9th Stop: The Drake Hotel

IMG_7778Again Sully?

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.

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8th Stop: The 3 Speed

Oh Summer, as lovely as you are, I’m truly looking forward to Fall.

Summer’s last weekend is considerably warmer than any of the days leading up to it, and I plan on taking full advantage.  Last night’s events consisted of a CANFAR benefit to end AIDS, a trip to 416 Snack Bar, and the Thompson Hotel rooftop (which really does have a stunning view of the city if you can get past the douchiness).  Quite the random collection of places, I know.  But, it’s Summer.

The trek to Dufferin and Bloor isn’t all that arduous, and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that The Three Speed is only half full in the main room upon entering.  I recall what Kate had mentioned about the patio, and I make my way through the dimly lit dining room and out the backdoors.  Why waste such a great day patio day?  There will be enough inside time for the Green Bay game.

Excellent-the patio is completely empty.  I feel as if I’m standing on the threshold of someone’s backyard.  With a stone fireplace, wooden benches, a picnic table and old patio furniture that looks oddly familiar, it’s just asking to be occupied.  The bench upon which I choose to seat my keister feels so nice, I’m tempted to have a lay down as I wait for Sully to arrive.

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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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6th Stop: Bonjour Brioche

Bamboo.

How does a subtle little text tone still manage to slice through the silence of the morning like razor blades to my ear drums?

Sully can’t make it today.  This is a first, but to be completely honest I wasn’t entirely certain I’d be able to rise from my bed either.  That being said, I’m a trooper, and I mustered up whatever residual energy stores I possessed and sent out a text blast:

“Sully cancelled.  Brunch?”

Vanyel calls within 5 minutes of me pressing SEND, and I hear that all familiar groggy voice still drenched with sleep that mimics my own.  “I haven’t gotten up yet, brushed my teeth or anything . . .”

Good.  Neither have I and it’s almost 10.

“Where are we going?” she grumbles, and I imagine her speaking into her mobile with her face pressed into the pillows.  She’s not going to like my answer.

“East end.  Bonjour Brioche is on Queen, east of Broadview,” I tell her.

I hear her groan, “so far!” But despite her outcry, I know she’ll still come.

“It’s the next one on my list,” I explain, although I know an explanation wasn’t necessary from the moment she decided to respond to my text.

“Okay, I’ll get ready now.”  She hangs up, and I cringe inwardly as I realize that I too, must now get ready.

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3rd Stop: Union Restaurant

“We don’t make friends with BBQ.”


I really must choose a less grating alert for my alarm.  Rising to the sound of “Night Owl,” I’m suddenly struck by a bout of self-reflection:  Getting home at 4am does not bode well for an 11am breakfast.  I had ambitiously set my alarm for 8am.  Fool.  Snoozed until 9…then 10, and miraculously by the grace of magical snooze fairies everywhere, Sully pushes breakfast to 11:30.  Perfect.  Face plant back into the pillows until 10:15.

I was struck with nostalgia as I took the subway and streetcar over to Ossington and Queen, musing to myself that it’s been less than 8 hours since I was here.  Should have just made camp to save myself travel time.  As I walk along Ossington with my nose pressed into my book (this is not safe-do not attempt, especially for those who are accident prone), I glance up to check whether I’ve passed Union and find myself standing at the threshold of the restaurant door.  As I enter, I notice the bar to the left with a sweeping marble countertop where a barista is busy working away, people chatting in a corner along the end, and whatever sleep had been lingering in my brain immediately dissipated.  It’s Benny time. Continue reading

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. Continue reading