Recession Eating: Cafe Polonez and Steak at Brad’s

INT.       STREET CAR      EARLY EVENING

The Foodie and the Beast are taking public transit home together after work–something they occasionally do to keep things fresh.  Both of them are starving.

FOODIE
Do you like or hate that I paint my nails all the time now?

BEAST
I’m indifferent.  

FOODIE
I like it!  Look how pretty they look!  I’ve always wanted to have painted nails and since I’ve stopped chewing my hands off, I’ve made that dream come true.

BEAST
I must admit, I get a little concerned that you change the colour of your nails so frequently.

The Foodie stares out of the dirty street car window, day dreaming of her nail polish collection at home.  Her heart starts to beat out of her chest as she recalls the sample sale she was invited to at work and how at said sample sale she nearly doubled the number of polishes for only a few dollars.  And these weren’t cheap polishes–they were high end brands.

Still gazing out the window, the Foodie smiles, just slightly, as she imagines one of her new favourite alone-time rituals–it’s one that she dare not perform in front of the Beast or tell another living soul of:  She opens up a bottle of wine, prepares a plate of cheese, olives and crackers, and maybe some of her homemade spicy strawberry jam, chooses a magazine full of glossy photos, chooses a TV show or movie that she’s seen a hundred times so she doesn’t have to pay attention, and then she chooses her nail colour de jour.  Hours of relaxation follow.

BEAST
Hello?  Anybody there?  What are you thinking about?

FOODIE
Oh sorry about that…I was just thinking about how amazing it is that because of the unique molecular structure of water–the way those hydrogen atoms connect to that oxygen one–we have life on earth.  I mean if water, like every other substance, was more dense as a solid rather than a liquid, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now because ice wouldn’t float and oceans would freeze from the bottom upwards making it pretty darn hard for life to evolve. Amazing.  Just amazing.  Anyway, what were you saying? 

BEAST
Where should we go for dinner?  

FOODIE
It’s up to you. 

BEAST
I want steak frites so bad I can taste it.  Let’s go to Brad’s!

FOODIE
Good idea!  It’s reasonably priced AND it’s in our neighbourhood.  Here’s our stop…

 

EXT.       OUTSIDE BRAD’S EATERY      EARLY EVENING

The Foodie and the Beast walk towards the restaurant.  The lights are off and the chairs are on the tables.

FOODIE
Oh dear!  I had a feeling they might be closed.  Look here:  it says they’re open for dinner only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  What’s plan B?  What about Cafe Polenez for their Hungarian potato pancake thing?

BEAST
Okay.

INT.      SITTING AT A TABLE IN CAFE POLONEZ     EVENING

This restaurant is just down the street from Brad’s Eatery.  It serves mostly Polish food.

FOODIE
Now this was a good idea, don’t you think?  And look!  Wednesday night is Hungarian pancake night!  We get the potato pancake stuffed with that gorgeous pork goulash, a bowl of soup and a pop for only $14.95!

BEAST
I’m having the barley soup to start.

FOODIE
Then I’ll have the cabbage soup.  And I’m getting a ginger-ale.  

Their server approaches the table and drops off a basket of rye bread with those little containers of super yellow whipped butter.  She takes the couples’ order.

BEAST
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

FOODIE
That you love pre-packaged little things of whipped butter?

BEAST
No, that our server looks just like Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood.  Sookie Stackhouse with a Polish accent.

FOODIE
You’re right!

Polish Sookie Stackhouse server drops off their soups.

 FOODIE
This is quite nice.  I thought it might taste like a bowl full of sauerkraut but it doesn’t.  

BEAST
Mine’s delicious.  It’s just what I wanted. 

Not long after they finish their soup, their main courses arrive.  The hungarian pancake spills over the side of the plate.  It’s accompanied by some cooked carrots, beets, coleslaw, and sour cream.

FOODIE
Wowza!  Will you get a load of the size of these things!  I’m never going to finish it!

BEAST
I’m finishing mine and I can finish yours.

The couple eats their dinner and converses about all those sorts of things couples usually converse about, like their families, their friends, work, what dessert they’d pick up from Sobey’s, and what movie they’d eventually watch that night.  The camera does a few close-ups on their faces and they’re smiling, sometimes heartily laughing.  We don’t hear what they’re actually saying (we only see their mouths move) and there’s a song playing.  Maybe an indie-rock song.  I don’t know, but it would be a song that you’d hear playing in a commercial for The Gap, Apple or Volkswagon.    
Fade to black.

POSTSCRIPT:

They watched either Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) or Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh).  The Foodie fell asleep after eating two of the little cinnamon sugar donuts they’d picked up from Sobey’s (that bore a striking resemblance to the white truffles they’d seen in Italy).
The Beast ate the rest.

Foodie:   **1/2

Beast:  **1/2

SECOND POSTSCRIPT:
The next night, they went back to Brad’s for the Angus sirloin, served with french fries and arugola topped with shavings of parmigiano (although on this particular night the kitchen had run out of arugola so they subbed in a simple green salad) that the Beast had been craving.  It’s only $18.95.  And it was incredibly delicious.  The place certainly isn’t brimming with ambience, and the wine list isn’t stacked (although the Foodie did enjoy a perfectly decent glass of Ontario Pinot Noir while the Beast had a bottle of Creemore) but at these prices, it’s got to be one of the best dinner deals in the city.   The Foodie’s only real complaint concerned the french fries.  “Why,” she asked, “can’t they just leave the perfectly cooked fries be, instead of dousing them with seasoning that makes then tastes like BBQ potato chips?”  Which is precisely why the Beast enjoys them so much.  And they got another container of those donuts.
Foodie:  ***

Beast:   ***1/2

 

 

6 responses to “Recession Eating: Cafe Polonez and Steak at Brad’s

  1. Foodie, I love your secret-behaviour ritual with the nailpolish and the magazine and the wine. I also adore your blog. I’ve met you before, at Noah and Laura’s wedding; Laura got me on to your blog, and it’s a fantastic read!

  2. Those pictures got the juices flowing. I love Eastern European food. Great photography. Even the steak made me hungry and I don’t like steak.

    • Thanks Ron! Actually, I told the Beast while we were at the Polish restaurant that I’d love to take you, Sandy and Mom there. We’d clear the place out!

  3. You have to try the potato dumplings with meat sauce…. polish gnocchi bolognese.. ummm

  4. those potato pancakes are amazing! i don’t know how they do it!

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