Monday, 11 April 2016

Seven Bays Bouldering & Café: PART 1 - The part where we aren't climbing anything yet...

The photo on the left was taken from 7 Bays website - on the off chance they
get mad at me for stealing it, I have the image on the right ready to take over.
I've never thought to myself while at a café eating a lunch, drinking a coffee, or writing a rambling: "Hey, you know what would make this place perfect? Adjacent indoor rock climbing "bouldering" wall(s)." I just haven't.

It's like Scott Aukerman (or whatever his name may be today) of Comedy Bang!Bang! says in one of my favorite sketches: "Maybe it's just me, but for me..." Yeah, for me? I don't think that would have ever been a naturally occurring idea, and for those of you who have met me, you know that says a lot. That's because I am a person who is writhe with ideas. In fact, I'm surprised/offended it isn't my nickname at this point. I mean, how many episodes of inventiveness does one need to demonstrate before it sticks in everyone's head as a defining quality? Have I told you about the "B-Safe-Let"? Have you seen "Plate Pants"? I think Kristin Wiig said it best while slaying an impersonation of Kris Jenner: "What do I have to do for attention, kill somebody?"

Anyway, enough about the misgivings of everyone around me. The union of rock-climbing and café-going isn't necessarily an "unholy" one. You could say it is out of left field, but I personally am partial to the left side of things anyway, being left-handed and all. So what if it isn't one of those "sure-bet" DTF on POF kind of matches? FRED on Agricola gets away with cutting hair just around the corner of their dining area. CUTTING. HAIR. AND. SERVING. FOOD. They might as well be grooming dogs, which is a type of hair I am never thrilled to find in my lunch, but at least am very used to. But regardless of what animal is shedding nearby, human or canine, somehow they've made it work. And you know what? The peeps over at 7 Bays Bouldering have made their niche market work for them too. Quite fabulously, in fact!

Make Parking, Not War

Let me start with the parking, because in this city, it's important. The parking here is amazing in that it exists, and there seems to always be an available spot. It reminds me of something that doesn't remind me at all of the concrete mind fuck also known as the new Halifax Central Library's parkade. I have cursed more and put more dents in my Jeep within the confines of that Queen Street free-for-all than anyone could ever imagine - unless you can imagine the number one. One dent is what I put into my vehicle while pin-balling towards the exit, but to this day, it still feels like a million. In other words, the parking here is (comparatively) a flirtatious, tall glass of water. Drink it down, drink it in.

Along with the love affair described above, you will notice upon your arrival a series of garage doors. You know the ones - they look like really wide and tall multi-paned windows. Okay. Although I have no confirmation on what this space was before 7 Bays settled in, I'm going to go ahead and guess that it was a CrossFit... "whatever"?  All signs garage doors point to CrossFit, because we are living in a time where it is more common to find a bunch of individuals running around and exercising really loudly behind these retractable passageways than it is to find the usual suspects - greased up mechanics getting their "lean on" inside the auto-body shop. Of course, none of these observations are relevant to this review since in this particular case you find neither. In this case, the big bad shutters keep the rock climbers safe from looky-loos like me (or, I suppose, the environment?), and have nothing to do with car repairs or people throwing kettle balls at each other. Because that's what CrossFit is... right? Cacophonous shouting and hurling gym equipment like a Real Housewives hurls her wine ?

The Café with The Elbow Room 

It's inconspicuous, it's spacious and it's got a one-room/one-toilet bathroom. JACKPOT). This is a good, no, a great place to grab a bite, to get a beer and to get a table (finally). However, it is not a safe place to get a London Fog. Jessie Redmond tried pulling that stunt and I immediately (and unfairly) teased her for being "so fancy", for the sole purpose of giving myself a cheap chuckle - unfortunately at her expense. Jessie - you and your London Fog. We both know I will probably never let you live it down, and that sure is ridiculous! Oh, friendship!

This is also the spot to be if you were hoping to see men in long, breezy shorts. That is, apart from the yoga studio, but at 7 Bays instead of getting and eyeful of dudes pinching their testicles in ways that make your own private parts cringe, you can watch them standing next to each other, looking at/talking about the rock wall they seem to rarely be climbing!
Seriously, there are so many long shorts in here. Some of the shorts are tolerable, but others are definitely made from hemp and possibly...oh man... by hand. Here's a pro tip: Thin material? Wear JOCKEYS. Women aren't men. We don't like to see the shapes and sizes of sensitive areas through your clothing. If you ask me, catching a glimpse of a penis form without warning evokes the same squirmy feelings I get when I hear the words "epic" or "sensual", or when the insides of a person's elbows somehow make their way into my line of vision (please. god. no.). But enough about free birds, let's move on to something that actually stokes the appetite as opposed to extinguishes it: Tea and good food.

