Sunday, December 21, 2008

Helen’s Grill

The road to Helen’s was paved with good intentions... and lots and lots of snow! Woohoo! This blessed snow did not stop breakfast lovers from making it to Helen’s today, the place was packed.

There’s only one way to describe Helen’s – old school. In the best way. The decor is dated, the menu is dated, the music is dated, the tableware is dated, and it is awesome. Ordering couldn't be any more straight forward – drink: coffee, eggs: scrambled, toast: brown. But what really makes Helen’s great is not Helen, but Val. She basically takes care of the entire place, and she does it cheerfully with that dry wit you’d expect from someone who’s been working a joint like this for quite awhile.

Featured bonus: heated washrooms.

4102 Main Street
Breakfast hours:
Photos

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Abigail’s Party

Abigail’s makes it onto my favourites list for three reasons – a creative menu, cozy ambience and friendly staff. Although I know this spot is popular with the neighbourhood locals, I think Abigail’s may be overlooked by others as a breakfast destination. Their loss.

I had a very difficult task choosing from the menu because I wanted at least 4 or 5 different dishes. In the end I was very happy with my Cinnamon Bun French Toast. My mate had the daily special Huevos con Carnitas – crispy tortillas layered with pulled pork, refried beans, sunny-side up eggs, topped with salsa verde. Great flavour.

I don’t know if it was the blanket of snow that dropped last night, but there was an air of joviality in the room, a child-like excitement. And the coffee must be strong, as the staff were quite cheerful for a Sunday morning.

1685 Yew Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
www.abigailsparty.ca
Photos

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nu

Given the location, I was thrilled the sun came out this morning. We were able to take full advantage of Nu’s floor-to-ceiling, wrap-around, ocean-view windows – one of their features which draws a crowd for Sunday brunch. Another attraction is the live jazz. The mellifluous vocals added the right texture to the room.

We performed a study of potato dishes this morning, sampling the poutine and the rosti, but somehow we missed the sautéed potatoes. S’ok, I don’t think my jeans could have taken another millimetre of expansion. Courses: complimentary grapes, poutine, complimentary hot chocolate and scones, eggs benny, potato rosti, french toast. I need to find a seamstress.

Every breakfast is unique and I love that I never know what the conversation will be. Today: doggy haute couture.

1661 Granville Street (under the Granville Street bridge)
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.whatisnu.com
Photos

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joe’s Grill (4th Avenue)

When I asked my partner what he wanted for breakfast this morning, his reply was “a big plate of food”. Joe’s Grill made it to the top of the list.

Joe’s is a greasy spoon serving up standard fare for reasonable prices. Our Corned Beef Hash and Waffle Combo plates satisfied. Nothing fancy here, but a feel good and feel full experience, nonetheless.

2061 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Daily
Photos

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Coco et Olive (MOVED)

Update (01/28/13): Coco et Olive moved locations a while back. Their new spot is 3707 Main Street.
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I have to be honest, Coco et Olive is not new to me. In actuality, I frequent this neighbourhood café, uh, frequently. However, today was the first time I went intentionally to enjoy breakfast.

This café is run with dedication by a lovely French couple. Their pastries and sweets will make you believe they have been imported directly from a patisserie in Paris. Pain au chocolat, almond croissant bread pudding, delectable paninis, muffins and cheese plates with dips are a sampling of what’s available. What I love is how fresh-made items continually stream out of the kitchen and that you can actually smell what is baking and will be on display next. For breakfast, my friend and I both had their Mushroom and Gruyère Quiche. Superbe!

Coco et Olive has that “home-away-from-home” feel. Those who visit this spot return over and over again. I bet you will, too.

3476 West Broadway
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
www.cocoetolive.com
Photos

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Diva at the Met

One of my favourite aspects of this breakfast adventure is that it gives me great excuse to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, too. And today, I had the chance to do both – four dining divas. The word ‘diva’ is derived from the Latin for ‘goddess’. I don’t know why our culture has applied a negative connotation to the word, when really it just means to own one’s true gifts.

Also gifted are the chefs at Diva. The menu is well rounded and the food refined. My Buttermilk Pancakes with Berry Compote and Citrus Mint Mascarpone were outstanding. Also enjoyed were the Diva Benny with Corn Bread and Pancetta, the Egg White Frittata with Charred Tomato and Avocado Salsa and the Smoked Black Cod with Poached Eggs and Smoked Paprika Hollandaise.

White linens and light by day, Diva is also a sexy, low-lit spot at night where desserts are the star.

645 Howe Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
www.metropolitan.com/diva
Photos

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sciué Italian Bakery Caffé (Yaletown)

Sciué (pronounced shoo-ee) is new to the Yaletown neighbourhood and I say “welcome!”. The vibe is upscale casual – a paradox, I realize, but that’s how I feel it. The menu proclaims to be Roman Street Food – I have no idea about that, but I do know I enjoyed what it is. Order at the counter, take your number back to your table, and your food will be delivered.

