Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Cracked

You say you know me
That you know that I am sweet
I am loyal
I am kind

But you don’t know me at all

This exterior
This perfect facade
Beautiful and polished
Is the perfect cover
For a deeper, darker secret

This is not who I am
I say I care when I don’t
I play the role the world expects of me
To make you think
That this beautiful package
Extends farther
But beauty is only skin deep
All I want is to destroy
To hurt

An insatiable cruelty lies at my core
A soul marred by that kind of darkness
Can never find happiness

Within my heart
Burns a rage that is incomparable to anything you’ve ever known
All that is wrong with the world
All the ways to torture
To murder
Are things that fuel the fire

You mean the most to me
And as such
You’re the one I want to hurt the most
To take you away
Cut you off from the world around you
To make you dependent only on me

Your happiness
Must depend on me
For without me
It’s only agony
Let me love you
Control you

After all
We’re just human
We all have our faults

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The Last Goodbye

You don’t know the impact you have on this world until you are gone and by then, it’s too late.

***

This morning you woke up dead. You made your way, rubbing the sleep from your eyes, heading to the washroom to get ready for your day. Your sister is in the bathroom doing her makeup like she always is when you get there, but today each time she tries the tears make tracks down her cheeks, makeup smearing everywhere.

You finish getting ready and head downstairs for breakfast. Your mother sits there, her hands in her head. Your favourite food sitting there untouched and cold. Your father is there too. The air is strained. You can feel the tension between them. Each blaming the other without saying as much. You wolf down your breakfast and head out the door.

You arrive early for work, as usual and prepare for the coming day. You set out your to do list, check your emails and make sure everything is ready for when your boss comes in. Everything in its place. Everything perfect. Everything that needs to be dealt with, itemized, prioritized.

You head down the hall and make yourself a tea and settle in. Your day always begins before everyone else’s and ends long after everyone is gone home to be with their families. This is all you have. This is all you’ve ever had and you throw yourself into your work. You’re extraordinary. Irreplaceable. But you’ve never seen yourself in that light. All you see are the mistakes. The imperfections. Never good enough. After all, there’s always room for improvement. You believe that, but you’ve always been harder on yourself than anyone ever could be. You’re just a failure in your eyes. Just another assistant. Just a worthless pinprick in a world full of people who are far superior to you in every way. Your time, your opinion, none of it matters. But you still try, try so hard because you can’t stand being anything less than perfect. You’re so afraid to make a mistake. So afraid to admit you’re wrong. You’ve created this idea of how your life should go. A timeline and you haven’t reached a single milestone. What you don’t see is all the things you’ve accomplished, all the things you are.

But you woke up dead. No one can see you. No one knows you’re there. 8 AM rolls around and your coworkers exchange a look. You’re always here. They whisper and wonder. Could you be sick? Your boss arrives, but thinks nothing of your absence. Maybe you just stepped away for a moment. He’s not worried. He trusts you and knows you are responsible. That if anything happened, you would’ve told him, like you had always done. Even when you’re sick, he finds you sitting there, ready to take on work. Even if you’re dying inside, you will never let your facade crack. He will never see your weaknesses. To him and to everyone, you can’t be anything less than a polished professional. To show otherwise would be unthinkable.

By 9 o’clock, there is talk around the office. Surely someone must know where you are. Someone must’ve seen you. They talk to your work best friend, but she hasn’t seen you since she dropped you off at home on Friday night and she hasn’t received a message from you since Saturday afternoon. People are starting to worry about you. She sends you a message and waits, but nothing.

They knew you as the girl with the easy smile and upbeat attitude. You always had a kind word for everyone and you tried your best to make everyone feel welcome. You were shy and quiet, but that didn’t stop you from becoming involved. Your laugh was infectious. You kept to yourself mostly, but you had a reputation. Everyone who knew you knew one thing. You were reliable. They could trust you to keep your word. Always.

But no one knew that deep down inside, you hated yourself. That nothing was going right for you. You didn’t want to go home at night. The fights were getting worse. The screaming, the crying. Doors slamming, plates smashing. You tried to tune it out. Closing the door, plugging in. But no matter how you tried, locking yourself in your room was never the answer. You felt like a prisoner within your own home.

