Sunday, December 9, 2012

Currents at The Bayshore

“I like this place,” said my friend. “It’s bright, cheery, extremely clean, the ceilings are high so it feels spacious, I’m sure it has a lovely view when it’s not raining, the buffet has a fair selection, and the food is pretty good.” This is coming from my long-time friend originally from Germany, and she can be stereotypically German – pragmatic and particular. Though I’m one to talk, as I selected this spot because it was efficient – near her place and enroute to where I was going next.

I liked it, too. I do have a soft spot for hotel restaurants, though. I can’t quite put my finger on why other than that they feel comforting. The breakfast menu is hotel-style priced, so we felt that the $28 breakfast buffet was the best value. Called the “Breakfast Table”, this buffet offers the basics. And though my friend is vegetarian, so could not eat the bacon, ham, or sausage, she did enjoy her three croissants with the Bonne Maman mini-jar jams (once you open the jar, you get to take the rest home).

1601 Bayshore Drive
Breakfast hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Daily
www.westinbayshore.com
Photos

Friday, November 23, 2012

Whole Foods (Cambie & 8th)

I’ve been on the move lately, and this is reflected in my recent medley of quick stop breakfast locations. In between appointments this morning, I took time to do some grocery shopping at Whole Foods and have a bite to eat.

The Cambie location serves a small breakfast menu all day – either pancakes, an omelette with your choice of 3 fillings, or an egg scramble. All come with potatoes and fresh fruit. Being that each option is $5.49 and the portions are generous, I would consider breakfast to be one of the best values going at Whole Foods. Your meal is made-to-order, so expect a waiting time of 6 to 7 minutes for your food. An even quicker and cheaper option is the breakfast sandwich available at the sandwich station.

Update (01/20/13): I wanted to mention that from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., they also have breakfast items buffet-style at the hot bar.

510 West 8th Avenue
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Daily

www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Photos

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yolk’s Breakfast Truck

My 200th breakfast adventure! I wanted this one to be memorable so I marked Yolk’s Breakfast especially for this occasion. A food truck for a special occasion? In my world, yes, indeedy. And I was right in doing so.

First, let me rave about the food. The majority of the menu is made up of a choice of egg sandwiches. Single serving on an English muffin or double everything on ciabatta bread. My Smoked Bacon Egg Sandwich with arugula and cheddar was awesome! Crispy bacon, perfectly cooked egg (runny - they actually warn you that it has potential to “explode”), nicely toasted muffin (this alone makes me happy), sharp cheddar. My friend equally enjoyed his Roasted Portobello Mushroom Egg Sandwich with hollandaise. What took them both over the top was the Truffle-Lemon Hashbrown Skewer. A must-have dish.

Another customer also gave thumbs-up approval of her Croque Madame Muffin, which highlights another great thing about a food truck - it promotes community. As we were waiting for our food, it was natural to chat with others doing the same. As well, how often do you get to talk with the chef/owner while they’re making your food? And the Yolk’s folks are very friendly, it was nice to be greeted with a genuine smile first thing in the morning.

Not only did Yolk’s deliver the deliciousness, the sun was out this morning, plus I was able to share the fun with someone very special to me. Indelible.

Beatty Street at Dunsmuir (at top of Stadium Skytrain Station)
Winter breakfast hours:
Wednesday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
yolks.ca
Photos

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IKEA Richmond

Every household move requires a trip to IKEA for those little things – a laundry basket, a new lamp, a closet organizer or two. On our way there this morning, as we were passing over the Oak Street Bridge, I said, “huh, I’ve never noticed that you can actually see IKEA from the bridge”. Well, once we arrived I realized why I’ve never noticed before, it’s because they’ve just finished building a brand new, even more ginormous IKEA next to where the old one was.

Something else I never knew before about IKEA – they serve breakfast. The breakfast special includes scrambled eggs, fried hash browns, 2 sausages, 2 pancakes, and tea or coffee. Everything is done in that classic IKEA way – lineup moves quickly and smoothly, choices are limited but you’ll find something you like, and it’s cost effective – only $1.99!

