For two weeks now I have been craving and whining about being too tired to wake up early to get my Eggs Benedict. I finally have a free day today and the first thing I planned for it was a brunch to pacify my need for poached eggs and creamy Hollandaise. It was good that my friend Diona a.k.a. TitaFlips was also free to join me today. The thing about Mondays though was that there were limited places that might serve Eggs Benny. I have an impression that most serve the most indulgent kind on a weekend. Scouring through Urbanspoon, The Starving Artist, came into my radar.
I have once read about them and have known of their good reviews. I haven’t had much chance to explore west of Toronto lately so I thought what it was good way to break that trend and try The Starving Artist. I have seen in one of the reviews that they have a certain twist to the classic Benny, mounting it on a waffle instead of an English muffin. To up the ante, the pancake was stuffed with mashed potato too! Now I have always professed for an undying devotion to the humble potato. It was like having a double whammy of a craving after reading that review.
Picking up Diona, we drove to Bloor and Landsdowne and started driving up north of Bloor. It might be a little bit deceptive that the east and west sides of Landsdowne seemed to have a different numbering system. Just to give you a clue of a trend, even number addresses were always given to the west side and odd numbers are given to the east side. What was a little out of whack was that the east side are in their 600’s and the west side are on the 500’s. Good thing Diona and I were persistent. I really do want that Eggs Benny.
I guess since it was Monday heading towards the hours of lunch, the parking was not a problem. Plus points that this Toronto street has not figured out to charge parking fee just yet. I can imagine though this strip of a street would be full on a weekend. Walking in, the place was more than half-full on a non-weekend day. It goes to show that this place was a local favorite. The place has a hipster, relaxed vibe, far from the temperament of a common yuppie workaholic that most opened weekday brunch places were. Its creative and eclectic taste in decor added to its tonality. It was pretty obvious none of the patrons were hurried this Monday morning and I just realized the crowd included me. What a turn-around from my corporate days.
The server let us chose our table and it was good that it was right beside the window. I did not think much and I went for the seat that might have my back against the window and Diona offered to trade seats with me to give me more light. I found that amusing that I actually have Diona learning what I needed to do my food photography. It felt awesome what a good friend I have in Diona.
Knowing that I wanted their Breakfast Benny (poached eggs with bacon on potato pancakes with Hollandaise sauce, a side of greens and potato salad), Diona opted for another dish so we can two different items on their menu. She went for Sammy Benny (poached eggs with smoked salmon sitting on waffles, a side of greens and fruit salad). I must say when the plate arrived, I was impressed with the control and perfection of the shape of the poached egg. I recently was taught by my EyeCandyTO partner, Abe Wornovitzky, how to poach an egg and it didn’t come near to the appearance that The Starving Artist’s poached eggs were. Diona gave me more tips how to control the shape of the poached eggs and I believe I’d go do the experimentation soon.
Between the two Bennys that we ordered, I believe my vote goes for the Breakfast Bennys. It was such a treat to have the creamy yolk/Hollandaise saturate the fluffy potato pancake. I was thinking it was going to be too rich but it came out right to the taste. I literally finished every morsel that was on my dish. When the server came back to ask how was my meal, my plate told the whole story of my satisfaction. It was hard to miss that the plate was clean.
Ah another craving pacified. That doesn’t mean my love for poached eggs end. Too hard to break the habit when Egg Bennys are too yummy:)