Tea: Rooibos Ginger

This little tea is so cute! The mug reminds me of the ones that were used when I would serve tea at the Chester Legion. That was back when I was a better person/a little Brownie. If you're unfamiliar with Brownies, a Brownie is a tiny girl who is forced to do good deeds, such as brighten the days of the local seniors and participate in the Terry Fox Run. They also have to serve tea and triangle sandwiches to people a couple times a year and from what I can remember I was always stuck serving egg salad. Such an injustice. Do you know what someone eating an egg salad sandwich asking you (too closely) for "Another egg salad sandwich!" looks/smells/sounds and sometimes feels like? I cannot be around egg salad to this day. I'll never understand the public ingestion of the egg salad sandwich. It's so polarizing. Makes me want to cry for everyone involved. 

Rooibos is my favorite tea, and ginger is one of those buzz foods I've heard you're supposed to be having, so I thought it would be a smart choice for me. And it was, but here's the thing - tea is just hot water with maybe one spec, one teeny tiny spec, of flavor, and no matter what that "flavor" may be, it all tastes like wet loose-leaf the end. Wet loose-leaf that I have acquired one hell of a taste for, so when critiquing this beverage, as far as hot paper-water goes, this cup was everything I could have hoped for and more (taking into consideration the self-reflection brought by the glassware). Thumbs up for sure/Will order next time.

Dumplings and Spiralized Salad for Two (...for One)

I chose the furthest table away facing everyone's backs because I hate when people watch me eat stringy things/salad/tacos etc. That's messy stuff. Stuff that isn't easy to figure into perfectly bite-sized portions. Today it seems that one patron in particular couldn't care less about those feelings of mine. This "dude/dooood" has decided to come chat up his bro who happens to be sitting at the table directly across of me. And, and, he keeps facing me! Do you know how hard it is to eat spiraled vegetables? In a civilized way? In a way that says "I'm not 3 months old?" It can't be done! It's like what I imagine seeing someone trying to eat a slinky while driving alone on the highway might look like - insane. Trust me. I know. I once spun a slinky into a light fixture at the request of a man who was clearly deranged, just so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. There is no way that that didn't look nuts (it definitely did to my co-workers), and I can only assume a mouth half-full of similarly shaped bits leave me appearing no less certifiable. All issues aside (you know, a bib would have been nice) the taste of this dish makes it worth finishing in one sitting. The sauce is scrumtrulescent and the filling-ness of it was - I don't know - does "100%" mean anything to anyone? I was pretty full. On healthy stuff. That's hard to do, at least for me it is.

Oh my God, and then there were dumplings. Dumplings are amazing, but before I get to them, did you all know that I used to work at the Black Market Boutique for my sister who is a now part-owner (where else could that slinky story have taken place)? 

Anyway, this particular night I was closing the store with my friend Ari. Suddenly, I began to sing an original tune, one for all the lonely women out there who, at times, find themselves spending the majority of their evenings in. Alone. Ordering take-out for two (for one). You know what I'm saying. We've all done it - made it sound like we're placing orders for two or more people, knowing full well the numerous Asian "combos" scheduled to arrive at our doorstep are for us, and us alone. Hence the song's title "Tonight, I'm Ordering in for Two (for One)".  It was a stunning display. Almost as if I had immaculately concept-ed a song not unlike the way Jesus was immaculately concept-ed, and the profound results of that evening are reminiscent of how I put my order in at 7 Bays. See how there is a paper bag there? Next to the dumplings? Yeah, I asked for those to be brought to me in a take out container. I, for no reason at all, pretended they were for someone else, and the chick at the counter believed me... that is, until she slid them my way following the veggie bowl of awesomeness. They just smelled so good, like the way the plastic lining of a fruit roll-up smells good, and before I knew it I was humming "Tonight, I'm Ordering in for Two (for One)" and ripping into them. They were, hands down, the best dumplings I have had in the city. For real. I know what you're thinking: "Were they really that good, or were you really that hungry?" Unfortunately, there's no way to tell. Sorry. Go try some and let me know what you think?

Yes, You Should Eat Here and YES WE ARE GOING CLIMBING

Everything I ate here was super, super Harvey's-esque, so I am giving it an 8 out of Harvey's. It was tasty A.F., it was fast and I had a whole seating area to myself (huge selling point). The rock wall is also on the agenda. That's right, myself and a few friends plan to tackle that thing this week and I will write the second part of this review upon its completion. There will be video, and I plan to wear one of those extra-thick, anti-incontinence maxi pads because I know for a fact I am going to pee my pants laughing. It's happened before, it will happen again. I guess that means I'll be joining in the breezy short brigade since a queen-sized panty liner isn't the easiest thing to conceal in a pair of knock-off Lulu Lemons. I just hope they have some new "fresh boulders"...?! Stay tuned, like usual!

For more books news, Regular Food Critic news, and just to listen to me ramble more frequently - follow me on Twitter and Like my Facebook page! T'anx again, peeps! 

If you want updates from "The Regular Food Critic", along with book news, 
please follow my author page on Facebook and my Twitter!
Show me you care, even if you don't:


  1. That salad looks delicious! Definitely something that I would order.

  2. I'll be honest I'm not really sure what to say about this post there is so much going on!