The Occasion, The Location
It is hard to believe that my birthday was three weeks ago. It was the day after my plane landed in Toronto from Vancouver. I did not think I was going to have the strength to get out at all but I was determined.
Oh was it a windy and rainy day! In fact the night before I flew a wild windstorm came out of nowhere potentially threatening my plane from taking off from the Vancouver Airport. As if I needed the extra stress. Thankfully my flight was not cancelled and the next day in Toronto it was above 0C. That NEVER happens on my birthday. It is always one of the coldest days of the year. And that wind had caught up with us! It was insane, our umbrellas popping in and out, in and out…. as we made our way to Hollandaise Diner at 2231 Danforth Avenue for my breakfast brunch.
The Decaf Coffee
Hollandaise Diner is this sweet little oasis from the crazy traffic and psycho wind that was raging outside. Not only that but they may actually have the best decaffeinated coffee I have ever had. I was not the only one who thought so too! Gotta love some Ridler validation but shocking that either of my sisters partook in decaf with me, LOL. Smooth, flavourful, no bitterness, lots of flavour. I want more of that coffee!!!
I accidentally ordered my own unique version of The Great Canadian Breakfast Poutine. Knowing that everything can be potentially slathered with Hollandaise sauce I ordered my poached egg medium well. I was then informed it did not come with a poached egg but if I wanted one, then I could have one. My sisters insisted that I have it the way I want it because it was my birthday!
Both of my sisters ordered a more traditional diner-stye breakfast and loved it. Then, all of a sudden!!!
A beautiful complimentary birthday pancake complete with funfetti was delivered to our table!
That pancake was crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and I swooned over the poutine. In fact it totally took me back to the days our mom would make us her cheesy potatoes. She was always ahead of her time. Every bite of mushroom, potato, bacon, sausage, cheese slathered with that poached egg with Hollandaise sauce made me feel at home. Comfort food galore!
Not only that but our server was super sweet and kind. It was the perfect foodie homecoming.
Before we left my sister Jamie told me I had to go into the first washroom and read what was on the wall: “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food,” by Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec. One of my most favourite characters of all time. I believe Ron Swanson. I believe. And if there was ever a place that could prove this is true, it is Hollandaise Diner.
I give this foodie experience five out of five wooden spoons. Everything was delicious, the place was cozy and warm and the service was out of this world. I honestly can not think of one bad thing to say about it at all and considering what I was going through at the time… They even wished me happy birthday on Instagram!
I flew back to Toronto with one duffel bag of clothes. If you are Canadian and fly anywhere in the winter, you know just how little clothing that will end up being because sweaters and fleece take up a hell of a lot of room. I had to buy some warm clothes and there was a sale that day which worked out perfectly.
I ended up leaving almost all my dishes behind. I also decided to leave anything very retro behind as well. In the three years I lived in Vancouver I was in mourning over the loss of my mom. I choose the apartment we lived in because she would have loved that retro kitchen. As much as I love retro, I think I am going to explore more styles to find out one that is mine.
That said, I did buy this funky pitcher for my morning iced coffees. I made this exception because if felt like my mom winking at me from the other side. Oh how she LOVED coffee!
When it came to dinner I was completely beat and could only think of one thing for dinner: a Square Boy Hamburger. They make the best old school charbroiled burgers around. I have been dreaming about them since my last visit to Toronto. My bother-in-law was kind enough to pick us up burgers for a very relaxed at-home birthday celebration.
I was also treated to some coffee cake with tea (shocking!) for dessert.
In the last three weeks the more “traditional” Toronto weather kicked in. Lots of cold and snow but today on Valentine’s Day (hiss) the sun came out and it was above 0C! I went out for a long walk, trying to build my strength back after such a hard time.
Unpacking has not been totally complete but I did finally move my mixer “Rebel” out of my luggage and into one of the totes of kitchen supplies. One friend has graciously offered to donate a storage unit to me and another friend is going to deliver it to me. Seriously, everyone has been so supportive, helpful and kind. I intend to put all my kitchen gear on that unit so I can see all my foodie treasures before I go to sleep at night.
You have all given me faith in the human race. I could not have gotten through this without you. Even more you transformed what was going to be the worst birthday of my life and turned it into something special. A birthday I will never forget.