As usual, I couldn’t decide between the sweet or savoury options. My solution – have both! Smart, si? I couldn’t help but order the Pane Farcito, as they temptingly display them on the counter right in your face. You deny the call of a giant sugar-crusted, nutella-filled donut, I challenge you. Loved it! If I drank coffee, it would have been a perfect combination. Instead, I accompanied my donut with the Uova in Camicia al Cotto, Italian for “Eggs Benny with Ham”. The Italian twist is the addition of a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil on the bun, which surprised me at first, but once I embraced the floral tones of the olive oil, it all came together.

My camera ran out of batteries half way through breakfast. Guess I'll have to go back there again and eat more donuts. Aw, shucks!

126 Davie Street
Breakfast hours: Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Brunch hours: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

www.sciue.ca
Photos

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Brunch à la Galerie (CLOSED)

UPDATE (03/03/11): Yes, sadly, the gallery is now closed.
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One word. Delightful. More words. The staff, the space, the food, my company – all delightful. An art gallery is an unusual setting for brunch, but in this case, it works. Minimalism rules here. The hushed quiet of a space intended for viewing art creates a tranquil, airy mood in the dining area. The big windows flood the space with natural light.

The food selection is paired down, but our meals were well prepared and attractively presented. My Frittata Mediterranean was even tastier than it looked. My friend’s Picasso’s Benny was surprisingly smoky and full flavoured.

The art remains the main focus of the space, be sure to spend some time enjoying the show before you leave.

1545 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours: Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
www.autumnbrook.ca/brunch
Photos

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blue Fox Café (Victoria)

I want to place the Blue Fox on my favourites list. But my blog is breakfast in Vancouver, and I already have a Victoria favourite listed, so I will abstain. However, this breakfast experience has inspired me to create new categories. And the Blue Fox Café is easily my winner of the Best Benny category!

My Eggs in Hell Benny was devilishly good: spicy chorizo, avocado, grilled tomato, chipotle aioli on top of a chewy, toasted bagel and covered in a fabulous hollandaise! If you could have seen my eyes upon first bite – bing, bing, bing, bing! And before the benny, my friend and I had already shared the daily special cinnamon bun - a caramelized, gooey delight.

The atmosphere is colourful and upbeat, it just feels happy, and our server definitely matched the vibe. Weekend lineups are usual, the locals let me know that the entire menu is excellent and worth it.

101-919 Fort Street, Victoria
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Photos

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Choppers Diner (CLOSED)

UPDATE: Sadly they are now closed.
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Printed on their menu: “We don’t do fast food, we do good food.” And they’re telling it like it is, folks. When we arrived there was only one server on the floor, however, shortly thereafter, the reinforcements arrived, and then the service was smooth. The staff are down-to-earth and in conjunction with the biker-chic decor create an easygoing, convivial atmosphere. The crowd is mixed – older gentlemen in suits, babies in diapers, and everything in between. The commonality is that we were all seeking an authentic breakfast experience.

Choppers fulfilled my culinary cravings for a diner breakfast. And at such a pleasing price. My English Breakfast consisted of 2 eggs, 3 sausages, 2 toast, beans, grilled tomatoes and potato hash, all for $6.95! My partner went for the full-on Biker Breakfast – 3 eggs, 3 toast, 3 bacon, 3 sausages, potato hash and a flip cake – weighing in as the most expensive item on the menu at $10.25.

The meals tasted home cooked (by someone who knows how to cook) and the coffee was strong. Nicely done, if you ask me.

3298 East 1st Avenue (at Rupert Street)
Breakfast hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Photos

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Melriches Coffee House

My partner: “I’d like to have an Italian for breakfast.”
The server: ”Who wouldn’t, honey?!”
My partner: “Oh, I mean I’d like to have the Italian Breakfast.”

We did have the Italian for breakfast, the Italian sausage, that is. Spicy! The breakfast comes with multigrain toast, scrambled eggs, home fries and sides of PB & J. Their small, but all-day breakfast menu carries a few signature items – the breakfast sandwich, the breakfast croissant and the breakfast quesadilla. Also available are homemade-looking muffins, cinnamon buns and paninis.

This coffee house (serving Bean Around the World coffee) is full of local flavour. It’s busy, the music is loud, the staff are run off their feet – and yet, it’s relaxing. As we sat waiting for our food, we marvelled at the mysteries of the Universe. Have you ever noticed how when people show up somewhere, it just flows? In the hour we sat there, it felt like at least a hundred people must have come in and out, but could you imagine if all 100 people decided to show up at the exact same time? Wouldn’t that be funny? Well, if you were wanting your morning coffee, maybe not so funny.

1244 Davie Street
Breakfast hours: All day, every day
Photos

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Café Luxy

We got the message today – summer is over. The rain is back. I think I have long-term memory loss. It seems whenever we enjoy long stretches of sunny weather, I forget that Vancouver is rainy and grey for most of the year. Memory loss even to the point where I had to think hard to remember if I had a coat suitable for the rain. I mean, come on, can you imagine forgetting what your rain coat looks like when you live in Vancouver? Anyway, I found mine today.

