7th Stop: The Bristol

He’s going to kill me.  It doesn’t matter how many times he’s been late, this is so much more worse.

You know when you’re running late and no matter how much you will the streetcar to move faster, or focus all your energy into slowing the minutes on your watch, it always feels as if time continues to race by at the speed of light.  Sweat has beaded along my hairline, and my body is hot in the already stuffy streetcar when I hear the driver announce, “this streetcar will be turning at Bathurst.”  WHAT?!  That’s not the meaning of ‘Long Branch!’

Along with several other disgruntled people who appear just as frazzled and rushed as I (I wonder if they’re also late for brunch), we climb down off the streetcar and wait for the next one which is within sight.  Oh thank you.  I’m only 15 minutes late now.  As the doors open and the other tardy brunch goers approach the car, I hear the driver announce “this streetcar will be turning at Shaw.”  I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t know the definition of ‘Long Branch’ at all.

At Shaw, I fly out of the doors and hit the pavement at a quasi-run.  Holy cripes it’s hot outside!  Why did I wear a hat?!  It isn’t actually all that warm outside, but after checking my watch, I estimate roughly that Sully will have been waiting for half an hour, and that is enough to make me sweat.

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As I pull open the door to The Bristol, I scan the patrons frantically searching for a Sully-looking face or frame, and come up empty.  I notice another section of the restaurant and am struck by an irrational and annoying thought, “why are there two doors?  This is one restaurant!” and there, hunched over his phone is Sully, appearing calm and not at all miffed at my lateness.

I flop down into the chair beside him, exhaustion overtaking my limbs, and blurt out a greeting, apology and observation all at once:  “Hey, I’m so sorry.  I feel like I just experienced Planes, Trains and Automobiles in order to get here.”  Rather than addressing any of these, Sully instead scowls at me and gestures to the seat across from him, “don’t sit there!  It feels weird, sit over there.”  The place he’s indicated is littered with table items, and although it would be quite easy for me to clear a space–I’ve little energy to do so.

“There’s stuff,” I say childishly.

I’m met with an expression that reads, “are you serious?” and he points out the obvious, “we can move it you know.”  Yes, I know.  I just haven’t the energy to do so.  As if reading my mind, Sully clears a space.

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We ordered the Eggs Bristol without reading past the words ‘Eggs Benny,’ otherwise we would have been aware of certain aspects of their version.

After placing two orders of Eggs Bristol and a couple pints, I finally take stock of my surroundings.  The Bristol is decorated in the baroque fashion featuring damask wallpaper (which looks textured but isn’t–slightly disappointed I won’t lie), and some more modern pieces such as plush leather chairs that look fun to bounce around in and marble tables.  Two bars line the back of the restaurant which almost appear to be part of two separate spaces, hence the two doors.  In addition to the decor, a football game is being played on the tv screens, making this establishment decidedly British.

We recap our weeks, my hellish reentry into the world of hard work and long hours, and his going into the office on a Sunday.  September is always the hardest for me, and from the sounds of it, Sully won’t be seeing the greens as often as he’d like.  Sully has taken to introducing me to an “app of the week” shall we say, and I’m most eager to start using Instasize.  On the other hand, I focus on an app that I find most useless, Snapchat.  Sully explains its uses and applications, and then excuses himself from the table.  At that moment, the server arrives with two plates, and settles them on the table.

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The Eggs Bristol featuring a scone and non-hollandaise.

Hmmm, let’s put Snapchat to use shall we?  I proceed to record myself poking Sully’s saucy egg with my finger, and then press send.  He’ll know I didn’t wash my hands, but germs never killed anyone–that I know anyway.  Sully returns just as I close the app and we dig in.

“This is a gravy, not a f–king hollandaise sauce,” and I raise my eyebrows at his hostile tone.  Easy bud, no need to be surly with the gravy/sauce.

Upon closer inspection of the eggs benedict, he then proceeds to slice himself a forkful with each of the ingredients, Sully makes another announcement, “It’s a scone,” he observes.  I correct his pronunciation.

“A scone?”  Yes, it appears in written form that I’ve just repeated Sully, however his version rhymes with ‘stone’ whereas mine rhymes with ‘con.’

“A scone,” he reiterates.

“It’s a scone,” I say firmly.

“It’s too hearty,” he responds.  I don’t know what this means.

“The scone is too thick,” I reflect as I chew slowly.

“That’s what I said, it’s too hearty.”  I stare at him, slightly exasperated but he doesn’t notice because now he’s more concerned with his phone.  “Make note of their free wifi.”

Noted.

“Oh for f–k’s sake.”  This phrase is repeated another two times in his attempt to connect with the free wifi he wanted me to make note of, and I make note that a frustrated Sully, is quite an amusing Sully.

“So . . . is it worth mentioning?  You’ve said that three times now,” I ask, suppressing laughter.

“User issues,” he grumbles.  I don’t hold back my laughter.

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Not a traditional hollandaise.

The server passes by our table, and Sully asks him “how do you make your hollandaise?”  The server explains enthusiastically that it is a three cheese sauce and not a traditional hollandaise.  Aaah, that explains the consistency.

I’m not a fan of the potatoes.  They’re dry, overdone and crumbles into a grainy mess whenever I bite into them.  Sully seems to enjoy them well enough however, so I shift them around on my plate, hoping that Sully will eat them as I pierce his tomato and devour it in one bite.  Good golly, I love tomatoes.

“Reasonable.  You can quote me on this,” he tells me.  I’ve observed that Sully can be quite descriptive when he wants to be, and then there are moments like this, when I feel very much like a teacher, prompting him to explain and elaborate in order for me to understand what he’s trying unsuccessfully to convey.

“Passable.  It’s passable Sull,” I correct.

“No.  It’s a reasonable eggs benedict.”

I shake my head.  Bonjour Brioche was better than this, I muse.  But, their eggs were runny, and that counts for something in this game.  Thus I’m giving The Bristol a 2.5/5 for their Eggs Bristol, which I think is the equivalent to a “reasonable” eggs benedict.

Outside The Bristol, we execute our handshake, and then Sully is off to watch football and I’m off to find Sooj.  The next pick is mine, and comes recommended by Kate, another one of my foodie friends.

The quest for the best Eggs Benedict in Toronto continues next week as we travel north to Dufferin and Bloor to see how The Three Speed compares to all the rest despite its obscurity.

Until next time Benny. . .

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