A Penniless girl, bad dates & plenty of oysters

I've got a pretty face & a pretty extensive urban spoon
wish list...
We all know that getting what you want in life can be tough. Which is why I've decided to let someone else finance my dreams. My dream? To eat in pretty restaurants without costing me a penny. You had me at Elk Tartare, lost me at chin strap. Follow me to learn who I screw over, bang and love as I navigate Toronto’s diners, drive-ins & dives.

There is a difference between pigs blood & roadkill

"You’re going to love him", my friend says.
Uh oh. Whenever anybody says those four little words I always end up strongly disliking said person. Sigh. It makes me think my friends don’t know me at all, but alas that’s a whole other blog. Confession…I’ve decided to keep Mr.Consulting on speed dial, you never know when you’ll need an extra credit card right? The night did end abruptly with me beelining to a cab, but even if things were to progress, I’ve gotta keep him wondering. It’s all about mystery. Where did that girl come from? How does she manage to smell so good? How does she get her hair so bright? blah blah blah. 
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Tonight’s man meat? The gallery owner. Restaurant? Aska in Williamsburg. We board the L train, which is looking a lot like a one way ticket to a hipster concentration camp. Whilst on the subway I come up with a game. It’s called “Count how many people are reading a Hemingway book right now”. As we exit the subway beards and bikes line the street, yup we’re in Brooklyn.
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Aska operates out of an art and design exhibition space and it’s definitely the closest I’ve ever come to being in an art installation piece. Everything is hand-made from natural materials by a local hippy wood-worker. My date tells me the decor is very scandinavian, what with the white walls and scattered branches. Scandinavians like to keep it sparse and vaguely ethereal. Honesty time, I’m actually not even sure what I just said, but it felt right you know? Vaguely ethereal…yea. There are a couple of options at Aska. You can eat in the front sans reservations with your penniless hipster friends or you can sign up for the seven course tasting menu in the back. I obviously choose the latter.
The courses begin with a couple of bite size snacks to get the palate going. The pig’s blood croquette had my vote, I am definitely on the hemoglobin bandwagon. Next up was a petite plate of poached oysters with salsify. Each dish a small masterpiece built with common ingredients turned unfamiliar, cod has never been so unrecognizable. I would now like to compare Chef Fredik Berselius to the likes of a magician, meaning this man is magic. Everything he touches turns into edible fairy dust so delicious and complex you’ll be left feeling the best kind of confused. The flavours he is able to extract from vegetables is true creativity. Look around the room and it’s clear this restaurant has found its niche. Though it’s not hitting you over the head with its theme, Scandinavians are much more subtle than that.
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Maybe the pilsner has gone to my head but it seems like everyone here is speaking in some sort of indistinguishable accent. Even people I could of sworn moments before were americans, now sound French or is that German or hang on, are they just speaking art collector? As more dishes arrive, I turn to the menu for answers, “what are we eating?” I mean, other than an art piece. Based on the all the oooing and awing you’d assume my date has a clue though when I ask he mumbles something about food and romance Hmm. Maybe Mr. Gallery Owner is acting cold because him and I just aren’t clicking? Wait…Stop. Now I feel awkward and it’s only course two. With no sign of this meal wrapping up soon I start to silently panic. I don’t know if it’s my own self-doubt (yup it’s my own self-doubt) but the less this guy is seeming like someone with an instagram presence and the more he seems like an art history guru. Great. The longest meal ever is about to ensue and I’m only understanding 50% of what this guy is saying. Smile, nod and pretend to know what’s happening. It’s clear nothing I say will be of interest to his royal highness for I am a mere peasant with peasant thoughts, like why was that girl such a bitch to me at Starbucks, and how come every time I buy high waisted skinny jeans they’re never long enough to cover my ankles?
Gallery owner, art dealer, pshh I know that’s just code for I come from a rich family. So your intellectual abilities far surpass my own, congratuFUCKINGlations (or however you spell it, obviously that word is works better when spoken) you will NOT be hearing from me again (please imagine me dramatically throwing a scarf over my shoulder, as I sassily walk away, I am wearing purple lipstick).

