It was a pretty freaking disgusting Sunday that just past. From the fog of my bathroom window, pre-glasses and weary, I almost even thought that the mottled wet pavement pattern on the street was a thin sheet of newfallen snow.
Thank Jack Frost it wasn’t that – I might have seriously just figured out how to knit myself feety pajamas right then and there, and not left the comfort of my own bed until I’d cocooned myself into a nice tea + geeky sci-fi oblivion for the whole day. It was CLOSE to that bad, but it turned into a good excuse to break out the basic black woollens and trudge with an empty belly and a caffeine addiction towards Cafe le Souvenir, in the hopes that it would be what every brunch should be : relaxed, slightly oily, filled with eggy savourishness, bottomless coffee, and copious amounts of fruit.
We arrived and came upon: the Line! Yes, indeed this place is popular, and I feel terrible for the table right next to the door. Not only at the mercy of jostling unfed types, but the draft was a bit chilly. They seemed obliviously happy with their stringy benedicty dish and warm potatoes, however, which distracted me from thoughts of sympathy and turned my head to selfish wants of bbbbrrrreakfast!!!! and now. Luckily it only took 15 minutes, plus 5 to actually get a seat at a table (and not the bar).
We were offered espresso and turned them to allongées. (transformo!). We ordered 2 mimosas (11$) and received a vial of fresh squeezed OJ and a sparkling German dry white, and turned ThoSE into happy bubbly morning drinks. (TRANSFORMO AGAIN!). The menu was long and nothing was breaking the proverbial envelope, but it all sounded pretty good and I’d heard good things, so I ordered a benedict florentine on rye bread (13$) with smoked salmon (+3$), and Cloudy got 2 slices of french toast with fruit and whipped cream and cheddar (11$). The food came fast, and the eggs were hot, and they did a little clever thing by baking the eggs in the hollondaise and laying a blanket of melted nondescript white cheddar-type cheese on top, so they stayed hot while I wondered where on earth my smoked salmon was! Our server was super nice about that oversight, though, and while it took a while in coming, it was a big ol’ bowl of it, and we discovered our new favourite combo. smoked salmon + FRENCH TOAST YOU GUYS. omg. omg. a salty sweet buttery confection duo written in the stars. Add drizzles of real maple syrup for extra points (Le Souvenir gives you a bottle at the table!). I guess I have to admit I wanted my first eggs benedict experience to be those silly little perky orbs with the yellow sauce blanket, but it was a tradeoff for a perfect poach, I suppose. It turned into a dunking dish for toast! I liked that. The french toast was eggy and fluffy and cooked to custardy perfection, and the fruit alongside was fresh and plentiful and even included mango, yay. Nomming ensued.
Filled up and chatted up, we left to pay and noticed an awesome – they didn’t charge us for the salmon and one of the coffees. Good show, that’s a perfect move. They were also really friendly and we didn’t feel rushed despite the lines. I think I subconsciously felt rushed in the lively setting, but it wasn’t at their cue, and a bloke sitting beside us sat alone at a table nursing a graphic novel and a coffee for our breakfast’s duration undisturbed.
I will be honest. If you’re the type that questions the value of paying someone else to make eggs and toast for you, le Souvenir won’t change your mind based on the food. But the atmosphere is something to be experienced and a great way to spend a rainy Sunday! It’s an essential local hang, and a cheery place and it definitely, definitely, beat the rainy blues away. :)