Sunday, December 20, 2009

Refuel (CLOSED)

I, for one, am very happy that Fuel decided to "take it down a notch". I love the new name (Refuel), the new menu (comfort classics updated), the new prices (economy still in recovery mode), and that they added brunch to the menu (I'm sure it is clear why I am happy about this one).

On Saturdays and Sundays, they do serve their regular lunch menu, plus they have a selective brunch menu to choose from. My guy ordered the Bacon and Egg Sandwich. The bacon, especially, was amazing. No surprise here as these are the same people who run Campagnolo, and if you refer to my post, it is all about the pork there, too.

But we mistakenly ordered the salad instead of the fries. Please, learn from our mistake, get the fries. Though vegetarians beware, the fries are coated in beef tallow for seasoning. The reason we made this choice is because we had decided to share the Refuel Potatoes – delicate pureed potatoes mixed with cheese curds that result in a gooey, stringy mess of cheesy potatoes. I finished off my potatoes with an order of Baked Eggs – mushroom cream, spinach and more cheese. It's the holidays – go big, right?

1944 West 4th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The New Bohemian (CLOSED)

UPDATE (12/18/11): New ownership, no longer serving brunch.
I had an eye-opening visit to The New Bohemian. I had assumed that this relatively new restaurant was targeted at the local UBC crowd as an evening hot spot focused on music, cocktails and accompanying pub-style food, thus it didn’t hit high on my list of breakfast destinations. Well, once again, I was pleasantly shaken out of my preconceived notions.

First, the space translates very well to the day, it is warm and inviting. Second, our server was amazing - full of personality and warmth - she made the whole experience. And third, I enjoyed the food, which is self-described as "Kitsilano comfort-food", I think an accurate description.

Serving large portions, there are some variations on the usual bennys and omelettes, plus a couple of odd items such as my Eggel Bagel. On a perfectly toasted bagel were caramelized onions and red peppers, topped with eggs scrambled with cheese, and then topped with Capicola ham. But the absolute highlight were the side of potatoes - wedged shaped potatoes deep-fried into crunchy goodness topped with fresh rosemary - yum!

3162 West Broadway
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
No Photos :(

Saturday, December 5, 2009


To maintain the integrity of my breakfast blog (read with tongue-in-cheek), I have to disclose that I have been to Enigma before. In fact, it was the very first breakfast place I went to when this whole adventure began. Going against my own rules about having to go somewhere new, I felt called to revisit this spot for several reasons. Firstly, I was not actually writing the blog when I first went, so I did not have any photos. Secondly, the original visit was done with a completely different mindset. Lastly, I was wanting to update my previous experience.

This whole adventure, which started over two and a half years ago, has taught me one giant lesson. The lesson being that any experience I have is in direct relation to the mindset with which I approach the experience. I have noticed that when I approach a new place with an open mind, I have a positive experience. When I approach a place with a preconceived idea, or a closed mind, I tend to have a less positive experience. It is just breakfast, but I have learned a lot along the way about how I perceive life.

About the breakfast, Enigma still has their complimentary banana bread, an excellent feature. And a solid breakfast menu, serving the likes of the Hungry Man Breakfast – waffles, bacon, sausages, eggs and potatoes.

4397 West 10th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Autentico? I have no idea. Popular? Yes. Havana is one of the most frequented spots on the Drive. Inside the restaurant was packed, so we huddled with others outside on the covered, heated patio. Even on a cold, windy, rainy Vancouver winter day, the patio was full. It wasn’t much of a hardship, really. The Hot Chocolate was warming, the service was swift, and the food was served up quickly.

On the menu are variations on the theme of chorizo, beans, eggs and rice. The Chorizo Hash with onions, peppers, and tomatoes came with poached eggs topped with hollandaise. My breakfast – the Spanish Frittata – was the same ingredients, just in a different form.

1212 Commercial Drive
Breakfast hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Daily

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Buffet at River Rock

I love a diner dive as much as the next person, however, today I was feeling “delicate” and wanted white linens and big picture windows to feel sheltered from the grey, drizzly rain. My guy said, “yeah, but those kind of places serve small portions.” The solution – a buffet. I get my white linens, he gets his portions – everybody happy. For the gorging, available are: your standard breakfast items, an omelette station, Chinese items, an extensive salad bar and a dessert bar.

The River Rock Casino does a brisk business, morning, noon and night. I could say I wasn’t surprised at how busy the casino was at 10:30 on a Sunday morning, but, really, I was a little surprised. The River Rock Casino Hotel has been under massive renovations for the past year. To be unveiled soon, the new hotel lobby promises to be a show stopper. Speaking of shows, there are some high profile performers comin’ up at the River Rock Show Theatre – Bill Cosby, Bill Maher and Jay Leno.

8811 River Road, Richmond
Brunch hours: Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

White Spot (Kitsilano)

Move along, folks, move along. Nothing new to see here. This morning, when I said, “let’s go to White Spot”, my partner said, “really? You want to go to White Spot?" For those who know me well, it goes without saying that I prefer independent eateries to chains.

