Mastering the art of grilled cheese
Harvest Café had been open not even two weeks when I sat down for lunch at the place and it was already nearly packed – despite not advertising, not even announcing their opening.
It was no surprise why when I took my first chomp out of their soon-to-be famed 'Fancy Pants' grilled cheese sandwich.
But more on that later...
When Ron Romeyn and Kevin Klassen closed their retail outlet, Objekts, for renovations last December, they had a secret roiling in their bellies. Five months later, that secret was finally revealed.
The partners recently reopened on Mill Street as a store within a store. On the left, there's Objekts. On the right, there's Harvest Café – home of the Fancy Pants grilled cheese.
"This has always been in the plan, we just didn't know how it would unfold," said Romeyn, a trained baker, who was one of the founding members of Cupcakes in Vancouver, and who desperately wanted to get back into the baking realm.
A trip to Manhattan, and a tour through the New York staple of ABC Carpet and Home – 10 floors of rugs, furniture, textiles, and food – had further instilled that dream.
On a much smaller scale that is.
"We came up with our own version; a modern take on the old trading posts," said Klassen.
The combined shop is a destination for home accessories, bathing products, kitchenware, jewelry, fashion and food – ohhh, the food.
All baked products, except for the ciabatta and tortillas, are created by Romeyn who's in the shop every morning at 4 a.m. immersed in flour, sugar, cinnamon and other such baking dusts.
Their lunch menu is also full of warm-your-belly, comfort foods – with a twist.
"We broke our menu apart and built it back up as healthy as we could," said Romeyn.
They have tomato boccoccini sandwiches, grilled vegetable sandwiches, soups, salads, and yes, that Fancy Pants grilled cheese too.
Now, I must admit I am a grilled cheese connoisseur – grilled cheese snob, if you will – and nine times out of 10, no one makes a grilled cheese sammie better than my husband. But when I bit into that Fancy Pants, with its home-baked white bread (grilled cheese must always be on white) and its perfectly melted cheese oozing out every which way, I was in cheesy goodness heaven.
One bite. Two bites. Ten bites later and I still had nearly half a sandwich to get through. I tried, oh man did I try, but for the life of me, my ever expanding belly would not accept another bite.
I let go of the wonderfully buttered bread, looked down at the sandwich with great sadness in my eyes, and with my head bowed in shame, I exited the café, with just one vow in my heart:
"I'll be back dear Fancy Pants, oh yes I will, and you will be mine."