The night was February 12th and it was two days before Valentine’s day. I worked from home in anticipation of having to cook a gourmet meal for four people (Sarah, myself, and our two guests). This would be the first dinner at Chez Lisgar and it was extremely crucial for us to prove just how amazing we are to two complete strangers. Our desire to come off as likeable was so high that Sarah actually wore pants while at home for the first time in months.

sarah lee


As you may know, Chez Lisgar is the brain child of Sarah Lee and myself (pictures depicted above). Every Friday we invite a member from the city of Toronto to come over and dine with us in our humble abode. In less than 24 hours of posting our idea, we were booked until the end of April, with a waiting list of at least 3 people per night. Clearly this is the start of something truly exciting.

What was on the menu?

The menu for the 12th included a bourbon maple braised pulled turkey leg on a ciabatta, with a side of guacamole stuffed onion rings and a mixed greens salad with homemade lemon balsamic vinaigrette. I know- the memory of it is making my mouth water too.

As I mentioned, my nervousness for the evening was enough to convince me to work from home that day (shoutout to Venngage for being awesome). I needed enough time to ensure that everything went perfectly!

For 10 hours I braised the turkey legs on an impeccably low-heat in the oven.

Here is the before picture:

turkey legs

Unfortunately, the initial plan of slow-cooking the turkey legs for 10 hours didn’t work out, since as you can see, turkey legs are pretty big, and my slow-cooker isn’t. Alas, the oven was the only option and I had to improvise. No doubt, my stress level raised another notch. Thus began the drinking of wine I already had at home (because I always ensure I have a large stash lying around).

Also, I do not have an after picture of the pulled turkey sandwiches because let’s face it, I was hungry (I had been cooking all day after all) and I forgot because I drank too much wine and was pretty tipsy by the time the guests arrived.

On another note, the side of guacamole stuffed onion rings was nowhere as easy to prepare as I had anticipated. In fact, it took a long time and exhausted me tremendously. What the process taught me is that deep-frying things is not my forte. Lucky for you, I did remember to take a before and after picture of this particular dish:

guacamole onion rings
Guacamole onion rings before picture

The first step was to prepare the guacamole. My recipe included diced Spanish onions, fresh tomatoes, minced jalapeños, fresh garlic and cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper to taste (with the addition of my secret ingredient).


The deep-frying process (during which I burned a lovely peach-sized oil hole into my jeans) was both frustrating and invigorating. Despite complications, the panko-crusted onion rings turned out great!

Onion rings

Food aside, the real question you’re probably asking is,

“But what about the people? Were they cool?! Were they crazy? Did they do anything weird?”

Well the answer to all those questions is yes! Only in the best way, of course.

Our guests for the evening were Alyssa and Michael. Aside from their dashing good looks, our first guests at Chez Lisagarwere very generous, friendly, and wonderfully quirky!

Here’s a picture of them being normal as F*%k:

normal as f*ck picture
A strange couple

Just kidding, their faces don’t look like that.

Here’s Alyssa and Michael (with their faces on their respectable bodies):

couple photo
A cute couple.

Normal as F*@k right?

For anyone who was lucky enough to snag a reservation to Chez Lisgar before we booked up, just know that these guys brought 3 bottles of wine AND 2 tall cans. That’s setting the bar high- so now we have expectations. High expectations. Write that down. It’s important to remember.

Now you might be wondering how the rest of the night progressed? Well, it’s a bit fuzzy (remember they did bring 3 bottles of wine- I’ll take every opportunity to remind you of this). The good news is, both Sarah and I woke up with little to no damage done to our persons or our home. This can only mean that the night was a success!

What did we do?

When Alyssa and Michael arrived (right on time, I might add) they sat down at our set table. We immediately opened a bottle of wine and got down to talking. We wanted to learn about the two strangers that were in our house, so that by the end of the evening, we would no longer know them as this Alyssa and Michael:

couple photo

And instead come to know them as these weirdos:

normal as f*ck picture

After dinner, we talked about school, work, politics, Norway, the military, Broad City and more!

Then Alyssa showed us some weird Adult Swim shows that I thought were way too out there, but Sarah really enjoyed them so whatever.

Although we were done eating dinner by around 9:00pm, the two decided to hang out with us a bit longer and listen to some 90’s pop classics, like Christina Aguilera’s Dirty, and watch funny YouTube videos.

C A dirty
A still from the beloved music video: Dirty

In case you had a sudden urge to re-live the song, here it is.

What did we really think, you ask?

You might be wondering what our actual thoughts were of our first evening with complete strangers? Did everything go as planned? Better? Worse? The truth is, they sucked.

I’m totally kidding.

Joking aside, the experience was very eye-opening and uplifting! We learned a lot about our guests and truly experienced the bond that food is able to establish between individuals who have never met before, but who are willing to share an evening together.

As an old white man once said,

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience,” – James Beard

We live during an era where everything we need and want is at our beck and call. Technology provides us with utmost convenience, but what we often neglect is that convenience does not necessarily reflect happiness or meaning. Being able to connect with someone, and I mean really connect with them, and not through Facebook or Instagram, but in person is such a rare experience now. I respect and value those individuals who are still open to sharing a part of their lives with another human being on a visceral level. What better way to do so than over a nice homemade meal?

Both myself and Sarah are very excited for the future dinners we host, and all we can hope for is that they only improve from here. Remember- 3 bottles of wine AND 2 tall cans. Just saying. It’s going to be hard for a lot of people to exceed our expectations now.

If you want in on the #ChezLisgar action, you can request an invite here.