Here I am, back with my first blog post in nearly two months. I’ll be perfectly frank with you – for the first time in almost three years, I didn’t miss blogging. As the initial days and weeks trickled by without an update, I did feel like a neglectful parent. But soon I was so absorbed by work and life around me that I didn’t think twice of Hilary Makes or blogging. Throughout university, blogging was an escape, an excuse to stay up late and bake a ridiculous amount of cupcakes to bring to class. It was a way for me to express creativity when frustrated with assignments (not to mention procrastinate) and feel like I was carving a niche for myself. “Oh yeah, you know Hilary – she’s the one with the food blog!” was the general introduction at group gatherings. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not sure where the blog fits into my life anymore. I don’t have a lot of dispensable time, and so it has sometimes become more of a burden than a blessing to have around. I’m going to keep posting here, just with less frequency (and likely less words) than before. I’m not ready to give up on this little home just yet.
Anyways, here’s the actual post:
Today I discovered a new place. And by discovered, I mean I had been driving by the location approximately twice a month or whenever I was borrowing my parents’ minivan. I would cruise by and crane my neck over the passenger seat, focussing my attention for those two seconds on trying to peer through the glassy window to get a sneak peek of what upcoming treasures the place may hold.
The restaurant’s exterior sign (actually, I thought it was solely a bakery at first) has intrigued for months.
This weekend it finally opened. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to visit, and invited my mom along for what was planned as our cute mother-daughter date.
Walking into Rose Apple, you could tell the owners had been assembly the place since September. The details were all there, something that can sometimes be lacking with newly-opened restaurants. Chalked full of interesting wall art (a giant whisk! bird decals!), it was charm at first sight.
Transformed from the Indian restaurant and fish market of 1543 Paris St. past, Rose Apple’s decor is bright, peppy, and fun. Each of the walls are slightly contrasting in nature, but I suppose that goes along well with the fusion theme. The tables are a clean, cafeteria white, with most chairs cushioned in gumdrop colours.
Oh yes, and cupcake-shaped salt and pepper shakers. As you can imagine, these won me over.
My mom and I estimated Rose Apple has seating for about 50-60 people. We took turns counting the tables and seats under our breath, looking as though we were Professor Quirrell murmuring an incantation at a Quidditch match. There’s a diversity of seating options, too. My mom and I were at a two person table, but another larger party was seated comfortably in the opposite corner in a trendy-looking zebra booth that bore just the right amount of animal motif.
White walls section off the restaurant, and are thoughtfully placed to create an air of privacy while not interfering with the open flow of the space. The best part about those dividers is that they’re moveable, meaning I’m already fantasizing some intimate party being held here…buffet in the front, DJ in the back. While the seating primarily caters to the lunch and dinner crowd, there’s also a counter along the front window with bar seats – a sunny invitation to come back, drink tea, and write. Plus, iPhone told me there was a guest wifi account. If tea isn’t your thing, Rose Apple is also licensed, which means a solo afternoon date and an evening return to spend time with friends.
The restaurant is also a family affair.
It’s co-owned by two – Sumitta and her cousin Pipat (Mookie, pictured above, is Pipat’s wife). Mookie’s two daughters were also occasionally spotted behind the cash, 19-month-old Milin, and her other little girl. Both were wearing lots of Hello Kitty garb, which means I loved them even more. Mookie and Pipat are the duo behind My Thai Palace, a successful Sudbury restaurant where I have been going ever since I moved back to the city in order to satisfy my pad thai cravings.
This dessert case is where my mom and I hovered when we first entered Rose Apple. I crouched and took photos as my mom did her part to ask the new staff questions about every last dessert. Flaky green tea cake. A cake with layer upon layer of crepes stacked high with whipping cream as its mortar. Pumpkin and mango puddings. Spoons with a berry crumble lined in front of the cash register. That plate, and several more, were refilled throughout our lunch. We left our seats both before and after, hungry and stuffed, to sample more. My favourite was the crepe cake, delicately dripped with a tangy strawberry coulis. A dessert lasagna.
Okay, but let’s talk main courses. Rose Apple markets itself as an “Asian fusion” restaurant, which is sometimes disconcerting since I once read it’s always a tad unpredictable how people decide to interpret the word “fusion.” In the case of Rose Apple, fusion meant Chinese-Thai-Italian. My mom got the crispy wonton pad thai ($14.95) which was a heaping bowl (seriously HUGE) of deep fried wonton papers piled high will pad thai noodles, shrimp, and all the fixings. I think I’ve been converted from a potato chip lover – please, just please, give me a bowl of deep fried wontons with a sweet chili sauce. Since some of the wontons were buried beneath the “all the fixings” part of the dish, some of them went from crispy to soggy. Still, I found myself frequently reaching across the table to clumsily take some of my mom’s dish.
I got the massaman chicken ($15.95) – stewed chicken drumstick with a sauce of coconut milk, massaman curry paste and peanuts, served with a steaming bowl of jasmine rice. It was spicy. The dish had a single “chili pepper” rating on the menu, but I foolishly brushed it off. I can do hot, I thought. Oh dear. It was a building heat, one that made my forehead sweat, nose drip, and tongue burn.
Prices were a little high for lunch, but right on the mark for dinner. Plus the portions were huge, so you don’t have to worry about being skimped in value.
After dinner we basked in the contentment of our full stomachs. I drank a quick cup of coffee (I didn’t want to fall asleep in the movie my mom and I were going to see) in a mug that looked as though it were stolen straight from an industrial design student’s workshop.
I’m looking forward to my next visit to Rose Apple, and will probably pop by one day next weekend for coffee and cake. New openings like Rose Apple show progress in Sudbury – and not just any progress, but a move towards bringing something innovative and different to the city. Opening Rose Apple is surely a risk (as is opening any small business, I suppose), and I hope Sudburnians will learn to adapt, try new things, and swing by for a visit.
Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.