As we browsed through books at Chapters, the friend insisted I go back to Bonjour Brioche, Leslieville, Toronto. By myself. She thought the guy waiting on us there likes me.
“I don’t think so,” I told her.
“Oh, but he does! It was the body language. You could see it!”
I saw nothing of the sort and told her as much. I picked up a copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. “Um…he likes this author too, you know.”
“Put down that book.”
“I want to buy it.
“Put down that book. That waiter seemed like a nice guy. He was into you. You could see it.”
I told her again that I could see nothi–
“Okay, I could see it!”
“I don’t think so,” I conclude.
We dug into the bag of carbs–croissants, pain au chocolat, and other little goodies. I was acquainted with the owner and the wonderful person that she has always been, she got our waiter to hand me that treats-filled bag with the bill. I had tried their baguettes and had heard wonderful things about this cafe/bakery/brunch spot on Queen St. E. I had wanted to try the place for the last two years and hadn’t got a chance to…until now. It was every bit as good as I had expected. It has a Parisian feel which wafts over to you as you stand at the threshold, looking in, waiting to be seated. I’m a lover of croissants and the ones I broke my fast with were delicious, soft, buttery, moist, with a perfect slightly crisp exterior. My bowl of café au lait was creamy and strong, the way I like it. The coffee flowed in abundance, as should be the norm on a Sunday morning, and our table despite being at the furthest corner of the patio, closest to the street, was never ignored. A waitress even came around to the other side of our fence to pour us some coffee.
I had the Croque Madam and my friend had the Provençal Omelette. Served with a warm baguette, on par with the ones you’d find in France, the country, with its own little triangle of butter, the very sight of my open-faced sandwich was mouth-watering. The greens served with it had a kick to them too and it made for an extremely satisfying meal. To finish it off, we each got something for dessert, a lemon tart for the friend and their crème brûlée tart for me. I don’t enjoy the taste of lemon in my sweets too much, so I declined an offer to try hers, but mine was heavenly! I’m no food critic, so I cannot elaborate any further on the exquisite taste of the creme and the sound made by the breaking of the hardened caramel cover. But trust me when I tell you I have never had a better brunch. (I’ll admit I’d already started digging in before I thought, OMG, I almost forgot, I must take a picture!)
“Come on, you have to go back!”
“Ok, come with me.”
“No, you should go alone.”
“Why in the world should I go alone?”
“Did you think he was good-looking?”
“I didn’t get a chance to pay close attention.”
“You’ll see when you go back.”
“I’ll go back if you come with me.”
“Why the hell not?!”
“He was hitting on you and I noticed it! Don’t you see?”
I was missing some point which should’ve been clear as daylight apparently.
Then, it was pointed out to me that if we went back together he’d think she liked him. “I’d be looking at him and you’d be avoiding looking at him, both with this same knowledge, you know. And then, I’d be the one looking at you and then at him and then back at you to notice his behaviour and your reactions and I’d be giggling and smiling and before we know it he’d think I’m in love with him. I don’t want anyone to think that about me.”
Fair enough. I nodded. “But I don’t believe he likes me.”
“Argh. I’m an objective observer! Trust me!” she demanded.
Observer, yes. Objective, hardly; we’d spent a considerable part of the brunch talking about the dilemma within me. If I had to liken it to something, I’d probably pick Janus, that Roman god whose head–well, a likeness, actually–is placed above doorways, one face looking out and the other looking in. It was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice or something. Correct me if I’m wrong. Looking out, I had done the right thing, but the face looking in saw a storm a-brewing. With those topics of recent discussion in mind, one could hardly call the girl an “objective” observer. To silence her on that topic, we watched a movie; we couldn’t talk much during it (but that movie still touched a raw nerve and my friend gave me a much-needed hug and some quality alone time in the powder room). We went on to a little place for drinks where that waiter was forgotten and we analysed the dilemma to death, and ended up at a jazz bar, as promised last week, with the music lovely, loud and just what we needed after an overly articulate day.
I have a friend visiting this weekend and The Boiler House in The Distillery District has a waiting list already for its Sunday brunch! The last time I went there about 4-5 weeks ago, it was on an impulse, since I was in that enclosed area and hungry after shopping at The Sunday Market, and there was no wait. I am now racking my brains for other options which are as good, just in case that waiting list doesn’t reach my name, you know.