So, there’s this place I love to eat at called Twisted Fork. It’s a French bistro on Granville, just north of Davie St. and it’s owned/operated by the fabulously awesome Michael Leslie, and… well, and the unworldly, god-like, too-imaginative Corey Sullivan – the chef to end all chefs.

Aside from a frozen turkey that he undercooked when he was 11 years old, I don’t think that Corey has ever had a culinary disaster. He turns food into art. He marries ingredients that have no right to work so well together. He creates a dish that lingers on the tongue and reverberates in the memory. The man grills watermelon, for god’s sake!

Now, here’s the deal… the first time I took The Cheerleader I Live With to Twisted Fork, I think he was a little skeptical. I mean, it’s a wee, thin restaurant, bloodily restored with the help of sweat, imagination, and a hell of a lot of wine. It’s all darky-darky with red walls and wooden tables. It gets mighty hot in that booth across from the kitchen (and trust me, it’s ain’t just from the stove – Corey is what one may call… magnetic to the female population…), and the thrusty, deep music creates a sensual experience that takes you places that you would get red-cheeked just walking by.

So, I explained to The Cheerleader I Live With a little tradition I have. Basically it goes like this: when I eat something there that I’ve never had before, if it’s really amazing (which it always seems to be), I stop eating, put the fork down, and politely say aloud, “Fuck you, Corey”.

Y’see, it all started when I had my first meal there many moons ago. I had ordered an appetizer called “Grilled Sourdough”. Never one to turn down the opportunity to ingest copious amounts of bread, I decided to try it. This dish arrived at my table, and just looking at it I knew I was in trouble. I was dating someone at the time, but I was willing to leave him for the food that was just placed in front of me. Thick sourdough slices, grilled, topped with pesto, flattered by goat cheese and tented over roasted chipotle roma tomatoes. It was love, and I wasn’t shamed to admit it. With trembling hands, I pressed the soft cheese on a slice of pesto-loved sourdough, dropped a forkful of tomato on top and with wide eyes, I brought this simple bread to my lips.

It was good. Too good. There was something seriously wrong with this chef. I mean, how can that be so good, hell, how can that even be possible!? I knew I was hooked, and I knew that I would come back to Twisted Fork again… and again, and again, and again… So, I did what I had to do. I put the bread down, grabbed a sharp knife to protect it from thieving table-mates (I wasn’t afraid to use it, dammit!), and said “Fuck you, Corey” aloud. He had no right to make food taste that good. What an asshole!

Needless to say, the rest of the meal was of the same high-quality caliber. But the kicker, the absolute ‘may-as-well-kill-me-now’ moment was dessert. I don’t what it is, or how the hell he does it, but Corey has dessert absolutely mastered. That guy does naughty, naughty things to you to end your Twisted Fork experience. My poor body could hardly take reading the dessert menu! I was so flustered that all I could do was point to the words “lavender creme brule”, because I was horrified that had I been able to say the words aloud, it may have come out in a “When Harry Met Sally restaurant scene” type of way.

After a short wait, the creme brule arrived. A hearty amount of it, too! Not something the size of a chihuahua barf – dammit I hate when restaurants skimp on dessert portions! Anyway, the creme brule was served with some artistically tasty cookies, but that doesn’t really matter. Because that creme brule… that perfect, silky, sweet custard was destroying my life. If I ever kill someone (for stealing sourdough, for example), I’d ask for lavender creme brule to be my last meal. Aw screw it, I want it for my last meal no matter where I am or who I never killed!

What I’m saying is this: go to Twisted Fork. Go on a date, go on your own, go with friends, family, and anyone else you may know. Go for dinner. Go for dessert.

Go for BRUNCH.

Oh, do NOT get me started on Twisted Fork’s brunch, ok? Just get there early, as the line starts forming about 30 minutes before the place opens. It’s worth the wait, even if you show up late, believe me.

So go. Order the mussels. Order the Brakeman’s Select. Order the sablefish. Order the motherfucking creme brule, and prepare yourself for some tasting, some sighing, and some cursing.

Because fuck you, Corey. Fuck you.

And by the way, do yourself a favour: if you happen to see that handsome Michael Leslie behind the bar, give him a hug, because his hugs are freaking awesome.


PS – The Cheerleader I Live With did end up saying ‘fuck you’ to Corey that first time I took him to Twisted Fork, and he says it each time we go. Which is often, so maybe I’ll see you there. Who am I kidding, of course I will. I sleep in the dumpster out back…