Sunday, April 24, 2011

Secret Garden Tea Company

My brother and his family recently moved to Vancouver from jolly old Victoria. I am happy to have them here, it has been a very long time since he and I have lived in the same city. We wanted to celebrate Easter brunch together and I thought that the Secret Garden Tea Company, given its English teahouse atmosphere, would make them feel right at home.

Renowned for their High Tea service, Secret Garden also offers breakfast and lunch menus. Without a doubt, the highlights here are the baked goods and beverage teas. Over 40 premium teas are available, and as a table we enjoyed the Vanilla Rooibos, Creamy Earl Grey, and Strawberry Kiwi Herbal. For food, my family mostly ordered cheddar omelettes (birds of a feather), but I think I hit the jackpot with my Gammy’s Apple Pancakes. I loved these pancakes – richly textured, crisped edges, and just the right amount of apples and cinnamon.

And remember the baked goods. We took some Easter treats home – egg-shaped sugar cookies, decorated fudge brownie bites, and heart-shaped cheddar scones.

5559 West Boulevard
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Sunday: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Siegel’s Bagels

I realize that if I use the adjective “best”, I am inviting argy-bargy. Well, I’ll say it – Siegel’s Bagels has the best bagels in town. No contest.

This eat-in/take-out spot has been permeating Kits with its wood-fired baking aroma for over 20 years, and I’ve been stopping here for just as long. Most visits, however, have been for afternoon or late night snacks. As I was running around accomplishing errands today, my Egg McBagel fulfilled my same snack needs – quick, easy, tasty – in breakfast form. Besides the obvious bagel and cream cheese, there are a few other breakfast menu items all served 24 hours a day.

Signage at the store indicated an impending renovation to be completed next week.

1883 Cornwall Avenue
Breakfast hours: 24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Geraldine’s Counter (Seattle, WA)

Seattle is similar to Vancouver in the way that it is a city of neighbourhoods. Our tourist destination this day was The Museum of Flight, and it’s location south of downtown Seattle led me to finding a breakfast spot in a neighbourhood I had never heard of before – Columbia City. This shows what I know, as after a little research, I discovered that it is deemed one of Seattle’s “hottest” and most diverse neighbourhoods. The business district is a charming strip of galleries, shops, yoga studios, and restaurants nestled in historic buildings, surrounded by mostly single-family, bungalow-style homes. A real small-town vibe.

Geraldine’s Counter has a similar feel – warm and welcoming as soon as we stepped in the door. Their all-day breakfast menu serves comfort food, with a few twists, executed at a high level. My Bacon, Egg, and Arugula Sandwich with tomato and aioli on a sourdough batard was delish. I am always amazed how the basic ingredients of bacon, eggs, and bread can be transformed from dish to dish, place to place.

This spot is popular and for very good reason.

4872 Rainier Avenue S, Seattle, WA
Breakfast hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday, April 1, 2011

5 Spot (Seattle, WA)

The 5 Spot is a long-time Seattle favourite and now one of mine. Their emphasis is on “American Regional Food”, meaning every three months or so, they change up their specials to reflect a different region of American cuisine. The current theme is “Tornado Alley”, referencing the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. The interesting folk art was also reflective of the motif including an Oklahoman farm house, a painting of Dorothy’s shoes, Nebraska Huskers memorabilia, and a giant hanging tornado sculpture. Even the washrooms were involved by playing The Wizard of Oz over the speaker system. This is what I call commitment to a theme.

To honour this dedication, we felt it necessary to order from the specials menu.
Him – Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs, and me – Tart Cherry and Cream Cheese French Toast. Yes, many places serve chicken fried steak or french toast, but when a restaurant does it right, such as the 5 Spot, it can be an elevating experience. I was caught up in their breakfast whirlwind.

1502 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA
Breakfast hours: 8:30 a.m. to Midnight, Daily
(Note: closed 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday/Sunday)