Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Location: 610 1 Ave NE
Website: villafirenze.ca

Although this is not my first time at this restaurant, it’s my first time coming here that isn’t a work function.  I do apologize for not uploading this in a timely manner, but with the weekend I’ve had it’s been hard.  I’ve been trying to battle this cold/flu, finished off a rotation in litigation, started a rotation in corporate, and went to a wedding.

Every experience I’ve had here has been a pleasant one, this was no exception.  After work, a friend, Carmen, and I set off to the restaurant.  It was a short 10 minute walk from her law firm.

We were promptly seated and presented with menus.  We decided on two appetizers: their famous Portobello Mushroom and a Caesar salad.  I decided to try the Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna and Carmen had the Linguine con Vongole.  The Portobello Mushroom was absolutely delicious.  With it’s mild grilled flavour and a texture that was slightly reminiscent of steak, smothered in a cream sauce.  There wasn’t a speck of mushroom or sauce on the plate when we were done with it.  The Caesar was more classic.  It was a little more aggressively dressed than I would have liked, but the amount of garlic was just perfect.  Sure some may say it was too garlicky, but as you guys know, there’s no such thing with me.  By this time I was actually almost full.  I probably could have just done with a calamari and called it a night, but no, our entrees came.  Gnocchi, being potato and pasta, is a lot of carbs and therefore, is very filling.  I barely got in more than five bites before I had to call it quits.  It was good, but it wasn’t exactly what I had expected.  It was clear that the pesto was made in house, which I appreciated, but I wanted a little more olive oil and a lot more garlic.  While I don’t know exactly what Carmen’s linguini was like, clams in white wine is a classic combination and based on the fact that she cleared her plate, I knew she had really enjoyed it.

Based on this experience and past experiences I would definitely come back.  Although next time I do hope that I won’t be sick and that I’ll be able to better appreciate the intricacies of the flavour profiles that each dish has.  Next time I would want to try the calamari and perhaps even a dessert…say a tiramisu?

I would rate this experience a 4.5/5.

Appies

Appetizers: Portobello Mushroom with a Cream Sauce, Caesar Salad, and complementary bread with olive oil and vinegar

Gnocchi

Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna

Linguini

Linguini con Vongole

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Here I stand
At the edge of a precipice
The worst days of my life behind me
The best days ahead

Another day
Another step
Taking me farther
From the pain of it all

I look back
Another stage
Another chapter
In this game
This story
We call life

I’m certainly not who I used to be
And I’m certainly not who I will be
But I look forward to the long journey that awaits

I want to thank all those who have been there
A part of my life
Supporting me
Pushing me
Further
Higher
Than I ever thought possible

I’ve learned so much
To get where I am
But I’ve so much more to grow

I will do whatever it takes
To be the best of the best
To rise up
And show the world who I am
To stand atop this mighty peak
And shout for all to hear
The melody of the ever reverberating rhythms of my soul

I will shake the very foundations
Of the world that I built
The earth will tremble
With every step
Building
And rebuilding
The known universe

I know now
I can hold my head up high
That for everything that has sought to crush me
Only paved my way to success

I am proud of who I am
Of who I’ve become

And soon the world will know it too

Location: 110, 222 – 5 Avenue SW
Website:  https://www.eatoeb.com/

I vaguely remembering seeing OEB from when it used to be next to Diner Deluxe on Edmonton trail.  I remember both breakfast places didn’t take reservations so the line ups were ridiculously long.  This morning I took the express bus from my community in preparation for my upcoming practicum and met Valerie downtown for breakfast here.

