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Category: brunch Page 1 of 5

O.E.B. Breakfast Company

My guest is a fan of this newer breakfast spot, so when looking for a place to meet up for a meal, she suggested “O.E.B.” Her first visit of the chain was in Calgary, 8 years ago, and it left a lasting impression. Apparently back then they severed their food in Chinese take out containers with chopsticks.

Be warned, if you decide to visit yourself, you will want to call in and/or go online to leave your name on their wait list. This place gets busy. A large space with so many bodies inside and out. I was surprised by the traffic given that this was a random Tuesday, mid afternoon. But the sun was out, the summer weather was upon us, and their waterside patio is a popular destination because of it.

Given the patio was full we sat inside and it was just as nice. A modern diner with many corners and crevices to create private dining areas, with enough space to also seat whole families. The restaurant is themed in eggs, much like their logo. Cracked shells inverted become lamp shades with jagged edges. A cluster of oval lights are gathered together to look like a bouquet of eggs. And the host booth stands in front of a sculpture that like looks like an egg sliced in half, with a fluorescent orange centre.

We grabbed a seat by their impressive looking bar. Despite the fun and whimsical setting, this is a counter you would post up in front of for a late night glass of veuve clicquot, as suggested by their bar display.

The menu is as overwhelming as the restaurant, there is so much to see and go through. Both spoke to the volume they were expecting and the following they already garnered. It was a full page in tiny print listing egg platters, bennies, breakfast poutines, their “blue plate specials”, three egg “scram-blotted”, “grown up sandwiches”, and sweeter breakfast options they categorized as “fully worth the calories”.

My guest got her favourite dish, one of their signature breakfast poutines. “Chasing Chickens” with poached eggs, duck fried herb potatoes, Saint cyrille curds, smoked pulled chicken, and a brown butter hollandaise. She doesn’t like a runny yolk, but ordered her’s medium in order to be able to break into it and stir in some additional creaminess to the poutine gravy. This is a decadent serving, I don’t know how she was able to finish it herself. It is also a little rich as the first meal of your day. Best as a snack or a side to share. The smokiness of the chicken was very prominent, lean white meat that tasted like smokey bacon without all the grease. The potato base was just as flavourful, more herb than the lard used to cook it to a crisp.

Looking for something more light I went for one of their farm fresh classics, choosing the side of fingerling potatoes over the same duck fat fried herb potatoes with wild arugula as my guest had in her poutine. As a side, the fingerling potatoes offered a nice break in taste and freshness with the green onion and more tomatoey ketchup dip.

The idea of an “Artisanal bagel Sammy” peaked my interest and the addition of white truffle mayo sealed the deal. Two free run eggs, white truffle mayo, hass avocado, micro watercress, and semi fried cherry tomatoes; sandwiched between two bagel slices made with the texture of a croissant and white bread combined. Served with a side of market fresh fruit, this was a full meal. But to add on more salt and protein, bacon or a series of hams are available for $3 more. Here, I opted for the hog & rabbit mortadella for $4 because I thought it would be interesting to try.

Little did I know, adding on the processed meat product didn’t have it coming as part of the bagel sandwich. Instead it came on the side as 4 slices, fried. And although I was appreciative of how much I got here, I wish I had the option of having only one slice for $1. This was too much for one person, in one sitting. The mortadella was zesty and salty, like a more seasoned spam, it overpowers anything you eat with it.

As for the bagel sandwich, the bread was so chewy that you couldn’t cut it with a regular butter knife and fork. Yet it was far too messy to eat with your hands; with all that luscious cream, in just the right amount of truffle flavour. The fresh ingredients over flowed and the chunks of avocado slid out. The latter would have been better as a mash. And if it weren’t for the bagel hole, the former would have stayed better in place. The remedy, a carving knife with a segregated age. Delicious as a whole.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great spot for breakfast with a view, offering a fulsome menu that can keep you trying new things for months to come. They are definitely bringing something different to Vancouver’s brunch scene. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

OEB
1137 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2Y3
604-423-3447
eatoeb.com

Backcountry Brewing, #pizzachallengeyvr

Today the weather was beautiful, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. Ideal conditions for a nice cruise up the Sea to Sky highway. And since we would be driving to it, this was also as good of a time as any to stop at Squamish for lunch. Squamish, home of the town’s only brewery, “Backcountry” and their tasting room with full bar and pizza kitchen. It was also the next stop on my Vancouver Foodster #pizzachallengeyvr tour, with me playing the role of one of the three judges.

And this Easter long weekend the neighbourhood too decided to come out to “Backcountry Brewing” for a pint and a pie. Luckily, we were able to grab the tail end of a share style table, without any wait. You order your drinks and your meal at the bar, the former you take with you back to your seat, the latter gets brought out to you.

