Actually, if I’m being honest this comes as little surprise.
Just last night I was asked, “brunch tomorrow with Sully?” to which I responded thoughtfully with, “if he’s out . . . probably not.” Well, he was out. I agree to have brunch at Barque next Sunday (which was our revised plan) so that he doesn’t miss out. The original plan had been to check out The Drake, but Sully’s roommate had seen a tv show featuring eggs benedict at Barque, and after looking up the brunch menu I couldn’t blame him. Smoked brisket–gah. Like Pavlov’s dog, it rings my bell. But, that’ll just have to wait until next Sunday. Here’s hoping Sully wakes up for that one–or I could just take his roommate, I’m sure he likes to eat.
Now, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before, so as I prepared to send out a text blast, I had a flashback of Sooj mentioning to me not long ago, “I want you to go to The Drake! They have good food there!” She enjoys eating, I’ll bring Sooj.
Good god almighty, how is it so blazingly hot outside when less than 4 hours ago the sky was tar black and lightning was threatening to roast me in my bed? It occurred to me momentarily early this morning, that perhaps my marvelling at the general splendour of lightning with my face pressed to the window, isn’t the most intelligent of ideas. But at least I’ll have witnessed the beauty of it all before I suffer a shockingly crispy death.
The patio alongside The Drake serves the same fare as the restaurant inside, as we found out. The only difference? Wasps. Why are there still so many wasps? Didn’t they get the memo? It’s almost Fall, time to buzz off and hibernate. Ha! I’m so clever.
The line ups both inside and outside the restaurant are unbelievable! The only thing worse than long lines, are long lines in the sweltering sun with impatient people who act as though we’re waiting to be admitted into a club . . . which we are, in a way. As is with most places, if your party is anything more than two, your chances of waiting less than 30 minutes is slim to none. It might be that the sun and warm weather has something to do with the long lines, but I’d have to come back on a cloudy, cool day to really be sure. In any case, my name is finally called, and my hand shoots into the air like a firework as I exclaim, “ME!” I reflect that I’ve been in the company of children under the age of 6 for far too long as we’re led to a table in the shade.
Glancing at the menu, I scan my options and am crestfallen to learn that there isn’t just one choice to choose from, but three. I glance up at Sooj, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve never been on my own before.” It’s usually at this point where a discussion begins as to which one would be the best choice, and without Sully I’m left to figure it out on my own. I can totally do this, WWSD. After staring at the menu for another 10 seconds, I’m at a loss and decide to employ the next lesson I was taught. “Which benny would you recommend?”
Our host with the incredibly fitted skinny jeans saunters back over to our table, and without a hint of doubt says “The Reubenesque. Hands down.” As he begins turning away, I feel pleased with myself and begin to close my menu–until he comes to an abrupt stop and pivots back to me. “No, the Drake. . .” my smile falters. He cocks his head to the side looking thoughtful, and says “actually they’re all good.” I groan, that isn’t what I wanted to hear. Okay, the last thing Sully would suggest is to go with the staple, the standard, so when the server arrives to take our order, I settle on the Drake Benny. Ham is the standard. Let’s go with that.
The plates arrive, and as I glance from mine to Sooj’s, I feel as if I’m playing a game of Photo Hunt. Why does mine look so much different from–
“Excuse me. Are these the same?” Sooj asks our server.
He stares at her with an expression that I pray doesn’t manifest itself into words, but my power of prayer was never very honed. “Yes. They’re exactly the same.” Aaah crap.
Sooj narrows her eyes and gestures to my plate, “look at hers! Look at mine! I only have one pepper!” She has a point, why don’t they look the same?
I chuckle to myself and wait for the server to take her plate back, but instead I hear “well I guess they just decided to put more on her plate.” My eyes widen at his response. “If you want, I can take it back.”
Sooj waves her hand, “no it’s fine,” and our server quickly leaves. She reaches over her plate with her phone and snaps a quick photo, “yours looks prettier than mine.” Yes, I agree it does.
My head shoots up. “Yes. Butter is the main ingredient.” I hadn’t tasted the eggs benedict just yet. I’d poked my yolk and allowed it to ooze down through the ham into the biscuit beneath as I sampled the peppers and onions that Sooj was lacking. Mmmmm, they’re tasty.
As I begin to slice into my eggs benny, taking care to ensure all three ingredients are loaded onto my fork, I start raising it to my mouth when I hear Sooj comment, “I’ve never had this before,” and I pause openmouthed and staring.
She continues to eat as I stare bewildered, “I’ve always ordered the sauce on the side but never used it. I also used to eat everything separately, not together.” It’s occurred to me then that I’ve helped Sooj loose her eggs benedict virginity. She’s probably half in love with me already.
Oh heavenly gods of buttery goodness, yes! The sauce is good. It’s got a tang to it I just can’t put my finger on, but I like it. The yolk and hollandaise blend nicely, and I drag the biscuit and ham through the excess so it doesn’t go to waste. Some of the potatoes are dry, but most are soft and lightly seasoned. As I enthusiastically devour the contents of my plate, an unexpected feeling slowly creeps up on me, and during mid-chew it dawns on me what it is. Guilt. I feel guilty. I shake my head to clear the thought. It’s not like I’m cheating on Sully, he cancelled! Just because a part of me died a little when I found out Sooj had never had eggs benedict, and therefore wouldn’t be able to ascertain whether this was on par with the others or not, doesn’t mean I that can’t in good conscience give it a rating.
“Erm, I don’t think so,” I mutter. But they were ranked the same bozobrain. I’m missing the dialogue that leads to a confident assessment and evaluation. It was better than Rock Lobster but on par with The 3 Speed which both sit at a 4.0, however I wouldn’t say it was better than Lady Marmalade and Farmhouse Tavern which are leading with a 4.5/5. So where does that leave me?
Damnit Sull. I text the blockhead, giving him kudos for suggesting The Drake (I didn’t really think their eggs benedict would be anything special) and he responds. I suppose asking for his opinion right now wouldn’t be the most tactful, so I refrain and decide to award The Drake with a 4.25/5. But where does that leave The 3 Speed? Torn, I decide to leave it at that.
Sooj and I head out to watch my Packers lose, and I find comfort in the fact that it’s still early in the season, that and I’m not last in my fantasy league.
The quest for the best Eggs Benedict in Toronto continues next week at Barque Smokehouse, as recommended by Joel. I could watch that video on their website over and over again. Floating trays of food? Exactly what dreams are made of.
Until next time Benny. . .