Perhaps the return of the rain scared away early morning breakfasters, Café Luxy was quiet. I've heard this place is a locals hangout and that the pasta dinners are very well received. It has a relaxed, Mediterranean vibe and the service was friendly. The food is generously portioned, options focus on eggs – scrambles, omelettes and bennys.

1235 Davie Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.cafeluxy.com
Photos

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sophie’s Cosmic Café

Today I had breakfast with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. Curiously, this is a trend of late. She had suggested Viva, which I also love, but in honour of new breakfast adventures I suggested Sophie’s as I hadn’t been there yet and it’s in her neighbourhood.

Sophie’s is well known for their big portions and big lineups. And today they didn’t disappoint. Although, I suggested we arrive at 9:45 to beat the rush, and we did. The menu offers a wide variety for breakfast, enough to cajole everyone I would think. My Eggs Mexicana was huge. And my friend, wise to the ways of Sophie, concocted her own reasonably-portioned breakfast plate – one pancake, one egg and sides of bacon and blueberries. Smart.

2095 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to
Photos

Sunday, August 31, 2008

SOMA (CLOSED)

UPDATE: SOMA is now closed.
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Usually, the Labour Day weekend, for me, has that ‘last-chance-to-do-nothing-peacefulness’ kind of feel to it and today I felt the same – low and slow. I don’t think it was by accident that the place we chose for breakfast had that same sort of vibe.

My friends and I happily chatted about this and that, content just to be together. The food and drink almost an addendum. A couple of unusual items on the menu, but the best bet seemed to be the eggs with the à la carte sausage and bacon. Loose leaf teas are a nice touch.

151 East 8th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.somavancouver.com
Photos

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Café Medina (MOVED)

UPDATE (08/11/14): Café Medina closes its doors today on its original location and is reopening August 12, 2014 at 780 Richards Street.
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I will sum up my breakfast experience by quoting one of my dining partners vis-a-vis Nigel Tufnel, “today Medina took it up to eleven!” After our 15 minute wait in line (write your own name on the sheet just inside the entrance), we were seated in this sexy room (cleanest floors we had ever noticed in a restaurant). Drink orders were taken immediately, the lattés were richly delicious.

With the construction of the kitchen finally finished, the menu has now expanded beyond waffles only. Although ‘only’ waffles would have been just fine with me. Nevertheless we were lucky enough to enjoy so much more! I ordered the Cassoulet – fried eggs on top of baked beans with bacon, duck sausage, and andouille sausage served with grilled foccacia and tarragon mustard. Oh. My. Word. My friend ordered the Fricasse – fried eggs on top of braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula and smoked applewood cheddar. Again. Oh. My. Word.

And because this wasn’t decadent enough for breakfast, a round of waffles had to be done. Personally, I tried the Lavender Milk Chocolate and the Raspberry Caramel toppings. When I bit into the crispy, warm waffles doused with each of these sauces, I had one of those moments where the room recedes, all the sounds around you become muffled background noise and I was ‘at one’ with my waffles. OK, I’m being a bit overly dramatic, but, seriously, I really enjoyed them. Another friend had the waffles with Dark Chocolate and Mixed Berry Compote. By the look of his chocolate-berry-mustached smile afterwards, he also thoroughly enjoyed.

556 Beatty Street780 Richards Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Noon
Saturday/Sunday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
www.medinacafe.com
Photos

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Viva Fine Foods & Bakery

Whether you are on the fly or wanting to linger over a coffee and breakfast, Viva accommodates. There is something about this place that is just so appealing to me. Inside seating is a store-length window seat. Outside features a lovely sidewalk patio. The display case is abundant with perfectly stacked goods. And the food is quality.

Popular items include their muffins, scones and tarts. Also available are fresh salads and amazing paninis – the bread baked on the spot. From the breakfast menu, order from a selection of omelettes, bennys, french toast or hot grain cereal. I had the Vegetarian Omelette which came with homefries, baguette, orange juice and my choice of coffee or tea. I left feeling very content and full.

1555 Yew Street
Breakfast hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rhizome Café

Today I enjoyed breakfast with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. There were many stories to regale, so, I was more absorbed by our conversation than the restaurant. Nevertheless, the space suited us perfectly – a comfortable and easy-going atmosphere and the staff were friendly and attentive.

Breakfast choices are bent towards the healthy such as oatmeal with dates and fruit and yogurt. Yet, they also have the usual suspects – the likes of french toast, pancakes and bennys. Their unique twist on the benny is a squash sauce in place of hollandaise which I had to try so I ordered the Eggs Rhizomedict. Verdict: tasty. My friend went for the Blueberry Pancakes, which she proclaimed as “excellent”. Top marks for the tea presentation. Small but simple details, such as providing us with small ramekins for our tea bags, make me happy.

317 East Broadway
Breakfast hours:
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.rhizomecafe.ca
Photos

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The District Social House

Because it was a grey morning, hinting rain at any moment, I felt the desire to be walking in the rainforest. Go figure. An excursion to Lynn Canyon gave the perfect reason to check out The District on the way. The restaurant is small-ish but not cramped. Me, I like sitting in those cozy window seats. Dubbed ‘social house’ by night, The District has a very keen selection of brews, however, not appropriate for a Sunday morning hike. What we did need was some sustenance.