3320 Jacombs Road, Richmond
Restaurant hours (note restaurant opens 1/2 hour before store):
Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
www.ikea.ca
Photos

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artisan Eats (Bowen Island)

A personal mission led me to Bowen Island today. So close to the city, yet so far in terms of pace of life. As soon as I was on the ferry, I felt as though I was able to breathe deeper. The short 20 minute crossing is long with spectacular scenery. The adjective I’d used most to describe things on Bowen is charming - the beach cottages, the local library, small church, the shops and restaurants.

Artisan Eats is located in Artisan Square, just up the hill from the village, and is surrounded by other small businesses such as a chocolatier, yoga studio, art gallery and more. The café’s appeal was aided by today’s streaming sun and distant views of the sparkling blue ocean. The visual feast continued when our Breakfast Hash and Breakfast Skillet were presented. After leisurely enjoying breakfast and on our way out, I couldn’t help but ogle the baked goods and I was so intrigued by the unusual combination, I bought a Banana Chocolate Basil Muffin to go. The combo is delicious!

539 Artisan Lane, Bowen Island
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to Noon
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.artisaneats.ca
Photos

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Gallery Café at the VAG

You may (or may not) have noticed that I had disappeared for the past couple of months. This has been the longest break from breakfasting since I started this blog over 5 years ago. What can I say other than sometimes life takes an unexpected left turn and it can take a while to find one’s way back.

It was such a long break that I forgot to check my camera batteries so, alas, no photographs of breakfast. It truly is a shame because if a place deserves photographing, it’s this one. It’s Vancouver’s “not so secret” secret garden patio. The garden setting is perfect for enjoying warm, sunny days with other art enthusiasts. Dense foliage masks the urban sights of pavement and highrises, while piped-in music softens the car honking noises. Birds seem familiar with the routine and politely wait until you are finished your meal before pecking around your plate.

The food is served cafeteria style – yes, grab a tray and yes, the food is microwaved. Offerings are more lunch than breakfast, however, we managed to find many items to our liking. I had the Ham, Swiss, and Leek Quiche followed by a slice of Sour Cherry Frangipane, while my friend enjoyed her Spinach and Mushroom Quiche and finished with Blueberry Streusel Pie.

750 Hornby Street (level 2 at the VAG)
Breakast hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
www.thegallerycafe.ca

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge

Breakfast today was primarily the vehicle for me and a friend to connect, and I wanted to be somewhere comfy for chatting in a relaxed environment. Hotel restaurants always seem to fit this need. Hidden Tasting Bar & Social Lounge hides on the second floor of The Westin Grand Vancouver. To find it, enter from Robson Street and walk up the handsome staircase.

The breakfast menu is slightly more adventurous than that of a traditional hotel menu. My friend told me she thoroughly enjoyed her Mexicana Benedict (she’s known to love anything with salsa). For me, when I left my house this morning I could smell my neighbours making pancakes, which left me craving something sweet. The Buttermilk and Lemon Waffle satisfied my desire.

433 Robson Street, The Westin Grand Vancouver
Breakfast hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
www.hiddenvancouver.ca
Photos

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Truffle House & Café

Another rainy Vancouver spring day and another outdoor adventure planned with friends. First up was breakfast, of course. The Truffle House & Café took over the space previously occupied by Calvin’s and has obviously filled a gap as even at 9:00 a.m. it was packed. Lucky for us there was one table left on the tiny heated, covered outdoor patio out back. It was perfect, actually, fresh air and the comforting pitter-patter of rain on the roof.

If a restaurant is going to name itself after a famous fungi, I thought it best that I order accordingly. My Wild Mushroom Truffle Omelette was lightly perfumed with black truffles and white truffle oil, just the right amount. My friend also went truffle with the Truffle Crepe made with buckwheat flour. The gents went more traditional with the West Coast Benny and House Breakfast.

