A Break-Up Letter


Dear Marben,

Let me just start by saying that you’ve been good to me.  Ever since we met last year, I’ve loved you with total reckless abandon, blogging obsessively over you, showing up at your door flush-cheeked an embarrassing three times a week, eager and willing and unconditionally supportive, even if you did make me wait. Our nights were spent languishing over amazing bottles of wine, sweet nothings whispered through greasy burger-stained lips, until the wee hours when I would drift home and dream of your sweet cherry cobbler. Remember that time you gave me empanadas fresh out of the deep-fryer, made by hand only moments before?  Or those summer Sunday pig roasts, my only true place of worship?  And don’t even get me started on your sausage fest. I pined for you. I was loyal. I vowed to see you whenever I had the time, I let you meet my friends, I wore my best for you and spent my money on you, even if it meant uncomfortable conversations with my accountant. That mostly had to do with retail, but I digress. You were it for me, and ever since that first charcuterie plate, I fell for you hard.

But ever since Top Chef Carl Heinrich and Chef Misha left you to pursue other endeavors, you’ve changed.  Gone are the days of elegantly plated comfort food, perfect rabbit rillette, abundant and yet simple seasonal salads, the most epic burger in town. Your once-was buttery pommes anna has now become a flimsy, dry, undercooked travesty. Your precious trout now swims completely engulfed in a bizarre milky potato foam, your lobster and avocado salad now a terrine better suited for a badly catered wedding. I didn’t even want dessert, Marben. And you know how I feel about dessert. It’s right up there with Channing Tatum.

It makes me so sad to tell you that although it’s been a fun year, I think it’s best we part ways. You see, there are just too many culinary fish in the sea in this great city of Toronto, and us actors have short attention spans. To be completely candid, you should know before you hear it from anyone else that I’ve been seeing Scarpetta down the street rather exclusively. He’s Italian, and fiercely passionate in wanting to impress me, so I could be in this for the long haul. I’m so sorry, Marben. I hope you can find your way back to the greatness you once were, because I know you have it in you. I’ll miss your staff, your wild weekend nights (where did the DJ go, by the way?), and that handsome clientele. But I just can’t give you another chance until you get your act together.

In other words, it’s not me. It’s you.

Regrettably, unfaithfully yours,



15 Comments Add yours

  1. Maryann says:

    I was wondering when there would be another post 😉
    Good to know that you keep it honest and don’t just sugar coat things. That’s just the kind of chickie you are!
    Love all your posts!!

  2. Albert says:

    Wow. Didn’t know you had a blog. And IT’S AWESOME! Laughed a lot with this entry. And now I’m hungry. Of something greasy and unhealthy >_>

  3. Lloyd C says:

    When you get back home for hockey season, do a write up on the new #Cactusclub menu.

  4. Jake says:

    LOL! Love you Jewel. Beautiful woman who likes to eat. Let me rephrase that. Beautiful and who knows to eat good food.

  5. dan says:

    ouch! that one stings…

  6. Jeff says:

    Oh NO! Apparently another reason to avoid Toronto. And I’ve always enjoyed Toronto.

  7. Mike says:

    I would throw myself off the highest bridge if I lost, Jewel, the love of my life because of my own shortsightedness and lack of attention. Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa! Some day Massachusetts will have the cuisine to lure you here… Until then we work day and night for that chance.

  8. Mike says:

    I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex but have spent a lot of time in Toronto as a consultant. I have eaten at Marben’s several times while visiting and always found the experience fulfilling. I am really sorry to hear Jewel’s review of the new management. Maybe they will get their act together. Thanks, Jewel, for the update.

  9. John says:

    Ouch! Should I ever have the opportunity to displease you, please remind me not to do so.

  10. Martin says:

    Whoa, wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Jewel! Lol. God, celebrities, eh, never happy, always complaining, always diva…ish but still Jewel is a treat in her own right, what other celebrity can put together such an inspiring blog, who else can kick someone in the balls while keeping an angelic smile or a Marilyn look of innocence strapped across their face? You go girl! : P

  11. MrPingn says:

    If this is any indication. I’d hate to see an actual break-up letter from you. :O I felt the sting and I got nothing to do with that place. Suddenly I feel the need to better “my” cooking skills.

  12. Ashton says:

    I love it! This is the best restaurant commentary I’ve read in a long time. It shows joie de vivre, an appreciation for the culinary delights, a refreshing candor, blunt yet delivered with humor; in other words, I lolled.

  13. Paul says:

    I work right above them! we used to hit this place up every thursday and it was always the best part of the week. Unfortunately as you pointed out, they’ve changed for the worse. But, during the summer it’s still one of the best place to be. If you’re a wine person, I highly recommend Gusto 101 on Portland, they have a superb collection of fine wine, and the food is amazing too!

  14. CobyLyn says:

    Best. Break Up. Letter. EVER!

  15. Robyn says:

    A delayed reply to this post, but I too once loved Marben. Have you been to Chef Carl’s new restaurant, Richmond Station? http://richmondstation.ca/ It delivers what Marben used to.

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