My Brunch Bowl delivered – fried potatoes topped with marzano tomato relish, chorizo sausage, 2 fried eggs, and then hollandaise sauce. The taste was fantastic, the tomato relish was smoky, slightly spicy, full flavoured, it made the dish. My dining partners had the Brunch Benny (same as my bowl, but sitting on top of a English muffin) and the Omelette w/ Goat Cheese and Mushrooms. Espresso-style coffees (mine a decaf Americano) came with free refills. Thumbs up.

13 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.thedistrictsocial.com
Photos

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sejuiced

After breakfast today, I was on my way to a bellydance workshop, so you might appreciate that I wanted to eat lightly. Sejuiced came to mind.

Sejuiced is a small spot focused on health food – serving juices, smoothies and a simple vegan/vegetarian menu. Both the breakfast menu and the regular menu are available all day. Breakfast items include omelettes, granola, tofu scrambles and fruit cups. I had their Breakfast Burrito which is normally prepared with tofu, but I requested scrambled eggs instead. The burrito is basic, but tasty, seasoned by their homemade ketchup. On the other hand, my dining partner was looking for something more substantial. He chose to have the Spinach and Feta Omelette which comes with their signature salad and rye toast. He also filled up with the Blue Lagoon smoothie.

Food is ordered at the counter, cafeteria-style, and is served up quickly.

1958 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to
Saturday, Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to
Photos

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Old Town Café (Bellingham)

We were camping this weekend near Bellingham, but not even camping will keep me from my breakfast adventures. The Old Town Café stands in (you guessed it) the Old Town district of Bellingham. For those not familiar with B’ham, the area is a mix between Seattle-like historical architecture and a Victoria-like hippie vibe. Same applies to the café. The ambience was country-charm, enhanced by the live bluegrass acoustic ensemble playing. We loved this place, it is a bonafide breakfast joint.

The menu emphasizes organic, natural and homemade foods with a definite nod to the southwest. Black beans, salsa, chilies, biscuits, and tortillas run throughout. Eggs and potatoes are organic, as available. Choices for bread include whole wheat, organic sourdough, rye or corn tortillas – sourced from four different local bakeries. There are plenty of selections to accommodate vegan/vegetarian lifestyles. While we all enjoyed our breakfast dishes, highlights were the whole wheat toast, the homemade black beans, and the chicken sausages.

Bonus for young ones – a skookum play area.

316 W Holly Street, Bellingham, WA
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Website
Photos

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Slickity Jim’s Chat ’n’ Chew (CLOSED)

UPDATE (11/12/09): Slickety Jim’s is now a part of Vancouver history due to a massive fire which completely destroyed the restaurant. RIP.
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Slickity Jim’s is well-known on the breakfast circuit. What this means is lineups are usual on weekends. We showed up early for a Sunday (9:00 a.m.) and were seated immediately, however, there was a bit of delay in having our order taken. This gave us lots of time to peruse the menu which has entertainment value unto itself. Cleverly written descriptions of the menu items prompted small chuckles.

Today, we were in a bit of a hurry and our server assured us our order would come out quickly. I appreciated her reaction to our pressure - no attitude, just understanding. And gratefully, she was correct, and our order did come up tout de suite. Meanwhile, this gave us time to take in the surroundings. The decor is quirky, what I called ‘grandma’s attic on acid’.

I had the Revolution Eggs – scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, asiago cheese, and ham on corn bread. My dining partner had the Chorizo and Roasted Garlic Benny which came with a generous dozen pieces of roasted garlic. The prices were reasonable, under $10 each.

2513 Main Street
Breakfast hours:
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Café Zen

The warm weather this morning enticed me to go for a swim at Kits Pool, after which I was starving. With a mini-hike up Yew Street eatery-row, I plunked myself down on the small patio at Café Zen. Definite locals vibe.

This is another spot with a sizeable menu – 8 pages of breakie foodstuffs. What I really appreciated about ordering here is that most items are available in half orders, especially the bennys, sanctioning the ability to mix and match. So to play that game, I ordered half Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes and half Eggs Flo Benny - no fries. The pancakes half order was huge, 2 large pancakes, and the benny was quite tasty. However, if I may, toast those English muffins, please.

1631 Yew Street
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Daily
Photos
cafezenonyew.com

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Acacia Fillo Bar•Café

Acacia Fillo Bar has an unassuming storefront on Denman. One might be inclined to just pass by. If you enter, you will find yourself inside a quaint, casual café. The first thing that caught my eye was the display case of tantalizing pies – my first introduction to banitzas. Banitzas are traditional Bulgarian pastries – fillo-wrapped innards shaped into pies of love! A friend had described them to me before, but my mind couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of delectable-ness that they are.

I chose the Cabbage Banitza and my dining partner had the Ground Beef Banitza – neither of which were on the menu, specials for the day. Both were fantastic! Aided by the accompaniment of a yogurt sauce (a horseradish version for the ground beef) and some of the best potato sides I’ve encountered so far. I would even have gone so far as to order an extra side of the roasted potatoes and yams (actually, I did). Also available are their renditions of eggs benny plus many sweet pastries. I took home the mixed berry and chocolate fillo stick for a treat.

