Weaving through the curved queue, I proceeded to tug the handle of the first glass door. Wedged in between the double doors was the most microscopic of waiting areas and a tablet for joining waitlist information. The setup was nearly identical to that of Kamen's. The wait time approximated 58-88 minutes. This timeline failed to align with our schedule, but I opted for a spot on the list anyway to validate their claim.
"We could." The sleepy polar bear began. "But we came for HK café food."
And I was in complete agreement. A quick phone call to our runner-up restaurant of Mount Joy Station Café informed us of table availability. Thus, we proceeded eastward.
Our arrival was made at about a quarter past two, with me expressing awe at atypically speedy Markham travel times. As the sleepy polar bear griped about faded line paintings and revisited poor parking, I strode in to find not a single vacancy.
Within seconds, my presence was acknowledged by one of two serving staff. The first, an older lady speaking Cantonese, assured me that a table would be ready soon, for there were a total of three that simply needed cleaning. She then disappeared behind the curtains, into the kitchen. The second, a middle-aged lady speaking a mix of Mandarin-laced Cantonese, would appear some seconds later, and an identical conversation would take place.
A final visit to the stall was also made prior to our departure, at which point urine could be found on the seat. While the men's stall had been identified by the staff as available, I refrained from usage upon witnessing the seat splatters and overall grimy nature.
Frankly, both of us had our minds set on specific dishes: a Portuguese Pork Chop over Rice for my ̶d̶i̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ all-day companion and Baked Ox Tongue over Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce for me. With HK Cafes retaining a generally accommodating approach with substitutions, with the older lady gladly responded to chicken-for-pork and rice-for-spaghetti swaps. Included as part of the meals was a beverage of choice. I took to a hot HK Milk Tea, while the sleepy polar bear opted for iced at an additional loonie.
Occasional drafts could be felt from behind, as if fans were constantly in operation inside the kitchen.
Posted next to the kitchen access, underneath additional menu options, was the password to a private Wi-Fi network - a true bonus for meals with quick turnaround times.
My own Baked Ox Tongue over Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce was utterly dismal. With a revolting red sauce bearing greater resemblance to pigmented cornstarch-thickened gloop, there were barely any hints of tomato, or even ketchup for that matter. The noodles, while cooked to the appropriate, non-al dente consistency, were bland underneath the tacky monstrosity; instead of coating the spaghetti, the supposed "sauce" simply rested on top, contributing no more than the presence of colour.
Sliced into thin strips instead of inserted in whole pieces, the ox tongue was oddly tender without much edge. Stir-fried onions and mushrooms were found underneath the compilation, adding an element of confusion as uncustomary constituents of the dish.
As we pulled back onto Markham Road around 3:11 PM, I received a notification from Cafe de Hong Kong. There was a slight margin of error, for wait times averaged 93 minutes as opposed to their claimed 58-88 range. We began to contemplate workarounds for the next trip, from making the destination our first stop to merely checking in on Yelp in advance.
Skies were overcast, yet gustiness minimal and temperatures pleasant for trekking about. Both of us donned light layers for the trip, including activity-appropriate red flannel.
The entirety of the farm's species had been evaluated and sorted into categories for eating and baking, for the intent had been to maximize our 10 lb bag with as many varieties as possible.
We failed to find consistency between the online map and in-situ layout beyond the welcome area: Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 were nowhere to be seen. Instead, we observed a sign designating the direction of "Lot B", along with a sign for "Pumpkin Maze". Neither of these had been displayed on the infographic, drawing much confusion.
"They're all pointing in the same direction." commented the sleepy polar bear.
Guess there was a reason for their title.
"Ah." Our surroundings aligned with this declaration. The downside dawned upon us shortly afterwards: All ten pounds of our allocated portion would be Ginger Gold, a species deemed unfit for baking (as per my analysis).