Second Stop: Lady Marmalade

“Did I wake you?”

Who is this?  What time is it?

I bring my phone around, and as I pry my eyelids open I watch as the blurry image slowly comes into focus, and there before me is the face of:

“60% of the time, it works every time.”


He’s up already.  WHY?!  Why Sully?  Breakfast isn’t for another (I glance at the time and my eyes widen) 2 HOURS!  I sigh, “No.  Sort of.  No.  Yes.”  It occurs to me as I look at the clock for a second time, I had 5 minutes of sleep left.  5 minutes.  Note to self:  Sully owes me 5 minutes.

“There’s a problem…” I hear him say, and immediately my mind races and plucks the most obvious reason for his phone call because, really, who calls these days?  Are you on fire?  What can’t you say in a text message?  Even though I much prefer phone calls to texting, no one else does and thus I can only assume that the nature of this call is of utmost importance.  For example, he’s cancelling.  He’ll be apologetic, tell me he’s sorry and that we’ll have breakfast next week, and I’ve already prepared my “oh that’s okay, no worries-BYE!” so that I can promptly collapse back into the warm cocoon of blankets I’d been extracted from 5 minutes too early.

“Can we have breakfast earlier?”

WHAT?!  EARLIER?!  Oh wow.  Didn’t expect that one.

There’s a squeak coming from his car.  I wonder if he hears it.

“Is that sound coming from my car?”  Yup.  He hears it.

To expedite things, Sully has picked me up to begin our long and arduous trek over to the east side, which is argumentatively, somewhat close to the Pickering border according to someone who obviously hails from the west end.  He’s so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I’m still in the process of fully waking up, having vaulted out of bed, gotten ready and dashed out the door double checking I had keys, phone, and book to read on the subway ride back.  Sully makes for good conversation, and asks whether I prefer Burger’s Priest or Holy Chuck as we pass the latter on our way south.  I admit that I’m not sure, and he looks at me as if I’d just said “Hug me, I’m a squirrel” in Polish, and I justify my response by explaining that I’ve been to Burger’s Priest more often mainly because I frequent the area of Queen and Spadina, and therefore cannot in good conscience decide which is better.

“You mean Queen and Coxwell,” he corrects.  I frown and shake my head, “No, I said Queen and Spadina.”  He then proceeds to correct me a second time, “but the original one is at Queen and Coxwell, you need to go there!  Stick with me kid, you’ll be alright.”  He might as well have patted me on the head and given me a lolly.

After what no doubt felt like eons to Sully but in actuality was mere seconds, we finally pull up alongside Lady Marmalade, and I hobble out to wait in a line that was about as long as the restaurant front was wide.  This is a good sign.  Lineups are usually indicative of awesomeness…except at nightclubs.  Those are never fun for anyone.

As Sully parked the car, I took stock of the interior and felt my stomach rumble as I gazed upon yolk coloured walls and admired the unique bird themed pictures lining the west wall.  My entire body was teeming with anticipation, as this particular restaurant came highly recommended by my sister’s housemate Karen, as well as filling spot number one on BlogTO’s list for the best eggs benny.

The menu was conveniently posted on the window outside, but before I could take a gander, I saw Sully approaching and took that opportunity to swap spots so I could hobble to the bank.  Lady Marmalade is a cash only establishment which makes for conveniently quick checkouts, but inconvenient for card carriers such as myself.  Note to self:  carry cash more often.

As I approached TD bank, I waited in line and groped around in my bag for the familiar shape of my wallet.  Book.  Umbrella.  Phone.  Headphones.  Keys.  Book-I freeze.  Why can’t I…NO!  Instant panic grips me, and I look aimlessly around for help like the first time I was lost in a mall.  It’s not in here!  CRIPES!  My wallet isn’t here!  What the blood fire?  I look in my bag again, hoping that my wallet will have magically materialized out of thin air.  But there’s no magic today.  I subsequently come to several other realizations, and it dawns on me that no wallet means:

  • no Metro Pass
  • no monies
  • no change
  • I’m going to be stranded at Lady Marmalade  (not the worst scenario imaginable)
  • I’m going to have to walk home (worst scenario imaginable)!

I feel like a right dingbat as I approach Sully with my tail between my legs and wait for him to finish his phone conversation (he does this a lot, using the phone feature is almost foreign these days).  As soon as he’s pressed ‘end’ I begin, “There’s a problem…”

There's an entire section dedicated to Eggs Benedict!  Oh happy days!

There’s an entire section dedicated to Eggs Benedict! Oh happy days!

As we’re being seated, I reflect upon how long we waited in line and was pleased to find that I hadn’t lost too much of my life standing there.  Perhaps 20 minutes tops.  Note to self:  parties larger than 2 will consequently wait twice as long.  Good thing I came with just one breakfast buddy today.