One can sense when food is made with love – this is it.

1103 Denman Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: All day (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)

www.acaciafillobar.com
Photos

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Superior Café (Victoria)

Have you ever had one of those meals where all the stars seem to align? This was one of those magical dining experiences for me. It was a gloriously sunny, warm spring day. And after visiting the James Bay farmer’s market and local community garden, my Mom and I decided it was time for a bite. Luckily, a friend had recommended The Superior Café which happened to be nearby (thanks, Q!).

From outside appearances, we didn’t really expect much, it is just a non-descript brick building. What we didn’t know was that hidden from the street is an amazing, two-level, outdoor Japanese/English garden patio teeming with beautiful flora and fauna. Each table comes with its own special centrepiece, which for one table is a zen fountain and a pool of goldfish. And if the visual beauty wasn’t enough, on hand was a live pianist playing the classics from Claire de Lune to Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago. My Mom and I both adore the piano, we just sat back and revelled in the sights and sounds.

Truly, this would have been enough of an experience to satisfy, however, enter stage left our server. He was perfectly charming, interesting, and recited the chef’s daily specials with pride and enthusiasm. I chose the daily special benny, named Benny the Next Generation, composed of a bed of well-seasoned yam gratin, and topped with perfectly poached eggs and a miso hollandaise. Excellent flavours. My Mom chose the daily special French Toast, which came with a rhubarb compote and vanilla crème anglaise and a side of Porkbelly. Again, well done. For dessert we shared the Ginger Cake, warm and deeply spiced, topped with candied ginger crème fraîche, sitting in a pool of caramel. Need I say more? The food is thoughtful, locally sourced, and created with an obvious humour.

More, please.

106 Superior Street, Victoria
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday only: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

www.thesuperior.ca
Photos

Friday, June 13, 2008

rebar modern food (Victoria)

The restaurant rebar is what I refer to as the “mother ship”. While I am not so familiar with the actual restaurant, I am intimately familiar with the restaurant’s cookbook. It’s how I learned to cook – not technically, but sensorially. I have enjoyed many a spectacular meal prepared from this book. So when in Victoria, of course, I must pay homage.

The ambience has a familial feel. This was accentuated by the self-described “old bachelor who doesn’t cook” at the next table who frequents the restaurant daily! He said he feels well taken care of by the staff.

This morning we enjoyed a beverage from their fresh juice bar which offers an extensive list of vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies and wheatgrass concoctions. We chose the Emma Peel (orange, pineapple) and the Cootie Bug (strawberry, orange, pineapple). As for the vittles, my dining partner chose a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, home fries and toast. I chose the Migas – eggs scrambled with monterey jack cheese, corn tortillas, red pepper, cilantro, topped with salsa verde. Both dishes came with homemade jam and fresh salsa.

50 Bastion Square, Victoria
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday Brunch: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

www.rebarmodernfood.com
Photos

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dutch Wooden Shoe Café

Although the Canada Line construction along the Cambie corridor has wreaked havoc on the local businesses, I have high hopes for the re-emergence of the Cambie Village once the construction is complete. Throughout it all, however, the Dutch Wooden Shoe Café has remained stalwart.

For those of you who are overwhelmed by choice, be prepared, the breakfast menu here is HUGE! There are 93 pannekoek options alone (I counted). Plus specials, plus egg dishes, plus waffles, plus cereals (hot and cold). My selection today was Pannekoek #5 (cinnamon apples, grilled onions and spek) served with stroop. I loved it, it was the perfect solution to my constant conundrum of savoury versus sweet. What I enjoyed most were the new flavours. Yes, it was just bacon, pancakes and syrup, but the Dutch variants were foreign to my taste buds.

A brief dissertation on Dutch breakfast:
Pannekoek = 12-inch, thin pancake made without sugar. Served flat, you are supposed to arrange your goodies and roll it up crepe-like.
Spek = Dutch bacon, very good!
Stroop = Dutch molasses-based syrup, very intensely flavoured.

Note: folks at the next table were ooohing and aaahing their way through their waffles – next time!

3292 Cambie Street
Breakfast hours:
Photos

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Caffé Artigiano

Caffé Artigiano is a Vancouver mini-chain famous for their coffee art. This morning, I visited the Hornby location and found it to be hustling and bustling. Lineups to order were long, but moved quickly. You can choose to sit either inside in casual surroundings or outside to enjoy their East-facing (morning sun) patio looking onto the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The breakfast options consist of a couple of breakfast burritos, fruit cups, yogurt and granola or a good selection of muffins and pastries. I believe the Hastings location actually does a brunch menu. For the second time in my breakfast adventure, I was delivered NOT what I ordered. However, when this happens now, I just trust that the breakfast angels have intervened on my behalf and brought me something even better. What I ordered was the vegetarian burrito, but what I received was the Vegetarian Panini, and it was very nice, slightly spicy. I also had the Fruit Cup to up my vitamin intake for the day.

