E – Earls – “A Cozy Meal in a Busy Place”

It was a beautiful sunny day when we went for lunch at Earls Restaurant. We agreed to meet there at 1 o’clock, but I arrived a bit late.  I waited in the lovely broad foyer, wondering if we were eating in the restaurant or the lounge.  Either one looked welcoming.  

The waiter came to get me and brought me to the restaurant side where my companion was waiting. In a booth with high-backed, upholstered benches that were just perfect for having private conversation. It felt like we were all alone in our own private space. What fun.

The high ceilings and large windows gave the space the feeling of roominess and the sun shining through the slatted half-open blinds gave an air of warmth and coziness.

The menu offered enough choice, but not so many options that it’s impossible to decide. And certainly a nod to the vegetarian, gluten-aware and special-diet folk among us. Most dishes were easily adaptable and the restaurant was more than happy to comply. The prices were mid-range and good value.

We got our coffee and tea, each on its own plate with spoons and extras.  My companion got an extra tea bag without asking. We decided to study the menu and order before we got down to visiting.

I ordered the chicken, brie and onion with fig and apple on ciabatta bread and my friend had the bacon cheddar burger with fries. My sandwich came with a choice of sides and I opted for the field greens.

As our waiter departed I looked around and was surprised to find that the restaurant was pretty well full. Because of the high-backed booths, much of the chatter was muted. It was restful even though it was busy.

Our food arrived shortly and I was amazed at the size of the portions. I commented to my companion that I didn’t think I would be able to finish it. My friend was determined to give it a gourmand’s effort.

My sandwich was absolutely delicious with the combination of the cheeses, the fruits and the onions melted in my mouth. My salad, even though called simply field greens, was garnished with melted cheese, shaved cheese, grapes, pecans and finely sliced green apple.  

My friend’s order was a beautiful tower: colourful layers of bacon, cheese, tomato, onion, pickles and burger on a brioche bun. Sumptuous. The fries looked crisp and my companion confirmed this with a big smile.

I tried my best but I just couldn’t finish the very generous portions. I am not usually one to take home a doggie bag, but I felt I had to respect the delicious food. My solution was to finish the sandwich on site and to take the salad home for later. I am glad I did; it survived the trip home and was one of the best salads I have ever tasted.

Earls is located at 9016 Quartz Road and is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. for either lunch or dinner in either the restaurant or the lounge.

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