But many more visitors came in to purchase beers in bulk. Their full assortment was available for grab and go in refrigerator units, you also had the option to buy a grower and fill it from their taps. And to complete the experience, you can drink your “Backcountry” beer out of one of their branded glasses, while wearing their outdoor lifestyle merch. All also available for purchase.

Naturally, we had to start our meal with said beers. Especially considering this is a brewery, and that you can see the tanks from any seat in their open dining area.

My guest had the “Ridge runner Pilsner” for a nice crisp drink.

I will always opt for a flight, to be able to taste more in one go. I choose the following based on their names. Each more and more fun as I moved along. The “I’ll have what she is having” is a peach, boysenberry, and mango sour that actually isn’t all that sour. The “Dead of night galaxy IPA” uses galaxy hops exclusively, for a lighter and fruiter brew. “Everything is coming up Milhouse” is the West coast version of their popular “Widow Maker” beer, but crisper and lighter. And the “Really really ridiculous looking” is new on tap, a lighter and fruitier lager that ended up being my favourite of the afternoon. Each brew I tasted was just as good as the next, each unique, each delicious. They weren’t overwhelming, but easy to drink.

When it came to food, first came the pizza I was sent here to try. “I pity the falafool”, a vegetarian pizza that catered to Squamish’s plant-based eating. Tahini, feta, falafel, halloumi, yogurt, and mint. This was the only vegetarian entry for this year’s competition. I have never had a pizza like this before, and it lived up to its name and the expectations you had reading it. You absolutely got the promised flavour a falafel. It ate like a whole other meal, making it a great vegetarian offering that didn’t have it feeling like you were missing anything. It was also just as complex as any other meat-happy pies on the menu. It had an all encompassing Mediterranean feel, that I would be happy with the next time I am craving the distinct flavour of a falafel.

We also tried their Margherita pizza, wanting a base pizza flavour that we are familiar, and could use to gauge the quality of the pizzas coming out of their kitchen. The crust was beautifully baked with plenty of air bubbles and crispy blackened bits. It checked off all the boxes. Where it lacked was in the depth of the sauce. It was a little two sweet for my taste, whereas I would have liked more seasoning and a lot more fior di latte cheese. Therefore I suggest getting one of their specialty pizzas that they do so well, instead.

Like the “Wake-N-Bacon 3.0”. Maple garlic cream, roasted potato, guanciale, mozzarella, oven cured tomato, and a sunny side up egg. A delicious assembly altogether, but it was really the maple syrup that made all the difference. This was also the chef’s favourite pizza, and a popular brunch option. Salty, sweet, and savoury all rolled into one. My only critique is I wanted more runny egg to go around, only one slice and one person gets to have egg.

We also tried their new “Galaxy Pastrami Sandwich”. The pastrami is brined in their Galaxy IPA, hence the name. It is stacked between two thick slices of herbed focaccia, along with gruyere cheese and a mustard vinaigrette slaw. Served with a side of regular chips, and their in-house made beer pickles. It was a thick and delicious looking sandwich, but a little too dry for my tastes. I was left craving a creamy sauce, more mayonnaise, or even a gravy dip to dunk the sandwich into for moisture. The sides offered a change of taste and texture and helped in getting this down. I liked the pickles the most, but would have liked them sweeter for a better contrast. I did like the meat as is, they were quality you can taste. Similarly the crispy toasted bread would have been great as is with a slather of salted butter.

For some spice in any of the above, each seating had a bottle of their beer infused “Backcountry Brewing” hot sauce. It is prepared locally using their “Ridge Runner Pilsner”. Like their beers it gives you want you expect, without being overpowering.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great spot to stop at when in Squamish great pizzas and beers coming together for a delicious lunch or brunch. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BACKCOUNTRY
405-1201 Commercial Way, Squamish BC, V8B 0R5
604-567-2739
backcountrybrewing.com

 

 

To learn more about the Vancouver Foodster Pizza Challenge, visit the link. And then try all the competitors to vote for your favourite.

Pizza Challenge

Il Posto, #pizzachallengeyvr

This is another restaurant I would not otherwise know about if not for the Vancouver Foodster. As I continued to judge all the contestants of this year’s Pizza Challenge I found myself in Ladner, at the threshold of “Il Posto”. A beautiful building, symmetrical with red and teal trimmed windows.

The restaurant is modern with several spaces to enjoy their food at. The main dining area by their bar, a private room towards the back, and a little breakfast nook up front by the windows. We picked the latter to be able to get a look at the sidewalk and the currently closed patio up front.

”Il Posto” has been open for a little over a year now. They are located on a popular strip of Ladner. The street is often closed to host such events as the Delta Classic car show, the cycling competition, Tour de Delta; and the lower mainland’s largest farmer’s market in summer.