New York New Dates

"It’s not a meal unless there’s at least seven courses."

-Erin Wotherspoon, serial dater.

 
I haven’t been in New York too long, though I have managed to meet a handful of men in “consulting”. Hmm consulting. I like it, it’s vague and I don’t understand it at all, similarly how I feel about the decor at Babbo. What is happening here, if anything? We appear to be eating in someones house, most likely the rich aunt (how she acquired her fortune no one really knows and no one ever asks). It is a cozy house, I’ll give it that and who ever did the drapes isn’t trying to hard so kudos. Impromptu yet insightful genius tip: No one will like you if you look like you’re trying, that’s just tacky. 


Babbo, celebrity Chef Mario Batali’s baby, no doubt has a dish for every palate. The menu is quite lengthy, Babbo is so much more than four options for mains. The wine list (rumoured to be one of the best in the city) is justly extensive and cryptic, the whole I don’t speak italian thing really worked to my disadvantage tonight. I let my date choose the wine as I start scoping the antipasti. My date is the kind of man who pronounces things wrong and then refuses to correct himself. The adjective stupid comes to mind. He is unflinchingly confident in all he does, ranging from his golf swing to his polo performance to the way he obnoxiously grabs the waiters attention in poorly pronounced spanish, “queso queso queso!” he yells. Flash forward a couple of years, one can only imagine him hollering at me in broken spanish. Why he insists on debauching this language I don’t know. Maybe it’s a consulting thing?
He has a credit card for every colour of the rainbow though and not going to lie, my eye has been caught by all the pretty colours. Maybe I can put up with the horrible spanish if I’m being driven around in a porsche? Yea that wouldn’t be so bad. It’s not love though. That sounds more like sacrifice and a whole lot of pretty things to make up for it. At the end of the day what do I want? Do I want dessert? Am I too full? Do I want a man with lots of money so we can facilitate a life together much more easily than scrounging for pennies and pipe dreams? It’s tempting. The olive oil cake can only be described as that. It’s my vice, olive oil. I don’t smoke so shots of olive oil is completely justified in my life. Well I’m only sure about one thing. And that is, we’re going to have to order that olive oil cake. 

 
The goose liver ravioli with a balsamic vinaigrette & brown butter looks like something you would find in the deep sea. The balsamic vinaigrette paints a very dark picture and dare you dive in, your taste buds will be rewarded. The tanginess of the vinaigrette pairs well with the subtle fatty flavour of the goose liver. Try it, love it, tell everyone you know about it. Moving on. If there’s yet another thing I love in this world, it’s sweetbreads, something about that velvety texture, gets me every time. How about fennel dusted sweetbreads with some duck bacon all sitting atop a pool of membrillo vinaigrette? Yes please. This dish had me lusting for more, I can definitely say I would slurp up that sauce all night long…
 
As the evening winds down, I’m still unsure about love. His job doesn’t interest me at all, but does that really matter? In fact, it flat out bores me, but hey we’re different people right? He’s a man I’m a women…different.
 
Please continue to read my mind-blowing spectacular conclusion. It’s just a restaurant. There was no aquarium that doubles as a cutting board, no chairs imported from Peru whispered to be the last of their kind, and no they didn’t have a 3 million dollar marble floor. It’s just a restaurant, but don’t be fooled, that is not an understatement. Similar to my dates designer suit (probably the only noiseless thing about him at this point) there are no ribbons, no ascots, not even pinstripes and thankfully he isn’t wearing pink socks, he did however pay good money for it. Money, love, sigh. 

seeking new york men

Toronto restaurants are good, great at best and I’ve had my fill at the finest, but like most of the men here, they’re just too “nice”. I like my foie gras served up with some attitude, and no I’m not talking about those angsty hipsters west of Ossington. I’m talking about bold, sexy restos that are unapologetically original. Not the run of the mill “we’ve got tapas, micro brews & local veggies”. Don’t get me wrong, I want all of the above but I want the moon & the stars too. Maybe my expectations are unrealistically high? I don’t think so. I’ve always expected the elk tatare & never let my fashionably thin wallet stand in the way of my dreams. Toronto men of Reddit can crawl out of the holes- that are their mother’s basements & resume dating, but remember boys, shave those unibrows first & try not to be awkwardly polite. This serial dater is coming to New York City. 