Left to your thoughts, you began contemplating ending it all that after a while, it became the norm to dwell on these thoughts. You would muse to yourself as you entertained the thought. You just couldn’t keep this up anymore. You just weren’t strong enough to keep fighting. You stopped feeling a long time ago. Everything was cold and numb now. Sometimes you would hurt yourself just to make yourself feel something. Everyday was just about going through the motions. Anxiety and paranoia consumed your life. Over and over, you kept telling yourself that no one could ever love someone like you. That you would never amount to anything no matter how hard you tried. This sad existence was all you had.

You were just tired of trying. You’d come home from work feeling tired and you would go to work tired. An exhaustion that wasn’t just physical, but reached into the depths of your soul. Your body had just given up. You couldn’t keep going on like this for much longer. How could you when you couldn’t even make a difference? You were just a drop of water in an endless sea.

Sleep didn’t come easily to you anymore, subsisting on 4-5 hours of sleep each night. Stressing about every little thing. Your to do list was endless. There was always going to be work to be done. You’d never be done, never have the satisfaction of accomplishment. Each time you finished something, there was always something to take its place. You could never just enjoy celebrating the small victories. There was always something to be done. And soon, you found that crying was the only way you could get any sleep at all. You’d just tucker yourself out each night, waking up with reddened eyes. Nothing a little makeup couldn’t fix. And soon, it didn’t matter anymore. You stopped taking care of yourself. What was the point? Who were you dressing up so pretty to impress? No one would care to look your way anyways.

But still, something drove you to keep concealing it. Every morning, you put on a smile and you go out into the world to what you did best. Pretending that everything was okay. You try so hard at your job, but for what? Why did it matter so much to you? Nothing you did ever made a difference.

It’s 10 AM and the call finally comes. You stand at his door, about to drop off your latest report and you just watch as your boss’ face collapse. He stops, unable to react, to feel.

How?

How could something like this happen?

To you. Someone who felt so replaceable, you don’t understand. There would be others like you. Others who could do your job so much better than you. But there aren’t. There aren’t people out there who can learn on the job as fast as you did. There aren’t people out there who are as committed as you to your job. People out there aren’t as meticulous as you were.

You called yourself crazy. Psycho even. The way you wanted things just so. You were organized beyond organized. Your systems had systems. And you always made things more complicated than they ever had to be. But they worked for you and no one else could see or understand. You found joy in this, even if you didn’t see it. Everything had its place. Everything had a purpose.

You went for a walk and you never came home that night. They found your body floating in the river, miles away from the place you called home. You just wanted the numbness to go away. You wanted to feel something. Anything.

The water looked so beautiful. So calm, reflecting the colours of the sunset. Sunset had always been your favourite time. The way the colours intermingled gave you a sense of calm in a life that you felt none. Nature had a way of making you feel when nothing else could. It made you want to return to it, become a part of it. That’s all you could think of when you plunged into the cold water.

For a moment, you felt alive. Truly alive. Blackness and burning. Peace. Then nothing.

It seemed so long ago you were happy. Truly happy. You had disappeared inside yourself. You didn’t want anything to do with people anymore. Each day came and went and you became more and more alone because inside you were safe. You could continue to live in the utopia you had in your memories. You could go back to a time when you could still feel emotions. You lost touch with the world around you, but that didn’t matter because you found solace in your solitude.

Once in a while the real you would slip out. You would feel, express anger, sadness, disappointment, jealousy, but you would always apologize for it. It wasn’t proper to show people how you truly felt. You always had to pretend. To be courteous, even to those you hated with a burning passion. While there weren’t many of those in your life, the hatred made you feel more alive than anything. So you sought it out. You would put yourself into situations that would hurt you. That would make you feel those toxic emotions because feeling those was better than feeling nothing at all.

At your funeral you see faces you never expected, paying their respects. Tears, real, actual tears being shed for you. You never knew that so many people cared. Or perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps they were only showing up to be seen. To pretend to show the world they cared, when they really (rightfully), didn’t give a shit about you. You find it hard to believe that anyone would’ve gathered here today for you.