They have only been offering brunch since November, and today we were here to get a taste. But first we would accompany our food with some classic brunch time cocktails. The easy to down “Aperol Spritz” in a large glass. Aperol, Prosecco, soda, and orange. And a double Caesar with vodka, Clamato and spices. This was the classic recipe with olives and pickled asparagus as garnish. Though they do ask you if you like it spicer or with extra Worcester.

In general the service here is amazing. You felt the good energy walking in. The hostess is welcoming and vibrant. She and our server made small talk and jokes, you immediately felt comfortable in your seat. During our stay we would meet many faces and it was the same for each. The table next to ours was celebrating a birthday and their server surprised him with a personal sized tiramisu, a lit candle, and a song.

Our second round of drinks included their “Italian 75” made with gin, lemon, and Prosecco. It packed a punch like an adult lemonade. And the Bellini with Prosecco and peach was a lot lighter by comparison. This wasn’t the classic rendition. No frozen slush, but all the flavours you’d expect. Sweet like a fuzzy peach.

For food I considered ordering their waffle dish, but decided against it after hearing that they weren’t made in house. They were prepared locally and brought in as a sweet breakfast option. So instead I took our server’s recommendation and had their salmon Benedict.

“Wild smoked salmon Benny”. Smoked salmon, pickled red onion, caponata, fried capers, and hollandaise on an English muffin. I never had a mix of onions and red peppers on a benny before. It gave this a zesty fajita feel, but it wasn’t one I liked. I found it combative against the likes of the salmon, an already very pronounced flavour. I found myself removing one or the other. I would have liked either on the side as a change of taste. Although the fresh greens and herbed potatoes proved capable in that regard. In fact the potatoes were my favourite part of this order. The restaurant doesn’t have a deep fryer in house, the chef works off of a pizza oven. So these cubes of tasty potato were cook within it at high temperatures for a great crispy shell. They were well seasoned, and for the first time I didn’t reach for ketchup on my breakfast potatoes. I also liked the creaminess of the perfectly poached egg and its runny yolk, and the foamy hollandaise that was much lighter than others I have had.

We also tried one of the “stone oven skillets”, the heaviest of the three options that had “Two poached eggs” with red wine braised beef short rib, leeks, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, potato hash, and a mornay sauce (a white, light, cheese cream sauce). Utilizing the skillet kept our meal warmer for longer, a good thing as the oil and sauce congealed once cooled. By comparison to the above I found these potatoes saucy and soggy. They were a lot heavier with the tender strands of meat. The first few bites were good, but I found myself wanting a break from the flavour. Here, the house made focaccia was great, but there was not enough of it. I could have eaten a loaf as is, it was so well seasoned with coarse salt and herbs. It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with its air bubbles.

I didn’t need any additional seasoning, but if you do, the restaurant offers up bottles of their house made chilli oil and/or a rosemary thyme oil. These are best use as a drizzle or a dip on one of their pizzas. Like the one I was here to try.

This is the “Fat Tony”. Its name comes from the starter dough that they use. A dough that is made and allowed to rest for 48 hours. I liked it, as it was much like the focaccia above. A thin crust dressed with red sauce, sliced meatballs, caramelized onion, caciocavallo, pecorino, basil, and oregano; then finished with a garlic focaccia crumb. I liked the presentation, the fresh and full basil leaves, and the round meatball that crowned it. Although when it came time to eat, I would have preferred the leaves chopped up and the meat ball better divvied up. You got two meat balls in total, the other one was already sliced up and shared amongst the 6 slices. They are perfectly prepared, moist and still a little pink. And they sliced like butter. At the core of it, this is a solid margherita pizza, but with some creative and dressed up elements. It is also a little sweeter due to the caramelized onions and the sweetness in the tomato sauce. The sauce gets drippy and things get messy, it is best to eat with your hands.

 

To learn more about the Vancouver Foodster Pizza Challenge, visit the link. And then try all the competitors to vote for your favourite to win the people’s choice award.

Pizza Challenge

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
If they were in Vancouver I could see myself returning and frequenting. It is a nice restaurant, but a far commute for a meal, from my home in Burnaby. I don’t know much about Ladner, but based on our experience and overhearing all the positive conversations of the customers around us, this is the place to be. In their food you could taste the farms that surrounds them. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

IL POSTO
4866 Delta Street, Delta BC, V4K 2T8
604-946-1300
ilpostoresto.com

River Rock Casino, brunch

When I think of brunch spots, I don’t immediately think of Richmond as a destination, however “River Rock Casino” is about to change that with their introduction to brunch. As of March they have introduced Sunday brunch to their “Curve Lounge” menu, and today I had the opportunity to get a closer look at it all, dish after scrumptious dish.