Following breakfast, a hike with stunning “wet” coast scenery along the Capilano River up to the Capilano Hatchery. Pouring rain, we were soaking wet an hour into our 3.5 hour hike. Thanks to my love, it will be a day I will always remember.

2452 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
www.trufflehousecafe.com
Photos

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reflections at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Inspired by my world-travelling friend, for her birthday I wanted to treat her to a breakfast that would give us the feeling of being on a deluxe getaway. Reminiscent of rooftop bars at luxury hotels in LA or Miami, this space located in an outdoor courtyard impressed. We loved the waterfall and river, the modern teak furniture with cabanas, as well as the cushy pillows and fluffy blankets. On our way through the lobby we also admired the unique 3D artwork, stunning chandelier, and vintage architectural details of the recently renovated Hotel Georgia.

At Reflections, the food is West coast with Spanish ingredients permeating the menu. We had the Spicy Chorizo Benedict with Smoked Paprika Hollandaise and Smoked Salmon Hash with Horseradish Cream. The food was refined and the playful presentations had impact – a chorus of “oohs” every time a dish was delivered. The portions were just right-sized enough that we could also enjoy dessert. The Rhubarb Basil Verrine was light and refreshing, but appearing on the menu in a most unassuming fashion, the Chef’s Special Macarons are not to be missed! They were crispy, chewy, and big flavours in 5 varieties – Maple, Lemon Poppyseed, Passionfruit, Raspberry, and Chocolate. We savoured each one.

It seems every time she and I get together our conversation eventually leads to a discussion of gratitude for the lives we live. Heartened by her gratitude practice, I want to say how grateful I am for being able to share this fun experience with my dear friend.

801 West Georgia Street
Brunch hours: Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.rosewoodhotels.com
Photos

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Diner No 1 (Steveston)

My niece moved to Vancouver recently and I wanted to share with her a part of the city that she hadn’t seen yet. I thought Steveston would be fun as it’s adorable and there are great little shops and scenic spots to explore. Unbeknownst to me, my choice was significant as Steveston is the filming location for her “favourite” TV series, Once Upon a Time – and she was excited to see if the town was recognizable from the show.

While breakfast was just the excuse for us to get together, it still proved to be a good reason as we both fancied Diner No 1. It’s a cute spot with contemporary retro decor and a similar menu. My niece chose The Classic with a fruit cup instead of hash browns (note the $1.29 substitution fee), while I had The Lumberjack – an enormous, fluffy pancake packed with crisp pieces of bacon and topped with eggs. We left feeling stuffed and satisfied.

On our walkabout after breakfast, indeed we did discover remnants of Storybrooke, Maine. Fans of the show will be familiar with locales such as Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop, Granny’s Diner, and Storybrooke Country Bread.

12551 No 1 Road, Steveston
Breakfast hours:
Weekdays: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Weekends: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
www.dinerone.com
Photos

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Perch

UPDATE (11/16/12): They have moved to a new location: 337 East Hastings and I’m not sure if they’re still serving their breakfast menu.
---------------------------------
Today my friend who is temporarily living in the ’burbs was meeting me “in town”, so I thought I would meet her en route. I also thought she might appreciate what I anticipated would be the vibe of Perch. She described it as a “place for night owls”, which was semi-confirmed by the fact that we were the only ones in the place until just before noon. It’s a tiny space that’s eclectic, casual, arty, it just feels like a place where people would like to hang out at night, enjoy music and a bevvy or two. Ironically, given that it is located in a live/work studio building, they cannot be open past 11:00 p.m. Good thing I’m a breakfast owl.

Truly this place has a sense of humour – the menu focuses on vegan/vegetarian and pork. My friend went veggie and ordered a Cheddar, Olive, Spinach Omelette. I went pork and chose the Bacon ’n Cheddar Baked Eggs, consisting of layers of baked beans, bacon, eggs, and cheddar. Think amped up “beans on toast”. You might hear a nutritionist or doctor say this is not a “heart healthy” selection. I disagree. Any breakfast that fills my heart with love is healthy in my books.

