"Do you even try anymore?!" she exclaimed vehemently. "It's either leggings or sweatpants and some weatherproof jacket."
Her words struck home, and I admitted to all charges, though without a shred of remorse. In my defense, the simplest outfits are the quickest to compile, and further serve to facilitate movement in the chosen activity.
For our annual birthday hangout though, it was unlikely that we'd be moving much. We agreed upon rollerblading at least several months prior, then finally decided on the outfit theme in the morning: 90s schoolgirl. Drawing inspiration from NewJeans' Hype Boy performance attire, I revealed myself in Danielle's braided Pucca buns, choker, collared shirt, and knee socks. Meanwhile, my Birthday Buddy mimicked Hanni/Minji with a knitted V-neck pullover, cute hair pins, black knee socks, black lace-up sneakers.
The atrociously pricey Zesty Lime McWrap was dismissed for a Ranch Chicken Snack Wrap with Grilled Chicken, which rang in nearly 2.5 times cheaper at $3.29 before tax.
Pulling away the doors revealed high ceilings and a colourful interior. It was apparent that, instead of purchasing a new property in the vicinity, a section of the Pursuit OCR warehouse had been allocated towards Rollerpony, with the businesses assuming Unit A and Unit B respectively.
Once the process was complete, we were supplied token for skate rentals. They were solid plastic chips adorned with the facility's logo, complete with a QR code on the backside. Rentals were situated at a different counter; a carpet with shoe sizes had been placed nearby for measurement, reminiscent of footwear stores in the 2000s. We relayed our sizes with hesitation, though the girl behind the counter assured us that skate sizes would align with our regular shoe size for the most part.
Outside food and drink were not permitted, as to encourage purchases at the establishment's restaurant partner, Flava Ceen. Unfortunately, the selection was quite limited: snackables such as Jamaican patties and Caribbean bottled soft drinks.
The overall griminess could not be overlooked, yet there were aspects worth noting: metal sinks and stalls painted in a bubble gum palette reminiscent of Avril Lavigne's high-teen Girlfriend music video.
We definitely did not skate for a continuous two hours. Between learning and practicing, we had taken to photo-taking and observing others in the space. As we began a leisurely departure from the rink, it was observed that other parties were asked to vacate at 4 PM sharp, just like Pursuit.
By the 3 PM mark, I had successfully managed to make tighter turns around the rink, and even confidently lifted the front part of the roller skate briefly to glide around the corner. As both inner and outer rinks operated in a counter-clockwise fashion though, rounding the corners relied primarily on pushing off with the right foot. An alternate design would have allowed the move to be executed on both legs.
Air-conditioning was nonexistent within the facility, with an open garage door being the sole source of ventilation. As such, dressing lightly is recommended.
A desire to sample their Taste of Summer Pineapple Series led to the lady sourcing assistance from a member of staff from the back. An extremely tanned, baseball cap-donning man appeared and began punching in our orders of Pineapple Lemon Ginger Slush. "Pineapple Passports" were supplied for stamp collection.
Our picks, while graciously presented in clear, plastic cups with plastic dome lids and plastic straws for consumption, were mediocre at their hefty price points of $7.33 after tax. Notes of ginger were barely discernible; the slush was wholly one-dimensional and lacked complexity.
Parking was supposedly located at the back of the restaurant, thus I made a left onto Moore Park, praying for at least one decent spot. A poorly - or rather, barely, maintained asphalt lot came into view. I checked for curb cuts first, for the curb exhibited such a tremendous amount of wear that I wasn't certain which depressions were intentional, then pulled into the questionable space. Limited spots and potholes pooling with rainstorm discharge had me veering from side to side. Eventually, we found space next to a dumpster and weeds; it reeked of cigarettes and danger. There was also an open excavation present - uncapped pipe? - without high-vis paint or cones for cautionary measures.