As per usual, I looked at the menu weeks before to finalize what I wanted.  Val had come here before with a friend and knew exactly what it was she wanted: Tuna Crudo.  The Tuna Crudo is an item under boxed, which is to say, a self-contained bowl having everything in it (or I guess could be boxed up easily and taken on the go).  It consists of ahi tuna, avocado, sesame, pomme Gaufrette, cilantro crema, and two poached eggs.  Having had it before, she knew how heavy the potatoes could get and ordered it with half spinach, half potato (I think she did that the last time, or a 2/3 spinach, 1/3 potato).  After much deliberating, I finally settled on the Water Fowl Eggs Benny with a side poutine.  The Benny consisted of smoked Peking duck breast, porcini mushroom-truffle ragu atop an English muffin and a brown butter Hollandaise.  Seeing as they allow the option of ordering a whole avocado as an extra and they charged $3.85 for one (I saw them for $1.85, same brand at Safeway and thought it was expensive), I expected a small poutine even though I was adding $4.95 for that substitution.  I was pleasantly surprised when it came out and was actually a decent size.  Val’s Tuna Crudo reminded me very much of a Westernized, breakfastized interpretation of a poke bowl and now thinking about it, having raw fish for breakfast is a little weird (not unheard of or frowned upon in any way, just seems more like a lunch or dinner thing, but then again I’m the kind of person who has steak for breakfast, so who am I to judge).  Also, Asian seasoned Tuna with fries…bit of a strange combo.  Despite my apprehension, it was a delicious dish and while I probably wouldn’t be able to eat it on my own (too much raw fish), I wouldn’t be opposed to ordering it again and sharing it with someone.

The same can be said about the Water Fowl Egg Benny and poutine.  As I mentioned, the poutine was an additional add on and while expensive and huge, it had a rich heartiness to it, a richness that would prove too much as the meal progressed.  Combined with the creaminess of the egg yolk and Hollandaise, I was full for hours.  The preparation of the duck threw me off though.  When I saw “Peking,” my first thought was of the Peking duck style of preparation with a crispy (rendered) skin and juicy, rich, tender meat.  This was not that.  As described on the menu, it was smoked.  Like a ham.  It even had the criss-cut lines that were reminiscent of ham.  Even the texture of the meat had me questioning whether it was duck or ham that they had in fact given me.  The Hollandaise was a lot lighter than some of the Hollandaises I’ve had in the past.  It’s still thick enough to mop up with the English muffin, but not so thick that it made me feel bloated while eating it.

The potatoes in the poutine were seasoned like the potatoes in Val’s Crudo.  Like many of the things in this meal, it was delicious, but with time became unbearably salty.  The cheese curds, which I assume are the Saint Cyrille curds they use in other dishes are no squeaky Quebec cheese curds.  They’re delicious enough, but I want to find a place here that offers those squeaky curds that seem so hard to come by.

egg booth

Egg Booth

seat

View from our seat

tuna crudo

Tuna Crudo with Mango Juice

water fowl egg benny

Water Fowl Eggs Benny with Poutine and Chocolate Milk

Something I learned going out to breakfast places: soft vs medium vs hard for egg temperatures.  I had always thought that soft was a runny, golden yolk with a firm albumin, medium a slightly firm around the edge with a still runny, creamy yolk with a firm albumin, and hard as a both firm yolk and albumin.  But apparently, soft means that the albumin is still slightly runny and that’s not what I want.  However, sometimes I find when I order medium I get what I thought was a medium and other times I get what I thought was a soft.  So now I’m really confused and am not sure how to order eggs…

While there wasn’t a line up when we arrived, they were certainly running out of seats, so we ended up sitting at the bar facing the interior of the building it was located in (fifth avenue place).  I liked that at the bar the was a bar for me to rest my feet (because those chairs are tall and frankly, I’m pretty short) and a ledge to put my bag on.

Overall, I’d say I would come again.  While the food itself is a little heavier than what I like for breakfast, it is still some of the most delicious food I’ve had.  Next time I hope to go early enough to get a table.  Based on my experience, I’d rate this a 4.25/5.