But driving my decision this morning was, one, laziness and, two, a craving for a traditional breakfast. I didn’t feel like travelling too far from home just to have eggs and sausages. Although, to be fair, White Spot began as an original. As the story goes, it all started at the lookout point on SW Marine Drive, where ol’ Nat Bailey served food from his Model T truck, which he had transformed into a travelling lunch counter. And from those modest beginnings grew the BC empire we know it as today. It’s familiar, it’s breakfast.

2518 West Broadway
Breakfast hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Daily

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Chefs and a Table (CLOSED)

Update (12/29/13): They are now closed.
Two Chefs and a Table, in fact, has a few tables. And, indeed, the kitchen is run by two chefs. The charming, French-country inspired space is an odd juxtaposition to the gritty, industrial neighbourhood of Railtown. The resulting contrast works in its favour – creating a great energy. We were there for hours and had a great time. And we weren’t the only ones – the place was full by 11:30 – the motley mix of chic and grit has mass appeal.

The food is unpretentious – local ingredients prepared simply. My Strawberry Apple Pancakes with Vanilla Butter were a highlight. They were offered at great value, only $8, leading me to assume that the off-the-beaten-path location means cheaper rent – everything has its advantages.

305 Alexander Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Burgoo (Main Street)

Today is one of those days where I feel amazed and grateful just to be alive. Clear blue skies. Crisp autumn air. A relaxed energy around. I am breathing deep. Perhaps I would have enjoyed any breakfast today, but we had a successful outing at Burgoo on Main.

I have to admit, my partner and I have gone in the past for dinner and been underwhelmed by the food. Our brunch redeemed itself, in my eyes (and stomach). My Oeufs Cocotte – baked eggs with potatoes, artichokes, spinach and Gruyere cheese – elicited a few “mmm’s” from me. Likewise, the Sandwich Breakfast for my guy.

And boosting the experience was our friendly server and being able to sit on the comfortable patio in the warm sunshine. The complimentary blankets provided weren’t even necessary. Happy, happy.

3096 Main Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sevasty’s Coffee

I am not a jaded local – I love Granville Island. Not only the public market, but the energy of the entire ‘island’ excites me – such a diverse group of businesses, creators and artists. One of the most peaceful times to be there is early morning, before the daily influx of shoppers and tourists.

I met my friends there early today, a little too early, as the restaurant we agreed to meet at wasn’t yet open. Instead, we wandered over to the Net Loft to Sevasty’s Coffee. Sevasty’s is a takeout spot mostly, seating is food court style. Their focus is coffees and pastries, but they do have a respectable breakfast menu. I wanted simple, and my Egg, Ham and Cheese on Whole Wheat Bagel hit the spot. They did a fine job of a Spinach and Feta Omelette, as well.

After breakfast, the five-year-old in our group was dropped off at his Creative Drama class at the Arts Umbrella. Did I mention that I love Granville Island?

7-1666 Johnston Street (Granville Island)
Breakfast hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Daily

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Epicurean Caffé

I have passed by this place at 1st and Cypress dozens of times in my life and, for some reason, have never gone in. I don’t know why. And after breakfast today, I really don’t know why. It is a local hotspot and others seemed to know their way around. Most were settled in with their coffee and morning paper. I was a little unsure of the system, as there is a coffee bar where you order, but it’s for those who are wanting to order their drink to go. Otherwise, have a seat in the cozy space, sit tight and your order will be taken.

This Italian-style caffe serves some delicious breakfast. My Focaccia Benedict was layered with perfectly-crisp pancetta, topped with a nice hollandaise, and served on top of focaccia, of course. My sides of rosemary potatoes and greens were just right. My friend’s Pancakes were simple and elegant, served with yogurt and berry sauces. I like.

1898 West 1st Avenue
Breakfast hours: 7:30 a.m., Daily

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Wallflower Modern Diner

Run by neophytes, a husband and wife team, The Wallflower took over the space formerly occupied by the beloved Aurora Bistro. They have left the decor almost as it was, adapting it slightly to make it their own. The service is no afterthought, however, it was top notch.

Their intention is to bring home cooking, making old-school classics, into a restaurant setting. The breakfast menu includes the usual items, but it’s their specials that seem to shine. Today’s blue plate special was the Sausage Benny and the green plate special was a Veggie Chili Fritatta. I loved the look of some of their dinner menu items, such as poutine, fried chicken and meatloaf. I would have loved to have seen more of these items incorporated into the breakfast menu. I’m a glutton for comfort food!

2420 Main Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

De Dutch (Oak Street)

Formerly known as De Dutch Pannekoek House, this Vancouver-based chain of franchise restaurants have been recently rebranded as simply De Dutch. And although their new look is ‘clean’, they maintain their cutesy feel, monster menu and weekend line-ups. My guy was craving “pancakes, bacon and eggs” today and requested this spot.