Men, women, children, what have you, if you’re interested in booking a dinner with this dreamboat send me a message. Openings are booking up fast. 

It’s all about the chase fish & oyster

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Show up on time, act super interested, laugh at my jokes, compliment my hair, let me guess you like me, and if push came to shove you would date me again & again & again. The problem? We seem to have skipped one crucial step in the dating dance, the chase. Acting illusive and super busy (even if you’re not of course) can increase your chances immearsurably when zeroing in on potential suitors. Want to hang out next week? Ooo sorry can’t, I’ve got this thing. How about the week after? No can do, got a couple of things that week actually. Catch my drift? The point is you’ve got me wondering, and sooner or later I’ll be clawing at the walls, pulling out my hair, driving my car off a cliff, wondering was he really even interested  in me? We did order dessert though, a tell tale sign things are going well -when things go south getting the bill as fast as you can is your only hope. Sigh. Confusion, mixed signals, hidden agendas, it’s all a necessary part of the chase. Without these things I’d probably be in a boring relationship with all my shit together. Bleh. I think I’ve found enough stability in my relationship with oysters thank you very much. I see them every weekend, we usually enjoy each other’s company whilst intoxicated, and they’re great at turning me on. The glistening little pearls arrive at the table, oysters at the chase are the best to date. They’re accompanied by the standard fixings, nothing special, although you can opt to pay extra for some special sauces. We keep it classic with some lemon, horse radish, & hot sauce. How do you slurp your oysters? Do you suck them back quickly no strings attached swallowing them in one foul gulp or are you more of a chewer? Me? I’m a chewer. I want the whole 3D experience. I want the smooth avocado like finish, the meaty subtly salty texture, refreshingly cool & these oysters taste nothing like the sea. I’m say yes to another round and yes to the chase fish & oyster. 

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Not to be missed, the raw bar. Go big or go home. That pay cheque was meant for wasting and my advice is don’t splurge on shots (or any number of the fancy cocktails) splurge on the raw halibut, the yellowfin, and just about anything & everything on the raw menu. A couple other dishes pushing some brain-scrambling tastes are the pan-seared scallop, the lobster claw & the jalapeño butter- since consuming I have often fantasized about drowning in said butter; live & die a foodie, that butter will be the death of me. The only mis-step was the dessert, an angel food cake twist on key lime pie. No frills could run circles around their angel food cake and if you were expecting key lime pie, well…don’t expect key lime pie. My disappointment was momentary though, the bill comes revealing I’ve racked up some pretty hefty damage- no doubt the most thus far. Wait for it….wait for it…”Mastercard”, the sweet sound of someone else footing the bill. This penniless girl gets what she wants. Do yourself a favour, don’t underestimate the power of the chase. Happy dinner dating!

Who needs a man when I have Buca?

Resto? Buca

Location? King west

If Buca were a man I’d be totally nervous to date him because he’s so good looking. A man of stature & pleasing height, he’s got this industrial yet glamorous style to him –not going to lie, I’m pretty overwhelmed & I wish I wore heels. Piled high plates go by and let the oogling begin! A gapping mouth stare is something I typically shy away from, but not here. A procession of pizza’s go by and I’m staring, mouth agape, right at the goods, undressing it with my eyes, imagining what it would look like on my plate, in my mouth…Buca is a man I want to get serious with. Yes, I’ve had some flings in the past, a little ramen, a regrettable meal at the Mandarin –we all make mistakes, right? And they usually come with copious amounts of tears, bad Chinese food and sentences like “these are my buffet pants”.