 

When I Loved You

Looking back
Across the time
I can see that love
I used to know

The strength
The passion
Lost with time

I was the only one
For whom you promised
No other girl
No other woman
Has won your heart
So completely as I have

Until her
I am the only one
Until her
I was your greatest love
But when you meet her
You’ll know
For the greatest love you’ll ever have
Will be for the one you call your wife

And she will be the luckiest woman
Because she has your love

Goodbye

Warning: Mature content.  This is a work of pure fiction.  Any resemblance to real life is unintentional.  It is based on a fear I’ve always had.

They say she lost control of the car.  It wasn’t impossible.  The roads were covered with freshly fallen snow.  The wet, slushy kind.  They say she died instantly.  That she felt no pain.  That there was no time for her to register what had happened.  Just like that she was gone.

People say she had such a great life ahead of her.  That it was a shame that her talent was now forever lost.  No would could ever hold a candle to her.  Not now.  Not ever.  A prodigy.  A genius.  Only one of her in all of history.

But people didn’t know her.  Not really.  She was the type of girl who got whatever she wanted.  When she set her mind to it, it was hers.

And as hard as it was to believe, she had wanted this.

***

Her name was Eleanor.  His name was Kieran.  They were as in love as anyone could be.  Eleanor had found everything she ever wanted in a man.  While he had his moments, he was still the love of her life.

Then everything changed.  Kieran had been working as a mechanic for years.  He was sick of the work, sick of the people, just sick of it all.  So he quit.  It was the best decision he had ever made.  Or so he thought.  Eleanor worried that they would be financially screwed by his decision, but she had never seen him so happy.  So she told herself she would work twice as hard to support the both of them until he was able to find himself a new job, a job he loved.

Months passed by and things between them became more and more strained.  Her finances were beginning to suffer, but that didn’t make her love him less.  Rather, it made her love him more.  But she could see that it was taking a toll on him.  And as a result, he became more and more distant from her.  Cold.  Refusing to show her affection.  Sleeping elsewhere instead of next to her in bed and when he did come to bed, he didn’t touch her.  He didn’t want to engage with her.  He had nothing to say to her.  Not anymore.  In his eyes, he was not a man.  What man could not provide for his family?  He took his frustrations out on her.  The one person who loved him more than her own life.

Finally, he stumbled across a job working in security.  He had always wanted to go to the police academy or law enforcement, but he wasn’t exactly academic minded and didn’t feel like he was ready to compete against those who were more focused than he.  So he took this as a stepping stone into the career he wanted.

There he met some girls.  They worked at the place he was acting as security for.  One in particular caught his attention.  Her name was Madison.  She was petite and cute and knew her way around guys.  She had him twisted around her little finger and Eleanor could see it.  But Kieran couldn’t.  Kieran never believed for one moment that Madison had him in his sights, that she had intentions for him.  She did everything she could to seduce him and he fell for it all.  To Kieran, Eleanor was becoming more erratic, more emotional, and he had had enough.  But he strongly believed in being loyal to the one he was with and Eleanor had no intention of breaking it off with him.

One week, she went away to visit a friend abroad, unaware of the feelings that were growing inside Kieran.  Feelings that were no longer for her.  She received a message halfway through the week: We have to talk.  For the rest of the week, a cold fear gripped her heart.  What in the world could Kieran want to talk about?  He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t talk about serious matters over the phone or via text.  This had to be serious.

He picked her up from the airport as promised and they went for dinner.  They hadn’t gone out for dinner for a very long time.  It was his way of controlling her.  She was never the type to make a fuss in public.  She would have tried to control her emotions.  He knew that.

“Ellie…I know that things have been rough for the last few weeks…and I know we decided that we had to take a break from each other, but do you ever think that maybe we don’t belong together?” started Kieran.

“Kir, of course I have.  But regardless of what happens, I think we can work through it.  We’re a partnership, which means I have your back and you have mine.  Is there something going on that you want to tell me about?” Eleanor returned.

Kieran shook his head.   He wasn’t going to be the one who broke up with her.  If she wasn’t happy, he knew she would do it.

“Then I don’t know what the problem is.  I love you more than anything in the world.  I would do anything to make this work.  Do you think we don’t belong together?” asked Eleanor.