The only ones you truly know about are the ones who you call your closest friends and family. You study the faces of your friends and family twisted in anguish and you wish you could stop their pain. These were the people you loved the most. The people you would’ve done anything for. The people you would’ve protected with your dying breath. And yet, they sit here today, doing the only thing they can. To gaze upon your lifeless body and ask themselves why. To ask themselves what they could’ve done to help you. But there’s no answer. The only one who would’ve known is you and they can’t reach you anymore. You never knew that these were truly people you could’ve gone to. To talk to. But it’s too late. Your choice brought you to where you are today.

Seeing their pain, you wish you could take it all back. But it’s too late.

***

*inspired by a (fictional) story I read about someone who committed suicide and saw the impact they actually made on those around them and combined it with a prompt I had written on years ago (prompt: you’re attending your own funeral). If you are experiencing feelings or thoughts of suicide, please reach out. There’s always someone who cares about you. Or please call your local suicide crisis line. There’s always help out there if you need it. And always, I’m here to listen if you need. You are loved. Do not forget that.

Location: 46 McRae Street, Okotoks, Alberta
Website: http://www.heartlandcafe.ca

Built in 1902 by the Baptist Church, this restaurant, in someways, is still recognizable as such. A building with history is something that always catches my attention, but having been converted to a restaurant, it’s the food that ultimately influences my decision to return or not.

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I ventured down here with a friend for lunch. As lovely as it would’ve been to lunch on the patio, I didn’t fancy getting into another fight with a wasp. Lunching inside was a great decision because it gave me the chance to admire the architecture and decor that made the restaurant what it is.

We ordered the Baked Brie as a starter to share, I got the steak sandwich, she got the Thai Duck Bowl and we split a six-layer chocolate fudge cake for dessert. Before my visit to River Cafe yesterday, I had never had brie. Today would be my first time trying a baked brie. The brie was served with a raisin and walnut chutney, red onion jam, and crostinis. I honest to God could’ve eaten this entire plate on my own. I never figured that raisin and/or walnut could be used to make a chutney, let alone taste so good! But the star on that plate was the onion jam. I can’t even begin to describe what an experience that jam was. It was incredible! After this experience, I’m definitely going to be including a baked brie with onion jam on my next cheese board. My only complaint was that there probably weren’t as many crostinis as I would’ve liked. I ended up having to put a lot of chutney, jam, and brie on each piece of crostini. The Thai Duck Bowl was delicious, but I don’t think I would be able to eat this entire thing on my own. It was a little on the sweet side, but I think if the lime had been added, it would’ve helped to cut through that richness. The steak sandwich came with a choice of soup or salad as a side. I chose to go with the tomato basil soup as my steak sandwich. The steak, though it looked small was more than enough. It was topped with chimichurri, caramelized onions, and arugula. My only wish was that the garlic bread was a little more garlicky, but the size of the bread was perfect. The side tomato basil soup was more like a pasta sauce. It was amazing, but near the end I wondered if I could actually finish it because of how thick and aggressively seasoned with oregano it was. We finished the meal with the most luscious chocolate cake. When I say I want chocolate cake, this is it. The chocolate is rich. It actually reminds me a little of the cake I had when I was at True Confections in Vancouver.

Thinking we would make it in time for brunch probably wasn’t very smart on my part, given what time I actually left my house, so I know I will be back to try their chicken and waffles, which is generally a favourite of mine. I would definitely recommend this place and I would come back here time and time again without a second thought. I’d rate this place 4/5 based on my experience.

Restaurant Exterior
Restaurant Interior
Restaurant Interior
Restaurant Interior
Baked Brie
Top: Thai Duck Bowl Bottom: Steak Sandwich with Tomato Basil Soup
Latte
Chocolate Cake
Oolong Jasmine Tea

Restaurant Review: River Cafe

Location: 25 Prince’s Island
Website: http://www.river-cafe.com

I finally got the chance to try this place. For as long as I could remember, River Cafe has been on my list of places to try. I had perused its menu many times, but the price had always “scared” me away.

Usually when I make a reservation through OpenTable, one has already been selected for us and we are simply just seated. However, here, they asked if we preferred to sit inside or outside on the patio. While it wasn’t super sunny and warm, we still chose to sit outside. Since it was a cooler evening, there were blanket available as well as some heat lamps.