763 Hornby Street plus other locations
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sundays: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

www.caffeartigiano.com
Photos

Monday, May 26, 2008

Trafalgars Bistro

The miracle known as sunshine was unveiling itself today, so my friend and I chose a spot where we could enjoy the warmth. Trafalgars has a lovely street-side patio enshrouded with planters, enough to shield you from the traffic, but still expose you to the elements. It is a neighbourhood spot full of ladies lunching, which suited me just fine as we, too, were ladies lunching. And what do ladies do when they lunch? They talk. Our server was perfect – very attentive and charming, but did not intrude on the conversation.

Trafalgars doesn’t so much as do breakfast as what they call their “Daytime Menu” which is a combo of brunch and lunch items. The breakfast offerings are few, but what they do, they do well. I had the Huevos Rancheros a la Trafalgars – chorizo sausage, poached eggs, avocado crème fraîche, salsa, beans and corn bread – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My friend had the more classic Eggs and Hollandaise on Potato Latke. Also tasty, but the latke was really more like a potato cake. I also appreciated the Fresh-squeezed Lemonade.

Dessert menu of almost 30 items – I kid you not. Obviously coming from their sister spot, Sweet Obsession Cakes & Pastries, who are just two doors down. But we were too full to indulge. Sad face.

2603 West 16th Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

www.trafalgars.com
Photos

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Naam

I’m assuming most everyone knows about The Naam. It’s been a veggie-only institution since the 60s. And while it is open 24 hours and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, I believe that breakfast is their best meal of the day. The breakfast menu is quite comprehensive, something for everyone (well, except die-hard carnivores).

The Naam is usually packed with birds of all feathers – old hippies, baby hippies, still hippies, gen-Xers, gen-Yers, tourists, and just plain hungry folk. And everyone is nose to the table, noshing down on generous portions of eggs, pancakes and mystery meat-substitutes.

The decor is eclectic with mismatched tables and chairs (read: wobbly), well-worn wood floors (also read: wobbly), and curious artwork. However, the sum is greater than its parts and adds up to a comfortable place for breakfast.

2724 West 4th Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Saturday: 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
www.thenaam.com
Photos

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Subeez Café

For some reason it surprises me that Subeez does breakfast. Dimmed lights, wax-draped candelabra, throbbing house music, excited chatter late into the evening is how I envision Subeez Café. But in the bright light of day, the cavernous space somehow still seems welcoming, if somewhat more subdued. On the weekend, they offer a brunch menu. During the week, a slightly shorter version for breakfast. Prices are very reasonable for breakfast items, all $10 or less.

My dining partner had the Classic Breakfast, which included what they call ‘Tomato Beans’, which suspiciously looked like canned, regardless, they were just what the doctor ordered. I had the Chorizo Frittata with jalapeño, salsa and cheddar. My meal was definitely satisfying, however, what I truly craved were the pancakes. And when I saw a big pile of fluffy flapjacks being delivered to the next table, I wished I had honoured my desire - they looked yum-may!

891 Homer Street
Breakfast hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Brunch hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
www.subeez.com
Photos

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunshine Diner

The Sunshine Diner has that ‘new-old’ 50s diner retro look complete with checkered floors, formica tabletops and red vinyl booths. Everyone likes to sit in a booth, right? The service was quick, which is good as lineups are standard on the weekends here. In my research of breakfast, I have found that on weekends, 10:00 a.m. seems to be the magic cutoff time. Show up at 9:45 and you’re seated, 10:00 lineup.

The menu is deep with omelette and benny options. My choice was the Romero Benny which involved cream cheese, avocado and tomato. And, of course, I ordered the additional “famous home fries”. While I did not know they were famous, I do agree that they could be. One of the top 3 (or maybe 4) versions of potato sides I’ve come across so far. They also offer a couple of diner-esque items, my partner ordered the Breakfast Burger – two eggs and sausage between a toasted bun.

Quote of the day by a 6-year-old at the next table: “Dad, some people SUCK at things even though they say they ROCK!”

2756 West Broadway
Breakfast hours: All day, every day
Photos

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Raincity Grill

Today was the annual Vancouver Sun Run. We decided to have breakfast right in the heart of it at Raincity Grill. I prefer eating to running any day of the year, that goes without saying, but it was fun eating while watching others running.

Raincity Grill is another noted Vancouver restaurant that prides itself on using local ingredients and food purveyors. Their door proclaims them to be “Vancouver’s First 100 Mile Menu”. Service here is “on”. Once our selections were made, delivered to our table were some complimentary, delightful mini-pastries – Lemon Cranberry Scones and fresh Croissants with strawberry jam – a bonus that ups the ‘extra special’ quotient.

I ordered the Smoked Salmon with Poached Eggs on Brioche, they arrived looking like giant pillows of love – seriously, I just wanted to rub my cheek against them. The accompanying salad with shallots and capers complimented the creamy, briny dish perfectly. My friend, who is partial to Bennys believing they are the benchmark of a good kitchen, ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict.