We are shown to our table and find ourselves seated amongst a good- looking crowd, an “in-crowd”. There is very little I love more than first sitting down at a freshly set table in some chic restaurant. The initial menu scan, maybe some complimentary apertifs, the first sip of wine is indeed a holy one, the ritual of it all, gets me every time. My eyes skim the page effortlessly for a couple of seconds before I lock eyes with it, “Tartufo Bianco”, taleggio cheese, fresh white truffle all atop a glorious pizza smothered with duck yolk instead of the more typical al pomodoro. Aside from the 32oz prime rib, said pizza is the priciest item on the menu, sitting at a whopping fifty bucks. Pangs of doubt cloud my pretty head. Dare I order the second most expensive dish on the menu? Is the serial dater turning soft? Do I actually feel bad for my date? He does seem to be a nice guy…NO! He is merely a conduit for my tasteful lifestyle, nothing more, nothing less. The waiter arrives, sheepishly I say, “I’ll have the double stuffed ravoli”.

The food. The prosciutto was perfectly conditioned, simultaneously warm & cool, though the fixings were a little dull. A very shy slice of taleggio cheese paired well with a chilled cranberry sauce to start. It should be noted most of the meats are cured in-house, a delicate balance indeed, with temperature and time being of the essence. The goose ravioli was by far the highlight, stuffed to the brim with goose meat, each ravioli is a plentiful package in and of itself. The sauce –which risked being too heavy (fonduto di parmigano, a melted cheese similar in consistency to mozzarella) was lighter than air & balanced nicely with the heavier goose meat. A cacophony of colours the dish wasn’t hard on the eyes either, and I swear I tasted hints of raspberry in that sauce.

Some wine. I like my wine. I like it red, not too dry and in a big ass glass. I know a thing or two about tannins, how to pair a good wine with a nice cheese, but talk to me longer than 30 seconds about some region in Spain and I’ve stopped listening.  Sure sure some people have the more cultivated palate, can distinguish those floral notes, detect the oak, the smouldering fire & a whisper of cinnamon, but I smell bullshit. Or rather I don’t smell much of anything besides wine. If you do however enjoy talking about your wine as much as drinking it, the sommelier at Buca is the gentlemen for you. Straight out of a Gucci ad, in some quaint alley in Rome is the portrait he appears to have just stepped out of.  It seems as if he is struggling to find English words to describe this breed of wine we’ve chosen –a surprisingly sweet merlot from Spain. (Seriously everyone who works here seems straight out of Italy). I watch nervously as his hands boisterously move about, just missing the bottle of wine –such passion in the sommelier, I’m sold, I love the wine.

Some advice. A little dessert. If you decide to come to Buca make sure you pre-eat because the portions are sparse and leave you wanting more. I’m getting the feeling opting for a second round of pizza is not an unusually occurrence at this resto. I also wouldn’t recommend dessert. If it wasn’t so late I’d totally tell you to hit up forno cultura across the street, the best bakery ever for some mind blowing pastry but sadly that ship has sailed for the evening. I compare my dessert at Buca to the likes of eating a just short of ripe banana. I know it has potential to taste good, all the makings of deliciousness are there –gelato, pumpkin fritters…but a banana before its prime just tastes bad, as does dessert at Buca.

Needless to say I’d call this gentlemen again and by gentlemen I mean restaurant and by call I mean eat at. 

The olive oil of my dreams

Restaurant? Bar Isabel

Location? 797 College

When you first see a restaurant, a date, a dessert, what have you, appearance is everything. Are they tall and skinny or short, fat, dark and loud? Do we need reservations or is their schedule wide open -maybe they might be to clingy with all that time on their hands? First impressions are everything and Bar Isabel has got my attention. It’s got some serious old world soul and hints of funeral parlour chic. The staff looks seriously underfed though…Is there a weight requirement to work here? And is it under 90lbs? A little too skinny for my tastes, I like a man who looks like he can carry a tray of beer without struggling. We are shown to our table and amidst the eclectic decor, I realize haven’t quite figured out my date yet, Bar Isabel is not to be categorized so easily…

