Chow Down in Cowtown is an (almost!) weekly account of Calgary’s most awesome eats from Ceci n’est pas un food blog.
About two-and-a-half weeks ago, my friend Tiffany casually signed off an email by saying “Btw, we should go to the grilled cheese bar, if you haven’t already been.” Excitedly, I replied, “WHAT IS THIS GRILLED CHEESE BAR YOU SPEAK OF?!?”
It turns out that I’d already knew about the grilled cheese sandwiches being served up at Janice Beaton Fine Cheese, but when it’s described as a “grilled cheese bar” it makes it sound all the more sinful and gluttonous, no?
So after work one day, Tiffany and I decided to head down to Janice Beaton to have an early supper of grilled cheese sandwiches. The menu consists of three choices, all $7 – a classic three-cheese sandwich, a croque-monsieur called Ham and Cheese, Please and the Whim of the Day, which on that day was queso fresco with pesto and tomato sauce. We ordered one each of the Ham and Cheese, Please and the Whim of the Day, and swapped halves.
Janice Beaton has a small counter set up by the window with bar stools where you can sit down and enjoy your grilled cheeses (instead of bringing them outside into the cold and letting them go soggy). The sandwiches are served on cute little wooden cutting boards with their logo lasered onto them, alongside a small ramekin of a mild, crunchy red cabbage coleslaw and a few tiny gherkins.
The croque-monsieur was good, with locally sourced ham, Brassica mustard and gooey Gruyère sandwiched between panini bread grilled so crispy that there were air bubbles on the surface, yet somehow not charred at all. However, it paled in comparison to the Whim of the Day, which the lady behind the counter accurately described as tasting like “pasta in a sandwich”. The queso fresco held its structure despite being grilled, giving the sandwich a bit of a chewy texture, while the garlic-basil pesto and chunky tomato sauce provided the rich, familiar flavours often associated with pasta.
The service at Janice Beaton was top-notch, despite the fact that their primary service is selling cheese, not serving it. Our food was brought out to us as we chatted at the counter, and though we probably overstayed our welcome (we were there till about 15 minutes before close) we definitely did not feel rushed at all. We didn’t have anything to drink, but there are Italian sodas available, as well as wine by the glass. On Wednesday nights, they have wine/beer and cheese pairing nights for $50 – this month there is a Thanksgiving-themed night, and a series of Quebec-themed nights. Give them a call (or better yet, pay them a visit) for more information and to reserve your spot!
Janice Beaton Fine Cheese
1017 16 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2R 0T5
Grilled cheese sandwiches available during store hours: Mon-Fri 9 AM-7 PM; Sat 9 AM-6 PM; Sun 10 AM-6 PM.