And pancakes, bacon and eggs is what he had – De Dutch style. His Canadian Pannekoek contained all the requisite items then topped with maple syrup. My Pieroghi Pannekoek with cinnamony apples and stroop delivered as promised. Although, I was reminded today how important it is to trust your instincts when ordering. Go with your first choice, which is hard to do here, as the extended menu can keep you reeling trying to come up with the perfect one.

3192 Oak Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Holidays: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Galley at Jericho

After years of eating meals on the patio of The Galley at the Jericho Sailing Centre, this was the first time I visited for breakfast. Wow, I have been missing out! The combination of the serene setting – the view, the sunshine, the light morning breeze – and the food – delicious and well executed – provided one of the best breakfast experiences I have enjoyed in this city!

Available in the summer only, the breakfast menu is short, but rounded. My guy had the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Omelette. He loved the added touch of capers and red onion. I ate the Jericho Frittata with spinach, onions and sausage. Both dishes were served with “breakfast potatoes” seasoned with rosemary and paprika, and multigrain toast with house-made strawberry jam. Although it requires some effort, attention to these small details elevate a meal from ho-hum to fantastic. Ay, I wish some other restaurants would take notice.

1300 Discovery Street
Breakfast hours:
Summer (Victoria Day to Labour Day): 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Weekends only
Winter: not available

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

John’s Place (Victoria)

Talk about memories. When I was in high school, my spare block was “G” block which meant on Wednesdays I had the class immediately before and after lunch free. One of my good friends also had the same spare block and this meant that every Wednesday, we would be lunching at John’s Place.

John’s Place has been a Victoria landmark for 25 years now. And while the decor has changed over time (and the jukebox!), it still retains it’s diner feel and remains a locals hot spot. The breakfast menu is classic and offers up anything one might desire – fluffy pancakes, waffles, corned beef hash, bennys, tex mex, omelettes, etc.

If you’re in Victoria, be sure to participate in a piece of its history. Go to John’s – eat, enjoy, sit back, relax, digest.

723 Pandora Avenue, Victoria
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

La Brasserie

Today’s breakfast adventure was inspired by a singular item on the new brunch menu at La Brasserie where brunch service started just a couple of weeks ago. And as soon as I saw they were serving Oeufs en Meurette, I knew there could be only one friend to call and invite along. I have heard her sing the praises of this dish for years and, until now, she has had to drive to Seattle to get it at Cafe Campagne.

While road trips are fun, it’s also fun knowing that when the sudden urge hits for eggs poached in red wine sauce and served with lardons and pearl onions, one can just go down the street to your neighbourhood Franco-German restaurant. If you were also craving an Omelette with Goat Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes, you could do it all in one trip! Be sure to end your journey with the Pavlova with Peach Purée and Fresh Berries.

Ah, je suis complet.

1091 Davie Street
Brunch hours: Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cucumber Café (CLOSED)

UPDATE (07/04/10): Ironically enough, Cucumber Café is now a Denny's.

Sometimes breakfast is the destination and sometimes breakfast is what I do on the way to a destination. Today was the latter. We were heading out to Centennial Beach at Boundary Bay and were looking for a breakfast spot along the way. This is how I came across the Cucumber Café located just across the Oak Street Bridge on the Richmond side near the Sandman Hotel. The best way I can describe it is as a modern Denny’s except they use fresh food, not frozen, the servers are young, and the decor is lounge-y chic.

The menu has a few updates on the classics. My Corned Beef Hash was served with a tasty chipotle hollandaise. Other updates include whole-wheat pancakes, french toast and english muffins. A bonus is that they serve breakfast here all day.

10211 St. Edwards Drive, Richmond
Breakfast hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Daily

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Calvin’s Café (West Vancouver) (CLOSED)

UPDATE (07/31/11): Calvin’s has moved to a new North Vancouver location on Mount Seymour Parkway. New post here.
We were headed for a hike up the Stawamus Chief today. This meant a quick stop, or so we hoped, at Calvin’s in West Van. Realizing this casual spot is a 2-man show – 1 cook, 1 server – our dreams of a brief interlude were dashed. However, our spirits were kept high as our server had a great sense of humour. And in her words, “if I lose my sense of humour, you’re all in trouble!” Calvin’s runs a traditional breakfast menu Monday to Saturday. Today, Sunday, they offered a brunch menu. To be perfectly honest, I think we needed the breakfast menu as we were seeking hearty food to prepare us for our journey. Lucky for us we also packed fruit and nuts for the trip.

Did I mention that after about 20% of the way up the hike (vertical climb!) in 30°C heat, I decided my energies would be much better spent oohing and aahing over the kiteboarding action seaside at Squamish Spit? Yup, a day well spent.