"I don’t know what I’m eating", I think to myself. I scan the table and make note of things I recognize; raw tuna, cheese, some sort of cured meat, everything else is debatable. Tis the fate of the patron whose choice of dish has been left entirely to the better judgement of the server. Men, knowing what you want in life can be sexy, knowing what I want in life, in terms of oysters or chicken can be helpful but when you forgo all major decisions, like what canapés will we be starting with, it makes me wonder what kind of man you really are. Equal parts decided and dashing are all the fixings this girl needs, oh and a little bourbon with a touch of bacon infused sugar please. 
Plates arrive and slowly but surely I begin to piece together what’s what. White anchovies subtly salted drowning on a plate of olive oil with in-house pickled peppers & fresh slices of jalapeños. All piled on top a warm tortilla chip. This olive oil has stepped out of my dreams & drizzled my reality with rich flavour and left me feeling warm & fuzzy inside, as every good love affair should. I’m not certain what to make of the sweetbreads at first, partly because I don’t really know what sweetbreads taste like and partly because sweetbreads don’t taste like anything. They are the man with no fashion sense, waiting for the makeover curtesy of the patient girlfriend. Sweetbreads need decorations, as do men wearing t-shirts from walmart. Smoke them a few times over, pile them with succulent caramelized onions, maybe a hint of brown sugar for some extra sweetness, grow out that scruff a little more and now you have yourself a meal. Bar Isabel is so much more than a patient girlfriend, she’s more like a life coach that rarely makes mistakes because she’s got all her shit together. Cue the applause these smoked sweetbreads came together perfectly paired on top a thick slice of melt in your mouth raw tuna. 
So we all know I would pretty much date anyone or anything so long as they foot the bill and buy me a tasty relatively upscale dinner. Anything but back to cans of chickpeas is this penniless girls MO. But a lot of people have begun to wonder, does she ever go for good-looking normal guys? The answer? No. But does that mean this dream boat couldn’t win herself a romeo if she tried? Please, have you seen this face? What with the oysters helping my glowing complexion these dates can’t help themselves but want to date me again. Well, men if you want to date me again you better be okay with me dating lots of other guys, like all the time….for free food. Gone are the days of monogamy right? Are you that square you only date one girl/guy at a time? I don’t want to commit. I thought that was the whole idea behind tapas…

My best friend tells me men are like cheeses.

The restaurant? Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

Location? Liberty Village

"What’s your favourite cheese?" she asks her beau.

"The orange kind"

