Over two months prior, we had cheerfully purchased Balcony tickets to Eric Nam's second Toronto show. Today was the day to exhaust those sold out second-floor access passes.
A three-day limited BOGO offer for "World Cup Tapioca" was taking place, and I wasn't about to miss out on the marble-like, tri-colour creation.
Faulty communication caused a delay in our ordering process, eventually resulting in a Rice Sencha Latte with World Cup Tapioca and a Nature Melon Lemon with Mango Tapioca instead of our original picks of Sesame Rice Latte and OneZo Tapioca Milk Tea.
Cabbagetown is home to a number of popular independent eateries, but the one that caught my attention was Kingyo.
Its exact coordinates are easy to miss when mindlessly travelling up and down Parliament. Located on a side street just a few minutes north of the Carlton-Parliament intersection is a dimly-lilt izakaya bearing the title of "Goldfish" in Japanese.
Illumination is extremely minimal, only attained via several street-facing windows. That said, the ambiance was quite lovely for casual conversation, albeit a bit loud when drinking games were progressing at another end.
Priced at a whopping thirty dollars, I was astonished but not blown away by the large, nine-compartment tray that arrived shortly after. The male member of staff showed utmost enthusiasm at depicting each and every dish for us, in spite of his inept pronunciation.
Black Cod was smoky and tender, though nowhere near JaBistro level. The Scallop Strips were tasty as well, but otherwise unmemorable.
These rolls were accompanied by two varities of sauce: spicy and seaweed. My dining partner seemed to enjoy the platter tremendously, even if the finely chopped properties of the sashimi "patty" initially took her by surprise. The sauces weren't exactly necessary, she added, since an unspecified amount of spice (chili flakes?) had been emulsified with the tuna during pulverizing.
The former was extremely unique, as the surface was crisp from the torched sugar, but the body was disintegrating with each consecutive photo. Delicious it was, especially when paired with a viscous red bean sauce, fresh berries, and a squirt of airy whipped cream.
Two Colour Almond Tofu was the lighter alternative: refreshing jelly layers and mixed berry sauce made up the bulk of the dessert. The cup could easily be consumed by one person due to its subdued but striking profile.
Some tracks were written completely in Korean, some completely in English, and others a healthy mix of both. Regardless of the language, the crowd was receptive and engaged - without being pushy - and even sang along at times.
A former ASC emcee and current singer-songwriter, Eric truly has a way with speaking. Humourous expressions and thoughtful messages filled his ments, along with constant interaction with the audience.
- Jamming to Eric's ballads and appreciating his astounding vocal range
- Melting at a cloyingly sweet "사랑해요" sought by a member of the GA crowd
- Hearing Eric humbly thank the audience for attending his show: "You guys could be somewhere else right now, but you chose to come here. Thank you."
- Taking requests from the crowd and singing acapella versions of songs that were not included in the setlist
- Observing Eric's distinct improvement in dance
- "Cave Me In" was a wonderful performance; it was only a shame that recorded segments were used for Gallant and Tablo
- Concluding the night with "못참겠어" (alternatively titled "Can't Help Myself"), the very song that encouraged me to continually follow Eric's releases
I had whined helplessly to my favourite fangirl throughout the show - that he had not sang my favourite song and it would be one of my regrets of the night. Eric turned this statement around by uttering the alternative title "Can't Help Myself". It honestly took a few moments to click before I squealed and sang along. (The girl beside me also joined in at some point, shouting the Korean lyrics with equal enthusiasm!)