For the most part we end up trying new places because M sees them while he's out and about. Working downtown provides lots of opportunity to see new restaurants open (and a few shut down) and if he doesn't go there for after work drinks he'll save them to take me to on the weekend. This one he'd been talking about for a week or so telling me to get Grandma to watch the baby, we've got a hot date. From 4-7 pm. I try not to ask too many questions, I really do enjoy being surprised by the destination. He tells me that I should dress nice. Um, hello? I'm a mom. My nice outfits consist of jeans I used to wear before I was pregnant (yay for losing baby weight!) and stretched out tank tops. You are fucking lucky if said clothing is clean. That means I should blow dry my hair! And wear my contacts! Oh my god - I feel fancy!!
He did give me a few hints, bless his heart, and advised me that the menu at this place changes so often they don't even post it online. It's comparable to Cannibale in Bridgeland. So I know to expect hipster vibes and overpriced cocktails :)
I was bang on. Pr%f (pronounced 'proof') is right downtown, where the skinny jeans and man buns run rampant. We arrived just after 4 (they only open at 4 everyday...must be hard to get up earlier than 2pm for some folk) and the door was still locked. Oh shit. Ah... the beard to the rescue. I joked to him that we are super eager and he points us to the bar. The bar that faces a wall of liquor. I mean a wall. We settle into the bar and take a peek at the menu. Oh, happy hour! Good deal. I have a "she's a peach" basically rum, peach something, and lime juice. And ice. Me and the ice have an issue. Mainly because the glass is overflowing full but clever of them because the straw they serve you has a....flat round thing? at the bottom so you can stir and sip your drink without ice going up the straw. The straw is also metal. That is a super strange sensation when you clench it between your teeth, because you're expecting it to flatten. The drink though was pretty tasty, a bit sour for my taste, but I drank it. In the time it took me to finish mine M had finished an old fashioned, which he really enjoyed. His first sip was the kind that makes him sit back and go "ohhh, that's really good". He's not the most outspoken man I know so a full on, out loud, comment like that means its good.
For his next trick, his drink was smoking. Literally. The El Santo started with Beard Man lighting a chunk of wood on fire. He held it over a blow torch for a few minutes and then set it on a side plate and used the glass to cover it. The smoke billowed, trapped inside while he made the rest. It was tequila, and creme de cacao, and other things. When he served it, he tiled the glass away from M so he could get the scent of the smoke as he poured the drink into the glass. I couldn't get over the fact that it smelled like campfire, a point that didn't bother M at all. I kept asking, doesn't it taste like fire? And no was his answer. I even asked about the cacao, does it make it taste chocolaty? No again. He described it as sweet, and smoky. A very unique drink, we've never seen anything like this before. I was a bit irritated at reading the drink descriptions yet still not understanding what was in it, because they use such obscure ingredients and mixes. I gave up and asked him to make me something. I said fruity is fine, really sweet. I ended up with a yellow drink (might have been a boozy lemonade?) and in front of me he poured an ounce of creme de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur over the top. It was sweeter than the peach drink but still not quite there. Didn't matter for the most part because halfway through I put lotion on my hands. Then I picked up a glass covered in condensation. That makes the glass slip right out of my hand and tip over spilling half of it. Conveniently, I dumped it right into the bar mat over top of the sink. Good job Tam.
By this point I'm a bit over the fancy cocktails and would like a pint of beer. I get one last drink, I've asked the barkeep to think of something. This guy is new and much more personable. He chats with us and makes me a cucumber thing with a solid block of ice and a plastic straw. Oh thank god. It's sweet, and goes down fast. I like it.
While all of this drinking was going down we were looking at the food menu. I use that term liberally because the only menu is actually a "bar snacks" list consisting of things like Pickled Eggs, Steam Buns and Oysters. I was super disappointed in the food choices, but I knew that going in I wasn't likely to eat much, if anything. I agreed to try the steam buns and he had two pickled eggs. It is pork belly on a steam bun with cilantro, shrimp mayo, peanuts and kimchi. My only real problem with this was the kimchi. That's a Korean preparation of cabbage, pickled and spiced. I've always thought it was more spicy than pickled, but this was the opposite actually. Still, glad I pushed it off to the side. M ate it and confirmed that I would have hated it. But he did say he was proud of me for eating half of this steam bun. I even confessed that it was tasty, and I'd eat 15 of them, if it was only meat and shrimp mayo on bun. Leave off the kimchi, the cucumber(? strange julienne'd green veg with no flavour) and cilantro and it would be great. I was surprised by the pickled egg, to be honest. I expected a much more pickled taste. Maybe this one hasn't set long enough? It truly was a hard boiled egg, with a hint of pickling and splash of paprika. Glad they weren't expensive I guess?
By the time we are finished our third round, we were running out of time. I was in desperate need of food that I enjoy and a pint of beer that doesn't take 8 minutes to create. We still needed to drive up north to fetch the kidlet (even though Grandma probably wasn't done playing with her). We had just enough time to go kiddy-corner to the neighbourhood pub. A pint of Keiths and a beef dip was the perfect ending to our date afternoon. We've been to this pub before, and they win my "'we'll be back" award. One of the best beef dips in the city. Oh, so good.
As for Pr%f, we'll likely come back. If not me, then definitely M, for the after work drinks with the hipsters in his office.