1701 Powell Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
www.eatdrinkperch.com
Photos

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Calvin’s Café (North Vancouver)

Some time within the last couple of years, Calvin’s Café moved from its long-time address in West Van to its new location at the foot of Mount Seymour. An errand in North Van brought us here today.

I like the new digs much better – cleaner, roomier, brighter. It’s still the same Swiss-born chef, and now his daughters are running the floor. And as far as I can tell, the breakfast and brunch menus are also still the same. Traditional breakfast offerings with a few Swiss influences such as the rosti and crèpes.

As the saying goes, “Some things change. Some stay the same.”

3720 Mount Seymour Parkway, North Vancouver
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sunday Brunch: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.calvinscafe.com/hobbes/
Photos

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co (Kits)

Rocky Mountain is well known for several things – their focus on using local and organic ingredients, being extremely kid-friendly, and their educational programs in the community. What they are lesser known for is breakfast. Pizza for breakfast? Well really, it is just bacon, eggs, and hash browns served on toast instead of with toast. And they offer great omelets, too.

My friends shared the Bacon Omelet and the Yukon Flatbread, while I enjoyed a Yukon Flatbread all to myself. The Yukon comes loaded with bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs and Fontina served in a right-sized, single-person portion. My friends also delighted me when they suggested we share the Banana Chocolate Flatbread for breakfast dessert. Insiders tip: ask for extra bananas.

Thanks for the treat, you two. I love my friends.

1876 West 1st Avenue
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
www.rockymountainflatbread.ca
Photos

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Skylight Restaurant

This morning, as I was perusing my list of potential breakfast destinations, from over my shoulder my guy said, “how hard can it be to find a place to get bacon and eggs?” OK, I thought, he’s in the mood to go to his comfort zone, what I refer to as a “happy-pappy” place. You know the one, where solo diners (especially men, such as the guy we ended up chatting with, who lives out of his backpack, travels with his dog, and carries his money in a sock) feel comfortable to go, read a paper, get a simple breakfast and drink an unembellished cup of coffee.

When we sat down in our red leather booth under the florescent lights and my guy looked happy, I knew I had hit the mark. He really perked up when he saw the Ukrainian Sausage Breakfast Special with eggs, hash browns and toast for $4.50. At $5.25, my Pancakes and Sausages were also easy on the sock.

Greasy spoon. Happy pappy.

1012 Commercial Drive
Breakfast hours: All day, Daily
Photos

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Bakehouse in Dundarave

Eager to take advantage of our waning winter snow and our emerging spring sunshine, we thought it would be nice to head up to Cypress for a little snowshoe today. This created the opportunity to visit The Bakehouse in Dundarave (so named to distinguish it from the one in Edgemont Village, I presume).

We arrived just minutes before opening and we weren’t the only ones, there were already several other parties waiting. Once inside, we checked out the menu board in line, ordered at the front, and then found a sunny seat and waited for our food. Being a bakehouse, obviously, they specialize in baked goodies, such as breads, scones, muffins, cookies, etc. For breakfast, though, I had the Posh Smoked Salmon Brunch, comprising of smoked salmon, poached eggs, greens, and a dill cream overtop of brioche toast. The word “posh” made me chuckle, as it definitely was a West Van crowd, although the atmosphere was very comfy casual and the food was definitely home-style cooking.

As I sit here writing now, I only wish I had ordered one of the those amazing looking muffins or scones to go. Drat.

2453 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Breakfast hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Brunch hours: Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Photos

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fray (CLOSED)

UPDATE: (07/09/13): Fray is now closed.
-----------------------------------------
This weekend, my best friend and her 13-month-old daughter were visiting from out-of-town and, of course, we went out for breakfast. When deciding on a location, I wanted somewhere that was family-friendly, and because their online brunch menu showed a “kids” section, I thought Fray would suit us. My theory proved to be right.

