I do reader requests for blog posts! Here is the evidence that I'm always willing to listen to my blog readers, and compile a post especially for them - just because they demanded it.
Or at least, it is proof that I'm willing to do it once, and then exploit it out of an attempt to get more reader feedback. It is one of the two.
In this case, this request came after I was wine and dined by some good friends, and they then requested that I review the experience. Since they were kind enough to pay for a meal and provide excellent company, I've decided the best repayment is to do my review of the restaurant we dined at (the wine of choice was actually a glass of water).
I am not going to mention the name of this establishment because I don't want to harm local business if it is obvious they're meeting a need (but if they aren't. . . ). It seems like this little restaurant is doing a rather booming job of providing joy and cheer in the form of dinners to a certain demographic. I am more than willing to admit that I clearly was not the intended demographic of this place of dining. Besides, this restaurant has been a Brantford institution for 50 years, so who am I to soil its prestigious name.
After entering the establishment, I can see that it has been around for 50 years, because I'm not sure they've done much redecorating since. First of all, the restaurant actually had pay phones, which is something my child will think belongs in the history books along with horse drawn carriages and Abraham Lincoln. Especially these pay phones that I'm pretty sure were installed before the grand opening of the restaurant and may be more around for novelty sake. Though their main customers may not have silly things like cell phones and actually see a need for the pay phones -- though these particular phones may need to be started by a crank.
As for the dining room, it has wall paper if that gives you any kind of idea of the atmosphere and look. It also had a big ginormous mural that takes up an entire wall. It reminds me of something I'd have found in my grandma's basement or maybe in the games room of a retirement home. Actually, the entire restaurant sort of reminded me of spending an evening in my grandma's finished basement -- if my grandma's basement has several dining room sets, provided a buffet, and had numerous servers rushing about the place. Which it didn't -- for the record.
In case you haven't been able to figure out the main demographic of this fine establishment then I'll drop my final hint by letting you know that dinner starts being served promptly at 4:30. It appears people are actually there for dinner at 4:30. I'm going to say the place seems to pack it with its target patrons. The place also becomes a ghost town at around 6:30 when all the customers shuffle off to their Bingo games, I assume.
But what about the food of this fine restaurant, you ask? Well, I will answer.
I ordered the Christmas Special, because it is near Christmas and I felt like being special. It came with a Soup of the Day, a turkey dinner with all the fixings (fixings seems like the proper word to use when describing a restaurant like this), and a Dessert of the Day.
We'll start with the soup, because this is what they served first. Now, I've always been under the misunderstanding that soup usually contained a liquid substance in it. Or maybe I just need to learn to redefine my version of what is liquid. Ketchup can be a liquid, right? If you answered yes, then this was definitely soup. I'm not saying that ketchup was actually used in this 'soup', but while I was mowing it down, I did call it 'Ketchup Noodle Soup.' I've again always been deluded enough to believe that 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' was something better left to a 4 year who sneaked into the kitchen to make a wonderful masterpiece for dinner while mommy was napping. Or it may also have been something that would be a Tuesday night special for starving University students who've run out of a grocery budget and aren't willing to cut into the beer fund.
Whatever you may associate 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' with, I definitely don't put in the category of 'fine dining'. Or really any kind of dining that I pay a sum of money to be made a meal. But again, I'm not the target demographic of this place and maybe 'Ketchup Noodle Soup' was the meal that swept the nation back in the 30s, and this place was trying to rustle up some fond memories of very happy days of overcooked noodle and super thick ketchup like stuff. If that was the goal then congratulations, because I was wishing I was in a different decade too -- one where I wasn't consuming 'Ketchup Noodle Soup', though.
Forget the soup, because it soon came time for my turkey dinner. It consisted of turkey (duh), mashed potatoes, stuffing (though the menu and my grandma would prefer me to call it dressing), peas, and really thick gravy. Sounds like yum!
Now, if I was Emily or any kind of real food critic, I'd probably go on about how the turkey was dry and the potatoes lacked the creaminess of real homemade potatoes. But I am not my wife (this isn't a Heinlein novel after all) and I'll never be the worlds most sought after food critic. Instead, I rate my food based off the 'Scarfing It Down' scale. An incredibly scientific technique that looks at how quickly I shoved the food down my gullet and how much I stopped to think about what I actually put down there. This particular food had a very high scoring for mindless shoving it into my mouth without much thought.
I don't often put a lot of thought into what I'm actually eating. I am a very easy man to please as long as the food fills me and it usually has some form of meat in it. If it fits those types of requirements then I'm typically pretty happy. But there are certain foods that I eat and it will cause my taste buds to erupt into a mass celebration of dancing and cheering. I've had food that tastes just like the very magnificence that is riding a magical unicorn through the Gumdrop forest and over the Golden Bridge that leads to a castle of gleeful elves and massage giving yetis. So basically, the most fantastic of all food eating experiences.
This wasn't one of them.
This was the experience where the food went into my mouth, and my taste buds gently prodded it with spears and then declared, 'Yeah, this is probably food; let it through.'
I don't really like going to restaurants and paying my hard earned money for 'let it through' food experiences. I want my unicorn and yeti massages. Alas, it was not to be on this night. Yes, I got filled with meat and gravy, but no magic zoomed down into my belly and caused a night of uproarious glee. Nope, it was just kind of food.
Finally, I had myself some dessert. I like dessert. I like sweet and fattening. It is a great thing to stuff in the belly if you still have room, especially when it is included in the meal. This particular dessert was what some call rice pudding (and by 'some', I mean the type of people that know what rice pudding is). This rice pudding also had whipped cream, as well as cinnamon sprinkled over it. I liked the whipped cream. I ate the whipped cream. But when Emily asked me, "If you like the whipped cream so much, why are you leaving some of it behind?" My answer was simple. "If I try to scrap up that last bit, then I might accidentally get some more of that rice pudding."
So yeah, that is my review of the rice pudding.
Please don't get me wrong, I am sure the restaurant is a lovely place. If you're over 65 then I'm sure you'll find it wonderful (and by the way, also congratulations on turning on your computer and finding yourself here).
I also need to make it clear I had a lovely time. The company was fantastic. We ended up talking for almost an hour after the meal had been finished. There was laughing and cheering and mocking; all the things that must happen for a wonderful evening out. It was great.
It was so great that I am now willing to review the entire experience because one of my delightful friends made the request. So here it is, my review of the hottest restaurant in town for the over 65 years old folks.