We made a reservation here for 5:00 p.m., meaning we had just made the cut off for the afternoon menu. The afternoon menu is significantly cheaper than their dinner menu and can be thought of almost as a happy hour menu, but not quite. Each of the dishes on this menu can stand on its own as a full entree.

We both got drinks. Carmen with her white wine (I’m really bad at wines, so I have no idea which one she got) and I tried the black currant spritz. The spritz wasn’t sweet at all, which was unexpected for me and it had a bit of a weird flavour. I had expected something more like ribena, which I quite enjoy mixed with club soda, which was essentially what this was, but it really wasn’t. I didn’t get much of the black currant flavour, there was just something else there that somewhat masked the taste.

Carmen and I decided on our own dishes, the Jungle Farms Spinach and Mushroom Tart and the Berkshire Chorizo & Giant Pacific Octopus Flatbread, respectively, as well as getting the Selection of Artisan Cheese to share. We asked for the cheese to be served as an appetizer. I would like to preface this with the fact that I grew up in an Asian (Chinese) household, so cheese wasn’t something that was commonplace in our house. If we had cheese, it was the store bought bricks of cheddar, mozzarella, or what have you. This household wasn’t exactly one for artisan cheeses. So, I’d have to say, my tastes in this area are not as cultured. The cheeses featured were the Grizzly Gouda from Red Deer (Alberta), the Caerphilly from Fort Macleod (Alberta), the Comox Brie from Vancouver Island (BC), the Aged Gouda from Picture Butte (Alberta), and the Tiger Blue from Penticton (BC). While I had heard of all these types of cheeses, I had never actually had any of them before. I mean, I’ve had blue cheeses, but nothing like the Tiger Blue. To be honest, I’m not one for blue cheese and this one was an especially strong one. That’s not to say I couldn’t learn to appreciate the flavour, but eating this cheese straight was a little much for me. It had a great texture and creaminess though. The brie was another cheese I was familiar with, but have always been too “scared” to try because I’ve always been worried that it’ll be too creamy and rich for me. However, I didn’t find that to be the case. This cheese paired perfectly with the peach preserve and was my favourite of the five cheeses. The remaining three cheeses were hard cheeses and again, not a fan. I think the only hard cheeses I actually like are Parmesan and Grana Padano and even with those, I can only eat them in small quantities. Say, grated over pasta? The Grizzly Gouda was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was beautiful rich yellow colour with a mild nutty flavour, not something I’m used to in my cheeses. It was good, but it would take some getting used to and I was unable to have more than one piece. The other gouda is said to have flavours of burnt caramel and I did get a little bit of that. It really fascinates me that these cheese can taste like this. The last of the cheeses, the Caerphilly, isn’t one I’ve ever heard of. I had no idea what to expect. This cheese technically isn’t a hard cheese, it’s a semi-firm cheese that has a mild, salty buttermilk flavour. I didn’t like or dislike this one. I just didn’t really have an opinion, really. The cheese was served with blackberries, a peach preserve and canola seed crackers. Honestly, I could’ve done with a ton more of that preserve; it was so delicious and those canola seed crackers were something else. They reminded me a little of the sesame crisps at Goro+Gun, but these were neutral flavoured, as to not overpower some of the more delicate cheeses. I loved the combination of the cracker, preserve and brie. I could eat that for a meal and not even be mad.

Amazingly enough, it took us nearly an hour to “finish” the cheese plate. The waiter actually asked us if we were ready for our “mains” and if we were in any rush to be out of there, which I found to be extremely considerate.

Then came the “mains.” I had actually had my eye on the spinach and mushroom tart and when I arrived started eying the burger. Ultimately, I decided on the chorizo and octopus flatbread and I feel like I chose wrong. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible, but I feel like the tart was significantly better than my flatbread and that the burger, as messy as it was (and the fact that I was gonna just eat it with a fork and knife) might’ve been better options. The flatbread consisted of a base of chèvre topped with ash baked potato, chorizo, and octopus, “drizzled” with grainy mustard and garnished with microgreens and pickled onions. Separate, I like all of these things, except for maybe the chèvre because it’s a little bit of a gamier cheese. I think it varies for me with cheeses made from goat’s milk. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I can’t stand them. I had expected the potato to be more of a side, so it was a little odd to see it on the flatbread. I know I’m always saying I will eat carbs with carbs, but not like this! I felt like this flatbread was very under-seasoned, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just like my food with a little more of a punch or kick to it. The tart was actually fantastic and I really should’ve just gone for that. The tart was garnished with pickled and roasted radishes, microgreens, and drizzled with a goat cheese yogurt. The yogurt didn’t have that overwhelming gamey flavour, which was nice. My only complaint about the tart was that it was a little hard to cut.

