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No Hollandaise?

By Belinda

A few weeks ago I wrote about winning a silent auction in which the prize was a breakfast each month at Cora's for a year. I decided to use these  breakfasts for precious time alone. For thinking/studying/writing--just solitude. This was after discovering accidentally, that a solitary restaurant breakfast was not the odd and lonely occasion that I had assumed it would be.

October was the first month on my little blue card with 12 golden suns. One day last week I realized that I was rapidly running out of October mornings and so I penciled breakfast into this day in my Day-timer and then forgot about it until yesterday when I checked my agenda for today.

I couldn't just abandon Paul entirely, so I had coffee with him and told him I was going to Cora's.

"Alone?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered, feeling suddenly awkward, as though eating alone was a guilty secret indulgence.

I arrived with a bag full of books, knowing in my heart how ridiculous it was to carry so many to an hour of breakfast. But since this was my "free to be me" morning of the month--why not? It would be my weight bearing exercise for the day, I told myself.

I already knew what I would be ordering. My friend Dave had insisted that I must try his favourite Cora's breakfast, at least once: Eggs Benedict with mushrooms and Brie.

It sounded delicious, but when I placed my order, my young waitress's brow wrinkled in regret as she said, "I can order it but we are out of.Hollandaise sauce."

"Well, I will order something else then," I said, and went back to the menu for a second look, because you can't have Eggs Benedict without Hollandaise Sauce.

I decided on the "1990's Harvest:" An egg and bacon on a brioche, with a generous pile of fresh fruit on one side of the plate.

When the girl came back to take my order she said, "Would you like Hollandaise sauce on the side to dip your fruit in?"

"Hollandaise sauce?" I asked, puzzled, my eyebrow raised quizzically.

"I mean English cream," she stammered, flummoxed,"Why did I say Hollandaise sauce!?"

And we both burst out laughing. And every time she returned to ask me how I was enjoying my breakfast, we both had a twinkle in our eyes.

I wrote this post at Cora's, surrounded by the murmur of conversation; the distant clang of pots; the chink of china and the hum of kitchen fans. I read a wonderfully funny story from a new Stuart McLean book; shoulders shaking with the uncontrollable laughter that erupted with every few lines.

Across the aisle, with her back to me, sat a woman, with a baby sitting beside her in a high chair. She had shocking pink hair--either a wig, or dyed for Hallowe'en. She seemed to be enjoying peace and quiet as much as I. Enjoying being with people; but not really "with" them. :)

Breakfast alone was fun--even without Hollandaise sauce.

I can hardly wait for next month! :)
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