First Stop: Lisa Marie

Stepping out of the cab on this rainy Sunday morning in July, I stubbornly refuse to allow the weather to put a damper on my quest.  I also ignore the fact that I’ve recently succumbed to the combination of gravity, a decline in a well worn bike path, and a weak right ankle, all of which have now rendered me a hobbling invalid.  The thought had crossed my mind to abandon my quest, considering how long it takes me to travel to the bathroom from my bedroom, managing to get to a restaurant would be far more painful and challenging.  But the enticing thought of devouring Eggs Benedict strengthened my resolve.  Besides, my ankle is injured, and this has little to do with my mouth or my appetite.  The door to Lisa Marie is a mere 10 meters away, and in the pursuit of Benny, I can manage that.

As I make myself comfortable on the bench next to the garage door style window, I take stock of my surroundings while waiting for Sully, noting the dark wood, white walls, and illustrations that decorate the interior of Lisa Marie.  It’s got a homie, cozy feel to it.  I hope to add ‘deliciously sated‘ and ‘satisfactorily drowsy‘ to that list post-brunch.

Sully’s arrived, and he’s excited, I can tell.  His posture and the glint in his eyes indicate that he’s just as eager as I am, or that he’s still drunk from last night.  This is good.  Actually, it’s more than good.  This is perfect.  He’s everything I need him to be.  Knowledgeable, a self-proclaimed food snob, easy on the eyes, and most importantly, hungry.  Now, you may be asking yourself, what does ‘easy on the eyes’ have to do with this quest of yours?  Absolutely nothing.  But nevertheless, it’s doesn’t hurt.

The breakfast menu has several items listed.  Although my choice has already been predetermined by the nature of my quest, I still eyeball a couple others such as ‘Nap Time Special’ and ‘Peameal Eh?’ which boasts fried green tomatoes.  If you’ve ever seen the movie, be honest, you’ve always had a hankering to try some.

Some items are missing, but I focused on the eggs Benedict naturally.

Some items are missing, but I focused on the eggs Benedict naturally.

‘Bacon Explosion Benedict’ is the name.  The words ‘smoked bacon explosion patties’ and ‘poached eggs on brioche bread’ precedes ‘spicy hollandaise sauce,’ all of which send tantalizing shivers of anticipation down my spine that I fail to notice the ‘sides.’  So when the server asked, “and what would you like with that?” after I eagerly announced my order, my face closely resembled that of a goldfish as I sputtered incoherently in response to this unexpected question.  Luckily, Sully took charge and ordered for me with a clear and decided tone “she’ll have Pad Thai fries.”  And that, was that.

Naturally, the time arrives to get to know my food companion.  As he lists the restaurants he’s been to, the menus he’s tasted, I realize how paltry my edible exploits are compared to his.  I remind myself that it should be this way.  According to Joseph Campbell’s narrative pattern describing the structure of a Hero’s Journey, (I am clearly the heroine in this story) Sully fits the description of “seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey.”  The man likes to eat, likes to talk about food he’s eaten, places he’s eaten at, and places he would like to eat at.  Superfantascular.

“How excited are you right now?” he asks as the plates are lowered in front of us.  To be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s excitement or the fact that I’m famished and feel as if my stomach is eating itself, but I answer that I’m very excited.  Proving that he’s no amateur when it comes to taking pictures of food, Sully pushes his plate out of the shadows and into the sunlight spilling in from the now raised garage door window.  I follow suit.  He looks like he knows what he’s doing even if he doesn’t.

Bacon Explosion Benedict with Pad Thai fries on the side.

Bacon Explosion Benedict with Pad Thai fries on the side. Photo taken with the app KitCam.

As my knife pierces the delicate white skin of the poached egg, I drool just a little as I watch the slow river of golden yolk cascade down the layers of smoked bacon which also happens to be wrapped in bacon, and saturate the bread beneath.  I’m now in danger of drowning in my own saliva it looks so scrumptious.  As I carefully spear equal amounts of egg, bacon, smoked bacon and bread onto my fork, I suddenly become acutely aware of Sully’s eyes on me as I prepare my first bite.  There is way too much saliva in my mouth.  Some is going to dribble out onto the table for sure.  But naturally, my self consciousness is overridden by my desire to eat, and I drool shamelessly onto the plate as the first forkful enters my mouth.

I chew.  I swallow.  I prepare another forkful.

I’m mindful that Sully is sitting across from me, waiting.

“What do you think?”

Spectacular.  Amazing.  Beyond anything I’d ever imagined.  My tastebuds are vibrating with sheer joy and joyness.  We’re on a bridge Charlie.

However, this wasn’t the case.  Quite frankly, yes, it was definitely tasty, the smoked bacon is key, adding flavour and texture to the combination of smooth egg and yolk saturated bread.  I could do without the bread though.  It’s too…fluffy.  I say as much, and Sully responds with, “last time they had it on a croissant,” and immediately I perk up.  Yes!  That’s it.  This would be fantastic on a croissant.  But alas, I’ve none of those at the moment.

“Try a fry,” he says.  At this point in time I realize I’m being quite obedient which is completely out of the ordinary, especially with someone I’ve just met, but I’m not about to balk and refuse for the sake of refusing.  I also keep in mind that I value his expertise since he’s already had this meal, so I toss a fry into my mouth, and all thoughts of being difficult for the sake of being difficult fly out the window.

Holy mother of French fries Batman!  My eyes widen, I think my hands may be flailing ever so slightly in my attempt to convey in words how I feel at this precise moment in time.

“Okay!  Okay!” was all that came out.  I may have pointed to my plate to emphasize to what I was referring.

I made a mental note to explain more eloquently my thoughts on the Pad Thai fries for the blog entry.  So here goes nothing:

“French fries covered in Pad Thai sauce with bean sprouts and fresh cilantro make my belly happy.”

Just because we all aspire to great things, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll always come to be.

To sum up, Lisa Marie offers a delicious variation of the classic eggs Benedict.  Also worth mentioning are the other two options of sides:  mixed green salad or duck fat home fries.  The duck fat home fries definitely gave me pause, but then again, I am here for one thing and one thing only.

Seeing as how this is my first destination stop, I cannot in good conscience give it a solid rating out of 5.  So I settled on a tentative 3.5.  Consider this assessment a flexible bar, to be further revisited following several other trials.

The quest for the best eggs Benedict in Toronto continues next week at Lady Marmalade.

Until next time Benny…

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