Friday, August 21, 2009

Ah, the sweet soporific afterglow of sin, and how I ended up face down on the sidewalk.

The taxi driver was so sweet. As we pulled away he said kindly, "Is your friend going to be okay?" to which I replied with a snort, "Ya, she'll be fine, she's just full".

We left cousin Sarah lying on a couch in the backyard of the Brady Bunch house she transformed into a shingled, Cape Cod masterpiece. (Soon to be on the market if you want a dream home near SMU). Why there was a couch conveniently located in her backyard is incidental. What's important is how she came to be lying on it.

Of the seven so-called deadly sins, gluttony has to be my absolute favourite, with lust and wrath both deadlocked in a two-way tie for second. I had been invited to experience the The Urban Grill, which for those of you who get out less often than Sarah and me, is little sister to the restaurant CUT, down by the Brewery Market. I had a terrible feeling going in, that this night was not going to be a night of virtues, and I couldn't wait.

Having never been to CUT, all I knew was The Urban Grill was downtown, below CUT, and had food and booze. I'm in. I called Sarah, because no one needed a night out more than her, and besides, we have fun together. Putting the finishing touches on a year-long renovation meant Sarah would likely be wearing dirty pajamas to the restaurant, and I had on a $13 dress from Joe Fresh (Superstore). But, Sarah managed to find a clean t-shirt and pants, so we were not only hungry and out of our respective cages, we were half-assed respectable.

Or, at least that's how we started out.

Upon entering The Urban Grill, I almost lost my breath from the beauty of it all. I won't drone on, because you have to see for yourself the marriage of soft fabric, Italian lighting, stone walls and coral accents (not peach as Sarah pointed out). It was stunning and feminine without scaring away the casually dressed or most manly of men. And besides, there's an exposed cooler with slabs of meat hanging nearby, so how dainty could it be. Suddenly I was very hungry.

As I am wont to do when faced with an evening out, I starve myself all day to make room for sin. In this case, we settled into a velvety booth and immediately started to salivate. Sarah had been researching the menu all day and before our lovely waitress Laura could say,"Would you..." we had ordered our first two appetizers: Mini Kobe Sliders and Home Made Sausages. This was after all, a grill, not a salad bar.

I think they must call them Sliders because they slide down your throat so beautifully, without coaxing or hair pulling. Arranged artistically, the Sliders were like mini, buttery beef bombs on a bun, and better than sex. Had they arrived in a brown sack, they still would have tasted divine. The sausage appetizer was soon to follow and was so large, I blushed. The juicy links were accompanied by drizzles of yummy sauces to swirl the meat in. I was like a pig in shit. We barely needed that bottle of Prosecco laced with Campari to wash it all down. And we were just out of the gate.

Next, and I almost have to loosen my pants when I say this, we moved on to ...wait for it... Lobster fucking Poutine.

If there was ever a more decadent delight than the Lobster Poutine at The Urban Grill, someone please let me know. The Grill's Poutine was based on the standard recipe, only imagine hand-cut fries, rich au jus gravy, and lobster topped with hollandaise. Oh, and of course, halloumi cheese, whatever the hell that is, but it melted beautifully, so who cares. This was a heart attack looking for a place to happen, but you would die with a big grin on your face.

A quick note for all you weight-watching, PETA freak, vegans out there: The Grill, or Half Cut as I call it now, has an interesting chopped salad on the menu, and I recall some healthy beet combo and a goat cheese thing, and we did share a wonderful Caesar salad with a chipolte-laced dressing – but it was all meat free, so let's move on shall we. Wait! There may even be a veggie burger but what kind of sick, sick individual would sink so low.

Much like a last shot of tequila, in hindsight, I should have stopped at the poutine. I was beyond stuffed, swiftly moving toward comatose. But, being the sport that I am, I forged on – managing to scarf back a BBQ burger with a big honkin' fried onion ring on top (and a side of pickles as a veggie). Naturally, by now, we had moved from Prosecco to red wine to complement our carnivore extravaganza because, well, just because. We were on a Bacchanalian roll with no end in sight.

This is where things get a bit blurry, but I recall dessert being a layered chocolate bar type affair wrapped in a thin sheet of phyllo so, as Laura explained, you didn't get chocolate on your fingers. Like that mattered, when we had steak juices and gravy dripping down our chins, on to Sarah's last clean t-shirt and my disposable $13 dollar dress.

And then it happened. At the very bottom of the menu, just above the words "Go home": Adult-only milkshakes laced with more booze than necessary at that point in the evening. I had already moved on to Port, being the sensible lush that I am, but Sarah was clearly in the mood for love – Chocolate Love – a liquor-doused milkshake that arrived in an enormous, tin milkshake cup. She moved in and out of consciousness as she sipped the creamy nail in her coffin. It was so much fun to watch.

Moderation is a virtue which was definitely not the theme of this night. Sarah describes our evening out as being like a banquet scene from Caligula. The way I see it, with no hope at all of getting lucky, what's the point in pretending to enjoy eating like an anorexic bird, or a plus-sized woman, or a small gorilla.

After hailing a cab and dropping off Sarah, Mr. Booze and I only had $15 bucks left. Wanting to pay the fare and tip the cab driver, I asked to be a let out a few blocks from home. Stepping out of the cab, I came face-to-face with why flight attendants warn you to be careful when opening the overhead bins, as contents may have shifted during the flight.

I took a few steps, then immediately lurched forward, launching myself face first on to the sidewalk – stained, $13 dollar dress akimbo – and laughing like an idiot. It seems during the cab ride all of my delicious contents had shifted to the front of my stomach causing a momentum that propelled me ahead and then down – face-to-face with Mr. Concrete and the gates of Hell.

Good thing Jack was away or I may have woken him up just to tell him how full and happy I was, at which point he might have noticed the blood on my knees and elbows, so never mind.

If gluttony is indeed a mortal sin, then Hell must be the heavenly Urban Grill. I can't wait to go back for more, that is, if we're allowed back in.

The Urban Grill is at the corner of Lower Water and Salter Street. It's the perfect place for lunch, dinner, romance or gluttony. You should go. For reservations call 429.5120. To see what we ate (everything) the menu is online at