Uh oh. Red flag. Abort. This, gentlemen, is not a good answer. It’s safe to say this culture shy hottie didn’t end up becoming her husband or even her boy toy- for much longer. Don’t get me wrong, my best friend and I aren’t expecting graduates from the Ecole Cordon Bleu de Cuisine circa Paris, but referring to said cheese as “the orange kind”, is plain unacceptable. Much to my surprise, tonight’s date has perked my curiosity, but how will he bode a la the cheese test?
"So if you had to choose, what would be your favourite cheese?"
"That’s easy, Parmesean."
Hmm. Eyebrows raise. His answer is cryptic, a little vague, not giving to much away, I respect that. He said, “that’s easy”, I’d definitely have to disagree with him there. The world is filled with a whole lot of cheeses, the decision to choose just one, in my opinion is just shy of impossible. Parmesean eh? Does he mean good parmesan, like a nice parmigiano reggiano or are we talking that awful american stuff. He has long hair AND a ponytail though and everybody knows that’s just like adding raisins to a perfectly good quinoa salad- a really bad choice. Pretty sure we all agreed like a million years ago that Brad Pitt is the only man who can pull off a ponytail. I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt with the parmesan answer but alas the hair has got to be ditched because right now I’m getting a whole lot of I’m either a funeral director or a serial killer.
The restaurant. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen gets an A plus for decor, its undeniable beautiful and equally parts spacious- something I rarely experience on my foodie journey, eating in cramped dimly lit loud rooms seems to be a big thing in this city. Among the darkness, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is a breath of fresh air, nestled in the heart of liberty village, you can’t help but arrive in a good mood- what with all the eye candy (good-looking pseudo wealthy professional men walking their dogs everywhere). 
The brunch menu is decidedly underwhelming. A sad thing in a city where people’s brunch loyalties run deeper than their political views. In Toronto, this is a meal we don’t take lightly. Bring up a great brunch spot and prepare for a battle of the wits and fists because everyone has their favourite spot and yes it’s better than yours. 
Mildred paints a picture she simply doesn’t deliver. Rosemary bacon, sounds good in theory, it even makes me feel a bit glamorous about ordering something so banal but in truth, there was nothing glamorous about eating what could of been microwaved bacon flecked with a few measly pieces of rosemary. Green eggs and ham. The twist? It comes served with a green salad. Boring. If you’re a vegetarian or have no respect for eating a great mid-day meal on the weekend than Mildred’s Temple might just be the place for you. Maybe not for the goji berry health freak, but certainly for the I order salad, granola, and yogurt at  restaurants type. 
Just throw in the word “famous” before the granola and I’m sure people will eat that shit up. Wrong. Extraneous words like “classic” and “famous” can be very misleading when the goods don’t deliver. What is so famous about this oh so average bowl of granola sprinkled with dried fruit that doesn’t even look pretty? It makes you wonder what their putting in the sauce. Oh wait, that’s just jam in a cool looking bowl. 
I went with the classic poached egg on a flakey croissant with smoked salmon and béarnaise sauce. If by classic they mean very sub-par I think I understand what they’re getting at. What I thought was a spin on eggs benny instead came as a croissant sandwich, which was heavy on the croissant and very light on the smoked salmon, tears of regret form in the corners of my eyes, not even the pretty lighting scheme can brighten my mood. Okay okay, calm down, the biscuits have yet to arrive and they really are known for their baked fresh every morning luscious currant scones. Call me plain Jane but I’m a sucker for biscuits. The mood lightens as I wait in anticipation for the warm little biscuits to arrive. You call those biscuits? Not warm. Not Flakey. No deliciously awesome spread. More like crumbling hope and corroding dreams, the mood darkens again as I shift back into my foodie depression. Is all hope lost at Mildred’s Kitchen? The answer is Yes. My only advice? Don’t go. 

I say mexicant

Resto? El Catrin

Location? The Distillery

It’s cold outside, how people are managing to enjoy the outdoor christmas market beats me. My date and I scurry inside the restaurant au de jour and are taken aback when we can barely make it through the door for some warmth. “What time is our reservation?” I ask, naively assuming this is my dates duty to arrange. “I didn’t make one.” Great.  Any available tables at El Cantrin at this time of night? Of course not. As for us, we can take our chances at the bar. Navigating through this restaurant is near impossible. There is a feeling in the air, like no one knows what’s really happening, even the hosts. Cold & confused my date and I assume positions at the very end of the bar, where we’re able to claim a couple inches of territory. The mood shifts as we bring our attention to the bar, everyone seems knee deep in tequila shots, margaritas, talking a little to loudly, and dating someone who is a bit to old for them.
My irritability & icy hands begin to melt away as two cups of
 champurrado are placed in front of us. Pure chocolate erotica. Men step aside, so long as I have this drink, they’ll be no need of yous. Piping hot thick chocolate slides down my throat as the spices perk my senses. This drink is the best kind of overwhelming, the kind you give into, the kind that envelopes you in a chocolate drenched haze & whispers sweet nothings in your ear. “So what do you do for fun?” a voice snaps me out of this momentary ecstasy. Back to reality and tedious conversations about my vague interest in yoga and rock climbing. 