This is part of “River Rock Casino’s” goal for the year ahead, to get back to entertainment with a food focused plan. The goal, to get visitors in for a fun night at the casino with live gaming and entertainment coupled with great drinks, to spend the night, then enjoy a comforting brunch the morning after. A “greasy morning breakfast after a night of indulging” featuring plenty of butter and carbs.

“Curve Lounge” is located in the foyer of the casino/hotel, just behind a set of ascending staircase. They offer happy hour specials, a late night menu with live music, an open patio during longer summer evenings, and now brunch on Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm.

Our morning began with some drinks, which included the launch of their build your own Caesar bar. Here, it is a choose your own adventure of spirits, rims, spices, and assorted house made pickled garnishes.

You begin by rimming your glass with lemon juice then follow it with either their house made steak spice, bacon bits, or a Parmesan black pepper mix. Next, you choose your liquor between vodka, tequila or gin. The bartender helps you with this part, adding ice over top. For now they only offer the Motts Clamato juice, with the hope of bringing more tomato based juices to their line up. You fill your glass then season with the classic Worcestershire sauce, cracked pepper, and chilli flakes (if you like).

And finally my favourite part: the toppings, where the world is your oyster. You can choose between two kinds of olives, dried sausages, bacon bits, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, bacon strips, corn segments, pickled green beans, pepperette, jalapeño, dill pickles, cornichons and shrimp. Technically there are no limitations on stacking, and no restrictions on how many of each; but a good rule of thumb is, if you can’t carry it from the bar to your table you have gone too far.

However, if the decision making process is too much this early, just choose one of their premade creations. “The dark and dirty” features vodka with olive juice. “The social”, beefeater gin with a bacon Parmesan peppered rim. And “The little devil” features olmeca gold tequila with a spicy chilli flake rim, Tabasco, and jalapeño.

If you need something caffeinated to perk you up, they also offer Starbucks coffee from their pour over station. It’s best to ask for help from the staff here, as you can burn yourself.

The food portion of our meal began with a little treat from our chef. It isn’t on their brunch menu, but I think it should be added. These are “Okanagan Apple fritters” and they are available at the casino’s West A food court. They are squishy balls of dough with chunks of apple. Each is covered in a thick coating of melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar that sticks to your lips and coat your tongue. Half the fun is licking your fingers clean of its tasty cinnamon and sugar.

For those who like a sweeter breakfast “Curve” offers a “Cinnamon toast walnut crunch”. Dark rye French toast, cinnamon candied walnuts, whipped mascarpone, and brown sugar glaze. This was the brainchild of their cooking team embracing creativity. The chefs were asked to come up with some great ideas and this one “won”. Here, their dark rye sits and soaks in egg for two days. The use of rye is suppose to give it more chew, but I found the French toast soggy. Though this could have been because we waited to long to eat in order to take photos. I did however get the dark coffee notes that were described. This was an interesting twist, but I wanted more crunch from it, the walnuts although candied helped, but they left me wanting more of its texture and it’s sweetness.

My favourite dish was the “Curvalicious rancheros”, I found its presentation fun and the taste and textures most balanced. Farmhouse sausage, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, fried hen’s eggs and guacamole. (Note: I liked how their menu gussied up eggs by calling each a “hen’s egg”, fancy.) The tortilla is baked to a crisp and they stay that way through the duration of your meal. They ate like nachos with a dull spice. Saucy, crispy, fresh, and tangy. Light and hearty all at once. Great as a healthier breakfast option and even better as a late night snack, shame that it’s only offered 11-2:30pm on Sundays.

The name says it all. The “Hangover healer” is that greasy burger you want to eat after a night of heavy drinking. Shaved beef, bacon, fried egg, cheddar, and a bacon hollandaise sauce; all between two sweet buns from a local bakery. The buns made all the difference, it reminded me of Chinese style cocktail buns. Its sweetness paired well with the salted pile of meat, the freshness of the tomato, and the pickle for tang. All coated in the sumptuous, rich bacon hollandaise sauce that would continue to win me over below.

The “Proper butcher Bennie” was similar to the above, in richness and meatiness. But with two burger patties on a toasted English muffin, along with cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, bacon hollandaise, fried tomato, and their kid Cali sauce. Served with a side of their brunch potatoes. It is also normally served with two fried eggs, but they gave us poached for a more visual sensation today. This was like bacon and eggs elevated in a convenient to eat hand held. And I say hand held because the English muffin was tough to cut into, much like the over cooked beef patty. But the bacon and hollandaise hides most of that behind its crispy and creamy tastiness.