2452 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Breakfast hours: Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to Noon
Brunch hours: Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hilary’s Café (CLOSED)

Update (05/11/10): Hilary's is closed.
In a previous decade, I worked as a graphic designer. And in that biz, I worked with numerous print shops, which ranged from high-end fine printers, to the one’s which we termed the “cheap and cheerfuls”. Meaning that we got what we paid for and did not have any expectations outside of having the job be quick, easy, and pleasant. This is Hilary’s to me – “cheap and cheerful”. On offer are selections of omelettes served up with a side of home fries, sausage or bacon, and your choice of bagel and cream cheese for just under $8.

Also in a previous decade, I lived in the West End and have been witness to the many incarnations of ownership of this little spot. Over the years it has kept it’s small coffee shop look and feel. The best part is the small street-side patio with the view of English Bay. Today, the patio served us well – some traffic to drown out the noise of our chatter. Girls gotta gab, right?

1184 Denman Street
Breakfast hours:

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Campagnolo means “country” or “rustic” food. If this is country, I’m there. Whilst seemingly simplistic, our food was simply savoury.

Starting with prime ingredients such as free-range heritage pork, cured in-house, and specially-grown local raspberries demonstrates that the menu is ingredient-driven. The Braised Pork Belly Crespelle with Mushroom Cream were melt-in-my-mouth and the Pancetta, Goat Cheese and Spinach Frittata was dance-in-my-chair yummy. Each of our side dishes were also perfectly prepared, especially the Cotechino Sausage. [Hint – go for the pork!] And go for dessert. The Panna Cotta with Raspberries and Hazelnut Crumble and Lemon Rhubarb Cake were both seasonally scrumptious.

Recently opening for brunch service, Vancouverites should embrace the country in their city. Other opportunities are Wednesdays, which are now farmer market menu days thanks to the newly opened nearby market at Main Street Station.

1020 Main Street
Brunch hours: Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Benny’s Café (nee Benny’s Bagels)

Benny’s was a frequent post-party hangout in my UBC days of yore. And although I haven’t been here since then (geez – it’s been a long time), the inside still felt the same – funky and laid-back. I was fondly recalling vivid memories of my university roommates who used to sway and stumble in line with me in those days. Ah, youth.

Surprisingly the bagels are better than I remembered. There is a great selection of sandwiches and melts which come on your choice of bagel. Our Breakfast Sandwich on Sesame and Corned Beef Sandwich on Sesame offered just the right amount of sustenance for us to head off and peruse the Kits Farmers Market.

2505 West Broadway
Breakfast hours:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Browns Socialhouse (Point Grey)

UPDATE (04/09/11): There are now some new additions to the brunch menu.
Last week I was eating breakfast almost 5,000 kms from my house. This week, I was up for a shorter trip, 2 km. One of the locations of the Browns Socialhouse mini-chain is just down the hill from us and because of their “big screen tv” motif, we knew we could continue to watch the US Open golf while we were there. We momentarily thought to avoid going out for breakfast today because it is Father’s Day, but then we had to laugh as we realized that Dads get shafted. Everyone takes Mom out for Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day, not so much. And sure enough, there were none when we arrived, perhaps they were still at home watching the golf.

Even though Browns brunch menu is very short - only 6 items - the two items we chose were very well done. My New Mexican Style Hash with spicy pulled pork, black beans and hollandaise was flavourful and any place that uses french fries in their hash is OK in my book. My partner’s Sourdough Egg Sandwich was also tasty, and the aforementioned fries which accompanied were also great on their own.

3651 West 10th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

KCC Farmers Market (Honolulu, HI)

Oahuans should be proud of their burgeoning farmers markets scene. There are now at least 10 farmers and/or green markets all over the island. A couple of days previous we had visited the Kailua Farmers Market and ate the BEST pizza I have ever had, made by the “Big Wave Tomato Lady” – grilled pizza with basil pesto, bocconcini, and organic tomatoes. I weep at the 5.5 hour plane ride between me and this pizza. Anyway... about breakfast.

Bright and early we made our way into town to enjoy the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market located at the foot of Diamond Head. It is big and bustling and a great way to interact with locals. While there was an abundance of local produce and prepared foods available, we managed to narrow our selections down to the following: Organic Acai Juice, Kalua Pork Sliders on Taro Buns, Salmon Fried Rice, Free Range Duck Egg Omelette with Macaroni Potato Salad and Cucumber Kimchee, Braised Beef Eggs Benedict, Spam Musubi, BBQ Abalone and Organic Blueberry and Mango Shave Ices.

A brief description for some of the above items for those who are not familiar.
Kalua Pork: Pork shoulder rubbed with salt, wrapped in ti plant leaves, and slow smoked.
Taro Bread: A sweeter bread made with the taro root.
Spam Musubi: A block of sushi rice topped with Spam (an island fave), wrapped in nori.
Shave Ice: Finely shaved ice topped with a variety of flavoured syrups or fruit toppings.