Yah, like I’ve never had tapas before… Is it just me or is every restaurant these days either tapas or family style. This just in, explaining tapas to someone is like asking if they eat sushi, we all do and whoever doesn’t, deserves to be left behind, confused, underfed, & alone. The food? Crab fitters, papaya mirin mojo, crema fresca, drizzled with black mole vinaigrette (whatever the hell that is) fashion together forming a dish that is basically fancy crab cakes, except, of course, half the size. Now for some tacos, when in Mexico right? Wrong. Those tacos were a let down. I’m beginning to think maybe I just don’t like mexican food- definitely don’t like the music, the marchacha seemingly playing on repeat can stop anytime now. But seriously if you have fish tacos on your menu, you better be stepping up to the plate because there’s a lot of competition out there & the odds are stacked against you. Oh and when the bartender breezily approached us, as we inquired as to the whereabouts of said tacos, and responded with “Whoops maybe I forgot your order”, I’m getting that might be a casual thing for you, but to me that’s a pretty serious statement. I’m starting to think eating at El Catrin is like climbing a mountain, you have to be very persistent. Between staking out our territory at the bar using our elbows as weapons, the inability to walk anywhere in the restaurant without encountering a head on collision with an army of serves and food runners, and some carefree bartender forgetting half our order; I’m going to say this Mexican is a MexiCANT.

Looking for Love- I mean Lesbians

Restaurant: Farmhouse tavern

Location: Dundas & Dupont

A finally relaxed welcoming hipster joint in Toronto. You know the type of resto where you’re completely ignored and pretty much have to get on your hands & knees and beg for service because the people who work there are way too fucking cool for you. They spend their days doing things you don’t even know about because you’re not cool enough. They have a gamut of interests which range from braiding each others pubic hair, ukelely playing, the underground fashion scene & of course their photography “career”. Tell them you know a great croissant place and they’ll laugh in your face because that place was so 2 years ago…They are experts in useless information.  Farmhouse Tavern isn’t that place. They pride themselves on farmhouse hospitality which means absolutely nothing to me since I’ve never you know, lived on a farm. It’s charming though, the decor could of been overwhelming but they manage to  pull it off with those old fashioned stove things. 
Ambiguous text messages are sent back and forth as we try and navigate our way towards a suitable reservation time.  Are we parlaying with a host? a manager? a server? It’s all very unclear, though when we get there it doesn’t even matter, the place is half empty. A tad concerning, it is sunday brunch time and supposedly this place is not to be missed. Farmhouse did after all make the best new toronto restaurant list for 2013. Maybe it’s just an off day. We settle into our seats and begin to survey the menu, which is on one of the many chalkboards adorning the room. Decisions decisions. Shredded rabbit poutine speckled with foie gras in a tomato confit instead of gravy sounds good to me. Sometimes experimenting can lead to great things. This delicious poutine is one of them. In fact, at first I didn’t even realize I was consuming potatoes, the fries are cut up into little cubes making the dish more of a giant cheesy stew than a typical plate of poutine. The rabbit is so finely shredded you manage to get a taste of it with every bite. The fatty foie gras is perfectly balanced against the lighter tomato confit.  Then we ordered a dish that seemed a bit confused; a smoked squash, with poached eggs inside of it, and bacon. Is it bacon and eggs with a twist? Or is it supposed to be some weird west-end take on eggs benedict? Each item on there own stands a chance but mixed together inside a smoked squash is what happens when people experiment a little too much. 

Farmhouse Tavern has the best caesars ever. The ingredients are kept classic, which is a bit of an odd thing at this joint- where originality & creativity seem to be a focus. Though its really all about the garnish. Anybody can sport a dress, but its how you wear it which separates you from the rest and this caesar is a total glitter hen. The toppings are enormous, almost as big as the glass itself, big salty capers, chunks of cucumber, a medley of pickled veggies & the deal sealer, a sizeable smoked oyster.
It should be noted that Farmhouse Tavern likes to smoke things. It’s what you smell when you first walk in the door and it reminds you of yesteryear when we all sat around the hearth and talked about walking 18 miles to school. Though when you pick 4 items off the menu and they all come smoked or with at least one ingredient that has been smoked, you might wanna slow down with the whole smoking thing. We devoured some super moist fluffy pancakes, drenched in maple syrup avec real cream, though the mis-steps were the additional “smoked” apples. Far to overpowering a flavour, the sweet simplicity of the pancakes were lost.
Afterthoughts-
When the date becomes an afterthought, you know something can’t be right. Maybe it’s time I switch teams. Where does a penniless girl have to go to snag a rich lesbo looking to shower me in oysters? The hen house.