Scurrying through the rain, we rushed through the front door of the establishment, then heaved a sigh of relief at seeing the availability of seating.
Stamina Hotate, alternatively known as Scallop Skirt, was an economic starter one could fathom pairing well with beer and sake, as seafood typically tends. The portion was quite meager, yet reflective of its $5.99 price point. Interesting and well-seasoned, we deemed the starter tastier and more worthwhile than the likes of MeNami's appetizers, which are always upwards of ten dollars and hardly feed two.
Beef Tartare was served in a spherical mound, with a side salad, streak of emulsified dressing, and quail egg in accompaniment. The salad had been mixed with dressing - but, thankfully, not excessively so - before plating, while the quail egg was advised for mixing into the yukhoe before consuming. I mistakenly placed the egg on top of the greens, then transferred the slimy ingredient to the fleshy threads of beef. Admittedly, it supplied little to no textural difference nor added depth.
The yukhoe itself was likely pre-marinated and maintained in very cold fridge to prevent spoiling, as it hadn't been fully thawed at the centre at time of consumption.
From the pickled starter to the udon to the fish cake soup, we could not deny the presence of chopped onions in nearly every dish on the table.
Hip hop and R&B tracks played above, loud enough for the lyrics to be heard clearly, yet not invasive like noise volumes at Kinka/Guu. The consistent mix of uptempo tracks, including a handful of SMTM collaborations and even Case 143, harnessed impressive appeal and contributed greatly to the atmosphere. Kosam had also played several popular tracks, but the playlist had been blended with non-R&B, hip hop tracks, making for a lack of consistent sound.
Tables are scarce, thus it is advised to visit early in the evening to secure a table. Along the north wall are a handful of booths; situated along the south wall are three tables (1x two-seater, 1x four-seater, 1x four-to-five seater) and one traditional two-person booth (read: where shoes are removed and placed on the entry step).
Be mindful that the dining floor can be chilly. Blankets were provided to a table with two older patrons. Younger visitors could request warm water or alcoholic beverages to recover internal warmth.
Washrooms were situated on the lower level in the form of individual stalls in gender-separated facilities. Furnishings had adopted a cozy, wooden interior, and were, shockingly, very clean at my time of visit. Furthermore, the toilets had superb flushing capacity, unlike MeNami.
Petit Potato emerged as the successful candidate, for the restaurant was home to both traditional Chinese dessert soups and an underground garage for minimal walking in the rain.
Diving into the unexpectedly drafty conditions of the outside, my footsteps quickened to reduce exposure to the elements. Frankly, I probably looked homeless - and more than a tad hysterical - huddled in a small blanket and poking at the accessible door button with a plastic hanger. (Actually, I choked up recalling the scene.)
Stepping foot into the dining floor, I was overwhelmed by the incredible number of patrons munching away on dinner at the late hour. The dining floor was positively bustling, with many sizzling hot plates filling the air with greasy fumes as they passed us by.
Crumbs had been deeply lodged in my chair, indicative of their diner volumes. It took several minutes of inverting and pounding the chair until a staff member offered to clean the crumbs away with a small cloth.
Both the peach resin and white fungus were obnoxiously stiff and hard on the stomach, while the steamed pear was tarter than it was sweet. Steam escaping the fruit scalded my tongue terribly, leading to its forceful expulsion. Red dates and goji berries were an all too familiar sighting, and hardly one worthy of its $13.99 price tag. The broth was finished, on the account that my parched throat required hydration. Majority of the peeled and cored pear would remain.
Conclusively speaking, my previous experience had been better. Neither of us were satisfied with Petit Potato's desserts; their savoury dishes had been executed more competently.
The cubes were baked at 350 F for about twenty-five minutes. Seeing no colour change though, they were maintained in their respective positions in the oven for another fifteen before being swapped. By this point, they had already began burning slightly. I had overbaked them, but the seasonings were nonetheless delectable. They too were set aside and portioned for office distribution.