I actually only ended up eating a quarter of my flatbread in order to have room for dessert. In this instance, I chose wrong…again. Originally, Carmen was going to go with the Blueberry and Camelina Custard Tart, but shortly after ordering it, was informed that it and all the desserts except for the ice cream contained soy. Ever since I had my first panna cotta, I’ve been obsessed, so of course I went for that. I should’ve gone with the blueberry tart or the strawberry shortcake. I was, however, not disappointed with the presentation of my Garden Sorrel Panna Cotta. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried sorrel before, but it is a very green, leafy taste. In small quantities, it’s fine, but i accidentally got a giant dollop and that was a bit much for me. It was kinda reminiscent of pennywort, but in this instance I would’ve preferred the pennywort. It was a fun experience breaking through the white chocolate pyramid encasing the panna cotta, but white chocolate isn’t exactly the nicest flavour, in my opinion. The honey “caviar” wasn’t what I expected and it didn’t taste like much since it was honey (it was just sweet). This dish as a whole provided a lot of different textures, which I liked, but no stand out flavours. Carmen ended up getting the lemon verbena ice cream and it appeared as though she really enjoyed it.

Also, Carmen informed me that everything on their menu is made from scratch in house. I think this is really great because it allows the chef to control every aspect of the dish, but also, it’s really great for people with allergies and sensitivities. In fact, the wait staff was equally knowledgable about the ingredients in their dishes, which I was very impressed with. Another thing that’s impressive is that all their ingredients are sourced locally and that’s something I can get on board with.

Plating-wise, I’d have to say these are some of the prettiest/most artistic plates I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, presentation isn’t everything. It has to be backed up with taste too and for me, it fell flat on some/most of the elements of my dishes tonight.

In terms of accessibility, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to get into, but it would certainly be difficult. I can’t remember with certainty whether the front entry way had stairs or not, but I do remember the thresholds were kinda high. There’s definitely stairs on the patio though.

After reading this I’m sure you must be thinking, oh my God, you are so picky. In a sense, maybe I am, but also consider, these are not the flavours I grew up with and they aren’t the flavours I naturally gravitate towards.

Would I come here again? Maybe to try their brunch or dinner, but because of its location and the fact that everything is handcrafted, it is a little on the expensive side, so I’d have to be careful. However, despite some of my hiccups with my meal this evening, I had a really enjoyable experience. I would rate this a 3/5.

Correction: In a previous version of this review, I mistakenly wrote ribena bourbon ice cream when it ought to have been lemon verbena.

River Cafe – Patio
River Cafe – Patio
River Cafe – Patio
Selection of Artisan Cheeses
Jungle Farms Spinach and Mushroom Tart
Berkshire Chorizo and Giant Octopus Flatbread
Garden Sorrel Panna Cotta
Ribena Bourbon Ice Cream

Thrill of the Chase

Chasing this life
This dream

Never satisfied
With what we’ve got

Always wanting
Always taking

Never satisfied
With the the gifts we already hold

Each day in
Each day out
It’s the same story

But slowly
Slowly
The flame that once burned so bright
That burned so fierce
Begins to dim
Begins to fade

And all I want
Is to stop playing this game
To stop fighting to survive
To find purpose and meaning
In what I do

My soul is tired
I’ve known this for a while
Nothing’s left here
Nothing can heal my soul
Not any more

So let me sleep
Forevermore
Eternally locked
In Death’s sweet embrace
And wake me
When greed and pride
Are no longer

Location: 107 8 Ave SW
Website: http://www.warehousegroup.ca/

I can’t remember the first time I ever heard of this place, but from the moment I learned of its $5.95 food menu, I knew I had to go. I mentioned it to whomever would listen and yet, never had the opportunity to go. This restaurant has locations all across Canada, but the one on Stephen Ave in Calgary is their only Alberta location. As far as I know, none of their locations take reservations (it says on their website under the contact tab), but one of my coworkers said that the Stephen Ave location will take reservations on any days that aren’t Thursday – Sunday (?).