Kieran shook his head again, “Look, first and foremost, you are my friend.  We were friends before this and I hope that we’ll be friends after.  You mean a lot of me, Ellie, but I don’t know if a relationship is what’s right here.  We started in different places when this relationship began.”

Ellie nodded, “I understand…I…I’m not hungry anymore.  Can we go home?”

Kieran signaled for the waitress to bring a couple to go boxes and they headed home.

***

Eleanor sat at home alone thinking.  Kieran was out working the night shift for his security job.  She had never felt more alone.  She played with her phone while staring blankly at the stove clock opposite her at the kitchen bar when it sprang to life in her hands.

She didn’t recognize the number, but she decided to pick up anyways.

“Do you know where Kieran’s at?”

“Who is this?”

“Do you know who he’s with?”

“I demand you tell me who you are!”

“You’ll find him at 92 Citadel Crest Green NW,”

Before Eleanor could ask who it was again, the caller hung up.  She put down her phone with a sigh.  Was this all a joke?  Kieran was at work.  He had to be.  It was only 2 a.m.  But what if he wasn’t.

She paced back and forth, debating whether she ought to follow up at that address or not.  Eventually she grabbed her purse, jumped into her car, and drove to the address she had been told.  She sat in the car for a while before going up to the house.  Even in the car, she could see that all the lights were turned on and the house reverberating with loud music.  She rang the doorbell, waiting for a response, but with all that noise, it was unlikely anyone had heard.  She tried the door and found it to be unlocked.  She cautiously made her way into the house, seeing his shoes at the front door, she proceeded further, looking for him.  The main floor was empty, save for the blaring speakers and what appeared to be Kieran’s shirt.  Her favourite.  The plaid one.  She thought she heard giggling upstairs and followed it to a bedroom with the door opened ajar.  Quietly, she peaked in, glimpsing a group of girls in the room.  Kieran was among them, utterly naked, half conscious, and completely drunk out of his mind.  She gasped, quickly covering her mouth to silence herself.  She watched as a blonde kissed him, straddling him, gently raising and lowering herself on him, and he kissed her back with a passion Eleanor had thought was dead in him.  She stifled her tears, taking a deep breath she pushed the door open.  The other girls who were watching jump to their feet.

“Who the fuck are you?!” one exclaimed.

“You know you’re trespassing!” exclaimed another.

She pushed passed them all.

“Get off of him!” she said, throwing the blonde off of him.

“Who the fuck are you?” asked the blonde.

“His fiancee,” she said, pulling Kieran to his feet.

“Ellie?” asked Kieran, slurring. “What’s happening?”

“I think you’ve had enough to drink for one night.  Let’s get you dressed, go home, and we’ll talk about it in the morning,” she said.

“Okay,” he said obediently.

He allowed her to lead him around, doing whatever to him, just like he had been doing earlier.  The blonde brushed her hand against Kieran, extracting a moan from him.  Without thinking, Eleanor slapped her across the face.

“What’s your problem?  We were just having a little fun,” exclaimed the blonde.

“If you ever touch him like that again, you’re going to lose that hand.  If you ever put your mouth on him again like that, I’ll rip your tongue out.  And if I find you on top of him like that again, I’ll kill you,” Eleanor threatened her.

“Wow, I can’t imagine Kir ever wanting to marry a girl like you,” sneered the blonde.

Hearing another woman use his nickname felt like a slap in the face to Eleanor.  It took a minute for Eleanor to regain her senses.

“I swear to God-” Eleanor began.

“Ellie, Maddie, please don’t fight,” managed Kieran, “Maddie, you probably shouldn’t have done that.”

“That’s not what you were saying earlier…what was it you were saying?  Oh yes, fuck me like you mean it,” smiled Maddie.

Kieran returned her smiled, trailing off at the end, “Did I say that? Well…”

Eleanor didn’t wait for a response, she steered him out the door, back down to the main floor, picking up his shirt as she went, and helping him into the car.  She took a deep breath, calmed herself down just enough to be able to drive home.

