It was precisely this sheer hatred for all things inefficient that spurred my current career choice. Needless to say, the passion easily transitions into pure disgust towards restaurants that refuse reservations, or those that boast incredulous wait times.
At least three of my peers expressed shock and disbelief when I brought up how I had never been to Mildred's Temple Kitchen. Although easily accessible by both regional and local transit, a suitable occasion simply never arose.
When Miss Rushka inquired about a place I had been wanting to visit, I relayed this desire for brunch, to which she responded ever so ecstatically.
A short walk away was School - our "backup" spot. Unlike Mildred's demure - or rather, obscured, location in the corner of Liberty Village, the restaurant maintained a strong presence that was easily identifiable in a concrete lot of line paintings and commercial buildings.
The image gradually came into view with each advancing step: against coppery red brick were five bold, black letters, complete with shadow and shading. An outdoor patio was available at the front; two dining areas could be found shielded by a mechanical garage door on the inside.
She informed us that a party of two was in for a wait spanning between forty-five minutes to an hour. This did not quite align with my dining philosophy whatsoever, and far exceeded the acceptable waiting time for a standard meal. Yet, it was still a gigantic difference from our first brunch pick. Hence we waited it out, chatting away on one of the few benches that was devoid of droppings near the restaurant.
One glance told me that space for storing my three bags would be limited in this arrangement. I carefully asked the man who had led us if it was possible to take the adjacent four-person table instead, and shift the extra seats down. Given the atmosphere, I had anticipated a brisk "No" to my request, but he replied in the affirmative and was more than willing to accommodate my request.
A deep red apple was placed on each lacquered wooden table. Menus were presented on clipboards with alligator clips. Light fixtures were surrounded with elementary and secondary school-level assignments/readings. Beverages and sauces were measured out in beakers to the milligram. A series of clocks were arranged on the lofty brick wall behind us. Regardless of the direction I cast my gaze, the academic vibes were everywhere; the thoroughness of the themed decor was stunning, actually.
Our server acknowledged us almost immediately upon being seated, introducing herself as well as the daily specials with swiftness and conciseness.
Beverages and Pan-Fried Hashbrowns with Jalapeño Sour Cream were ordered to commence the meal. The juice of the day - Lychee Cactus Pear - had piqued my interest immensely. In combination with sparking wine, the resulting mimosa was fruity and laced with a sweet alcoholic bitterness. Blood orange juice was invigorating and zesty, but could have done without the discernible amount of added sugar. Juices were served in 250 ml beakers, while mimosas in smaller cocktail glasses. The latter rang in at a mere four loonies more.
Later on, it was discovered that the dish wasn't as spicy as initially apprehended. Instead, it lent a nice kick to their sweeter dishes.
Roughly measuring 1.5 to 2 inches in thickness, the Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast was a savoury diner's heaven. Lusciously fragrant pieces of warm bread had been pan-fried to a deep beige and coated liberally with a cheesy Tex Mex blend. To elevate the dish, enriched white bread had been swapped for a more eggy variety, though I can't quite put my finger on the specific style. A single strip of wispy bacon topped the concoction beautifully; a side salad was provided to grant relief from the greasiness.
Maple syrup was also served on the side in case customers wished to create their own sweet-savoury breakfast.
Four thick slabs of blueberry sauce-slathered pancakes successfully filled the void for Saturday morning pancakes. The 25 ml beaker of maple syrup can toppled over on its journey to our table, creating a molasses-hued moat between the whipped cream and brown sugar butter and soaking the bottom-most flapjack in sticky sugariness. Another miniature beaker was provided to offset the spilled portion, even though it was more than sweet enough for my preferences.
Uniformly round air bubbles were observed along the edges of the flapjacks, almost as a prediction for unrivalled fluffiness. Slicing through the navy-stained surface of the stack, my assumption was immediately revealed to be incorrect. The flapjacks, charred to golden perfection on each side, were more doughy than airy. Its sponge-like interior was comforting and satisfying, especially after the one-hour wait.
Albeit the slickness of it all, I must express enjoyment in the addition of brown sugar butter. Whipped and subtly sweetened, it heightened the overall texture and flavour profile of the dish. Generous portions of blueberries and juicy blackberries also contributed to great pleasure in consumption.
The meals were of outstanding value, in my opinion. Extravagant portion sizes prevented us from demolishing them in entirety, regardless of our resolute willpower. The tastiness had to be saved for later.
(During peak hours though, it was sufficiently annoying to find the Cintas dispenser devoid of soap. A group of approximately six people ended up occupying the bathroom until one of the staff members appeared with the refill.)
Service was friendly and efficient for duration of our meal. Not once were we rushed to finish, nor were disgusted glances directed our way at our various photo-capturing attempts. The sole complaint would be our waitress's sudden bitterness when we reminded her of obtaining a debit/credit machine for payment.