I was fortunate enough, in the span of a couple of weeks, to have had the pleasure of dining here. The first time was with a friend and fellow foodie I hadn’t seen in over a year, Amy, and the second time was with my friend and coworker, Alex.

Even though I had done my “research” before coming to the restaurant the first time, in my experience, things on paper rarely translate so nicely to the plate. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I’m happily proven wrong, but there were a few things on this menu that were unfortunately, somewhat disappointing and I definitely won’t be ordering again.

When I came here for the first time, I was a little caught off guard by the size of the place. The restaurant was filled with mostly two tops in a slightly cramped space. Not knowing where would be best to sit, I simply chose an empty table, located near the middle of the restaurant. Turns out, that was probably not the best place to sit. The chairs were backless and small and I was constantly worried that I would fall. However, that was the least of my concern because of where the table was situated, it was right along a major thoroughfare, meaning if I wasn’t careful (aka not paying attention to what was happening around me), I could end up wearing the food or taking an alcoholic shower. Especially with the speed at which some of the servers were moving. That would make sense as the food prices were so low, they would be counting on the patrons either ordering a lot of drinks or a high turn over to offset the price.

My first time here we ordered the crispy calamari, west coast fish tacos (this was on the online menu, I think in the restaurant they’re Baja tacos), and the braised beef spaghetti. As everything sounded good, I deferred to Amy’s better judgment. After all, she’d been here before and she had done all the trial and error stuff I typically did at a restaurant.

All three dishes pretty much hit the table at the same time. My first impression of the calamari was somewhat unfavourable. I was used to a heaping plate of the delectable fried morsels that I so love, but instead was greeted by a rather sparse plate. I suppose for $5.95, I shouldn’t have applied my typical expectations to the dish. Flavour wise, it wasn’t anything too special. I did really enjoy the heat from the spicy mayo (or they call it macho sauce?). On the one hand, I was really disappointed by the portion size, but on the other, it was being offered at a pretty decent price and, of course, there was the matter of portion control. Despite my complaints, this dish was just the right amount fried. With everything else we ordered, had this dish been any bigger, we probably wouldn’t have been able to finish it. The fish tacos were more or less standard. It looked like one of those fish sticks you’d buy frozen that had been cut into three for the tacos. It looked and felt like it had been fried to shit; I nearly broke my tooth (totally exaggerating here) biting into the fish. It was that crunchy! I was sad that there was only one lime wedge to go around for all three tacos, and I didn’t notice until the end. I love fresh lime on fish, but I also love fresh limes generally so… It does come with a side of hot sauce (even though on the online menu it’s recommended as an additional add-on for $1.00). While it is spicy, the acidity of the hot sauce is off putting to me and the second time I was here I actually choked on it. I don’t like spicy things that are spicy for spicy’s sake. If you’re gonna burn my heart, lungs, and whatever else out, you might as well taste good. The last dish, the spaghetti, was the one that I was most pleasantly surprised about. This looked like a standard portion size, I suppose the fact that it was under the “big bowls” heading should’ve tipped me off. Of the three dishes, I think this was the most worth it at its price point. At first glance, it looks like the meat to pasta ratio is way off, but I can guarantee that it’s not. I’m not usually one for braised beef because I don’t like the strands getting stuck in my teeth all the time, but it really works for this dish. The beef was practically melt in your mouth and its long, strand-like shape made it easier to get a little bit of beef and pasta with every bite, as opposed to ground beef that kinda just rolls away in the typical meat sauce.

This experience, price, service, and food, were good enough that warranted me coming back so soon.

By the second time, I had learned and went for a booth seat instead. Some of the seats still don’t have backs on them, but for the most part, it was much more comfortable and there was a lower risk of being ploughed over by flying servers.

