898 Queen St. East
Sometime in the dead of winter, Conan and I decided we might cheer up our morning with some Brunch on a recommendation by a friend. So we hopped onto the never-arriving, always leaving-in-the-opposite-direction Queen Street streetcar to Lady Marmalade in Leslieville.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by a long line-up. I struggled to get inside the restaurant to find out what the situation was and the waitress told me it was a “first come, first serve” seating – meaning, you don’t leave your name and they don’t seat tables fully. After eyeing the line and the restaurant – we left. There was NO WAY I was standing in the cold to eat breakfast!!
Some time later in the hot hot heat of summer, Conan and I (outfitted with bikes this time – no more streetcar!!) rode our bikes back to Leslieville to wait in line at this place. It’s a small space, no air-conditioning, cramped, but the windows open up and no one seemed to mind. We went earlier this time since we just finished shopping at the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market and the line was short – barely out the door. The restaurant was full of young families (those with babies and toddlers), couples and “mature” couples.
It was slightly reminicent of this Michelin star rated Dim Sum restaurant I ate at in Hong Kong (一點心 – which was the best…THE BEST!). Except in Hong Kong they had a more efficient way of seating everyone. Basically you were expected to share tables. Now it doesn’t mean you WILL, but if there is space, the restaurant will fill it! IMO, it’s the best way. Conan and I were seated at a table that could fit a minimum of 4 people – I felt bad and it was very unnecessary.
Aside from that logistic blip, the menu was full of your regular brunch/breakfast-typed foods and they had some daily specials up on the board!
It was a hot day and all I wanted was water, however, Conan decided he’d grab a glass of their freshly squeezed drink/tea thing they had on special.
It was no Arnold Palmer (LOL) but it hit the spot…kinda. Well, it was more juicy than it was tea-y.
When it came to ordering, it was a difficult decision. Everything looked to be delicious (drools just thinking about it), but Conan settled on a Poached Egg BLT.
Originally Conan wanted to order the Huevos Rancheritos, but we saw a guy at the next table chow down on the BLT and it was too good looking to pass up! We saw some other dude order and eat the Huevos Rancheritos, but it didn’t look very good – phew!!!! I’m not sure this picture does the dish justice. The bacon was really good…it had that taste of properly cured meat to it – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve had meats like prosciutto. Conan said it was delicious and as a testament, he finished his meal before me. I was like only halfway done when he was finishing up.
While Conan’s decision came quite easily to him, I had a harder time figuring out what I wanted (go figure!). Although typically I would go for the “standard breakfast fare” for points of comparison, I felt the urge to deviate from that since I had to wait in line for such a long time! I eyed the eggs benedict section, but was slightly turned off by the description of their Hollandaise sauce. It was described as “lemony.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LEMON, I LOOOVVEEE vinegary/sour flavours, but not in my Hollandaise sauce. Call me a purist or old school, but I like my Hollandaise sauce to be rich and creamy with a slight taste of lemon.
I recall a time I tried the eggs bene at Le Petite Dejeuner – which was served with a “lemony” Hollandaise sauce – it was disgusting. The Hollandaise sauce they make is consistently too sour and too chivey (although I LOVE chive, it was just too much). I feel as though the “lemony” Hollandaise is an excuse for making a bad Hollandaise, but they brand it like it was done on purpose – bleh. AND THE CHIVE!!! It was like making an excuse for a poorly made sauce by stating that’s how they intended it to taste and then covering it up with chive! I just hated it. Petite Dejeuner is otherwise ok – only because they put that disgusting Hollandaise sauce on practically everything. Anyway, that was my schtick – I was AFRAID of the “lemony Hollandaise” on the menu.
However, I wasn’t brought up to be gutless with my food, quite the contrary, I was raised to be fearless!! How else would I tell my mother I love it when she makes Pig Liver soup and that I cringe and in disbelief when my dad tells me tripe is too processed and I shouldn’t eat it anymore! You only life once…
So I ordered the brie, avocado, bacon eggs benedict.
Verdict? It was bloody awesome. The sauce turned out to be NOT TOO LEMONY!!! Maybe it was just by chance, but it tasted good – just ever so slightly slightly lemony (FYI, this is coming off of my Eggs Bene high @ La Société).
What else can I say about this dish? Oh yes, the POTATOES!! They have to be the best potato chunks(?) that I’ve ever tasted. They were crispy, spiced well and not too big or small – perfect! Doesn’t even need ketchup – now that’s sayin’ something. The salad was nice and light and dressed in some soy/miso dressing. The poached egg was awesome! Cooked perfectly. As the judges on Master Chef would say – “absolutely delicious!”
Check out that gooeyness!
A warning though – the dishes are really big and I didn’t think I was going to make it through. Thank goodness I was riding my bike home so I could burn off some of that food.
If you’re up to no good on a weekend morning – definitely try this place and be prepared to eat! Also, they accept cash only!!! :P