When they got home, she cleaned him up and got him to bed.  He fell asleep quickly, but the same could not be said for her.  She tossed and turned, unable to get the images, the words out of her head.

***

Kieran woke with a splitting headache.  Eleanor was lying next to him; her eyes red from crying all night.

“Ellie?  What happened last night?” asked Kieran.

“You don’t remember?” she asked quietly.

“No…”

“You were at work?”

“I-Ellie…I’m sorry…no, we had the day off…I should’ve told you…” said Kieran.

“Was it so I wouldn’t ask you anymore questions about that Madison girl?” asked Eleanor.

“I-”

“You promised me nothing was going to happen!” exclaimed Eleanor, borderline hysterical.

“Well, I’m not sure what happened,” said Kieran.

“Exactly what I told you would happen.  You aren’t as loyal when you’re drunk as you thought you would be.  You said you’d never let it get that far, but with drink, your inhibitions are lowered.  You would do anything and everything you said you wouldn’t do sober.  They knew exactly what to do.  You let them take advantage of you.  You fucked Madison for God’s sake!” Eleanor cried, “I’m your fiancee!  Or does that mean nothing to you?”

Kieran’s jaw dropped, “Oh my God, Ellie.  I’m so sorry…I don’t even know what to say.”

“Why were you at her house?  Why did you continue to do the things that you knew made me uncomfortable?” asked Eleanor.

“I had to blow off some steam.  You were driving me nuts!” exclaimed Kieran.

“Then you should’ve talked to me instead of messing with girls behind my back,” said Eleanor quietly, “I think I should go home…”

“You are home,” said Kieran.

“No…my parents…” she said, climbing out of bed.

***

In the weeks that followed, Kieran broke off the engagement and Eleanor came by to return the ring and clear out her things.  It wasn’t long after their separation that Kieran began a relationship with Madison.  On the face of it, he told everyone that he had loved Eleanor to the very end, but due to irreconcilable differences, they had decided to part ways.  He told everyone he knew that Madison was more compatible with who he was, with the lifestyle he had always dreamed of.  He told Eleanor she had deserved better, but really he thought he was the one who did.

Weeks turned into months and Eleanor began to worry.  She had missed several periods and every morning she woke unable to eat after a night of being unable to sleep.  For the first little while she thought it was because of the stress that she wasn’t having her period and the eating and sleeping was due to heartbreak, but after several missed months, she decided to conduct a pregnancy test.  It came up positive.

She stared at it a while.  Kieran didn’t need this in his life.  The only person she ever cared about.  The one who was her whole world.  Gone.  She didn’t need to ruin his life further.  She still loved him despite everything.

And though she had told herself over and over that no man was worth dying for.  That she would get over him one day, she knew she never would.  Kieran had and always would have a part of her that no one else would ever have.

She wrote a letter, telling Kieran exactly how she felt.  She enclosed the pregnancy test and mailed it to him as she made arrangements for her other plan.  She arranged her affairs, leaving everything to Kieran.  Nobody knew.

She had always been fascinated by Death and she could feel his cold on her everyday.  Some days he came by and sat with her, talking to her, listening to her heartbreak.  Some days he would just hold her and tell her he loved her.  That he would protect her.  The days got colder.  Her fingers ice.  And when she would reach out, he was always there for her.

And when she left that day, she went out knowing she was never coming home.  She was going some place else.  Some place better.