Kapiolani Community College, 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI
Market hours: Saturdays: 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cafe Hale’iwa (Hale’iwa, HI)

On the North Shore of Oahu, for decades the town of Hale’iwa has been host to surfers from all over the world who flock here to ride the waves of several infamous beaches - Waimea Bay, the Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach, to name a few. I am by no stretch a surfer girl, but I have done a one week surf camp and can appreciate the sport – I felt in awe of the history and energy of the place.

Of course, because it’s summer, there were no big waves, but we did enjoy a big breakfast. Cafe Hale’iwa, while unassuming, has the feel of a place steeped in surfer lore. Decorated with local artwork in wave motifs, the place is extremely casual and comfortable, everyone is welcome. The Guava and Pineapple Juices were fresh and I enjoyed the Mahi Mahi Eggs Benny special, while my friends ordered standard fare off the menu. Afterwards we cruised the shops on the one-street main drag in town and then hit the beach for some swimming and snorkeling.

We were delightfully surprised to find the North Shore still relatively undeveloped. It maintains its rural feel with sleepy villages and small farms. Keep the country COUNTRY!

66-460 Kamehameha Hwy, Hale’iwa, HI
Breakfast hours: 7:00 to 2:00 p.m., Daily


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brent’s Restaurant & Deli (Kailua, HI) (CLOSED)

UPDATE (05/10/11): On my return to Oahu, I discovered that Brent's closed over a year ago. Too bad.
My closest and long-time friend (and frequent breakfast accomplice) up and moved to Hawaii a few months ago. Being the snoop that I am, I just had to go visit her to make sure her new location was acceptable - ha! We weren’t even off the plane 12 hours before we were off for our first “Breakfast in Hawaii”. She now lives in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu, and a 10 minute drive down the road is the town of Kailua – home to several breakfast spots and what I am proclaiming to be one of the best beaches in. the. world. No exaggeration.

Brent’s is a Jewish-style deli, as close as you’re going to get to authentic on these islands, and they do a fine job. We savoured the Cheese Blintzes, Corned Beef Hash and House-made Pickles. And threw in a big dash of the islands with the Macademia Coconut Pancakes. What makes these pancakes truly outstanding is the Mac Nut Sauce, and it lives up to its moniker of “Crack” Nut Sauce. I didn’t ask what it’s made of, cause sometimes I think ignorance is bliss – and yummy.

If you visit Kailua Beach and also taste the mac/nut sauce, you will have hit two of Hawaii’s many spectacular highlights. Do it.

629A Kailua Road, Kailua, HI
Breakfast hours: Tuesdays to Fridays: 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturdays/Sundays: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Sunday, May 31, 2009


I am so grateful to all my friends who indulge me in playing along with my breakfast adventure. Today, we delighted in being with some of our West Vancouverite friends. Cindy’s, a local spot, was suggested by one of them and I might have missed it otherwise. Run by Cindy herself (though not in the house today), it has a very homey vibe – her son is the cook and her family photos hang on the walls.

The breakfast menu runs all day and offers a tempting selection of omelettes and bennys. It just so happens that we all ordered off the fresh sheet – my friends chose the Fresh Fruit Smoothie, Wild Mushroom Benny, Mediterranean Scramble, and No-carb Scramble. Unfortunately no one chose the waffles, they looked amazing. My pick, the Spring Scramble involved asparagus, green onions and a light lemony hollandaise. As well as being tasty, the meals were generous in portion.

We definitely needed the round at Ambleside Pitch and Putt afterwards to walk it off!

1850 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Juliet’s Café

Juliet’s is a family-run café named in honour of one of the owner’s daughters, photos of his family are proudly displayed throughout the restaurant. And as typical of family-run spots, Juliet’s receives customers of all ages, ranging from newborns to oldtimers. Plenty lively and perfectly casual, a good stop on the way to Kits Beach.

Their garlicky Spinach and Cream Cheese Omelette was tasty, served with their house-made bread and roasted potatoes. I was happy with the house-made granola in my Granola Parfait loaded with plenty of fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt.

1905 Cornwall Avenue
Breakfast hours: til 3:00 p.m., Daily

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stella’s Tap & Tapas Bar

Some destinations are best kept for a sunny day. Inside Stella’s is inviting, but today was sunny and (dare I say) hot, and I much preferred to be on the covered patio overlooking the small (but green) Grandview Park. It’s fun to watch the colourful life of those on the Drive go by.

While the evening menu is designed as tapas to complement their extensive list of Belgian beers, their brunch menu is much more traditional. Some sweet stuff like french toast and waffles, and some savoury such as a choice of bennys and frittatas, plus a nice selection of cravable sandwiches. These, too, would go down nicely with a brew.

1191 Commercial Drive
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Fish House in Stanley Park

Mother’s Day! Today I celebrated this occasion with who else?! My Mom. Her two passions are nature and photography so we enjoyed the morning walking around and through Stanley Park camera in hand. I call my Mom “the bird whisperer”, she seems to have a real connection with birds. And true to form as we sat at Beaver Lake in the middle of the park, a beautiful red-winged black bird came and landed right on her foot and looked at her! We laughed in disbelief.