The “Almost English breakfast” is for those who want a more fulsome meal. The traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, and brunch potatoes; but to it add roasted mushrooms, black beans, grilled tomato, and toast. All that was missing was some ham to make it a proper London breakfast. It was hearty assembly, yet healthy tasting. A very clean serving with no excess oil or grease. Even the bacon felt lean between your teeth. And the sausage dull with flavour, where you expected and wanted a fatty and zesty bite.

And for the vegetarians they do have you covered as well, we didn’t try it but they have a customizable dish called “The lousy hunter”. (I enjoyed the playfulness of its name.) Roasted seasonal veggies, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a fried hens egg should you choose.

In between courses we snacked on their bowl of “Curve social nuts”, served in the lounge at night. A mix of corn nuts, peanuts, and rice cracker seasoned in a barbecue sauce.

And for dessert our heavy feast ended in a plate of fresh fruit and one bite desserts. Although this is only available through their banquet and catering options. On top of a rainbow of gold flake topped tropical fruit this platter also included chocolate truffles, lemon tarts, chocolate mousse cups, and chocolate covered strawberries. Only the macaron are not made in house.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
“River Rock Casino” now gives traditional brunch seekers a new place to visit when in Richmond. Come for the game play and stay for the breakfast the morning after. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CURVE
River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3P8
604-273-1895
riverrock.com/dining/curve

Mamie Taylor, brunch

Today I was back at one of my favourite establishments to recommend, the Southern restaurant with a taxidermy theme in Chinatown: “Mamie Taylor”. A fun spot for some great food, and even better drinks. And today I brought a group of my friends down to show them a new option for their brunch time cravings.

They were in awe of the restaurant’s decor with its throwback to Chinatown’s yester-years in the form of historic signs and antiques with a story. They loved posing with the animal bust dressed up in hats, glasses, and necklaces. But best of all they enjoyed the food.

We started our meal with their brunch time cocktails. Their “Bloody mamie” was a caesar and made with Clamato juice despite its name. (Bloody Mary’s are more common in the states, they use tomato juice without the clam juice.) The cocktail comes with your choice of gin or tequila mixed with their house spice mix. It was tasty with its salty rim, making it a great savoury start to the meal ahead.

For those who like a bit of a boost with their breakfast they also have a “Spiked coffee” made with your choice of rumchata or baileys. The creamy shot comes separately for you to pour into the coffee to your tastes. I am not a fan of coffee, but will always get behind a mug of something this delicious and warming. Even one of my guests, who doesn’t like to drink enjoyed this, drinking it down to its last drop.

For something more refreshing, I suggest the “Pegu royal”. Gin, Cointreau, fresh lime, bitters, and bubbles. It was citrusy like a punch, with acid that hits the back of your throat. Once again, sipping this was easy, like you weren’t drinking alcohol.

And for those who like the classics, there is their “Mamie mimosa” with fresh orange juice and bubbles.

For food we started with their “Chicken and waffle sandwich”. We had our choice of bourbon honey or spicy buffalo for the seasoning and went for the former. We wanted a little sweetness to play off the salty bacon we requested as an add on. Together they flowed well with the tangy and refreshing apple kale slaw. My only critique here was that the waffle was a little dry. They are made before the morning rush, so it would be nice to have them pressed to order instead; at least be accompanied with some more syrup or a pot of gravy on the side for moisture.

The “Homemade chorizo biscuit” wasn’t want we expected. When we read it on the menu we thought it was a buttermilk biscuit made with bits of chorizo sausage embedded within. Instead this was a buttermilk biscuit sandwich with a chorizo patty, topped with dill ranch slaw and spicy mayo. The patty was dry, and it tasted like a veggie patty with a similar texture. It needed a sauce: some gravy, barbecue, or better yet the hollandaise from the Benny below. I wasn’t impressed by this, and passed on the feedback to the owner. In the photo we asked for extra chorizo, not realizing we would get two patties stacked.

By comparison the “Fried green tomato Benny” was a winner. A crispy battered tomato slice, chunked avocado, soft boiled egg, and hollandaise; all over a buttery biscuit. This had all the flavours and textures I am looking for in a delicious Benny. Smooth gooey yolk, chewy biscuit, and creamy sauce. The only thing I could have used was some spice in the tomato’s batter, just for some kick.

The “Mamie’s pork belly” is the kind of sandwich you want for a greasy morning after. Thick pieces of caramelized pork topped with a sweet onion jam, gruyere and cheddar cheese, between two slices of toasted sourdough; then finished off with a perfect sunny side up egg. Sweet and salty goodness like a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich but with thicker and meatier pork pieces that make all the difference.