Walking in the door, the first thing we noticed was that there were jars of pencil crayons and paper on each table. These are intended for adult “kids”, but works for all sizes. Firmly fastened in her high chair, we let the little one draw away. Really though, we ended up playing that more familiar game of “I-throw-these-on-the-floor-and-you-pick-them-up-auntie”.

What is another familiarity, my friend and I ended up sharing two bennys – the Morning Glory and The Hangover Cure. The kitchen kindly split them up for us including my request of “no blue cheese on mine”, please. We liked the bacon and the pork, and the little one liked the potatoes.

3980 Fraser Street
Breakfast hours: Saturday/Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
www.fray.me
Photos

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Habit (CLOSED)

Update (07/20/13): Habit has changed concepts and has been reopened under the same ownership as Charlie’s Little Italian. I’ve not yet checked out their brunch.
-----------------------
When I arrived at Habit this morning, the first thing I noticed was how much I liked the feel of the room. It had a comforting mix of mellow and upbeat energy. The lighting, though dark away from the windows, lent a cozy air, and the loungy music was relaxed (but not chill) and at the right decibel. As well, the staff were on top of things, but not rushed.

I am always lured by atypical menu choices and there were a few, such as the BLTA breakfast sandwich or the breakfast perogies. My head tried to talk me into one of these items, but my heart knew I wanted pancakes. So I went with the Granola Pancakes, and thank goodness I did, they were amazing. When they came to the table I couldn’t stop swooning over the aroma of the apples and cinnamon, and they had those perfect crispy pancakes edges we all love. My friend’s Huevos Rancheros, scented with smoked paprika, were also ambrosial.

The whole scene is set for a brunch-y state of being.

2610 Main Street
Brunch hours: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday/Sunday
www.habitlounge.ca
Photos

Saturday, March 3, 2012

La Bretagne the Original Crèperie

On our way to the Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show, we wanted an unfussy breakfast. La Bretagne fit the bill – a low-key spot populated with couples reading newspapers and tourists from nearby hotels.

The menu is easy to navigate – savoury or sweet crèpes, white or buckwheat flour, with over 60 different combinations of fillings to choose from. Ironically, I wasn’t feeling very adventurous this morning and went with a rather pedestrian choice of ham, Swiss cheese, and scrambled eggs. My guy chose the breakfast special number 5, which was apples, cinnamon, and Swiss cheese accompanied by a side of sausages. The crèpes themselves had a nice texture and were generous in portion with the fillings.

It’s not quite the north of France, but it is just north of Robson.

795 Jervis Street
Breakfast hours: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Daily
Photos

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Smile Diner

It is what it is. A simple, greasy spoon diner. :)

424 West Pender Street
Breakfast hours:
www.smilediner.com
Photos

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar

I’ve been excited to go to Chewies since it opened over a month ago, mostly for its New Orleans-style food concept. One of my fondest childhood food memories is eating at the Blue Bayou located within one of my all-time favourite rides – Pirates of the Caribbean. I understand it is ridiculous to associate today’s experience with Disneyland, I am just saying it conjured up good feelings before I even arrived.

Obviously, Chewies is much more sophisticated, yet they still deliver on the good vibes. The staff here are outstanding – they accepted our annoying indecision and accommodated our slightly higher than average demands without even batting an eyelash. On top of that, they were jovial and friendly. I don’t usually dedicate so much time to talking about service, however the staff here deserve the recognition.

And let’s not forget the food. I love their menu, they are clear about who they are and the menu stays true to their idea. Our table enjoyed the Crab Cakes Benedict with Cajun Hollandaise, Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles, and Andouille Hash. While there we also perused the dinner menu, and I cannot wait to go back and try the seafood pan roast, fried okra, and beignets.

Chewies is a happy place.

2201 West 1st Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
www.chewies.ca
Photos