To relax after our 3-hour walk, the perfect choice for brunch was The Fish House in Stanley Park. We had such a great time! We were offered the best seat on the patio enjoying the sunshine that was so kind to visit us today. Our server was positively charming. There was a special brunch menu for Mother’s Day. My Mom is known for ordering Caesar Salad every time she goes to a restaurant, so she was very happy that The Fish House offered an excellent version. Her other favourite food is oysters, and the Oysters Motoyaki flavoured with wasabi mayo, pickled ginger and black sesame were amazing. My Salmon Carpaccio and Shrimp and Pesto Omelette also were hommage to the seafood focus of the menu.

For dessert, we wanted to “just taste” the Ginger Cookie Mascarpone Cheesecake with Pineapple. Arriving at the table looking spectacular, we each took one bite and with eyes wide we looked at each other and started laughing and laughing. We knew in an instant that there was no way a drop of this dessert was going to get left on the plate – it was incredible!

I credit The Fish House for offering one last special touch. Each mother was invited to take home a choice of a potted flower – my Mom chose the begonia. I’m sure it will be planted with care amongst her extensive existing flower garden. Thanks Mom for a wonderful day!

8901 Stanley Park Drive
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunset Grill

The Sunset Grill bills itself a “neighbourhood pub and restaurant”, but, really, it is a pub complete with the requisite TVs tuned to the sports network – one tele for each 5 square feet. Even though it was quite early on a Sunday morning, the crowd was quite boisterous, perhaps still celebrating from the night before?

Typical breakfast/pub fare on the menu. My Irish Breakfast came with the works - bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomato, potatoes and soda bread. Just down the street was the running of the Vancouver Marathon. We popped over afterwards to cheer on the participants. I’m not sure which habit is more responsible for coronary overload - my love of breakfast or those runners’ love of pounding the pavement. I call it a tie.

2204 York Avenue
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mon Bella (CLOSED)

NOTE (10/09): Mon Bella's is now closed.

On our way to Granville Island this morning, Mon Bella was an opportune spot to stop for brunch. It is a pretty space on a pretty street - the ambience assisted by the dappling sun shining through the blossoming Cherry trees on a quiet morning.

Mon Bella identifies itself as the world’s first “bistoria”, a blend of Italian trattoria and French bistro. The brunch menu also reflects this composite of cultures. My Pain Perdu with Peaches, Red Pepper Jelly and Cinnamon Crème Fraiche fit into the French category. While my partner’s Italian Benny with Chorizo and Marinara Sauce certainly satisfied the Italian component.

1809 West 1st Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wild Wood Bistro & Bar (Whistler)

The Wild Wood Bistro is labelled as a “local’s secret”, and it is, mostly due to its unusual location inside the Whistler Racquet Club. It’s run by the Wild Wood Group, which also operates the Wild Wood Café in Function Junction and Elements (one of my faves) in Whistler Village.

The ambience is a cross between racquet club (duh) and the ubiquitous west coast mountain decor. The show stopper is the two-story windows taking full advantage of the view of both Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. There are outdoor tennis courts and a pool which would be lovely to use in the warmer months.

The food is of great quality – highlights were the farmer’s sausage, multigrain toast, roasted Pemberton potatoes and the must-have Banana Bread French Toast. Yum.

4500 Northlands Boulevard, Whistler
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Daily

Saturday, April 11, 2009

DB Bistro Moderne (CLOSED)

UPDATE (03/22/11): DB Bistro is now closed.
There are some restaurants where the quality of your dining experience depends on you, the diner, to order well. And, if you do so, you will be rewarded with a delectable meal.

My friend graciously agreed to share the Duck Poutine Lyonnaise with me as our appetizer. I don’t think I needed to twist her arm too much, really. I mmmm’d my way through my whole half of the dish. To follow up, she had the Caesar Salad. I chose one of the daily specials Nutella and Pear Crêpes with Chocolate and Vanilla Whipped Creams. Both dishes had great flavour and were executed perfectly. We ordered well.

And while the space was lovely, I had a particular fixation with the tableware, I liked it a lot. My friend had a fixation with the infamous DB Burger being eaten by the gentleman sitting next to us. We both agreed we would be happy to come back to have that burger and to sample the dessert menu.

2551 West Broadway
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Art’s Place

Art’s Place is a throw back. It has been around for over 30 years and they have the fading wallpaper and burnished leather booths to prove it - all original. From the outside, the storefront is quite unassuming, so it was a surprise to walk in and find both an ice cream parlour and an old school diner.

This place is a family affair - family owned, run and frequented. The age of the clientele ranged from 2 to 82 and most were ordering “their usual”. Our server was positively cheerful and really made the whole experience fun. My guy was in heaven with his Maple Walnut Milkshake - 16 milkshake flavours available.

There’s something about this place that takes you back to a time when life seemed a little more carefree.