One of my guests is lactose intolerant, so was happy to find a brunch option that excluded butter, milk, and cream; that was tasty and she could enjoy. This was the “Smoked brisket hash” with pico de gaillo, salsa verde, poached egg, and jalapeño. She opted for no cheddar cheese and instead substituted it for some avocado slices. The generous amounts of tender and chewy brisket meat made all the difference here and the crispy breakfast potatoes.

More breakfast potatoes were included as a side for each of our plates above. And on each, they were toasted and crispy. One of my guests declared his distain for cubes of potatoes pan fried like this, only to find himself rummaging through all the plates looking for the crispy, slightly burnt pieces and loving it.

But not as much as the “White cheddar grits”. At $5, this side stole the show. It was super cheesy and simply delicious. We also passed on the feedback that this should be made the star of a breakfast platter. A meaty side to help feature it. Either way, I would suggest getting this as an add on to try.

This isn’t on the brunch menu, but could be, and should be something that you try is their deep fried apple dessert. This is one of my favourite desserts to recommend, so had to treat my friends to a bite. An apple cored and filled with vanilla ice cream, coated and deep fried in cornflakes, then topped with raisins and apple chunks sautéed in cinnamon and sugar. It is as good as I described it.

We also got to try one of the newest drink flights to hit their ever growing menu. They offer whiskey, bourbon, and even absinthe flights. And now an Old Fashion flight made with their own mix, left to sit in a cast for three months. One taster was mixed with rum, another tequila mezcal, and the last bourbon. It also included some water, should you need to dilute the beverage. Simply delicious, for those who like a stiff sip.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great place to have drinks with friends, and now a great stop for brunch. Get out of downtown and discover a unique spot in Chinatown for something unexpected. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MAMIE TAYLOR’S
251 East Georgia Street, Vancouver BC
604-620-8818
mamietaylors.ca

Arc Dining, brunch

This morning we were downtown by waterfront for brunch. Wanting to have a hearty start to the day, (before the wine festival tasting hall), we found ourself here, within walking distance to the convention centre.

The name explained the restaurant’s floor plan well. From the entrance, the restaurant spreads out on either ends. They narrow, but never quite meet, like an arc. To your left is the lounge created with nooks and crannies for some more intimate seating, eventually leading you to the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby. To the right is the central dining room, set over hardwood floors. We would be seated here for brunch, with plenty of natural light streaming in from the all glass exterior and vaulted ceiling.

Our meal began with complimentary “Sundried tomato buns”. Warm to the centre with actual chunks of tomato visible. You don’t get much of it in terms of taste, but with the whipped butter than was quick to melt over the bread, you aren’t missing anything.

From the brunch menu one of my guests had the “Lamb shakshuka”. Spicy lamb sausage, organic eggs, grilled pita bread, and chermoula. It was served piping hot with a “baseball mitt glove” around the handle of the cast iron pan it was served in. Not only did it add interest to the presentation, but it also helped to keep it from burning you. This was a hearty meal with plenty of spicy chewy sausage to work through. The pieces of pita were a great base to scoop up chunky tomato paste with, and the eggs with their runny yolk gave the mash a certain creaminess.

I had the “Corn crusted French toast”. I don’t often order a sweet breakfast option, but this was a very original assembly worth exploring more of. Brioche bread, matcha solids, yuzu curd, maple syrup, and field berries. It was delicious as is, but our waiter offered to add on bacon to my meal, and I took him up on it. This way I was able to get some salty with my sweet. What I didn’t appreciate was the price.

When he suggested a side of bacon I assumed 2-3 strips which is typical for any breakfast platter, this plate was excessive and our waiter made it seem like the kitchen was being generous when he delivered it. So I ate it happily, until I was slapped with the $7 cost for it all. Not to mention each strip was over cooked, crunchy with hints of an acrid burn. Though they did bacon as a whole did its job, the French toast was given a new taste. A great add on to the citrus flavoured custard, and the toasted matcha crumbs without any actual matcha flavour. It and the corn flake breading gave the toast plenty of crunch.

My other guest enjoyed the “Arc burger” from off the lunch menu. It was a standard beef burger with house made patty, dill pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato, house mustard, and farmhouse cheddar. Served with a Caesar salad on the side. The salad was presented in a metal container to avoid having it get warmed up by the hot plate that the burger was served on.

With it he enjoyed their “Waterfront gun and tonic”.