The menu is physically larger than Lisa Marie’s with twice as many options.  But what caught my eye was the Eggs Benedict Section!  There’s an entire mouthwatering section to choose from!  Sully doesn’t know what to get, and this is a first.  Well, not really since this is only the second time I’ve seen him, but as he contemplates whether brie, bacon and hollandaise sauce go well together, I’m quite confident that the pulled pork benny is going to be absolutely superb.  I’m also so hungry I could eat the menu, plastic cover and all.

I’m slightly worried that due to my severe hunger, I won’t actually be able to ascertain whether my eggs benny is stupendous or simply that I’m famished and in need of a good feeding.  The server takes our order, and I watch and listen as Sully asks, “which one would you recommend?”  She explains that the ‘brie, avocado & bacon’ is the one they do well.  Sully then gives a definitive nod, and we’re left with our hunger gnawing at our stomach lining.

In the time that it takes for us to recount raving stories, our mother’s cooking, the smoothie crisis and his obsession with golf, the lovely lady carrying two beautiful plates of eggs benedict has begun her approach towards our table.  Whatever words were about to spill from my mouth, ceased immediately the moment my eyes were in line with the plate.  Thoughts vanished to make room to receive the wonderful sight before me.

How can you go wrong with pulled pork and eggs benedict?

How can you go wrong with pulled pork and eggs benedict?

I begin my ritual of puncturing the egg white and watching the thick, runny yolk cover everything in its path like lava from an erupting volcano.  This yolk business is still slightly repulsive, however I manage to avoid cringing inwardly and instead begin mounting my fork with egg, pulled pork and English muffin.  Sully on the other hand, is having no trouble as he takes his first bite and gushes, “Oh that’s good.”  Simple, to the point.  I can smell the sharp tang of barbecue sauce even before I’ve guided the fork into my mouth.  Oh man…that’s pulled pork.  My next bite is far too large to fit in my mouth, and I care little as I shove it in and chew like a happy cow in a field of grass.

Sully is talking.  He’s going on about how amazing his eggs benny is, and I’m suddenly uncomfortable.  Under normal circumstances, I’d reach over and unceremoniously cut myself a piece from whosever plate was across from mine, regardless if an invitation had been given or not.  I was struggling internally, trying to devise a way onto Sully’s plate as I piled yet another overly large mound onto my fork when, as I raised my head, I noticed Sully’s fork extended towards me.  Over the moon with joy doesn’t quite cover how I felt (far more excited than anyone should be really).  Yes!  Sharing is caring.  He’s like a food Care Bear.  “Here!” and I handed him my ridiculous looking fork, and eagerly accepted his.

Damn.  Sully ordered better than I did.

The flavour of the brie, avocado and bacon combination was astronomical.  I could taste the hollandaise sauce, which was lacking in my pulled pork open sandwich.  And salt.  Mmm, salt.  “I have 15 different types of salt.”  I stop chewing just to digest that tidbit of information.  Questions riddle my mind, “how do you organize that?  Are they labeled?  Colour coded?  Alphabetized?  Jar size?”  I make a mental note to find out later.

The pulled pork benny was delicious, but there could or could not have been eggs in there I would not have known.  The sauce was quite overpowering.

The pulled pork benny was delicious, but there could have been or not been eggs in there and I would not have noticed. The sauce was quite overpowering leaving the splash of yellow just that, a splash of yellow.

“The pulled pork is too overpowering, I can’t taste anything else.  But this salad is really good!”  Well yeah, if I had yours to compare it to, I’d say the same!  He was right about the salad too.  Note to self:  Ask server for their recommendation, seems to do the trick.  Look mentor, I’m a learning robot.

To sum up, Lady Marmalade lived up to all the hype and reviews.  Worth the drive to the East Side (you know exactly how that was said), most definitely.  If you abhor waiting in lines, all I can say is “outstanding things come to those who wait.”  The wait wasn’t painful and the service was quick, efficient and friendly.  Aside from the brief moment when I thought I may have to eat with my hands because there was no cutlery on the table, but wait, that’s not altogether a horrid notion, Lady Marmalade is in the lead for the Best Eggs Benedict in Toronto!  The food?  Let’s put it this way, Sully demolished his eggs benny, speaking volumes for the food snob.  That didn’t happen at Lisa Marie.  Since we haven’t developed a grading system, I’m going to base it on Sully’s reaction.  If Lisa Marie was a 3.5, then Lady Marmalade is a 4.5.

After paying for breakfast and providing me with sufficient change to get home, my sugar daddy went tanning on the golf course.

The quest for the best Eggs Benedict in Toronto continues next week, as I take on the role of sugar mama at Union.

Until next time Benny…



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