2407 West 41st Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Roundel Café

We were greeted by a “please wait to be seated” sign – outside! I love this concept. Nothing makes me feel less at ease than when I am trying to enjoy my breakfast and people are hovering nearby eyeing my table. So, the solution, make people wait outside. And really, we had to wait all of 30 seconds as a few tables were just being cleared.

Inside the vibe was great – buzzy, happy. Although it could be the shining sun that had us all in such a good mood today. Even our pretending-to-be-surly, young waitresses were only smiles. The decor is 1960s kitchen chic – almost as though June Cleaver would be serving up breakfast herself.

The menu holds traditional breakfast offerings with a promise of fresh ingredients. As said by my friend, our meals “tasted like real food”. My Tomato, Avocado & Brie Omelette came with awesome roasted potatoes and yams, and a fresh salad - beautiful colours on a plate. My friend’s Smoked Salmon Benny came with the same accoutrements and also looked (and tasted) gorgeous. And while they may not be the cheapest breakfasts in town, I thought they were great value (e.g. $8.75 for my omelette).

2465 East Hastings Street
Breakfast hours: til 4:00 p.m., Daily

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paul’s Place Restaurant & Omelettery

Some days, like today, I just want breakfast, ya know? Eggs, toast, hashbrowns – simple. I thought it peculiar when I realized that most places offering this no-fuss feedin’ were named after persons – Bert’s, Teresa’s, Helen’s, Hilary’s, Juliet’s. Today I decided on Paul’s.

Having undergone renovations in recent months, gone are the faded, flowery fabrics and frayed, frilly curtains. They’ve been replaced by new hardwood floors, photographic art, modern light fixtures and a colour palette of grey, black and white. And while we thoroughly enjoyed our diner-style meals, somehow they were slightly dissonant with the updated setting. I was kind of nostalgic for the old school decor. Regardless, I loved the multigrain toast, thought my eggs were done just perfect, the potatoes were real potatoes, and the pancakes were awesome!

At least they kept the fake plants and low prices, those were enough to quench my thirst for kitsch.

2211 Granville Street
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Daily

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hell’s Kitchen (CLOSED)

Update (01/26/13): Hell is now closed.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Well, I wasn’t scorned, but scorched. OK, I exaggerate, not scorched, but enjoyed a pleasant heat. My breakfast sandwich – The B.E.A.T.C.H. – was spiced just right. The acronym stands for Basil, Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Capicolla Ham, and Hot Sriracha Sauce. Also on board my multigrain were cheddar and tarragon aioli. Seemingly a lot of flavours on one ’wich, but it came together nicely. There was a nice selection of bennys on the menu that I was tempted by, as well.

By night, I’m sure Hell’s Kitchen exudes a cozy, emberous glow, by day, it’s well suited for those enduring a light-sensitive hangover.

2041 West 4th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday/Holidays: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Twisted Fork Bistro

What a pleasant surprise! I had heard only a little about the months-old Twisted Fork Bistro, so I went in without many preconceived notions. This place shone in all the right ways – creative and concise menu, well-executed food, delightful staff, cozy ambiance and great value. Really, what more would I want?

The food is a riff on french bistro comfort food. My Asparagus Scrambled Eggs, while straight-forward, were executed to perfection. The accompaniments – sautéed spinach, slow-roasted tomatoes and potato rosti – were just right. My friends enjoyed their Banana-stuffed Brioche French Toast and Gruyère Baked Eggs.

The space had great energy, full by 11:30, just the right amount of hub-bub to have an engaged conversation with your friends without feeling like you have to shout or that people are overhearing your conversation. While we didn’t interact with the owners, they were there and it seemed that the place was infused with their personalities. Nice job.

1147 Granville Street
Brunch hours: Friday/Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Marmalade Kitchen & Bar (CLOSED)

UPDATE: Marmalade KB is now closed.
One of my favourite early childhood memories is of my Mom singing John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders”. I was feeling it today while at Marmalade – “sunshine on my shoulders making me happy” and “sunshine on the water looking so lovely”.

Located right on the seawall overlooking a marina and facing Granville Island, the outdoor patio here is perfect for soaking up rays and enjoying the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows also let the sun shine down while sitting inside. The decor has a modern, lounge-y vibe. I imagine it would be a sexy spot in the evening.

The brunch menu carries breakfast and lunch items. I’ve heard good things about the burger here, but that was too much at 10:00 a.m., so I went for the pancakes instead. Our dishes were simplistic, but executed nicely.

3-1010 Beach Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Me & Julio (CLOSED)

UPDATE: Me & Julio is now closed. --------------------------------- Sister restaurant, Lolita’s, used to run a very nice brunch and in the early days of Me & Julio, they did, as well. I guess the brunch service isn’t profitable or is more difficult to staff because Lolita’s canned their brunch and Me & Julio has pushed theirs to lunch hours with a minimal brunch menu. So brunch is kinda lunch.