Our server was really engaged. He checked in often and gave us plenty of small talk. He was forward with a few comments and jokes, like teasing me about the photos I took to write this review. But overall you could tell he was simply trying to connect, and that he enjoyed his job.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wouldn’t necessarily make them a destination, but if looking for brunch in the area they are a nice solution, set to a great backdrop. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ARC
900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver BC, V6C 3L5
604-691-1818
fairmont.com/waterfront-vancouver/dining/arc-restaurant

2nd Annual OneCoffee Brunch & Guided Tasting

One Coffee’s Brunch Takeover at Chambar

This marks the 2nd annual “OneCoffee” brunch takeover, this year hosted by the Belgium restaurant, “Chambar”. Having never enjoyed brunch at “Chambar” before, I was doubly excited for what was to come. Last year we were celebrating “OneCoffee’s” single-serve coffee pods being 100% compostable, and this year we were gathered to acknowledge that fact, and help lead to some change.

Clocking in their 5th year, “One Coffee” is still Western Canada’s largest coffee roaster, operating out of Burnaby and Richmond. Details about the brand we would learn from “OneCoffee’s Q-Grader”, Tim Cole. He is one of Canada’s only certified coffee experts, much like what a sommelier is to wine. He earned this destination by passing several palette and scent tests. Meaning he has a “nose for coffee”.

And today he spoke to us on the quality of each pod and the amount of work that goes into their coffee. It begins with finding the right framers to grow the best and most sustainable beans. They pride themselves on being organic and fair trade, meaning that the farmers they work with get more than just a dollar a pound. Each batch is tested to ensure it is roasted to perfection. A process that concludes with their coffee being wrapped up in a 100% compostable pod, which is nothing but a mesh filter and no plastic: meaning no waste.

And now they have put 4 years of work into making their pods 100% compostable, they want other coffee pod producers to do the same. They are enlisting fans of their product and all those who care for the environment to sign their petition. A petition urging the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change to ban the sale of non-compostable coffee pods across Canada, and to enact legislation requiring all green-waste contractors across the country to accept 100% compostable coffee pods at their facilities. And all this comes at a perfect time when our city is already more aware and in the midst of decreasing its plastic waste by banning plastic straws.

So take 5 minutes and sign the petition by visiting the link below. There is also ways on how you can donate to the cause or share the petition to increase its awareness.

http://chng.it/PGfrjmvKDM

But now back to the coffee. Everything we tried today was brewed from a single serve machine. And we were recommended to sip each cup black, as is. The effective argument was, you don’t add cream or sugar to wine or beer, so why would you do it to coffee. Coffee, begins a similar product that is specially gathered and brewed with a specific flavour in mind.

The following three blends were chosen for today’s sampling given how they paired with our brunch items to come.

But first we started with a specialty crafted coffee cocktail.: “Friar Frappe”. “OneCoffee” French roast, Bailey’s Irish cream, green chartreuse, and mint. This was a great pick me up and got everyone in the mood for more coffee.

Then one by one we tried the Columbian, Ethiopian, and Peruvian blends
The “Colombian blend” was a mild cup with overtones of sweet wine. It is finished with clean and subtle notes of citrus and herbs.
The “Ethiopian blend” is grown in the rolling hills of Ethiopia. It is hand picked and gently washed, then sun-dried. It stars with floral notes and finishes off with a delicate and lingering flavour.
The “Peruvian blend” is a dark roast found in the uppermost regions of Peru. It is an understated coffee with a mildly acidic and rounded body. It is finished with the sweetness of honey sourced from neighbouring countries.

Our two-course brunch, started with a Belgium waffle served with a custom made “OneCoffee” Sumatran blended ganache. The waffle was sweet and fluffy, and the dipping sauce spiced, warming you up with its nutty tones.

The second course gave diners four options to choose from including granola and fruit yoghurt or a mushroom omelette.

I had the “Bob Matin” which was a deconstructed sandwich. You picked and curated each bite with either thin slices of prosciutto, sweet tomato, mashed avocado, a briny olive tapenade, softened Brie, a perfect soft boiled egg, and/or crunchy sourdough. I built it all into a full sandwich and enjoyed each colourful bite. This was best paired with “One Coffee’s Ethiopian blend”.

But the “Paella” was the most popular choice, and what majority of the room ordered. It was served in a skillet with one fried egg, curried orzo, hot Spanish chorizo, charred tomato salsa, cucumber, and pickled cilantro. This was a slightly spicy and hearty portion that paired best with “One Coffee’s Peruvian Blend”.

A delicious meal, some terrific coffee, and a brunch with a mission. For those looking to try “OneCoffee” 100% compostable coffee machine pods, they are available in “London Drugs, the organic isle of “Superstore”, “Choices, and “Whole Foods”.

ONE COFFEE
http://onecoffee.com

Cacao 70 Sweet House, Granville

I have yet to visit this boutique location of the growing dipped ice cream dessert chain. Conveniently located by the Granville sky train station, on the busy Granville street block, this little shop is the ideal spot for an indulgent dessert, a light snack, and I would soon learn brunch!