The second time we came, I wanted to try some different things. Alex ordered the fish tacos and I decided to try the Chiang Mai Bowl. Between us, we shared the fingers and fries and the glazed onion rings. Amy had recommended against the glazed onion rings, but a part of me REALLY wanted to try them for myself to form my own opinion. Suffice it to say, it was an “I told you so moment.” The first few bites weren’t too bad, but near the end, it felt like slogging through an oil bog. In fact, within our first few bites, Alex remarked that they had a very stampede-esque feel to them, brought on by the oily, maple flavour and smell. Whenever I order onion rings, I normally go for the smaller ones. I’m not totally sure why, but I just like them better. While A&W shouldn’t be the standard for restaurant quality onion rings (even though they’re delicious, but I think I’ve eaten too many of them to be able to order or eat them anymore. Also, they’re hella salty!), the crunch level that A&W onion rings have should be the level of crunchy that everyone should aspire to. However, I reached my limit with these when I bit into one of the larger onion rings and a waterfall of oil cascaded from it. Nothing should cascade oil when you bite into it! I just felt so disgusted after that and that made finishing the onion rings that much harder. The macho sauce is the spicy mayo sauce we had from the calamari and I really like it. Not sure if they go great with the onion rings, but I just wanted to dip everything in that. The fingers and fries was one of the dishes I was considering ordering (stuck between choosing that and the Chiang Mai Bowl). Amy had said this wasn’t bad, so we decided to go for it. I mean, why not, it was only $5.95 and there was honey mustard! The dish consisted of three strips of chicken, peppered fries, and a luscious honey mustard sauce for dipping. Their honey mustard sauce is pretty good, well, I love honey mustard on my chicken fingers, so I didn’t need much convincing to order this. You only need ask and my answer will be yes. I found the breading on the chicken to be a bit thick, but otherwise, delicious. The restaurant offers the option to toss their chicken fingers in sauce. We took that to mean, tossed in honey mustard, but they meant their other wing sauces. Could you imagine though?! I thought the peppered fries could use some salt, but as we were sharing, I didn’t think I should just dump salt into it. If I had a place to put it on my plate/bowl, I would’ve. The Chiang Mai Bowl, like the onion rings, sounded so good on paper, but when it came to execution, it fell flat. First off, I didn’t expect the pea shoots to be raw and so unyielding. I nearly stuck a shoot up nose in one of my bites because it was sticking straight up, off at a tangent compared to the noodles and I wasn’t exactly paying attention. Another disappointment was the soy-tamari marinade. I’m not 100% sure what it’s all supposed to taste like, but it tastes like a very sad fast food’s effort at restaurant quality food. This dish, if you choose not to add on chicken, is a completely vegetarian dish.

While the experiences were somewhat harried, I can’t complain about the speed of service. I like a place that can get me in and out with minimal hassle. I would definitely come back again. There’s still so much I haven’t tried! Based on these experiences, taking service and price into account, I would give this place a 3.75/5.

Top to Bottom: West Coast/Baja Fish Tacos, Crispy Calamari, Braised Beef Spaghetti
Starting from the Left side, working clockwise: Fingers and Fries, Chiang Mai Bowl, Glazed Onion Rings, West Coast Fish Tacos

Hollow

Like the morning’s dew
Your kindness is fleeting
I find myself
Seeking comfort
Where there is none

Where is the joy
That you once brought?
My phoenix
My brilliant love
Hast thou burnt thyself to ash and dust?

You ask of my warmth
When yourself
You have none

Tired eyes
Constant lies
Where is the light
That ran through your veins?

Numbness
That’s all we feel now
Novelty faded
Just another creature
Passing by
Like strangers
Living together
Repeating the motions of love
When only feigned mirth
Reigns

When?
Why?
Has life come to this?

I miss us
On grand adventures
Atop the highest mountains
Gliding across the boundless seas

When our dreams
Knew no limits
When our youth fuelled
Our imaginations

Did we do this?
Set fire to ourselves?
Reduce such eloquence
Such ardent passion
To nothing more than ash?

Such is this life
This pitiful existence we have chosen
And yet
Shackled
I shall remain
Unable to lift my eyes
To meet your demands
To be that which you’ve always dreamed

I disappoint you
But you disappoint me

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