Friday, February 22, 2013

Argo Café

Walking through the front door, I felt like I had stepped into a time capsule. The Argo is an authentic old school diner open since the 50s, and it still has the same formica countertops and fluorescent lighting. Reminiscent of a humble “working man’s” eatery, the majority of the booths were full up with construction workers from local sites, and elbowed up to the counter were guys reading newspapers. When asked what I wanted to drink, I actually felt a bit silly asking if they had any herbal tea, the request seemed so at odds with the place.

Because the lunch menu changes almost daily, there are no printed menus, only chalkboards on the walls. And while the breakfast offerings were typical greasy spoon, the cooking was not. The kitchen here knows how to cook. My flapjacks were fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, just the way I love them. My friend’s sunny-up eggs were perfectly done.

The staff here are completely unaffected and easy-going. And they did manage to find me some green tea, bless them.

1836 Ontario Street
Breakfast hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Note: cash only

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hot Chocolate Festival 2013

This falls a little outside the realm of breakfast, however, for the last few weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, several bakeries, cafés, and chocolatiers have been participating in the 3rd annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, hosted by City Food Magazine. There were over 60 flavours available, I had the opportunity to try eight different offerings, and was so impressed by the diversity and creativity, I wanted to give the artisans and the event a small shout-out.

While I enjoyed each chocolatey concoction for its own uniqueness, there were a few standouts. The owner at Leonidas shared her brainchild, which wasn’t even on the festival menu. The Boho consisted of dark chocolate with turmeric, pepper, peppermint, and honey. It sounds a little strange, but it was outstanding. Imagine earthy, spicy mint chocolate. Not surprisingly, Thierry Chocolaterie produced a divine drink, the Oh Canada!, maple pecan hot chocolate. The other that made me swoon was Beaucoup Bakery’s Joy + Salt, salted caramel milk hot chocolate.

Looking forward to trying more at next year’s event.

For descriptions of the others, visit Photos.
Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 2013

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Le Parisien

When my brother commented jokingly to our server that she is too nice to be working at a French restaurant, she replied, “everyone here is nice. And, it’s only my second day, I’ll work on my scowl.” In ambiance, Le Parisien truly feels like an authentic Parisian bistro. Bringing back memories of my travels years ago, “you have to go to Paris,” I told my brother. He rolled his eyes at me. Apparently I was stating the obvious.

The menu offers traditional French bistro food. Although, my choice was a North American invention, still, my Duck Confit Eggs Benedict was divine. My comedian brother commented that it looked like I was “vibrating” after every bite. It came with a choice of hash brown potatoes or salad or both. That’s an easy decision. My brother also enjoyed his Braised Beef Hash, similar ingredients to mine, just a different arrangement.

Being located in West End, notoriously challenged for parking, a big bonus is the free lot out back. You have to go.

751 Denman Street
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.