Today the weather was spectacular, clear blue skies, but, brrrrrr, it was chilly. So, I needed a warm drink and the server suggested the Mexican Hot Chocolate – slightly less sweet and flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg – it was delicious. For food, we started with Guacamole Classico, fresh-made guacamole over black bean dip, served with warm, spiced corn tortilla chips, topped with pickled cabbage and poblano pepper – really nice. Our mains were chosen from the lunch menu.

I miss the extensive brunch and I believe if Me & Julio’s topped up the brunch selections, more people would be inclined to visit early on a Sunday.

2095 Commercial Drive
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deacon’s Corner (UPDATE)

UPDATE (10/14/13): Deacon’s has been sold to new owners. Sadly, there have been reports of change in quality.
Salt and pepper, people! It’s the basic principle behind good cooking – season at every stage. And the food at Deacon’s Corner was very well-seasoned. Thank you.

My Breakfast Sandwich was way tasty. My hashbrowns were crispy (browning = flavour!) and I think some cayenne snuck in for some subtle heat. Loved my side of Baked Beans, I am guessing they use the same BBQ sauce for their pulled pork sandwiches. My partner devoured his Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs, again seasoning magic.

This new-ish-ly renovated spot matches its locale in look and feel. A confluence of hipster and blue collar.

101 Main Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Glowbal Grill

Let’s start with the highlights – the complimentary Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts, 2 each. I asked for 20 more, I guess our server thought I was kidding, because they never arrived. Also yum was the Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and White Chocolate Mousse. Our server, Sam, was charming and trying very hard to make us happy (which we were). Hmmm, in retrospect, I should have left more of a tip.

Inside, the Glowbal Grill is sleek. I am always curious about how restaurants that were designed for the evening translate to the day. Here, during the day, the select seating is the outdoor covered patio. Well-heated and well-cushioned, the patio was full, and it’s January!

1079 Mainland Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tomahawk Restaurant

Steeped in local folklore and dressed in West Coast Native paraphernalia, the Tomahawk is still going strong after 80 years in business. Started in 1926, the Tomahawk has stayed in the family, although it has changed locations twice since then. A visit here is more about playing a part in Vancouver’s history than anything else.

They are famous for their burgers, but also for their diner breakfasts. Portions are large and a must-have is their signature Yukon-style bacon. My Yukon Breakfast claimed to come with 7 pieces, but I’m sure I had at least 10! Thankfully, my partner had room to finish my meal after his Chuck Wagon breakfast, because even after giving away 3 pieces of bacon and two pieces of toast, I still couldn’t do it.

I would have gone just to read the placemats, good for sh*ts and giggles.

1550 Philip Avenue, North Vancouver
Breakfast hours:
Sunday-Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kolachy Co. (CLOSED)

NOTE: They are now closed.
I needed a breakfast fix on my way to dance class this morning – something light and quick. Kolachy Co. fit the bill and was on the way. The shop is small, only a few tables inside, which I guess plays into the idea that kolachy’s are meant to be a convenient, on-the-run kind of meal.

Kolachy’s are palm-sized, whole-wheat dough balls baked with a variety of fillings. The in-store menu listed which selections were available today. From the breakfast column (available all day) I choose the Western (ham, egg, onions, peppers, cheese) and the Chorizo (chorizo, egg, tomato, peppers) – $3.50 each.

I got what I needed.

888 Beatty Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Popular Main Street spot. Relaxed vibe. “Weathered” decor.

Points given for the complimentary breads and butters. The chile butter was yum with the French bread and the cinnamon butter with the raisin bread. I enjoyed my meal, the Locus Hash, especially the crispy bits of cured and brined organic bison. My partner had the Grilled Chorizo and Tomato Jam Benny. And as he puts it, “I never met a chorizo I didn’t like.”

4121 Main Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Reef (Commercial Drive)

Walking up the Drive to meet my friend I was surprised to notice that all the breakfast spots along the way were mostly empty – and this was 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning! Albeit the crowd had yet to arrive at The Reef, the soul-stirring sounds of reggae were already pumping through the speaker system. I’m up, I’m up!

Da menu consists of all t’ings you may expect from a Caribbean-themed restaurant. And many items are vegetarian friendly. My Jerk Pork Benny (not vegetarian friendly) was concededly mild which, for my morning stomach, was OK with me. A shout out for the citrus hollandaise, loved the lime accent. I also had the Banana Lime Coconut Smoothie – I really appreciate when someone adds their own unique spin to a standard item.

I left feeling a little lighter than when I arrived – in spirit, I mean. Yah mahn.

1018 Commercial Drive
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Café Crêpe (Robson Street)

I ended up at Café Crêpe quite unintentionally today. To be honest, it wasn’t even on my breakfast radar. However, they do have a small breakfast menu plus, of course, their extensive list of sweet and savoury crèpes. My Ham, Egg and Swiss Crêpe sufficed.

1032 Robson Street