For dessert (yes, dessert at breakfast is extremely civilized), we shared the Spiced Merridale Cider Soup which came with caramelized apples, vanilla-cardamom crème and little butter cookies. Make sure you get a little bit of each in every spoonful – poifect.

1193 Denman Street
Brunch hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
www.raincitygrill.com
Photos

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunny Spot Café

Aaaaaah, Spring is finally in the air! The sun is out, a warm breeze has replaced the biting wind. People are wearing fewer layers and happy to be outside. Today we ate at the aptly named Sunny Spot Café, a family-run classic diner. Menu options are expected, no tomfoolery here.

My Potato Lovers Breakfast could actually be named the Vegetable Lovers Breakfast. I was delighted to find spinach, tomatoes, bean sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini all sautéed with my potatoes. It was tasty fare, and a good deal at $6.45. My partner had the Blueberry Pancakes with Sausage. As usual on a Sunday, if you show up before 10 a.m. you will easily find a seat. After that, you will find a packed house.

2543 Main Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Photos

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Le Village (CLOSED)

Today most of my friends were sick, working, moving, in Hawai’i, or getting their hair cut, so, I was flying solo and I was looking to go somewhere quick and easy. Le Village is a bakery which also serves breakfast. The menu is small, the food is inexpensive (nothing above $6.50), the service is quick (tell-tale beeping coming from the kitchen). I ordered the Croissant Breakfast: a croissant filled with 2 eggs, tomato, bacon and goat cheese.

3236 West Broadway
Breakfast hours:

Photos

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Aurora Bistro (CLOSED)

Note: Sadly they are now closed.
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She said, “Aurora Bistro?” I said, “Winter Farmers Market?” We both said, “Yes!” and a foodie day in heaven was created.

Aurora Bistro prides themselves on using local farmers and West Coast ingredients and today they had a house special prosciutto. The story is that the pig was grown by the chef himself and raised in a happy environment while munching on hazelnuts. And if anyone has ever doubted that food grown in love doesn’t taste better, this prosciutto will dispel their disbelief! Words do not do buttery, salty, hazelnutty justice to this melt-on-your-tongue, fine piece of meat.

Also apparently the chef encourages his young chefs to bring some of their own creations to the table, so to speak. Thus, on the menu was Courtney’s Warm Baked 3 Grain Oatmeal with Walnut Thyme Praline, Vanilla Stone Fruit Preserves and Warm Cream. The name is long, but the dish lives up to its moniker. I was so excited to dig in when brought to the table, I sadly forgot to take a picture of it before we devoured it. It was outstanding - both visually and gastronomically! You’ll just have to go and try it for yourself.

Wait, there’s more... *then* we each had our own version of breakfast hash. One was House Made Duck Bacon with Poached Eggs, Hollandaise, Sweet Corn Relish, Potato Hash and the other was Smoked Sablefish and Potato Hash with Poached Eggs, Hollandaise and Tomato Preserve. Again, long, but every syllable delicious.

Yes, slightly gluttoness, but all was eaten with love, which makes it easier to digest. Truth.

2420 Main Street
Brunch hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
www.aurorabistro.ca
Photos

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Avenue Grill

What better reason to go out for brunch than to spend a quiet Sunday morning being with your friends. We walked in the door of the Avenue Grill and it just smelled like breakfast. This neighbourhood spot was quite busy, however, we were quickly seated. The tables are close together, which prompted us to discuss how we tend to like restaurants that are ‘cozy’. We figured it was because it gives a feeling of community and shared experience.

On order today were Pecan Pancakes, the Country Breakfast and the daily special Spinach and Feta Brioche with Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise. My friends also chose to start their day with a Kir Royale, and although I didn’t imbibe, I appreciated the sparkling beauty of the drink. Cheers!

2114 West 41st Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to
Saturday/Sunday:
www.avenuegrillbc.com
Photos

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Elements (Whistler)

This weekend we journeyed to Whistler to visit friends and to experience the new cross-country ski area in Callaghan Valley. This new Olympic venue is stunning. If you get a chance to ski it before the hordes show up, I strongly recommend it.

The advantage of visiting friends in another town is that they know the best restaurants and lucky for us, our friends know about Elements. What I love about their breakfasts are the small extra efforts made to enhance the meal. Each plate is accompanied by a shot of fresh juice and melon. Items such as the Spinach and Portobello Mushroom Frittata and Pancetta, Roasted Pepper, Goat Cheese Frittata are nicely presented. And their potatoes come as their signature Potato Tartlet – mashed potatoes on the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside, served with a dollop of chived sour cream. Some sweet delights include Caramelized Pecans and Banana-stuffed French Toast.

All around $10, I find the breakfasts are good value, especially as the restaurant is located right in the Village.

Located in the Summit Lodge & Spa, Whistler
Breakfast hours: 8 a.m to 2 p.m., Daily

Website
Photos

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Elbow Room

As I am In Search of Breakfast, I realize that The Elbow Room is an obvious stop on my egg-eating trail. And although I was excited to go The Elbow Room this morning, I was definitely not in the mood for the tongue-lashing that they are famous for. However, I discovered a trick: be nice to your server, and they are nice back. (Shhh - I don’t think they want this information to get out!)

