces of bread at once. Your grilled cheese choices were the original with just bread and cheese; bacon, tomato, or pulled pork, where each ingredient was simply added between bread and cheese. And as a bonus nachos were made available with multicoloured corn chips and real cheese. An improvement on the processed liquid cheese more common in stadium fare.
We got the pulled pork. A tender pulled pork coated in a sweet barbecue sauce, sandwiched between two large slices of buttered bread and American yellow cheese, toasted to crispy perfection. About the size of two small sandwiches we shared an order between two. It was greasy from the butter and messy from the BBQ sauce, but no real complaints here. The entree came with a handful of kettle chips and a cup of sweet buttered pickle sliced. Both sides I found enjoyable compliments with our grilled cheese. The chips have a hard crunch to them, and it’s not out there to enjoy chips in bread. And the pickles gave a sour tang to break up all the heavy savoury flavours. All I needed was tomato soup and I was set, but none was to be found. How can you have grilled cheese without tomato soup? Thus making it a true classic. My guest argued that it would be hard to transport and that only finger foods and hand held meals were available for purchase, but I insisted that in a cup to sip from would be just fine.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This is gourmet cheese and bread, a grown up snack for a grown up palette. As quickly as we devoured it and as good as it was I didn’t think it was worth another try for its steep price point, approximately $8.50. Yes it is coliseum food where you pay more for the ability to eat at a sporting event. But at $8.50 you can buy all that you need to make multiple grilled cheeses at home, and have more than enough to add on a can of tomato soup. Don’t deny your cravings.