I wonder what hold this West Coast-sprung restaurant chain has on the denizens of Vancouver. I wonder why a day doesn't go by that a Left Coaster doesn't bring up a pasta dish, a burger, dessert or some fond memory that happened at Earls. And now with my Ask Amy column in House & Home magazine, whereby readers write in requesting favourite restaurant recipes, I get weekly emails from people asking for specific Earls recipes. Note to those people: Earls will not divulge any of their "secret" recipes.
So, weighing all the aforementioned evidence, I obviously started thinking that Earls was putting drugs in their food. And even with that impetus, I still never ate there. Too many other great restaurants crammed into fleeting Vancouver visits. Too little inclination. I was interested on one level, but turned off on another.
Then came news that Earls was launching a huge restaurant in Toronto's Financial District, just a few city blocks from where I work. And then came the invite to the tasting party prior to the big opening, mere blocks from where I work. And you know what? I went. And you know what else? Very tasty!
I loved the look of the place, a big bold T.O. meets West Coast 10,000 square foot statement, where steel and glass meet stone and marble. Locally grown and seasonal produce cooked from scratch is what they specialize in; from burgers to sushi to steaks, signature sandwiches and hip-worthy desserts. Fantastic wine list mulled over iPads, fun cocktails, and even a Toronto-specific house brew. Little wonder the place has been packed since day one.
And now I don't have to fly all the way to Vancouver to be annoyed by people who won't shut up about how great Earls is.