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.