Deserve

People say I deserve this
And I deserve that
That I deserve to be happy
And all my dreams to come true but I don’t believe that

I don’t deserve anything blindly
Everything is earned
Everything must be paid for
Everything has a price
Even love

I believe that things will come with time
But at the same time I don’t

Nothing was I’ve ever obtained from life came from waiting
Anything and everything I have is because I pursued it
Chased it
Grabbed it
And made it mine

For everything that I am
For everything that I’ve done
It’s easy to say that I deserve to be happy
To be in love
To have everything I ever want

But how do I stop loving someone who has been my whole world?
How do I turn off the pain?
I never learned what it is not to chase my dreams
You were my dreams

Together we became broken
But I don’t know how to walk away
Because I was always taught to fix what I could
To salvage and work through every problem I ever had
Not to throw away
To abandon
What could not be

I don’t know what it means to give up
To walk away from the best thing that has ever happened to me
To file away the emotions
To forget everything we’ve been through

You’ve left me heartless
A hole remains
Hollow and cold
Leaving behind nothing but pain

Now I know what it is when someone makes time for you
Makes an effort to be in your life
Instead of making excuses

You’re more of a man than you might think
You’ve done everything right in my eyes
You’ve showed me that not all men will hurt me
You’ve showed me that there is hope
Hope that the sand that my heart has become
Will one day turn to glass
Become whole again
When that someone comes along
But can it be
That dust and sand
Can once again
Become a beating human heart?

When I showed you who I really was
The darkness beneath the light
The insanity hidden by this mask
You still stayed
Despite the ups and downs I forced you through
You loved me
For who I was
Held me close
And told me that it would be ok
Because you were there
That you would always be there to face the world with me

I can’t help but think
That no one else in the world would put up with me
Would accept me for who I truly am
That I will spend my life hiding behind that mask
Pretending to be someone I’m not
Because who could love an unpredictable monster
Such as me

No one could handle me at my worst
I’m a hurricane that displaces
I’m an earthquake that divides

I want to ask you
Do you know what it feels like
To be so filled with dread that your blood runs cold
When you wake in the middle of the night
Fighting
Struggling against the demons fighting for what’s left of your heart
Squeezing it
And turning the already minute particles
Into their respective atoms

I’m so glad to have had you in my life
To have filled me with so much joy
And so much pain
Maybe if I didn’t care so much
It would hurt as badly
I do not regret loving you
It is better to have loved and lost
Than to have never loved at all

Time will not heal all wounds
It only dulls the pain
But one day
I will raise my head high
I will look across the world
And I will remember
You loved me
And I survived

Perpetuity

For once I wish I wasn’t right
The wounds are still fresh
And though I want what’s best for you
My heart isn’t ready for you to fall in love with someone else so soon

You will always hold a part of me
The part that I’ve give you
The part that will always be yours
That piece is your piece alone
No one can take that away
From me
Or from you

I still hear your voice before I fall asleep each night
I still hear you saying to me
“See, I still love you.”

But do you?
Did you?

You couldn’t see the signs I saw
And I always took you to be a better man
Hell, I still believe in that
But to drop me like I meant nothing
To pursue her so soon after
I really was nothing

At the end
In the end
You weren’t there emotionally anymore

I could feel that I didn’t mean as much to you
You didn’t look as me like I was gold
Not anymore
I wasn’t the only girl in the world
I was just yesterday’s garbage

Nobody
And nobody would notice
If I were to slip away
Quietly
Slowly

For a world doesn’t need me
A girl with too many tears
A heart shattered to sand
Blowing away in the wind

Logic and reason keep telling me you’re not right for me
My heart remains unconvinced
So I fight back the tears
But like a dam
They cannot be stopped

But I am also strong
I am also the girl who will prove to the world she doesn’t need anyone but herself
And forever I’ll wear this mask
And tell the lie
That I’m always fine

How often I’ve wanted to scream out
To shout
I’m not fine
I can’t do this
I can’t take it anymore
This is the end

But how do you stop
When all your life you’ve maintained this facade?
Worn a mask
And slipped into a body suit of the perfect girl with a perfect life

One thing is for certain
I will love you no matter what
And if I have to sacrifice my happiness
If I have to watch you love someone else
If I have to suffer through eons of pain
I’ll do that for you
Because even if you can’t or don’t love me back
My feelings will never change
You will always be someone I care for
You will always be special

And nothing in the world will ever change that.

 

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