The menu is extensive, especially the 25+ choices of omelette. And today, we had two, the Hillary Swank Omelette and the Oh Mary Omelette (with the hollandaise on the side). I also ordered a side of hashbrowns - pay attention to the menu, the omelettes do not come with!

560 Davie Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8 a.m to 4 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

www.theelbowroomcafe.com
Photos

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Provence Marinaside

I met a friend at Provence this morning before we headed off to a class we regularly attend at the nearby Roundhouse Community Centre. Usually, I am so curious about where I am eating, what I am eating and what’s going on at the restaurant. However, this morning I was so enthralled in our conversation, I hardly noticed the restaurant.

Our server was extremely friendly and funny. My Vegetarian Omelette with Pesto was OK. The potatoes it came with were nice.

1177 Marinaside Crescent
Breakfast hours:
Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Brunch: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

www.provencevancouver.com/marinaside/
Photos

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Central Bistro

Central – is it a bistro? a lounge? a eurobar? a diner? Whatever it is, it’s popular, which means be prepared to have ‘leisurely’ breakfast (i.e. don’t be in a hurry). However, the food was worth the wait. The menu is extensive but entirely savoury except for one or two dishes. Ironically, I mostly prefer savoury dishes in the morning, but today I was craving something sweet.

It was our server’s first day, so I forgave her that she ordered me the wrong dish. Actually, it turns out that I was very grateful, indeed. I ordered the Wild Berry French Toast, but what I received was the Croissant French Toast with Winter Fruit Compote. Sorry, but croissants beat out french bread any day of the week. My mistake for ordering the wrong dish to begin with. Luckily the breakfast angels were there to intervene. My dining partner had the Flatiron Steak and Eggs which was also delish. The fresh squeezed OJ was appreciated, but FYI $4.

1072 Denman Street
Breakfast hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Daily
www.centralbistro.com
Photos

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thorntree Café (CLOSED)

This neighbourhood spot is small, service is casual, and the food is diner classic. My Poached Eggs Pomodoro came with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes and toast. It was perfunctory, but hit the spot. My dining partner had the Seafood Benedict, which came with choice of fruit or hash browns. The hollandaise was good.

3204 Dunbar Street
Breakfast hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, Daily

Sunday, January 27, 2008

La Boqueria at the Four Seasons (UPDATED)

UPDATE (11/10/09): The Four Seasons is no longer serving a buffet and is serving a brunch menu. See review for Yew Restaurant for details.
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This all-you-can-eat buffet is truly a step above your regular hotel buffet (a giant step). Zow! The brunch is latin-inspired, meaning there are Spanish, Cuban and other Latin countries represented. The variety available is outstanding. What’s a little different, too, is in addition to the spread, you can order as much as you’d like off their brunch menu. Items which are best freshly prepared instead of sitting on a hot plate.

While there was far too much food to mention it all, some highlights were the Guava-glazed Short Ribs, Honey Corn Bread with fresh Guacamole, Arepas with Saffron Sauce, Chorizo Sausage and Potato Hash, Plantain Bread (think the best banana bread ever!), Citrus-marinated Shrimp with Guava Horseradish Sauce, Cuban Sandwiches with Plantain Chips, Rum-cured Salmon Eggs Benedict, honestly I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

The newly-renovated space is pleasant (although the wine room is slightly demonstrative), and there was a live guitarist playing lovely latin music that was soothing. This brunch isn’t cheap but it is a true all-included price. Your $45 includes the menu, the buffet and all the tea, coffee and juices you can drink. They had a pineapple-mango-lime juice this morning. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia Street
Brunch hours: Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

www.fourseasons.com/vancouver/dining

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tommy’s

Tommy’s is full of sweet memories for me. Years ago, I lived just down the street and I have many fond memories of getting up on weekend mornings and having delicious, lingering breakfasts at this home-style café.

They still have the same great breakfasts, but it's definitely not so easy to linger these days. There are crowds of people lined up at the front door waiting for a seat. The café only seats about 20, but the service is quick and it usually doesn’t take too long to be able to sit.

Their coffee is a bottomless cup and it’s self serve. Although I have to admit I quit drinking coffee, I still love the self serve idea.

1308 Ross Road, North Vancouver
Breakfast hours:
Mon-Thu: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fri-Sun: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brioche

Early-ish on a rainy Saturday morning we ended up at this casual spot as it turned out to be Plan “B” when our original choice was not open yet. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The menu here is very straight forward (see photos for chalkboard sign menu). They do also have a “Create your own Omelette” option. I enjoyed my Veggie and Goat Cheese Omelette which came with choice of bread and a fruit salad. Simple, but the flavours were there. The multigrain bread was quite fabulous, now that I think about it, warm and toasty. My friend had the Prosciutto, Spinach and Feta Omelette.

The baked goods looked nice, and I had my eye on the Peanut Butter Pain au Chocolat but was too full after my omelette to partake.

401 West Cordova Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

www.brioche.ca
Photos