Surprise Me

Before I get started I want to welcome back my wonderful editor Mary Ellen. You were missed. I hope you had an amazing trip. I was creeping your posts and it looks like you had a blast and your family too! So, yes, welcome home.
Today’s blog, I have to admit, has become one of my favourites. I was at my therapist’s office on Friday (yes, I have a therapist. I think everyone should have one) and after my hour with her I felt like I needed to take a nice long walk and mull around the get together. Toronto is a great place to roam around. It was a little cool but I had my favourite Roots sweater on and so I was ready to walk. I took a few photos along the way of Dundas Square, this cool looking condo just off Queen Street with the CN Tower in the distance, and a few other pics that I posted on my Instagram @bruceinthecity. It’s so relaxing just site seeing like a guest in this old city. It was in the middle of this stroll that I passed by an interesting looking restaurant. I had wandered into Queen Street West and this part of the city seems to have a lot of fabric places and sewing shops. It seems to be where clothing designers go to get the fabric supplies they need.
A little further west I passed by La Pallette. Oh so French. I checked out their menu which was displayed on a lectern. I peeked in the window. It had a relaxed French bistro feel to it. Maybe it was the colours? Maybe the window dressing? The sprawl of black and white photographs that seemed to be floating along the east wall? The kitchen was right out there in the open with it’s heavy metalled accessories. It felt a bit “Alice in Wonderland” to me. The bearded fellow behind the bar invited me in and to sit where I like. I chose a window seat which I actually regretted because it didn’t allow for me to admire the decor very well. The bearded fellow approached me and enthusiastically shared how the menu worked and what were some highlights and then he asked me about a beverage. I chose a Pinot Grigio. When he returned I hadn’t yet decided. I didn’t want to have to think to be honest. I looked up at his impressive beard and I just said surprise me. He looked a little surprised but I guessed that wasn’t the first time he heard a statement like that. He asked me if I had any allergies or if I was squeamish. I said no, but I lied. I was a little squeamish. After he walked away I thought okay, go big or go home. I was enjoying my pinot as I rolled around how bad could it be? The place looked pretty harmless. What could he bring me that would make me squeamish? You know when I review places, I like to be inspired. Either by the impeccable customer service or the food. Since my background deals in customer service that tends to be what affects me the greatest. But this day I just wanted to be orally satisfied beyond measure. Bring me something that would take me out of my body and spin me across the universe of flavours and savourings. I think it may have been his girth of beard that had me feeling so wide open to something perfectly new. He returned with plate in hand, placed it in front of me and began to explain the contents. It sounded like a bunch of pretty words from a bearded baritone and I was certain he said horse. Then he smiled and walked away. Did I hear him correctly? The plate looked wonderful. A lovely salad, side of fresh bread, thin fries lightly seasoned and the vinaigrette dressing was lovely. Little kisses of mustard on the plate and an egg yolk sitting on top of a lovely round of what appeared to be the “piece de resistance”, but oh my god, did he say horse? I’m certain he did. I did say surprise me, didn’t I? Okay, well I had to go for it. I wanted a brand new experience and this friendly man just put his best meat forward for me to try. I had to put it in my mouth. There was just no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I had to put it in my mouth. I’m adventurous. I can do this. I want to do it. I asked for it. I took my fork and took some yolk that burst over the top of this signature dish. I overheard reactions to him by other patrons. He’s a genius! He’s the best! He knows just what his customer needs! One woman pleaded with him to bring her back to life with the perfect drink. He did. It was called Hail Satan, some espresso based alcohol beverage! That seemed to give this woman that meg Ryan moment from When Harry Met Sally, I kid you not. This guy, whom the patrons called David, was like a local celebrity and as I placed that piece of meat into my mouth I knew I was experiencing something extraordinary. It was mouth watering and gentle as it kissed my tongue. My mind was having a moral struggle but my mouth said, “Oh yes, give me more of that outstanding piece of meat”. I found myself mixing the flavours going between the mustards and the leaf of the perfect salad and complimented by perfect thinly cut fries. The experience he gave me honestly inspired me to continue writing and to be even more brave in the future when I visit the restaurants in this amazing city and maybe once again dare to say, “surprise me”.

The actual menu items:

P.S. I would have never tried this dish on my own and I’m so thankful David shared it with me. The entire experience had me floating home recalling every moment on La Pallette.

6 kisses out of 5


Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A note from Mary Ellen

I’m much more nervous than you about food. I would have heard horse and there would have been no way that it was going in my mouth. Dave on the other hand would have tried it. The man is a food connoisseur and will try anything once.
Good for you for being brave though!


About Bruce in the City

I have been writing my blog since 2010. I was inspired to do so after enjoying an amazing meal with some friends of mine here in Toronto. I decided to tell everyone about my great night and the fabulous restaurant I went to and shazam my blog was born!
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