Fullest House: An Ode to Toronto Apartments
Night two of Chez Lisgar presented its own set of unique problems. In an extremely short amount of time, we found ourselves with a bit of viral success. It didn’t take long for me to find myself standing outside of a subway station a few days ago, chatting on the phone with a reporter from the Toronto Star. He congratulated Nadya and I on our idea, and mentioned that he and a photographer would be joining us for our upcoming dinner. It wasn’t until I ended the call that I realized we would now have to host four people in our tiny apartment. It may seem like the perfect number for a classy dinner party, but if you know anything about most Toronto apartments, then you realize that space isn’t exactly a luxury many people can take advantage of.
We went full MacGyver and pushed two night tables together to create a second dinner table. Throw a nice tablecloth over and presto! A perfectly functional dinner table.
*Pro tip: Taking selfies on Snapchat helps relieve any anxiety you may be feeling about having so many people over in such a small space.
The menu for the evening
Between Nadya and I, my talents definitely lie in the eating and drinking versus actual cooking realm, so in an effort to make my parents proud, I hitched up my torn boxer shorts that I’ve been wearing to bed for probably two weeks straight and decided to take on all prep duties (don’t worry, I washed my hands before handling any food).
My first task was to grate a buttload of carrots for our salad. Sounds simple enough, but did you know that graters were actually invented by the devil? After a straight hour or so of sore arms, nicked fingers, and absolute decimation of a bag of carrots, I had something that resembled food.
Prepping the potatoes was much easier, which further proves why they’re the best vegetable in the world. Big shoutout to potatoes for being the steadfast, committed, and delicious soulmate we all deserve.
Our guests for the night were Rahim and his girlfriend Farheen, as well as Jonathan the reporter and Nick the photographer. Wine was immediately served upon Jonathan’s arrival and it wasn’t long before everyone else arrived and we were able to show off our pièce de résistance.
The lovely Rahim and Farheen were exceptionally polite and pleasant guests. Furthermore, the fact that they travelled all the way from Oshawa and Kingston, respectively, just goes to demonstrate the power of good food and good company. We discussed business, as Rahim works around the city prepping living spaces for Airbnb. As we chatted about Farheen’s work as a nurse, Nadya casually mentioned a cousin attending the same university and without missing a beat, Farheen was immediately able to identify her. Mostly, we talked about how much we all worship cheese.
Hitchin’ a ride on the sweet side
Our desserts usually consist of copious amounts of wine, but tonight we decided to go the extra mile and make something we would all remember. Have you ever had biscuit pudding? What about tiramisu? What about BOTH TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME?
The cookies soaked up every drop of delicious coffee and cream, and the espresso beans added a nice bitterness that cut through the sugar. The only thing that won bigger than this dish was Leo’s Oscar.
The popularity of Chez Lisgar has been a wonderful surprise, and got me thinking a lot about food being the ultimate conduit for meaningful conversation. We have no idea what the future holds and whether or not our guests will ever return, but so far we’ve ended each evening feeling like more than just acquaintances. Taking the time to prepare a nice meal for anybody is an extremely personal experience, and to live in a city as dense as Toronto, one can often feel like they’re drowning in anonymity.
Could this be the start of a business venture? Perhaps. We’ve now gained traction in Alberta, and a friend of Nadya’s was so inspired by our idea that he’s started his own version in Ottawa. For now, however, we’re happy with the overwhelming kindness, humour, and polished palates of our guests. Oh, and wine, too.
If you’re still aching to book a reservation at Chez Lisgar, or you simply want to keep up to date with our whacky adventures, you can request an invite here.
See you next week! We’ll probably be on the Ellen show by then.