Like the other locations a lot is put into the decor. Speckled tiles floors, painted rattan seats, and wallpaper of green leaves against pink. What looks like only a narrow row of seating opens up at the back with more lounging space and tables, including upholstered booths with green palms and brown leather. This is the type of setting that you expect from a tea house, and warrants a photo.

Their menu is extensive, but we would soon learn only select items are available seasonally or occasional. Although you wouldn’t know unless you asked. There are no dates listed on their photos and menus; whereas I believe that if it is posted up and advertised within the restaurant, you should be able to order it. For example we were interested in trying their ice cream coated with chocolate and cake bits, after seeing a photos of all their flavours towering over a cone; only to learn they don’t currently stock the ingredients necessary to make it. Similarly, we couldn’t try the dipped churro doughnuts that were pictured on a flyer at the counter because they didn’t have any doughnuts in house for dipping. As a customer you shouldn’t have to pick something else and be disappointed before you even ordered.

So instead we got to try their Valentine’s Day inspired new drink and dessert, starting with the raspberry hot chocolate. It isn’t too sweet and you definitely can taste the raspberry in it. It is a warming cup topped with fluffy clouds of whipped cream, the perfect treat.

With it you can enjoy their matching white chocolate infused, raspberry topped waffle. This was both a visual treat and a tasty one. Pressed to order fluffy waffles topped with more luscious whipped cream, tart strawberries, and drizzled of raspberry flavoured white chocolate. I also appreciated how the order came with additional fruit and chocolate on the side so that you can customize your bites to your taste. Although be warned the dish of pink chocolate does harden when cooled, so do your dipping and pouring sooner than later. I liked this sauce as it reminded me of childhood and strawberry Pocky.

Going backwards, we ended our visit with something savoury. We were keen on trying something off of their brunch menu as you wouldn’t thinking of ordering anything savoury or having brunch here in the first place. A cafe that specializes in dessert with an emphasis of chocolate in its name wouldn’t be my typical go to for breakfast, but here we were eating our words. Their savoury stuffed waffle sandwiches makes a great anytime snack, and I would come back for the one we had in particular. This is the “Outlaw chicken waffle”. Tender chunks of chicken with melted white cheese, juicy tomato slices, fresh spinach greens, and candied bacon. Biting down I was taken back by how good this was, it honestly felt like it shouldn’t taste this good given where we were. Yet here we were commenting on how tasty it was after every bite. The sweet and salty combo is perfect with the waffle and bacon making great bedmates.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Yes, now that I know how tasty they are I would definitely come back, and feel comfortable recommending them for dessert and brunch to anyone. Given what I failed to try during this visit, I guess there is reason to return and try their other menu items when they are available… although I don’t exactly know when that will be. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CACAO 70 SWEET HOUSE
738 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1E4
604-288-9292
cacao70.com

Shaughnessy Restaurant at Van Dusen

Today we were here at “Shaughnessy Restaurant”, enjoying a late brunch and killing some time before the Van Dusen light show at 4pm. The former is conveniently located in the latter, and right by the entrance to the show. Thankfully with large windows, this well lit space was comfortable to linger at. The restaurant is lovely, set to the backdrop of the garden, although it is much more eye catching during a lush summer than this barren winter. Similarly, the interior didn’t give you much to look at either. Decorated with winter festive paraphernalia, centred around their main lighting fixture: a mass of bulbs that branches off and leads to others.

I had the “Chorizo skillet”, a chunky hash served in the still hot skillet that it was prepared in. Two eggs, onions, red peppers, arugula, potato, and yams, all drizzled in a spicy hollandaise. It was as dense and as heavy as it looked. Salty and hearty with the spicy hollandaise, the zesty sausage, the punchy peppers, and the wilted arugula’s pepperiness. All together I found it all too overwhelming, to the point that I ate to not waste, and not to enjoy. The potato base wasn’t enough to help buffer and balance the flavours, although the eggs did help to brighten the dish. Sadly I disliked the tough chorizo the most and left them all on the side.

My guest had the “Hot crab and shrimp croissant”, upgrading her meal with a side of clam chowder instead of salad. It didn’t look like much on the plate like this, but each individual element held up on its own.

The soup came highly recommended by our server. It was a thick and creamy serving, chunky with seafood and vegetables.

By comparison the croissant, although buttery and flaky with cheese, was light for a sandwich. The fresh seafood filling was fragrant with the use of dill, and the crunch of celery, made for a nice textural chew to gnaw through.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The manager took the time to check in with every table, and our server was very personable. We felt welcomed and took advantage by enjoying a few extra glasses of sparkling wine therein. Although, as it is out of the way for me, I cannot imagine myself traveling back just for a meal. I would do again what I did today, if looking to attend an event at Van Dusen, I may make a reservation for brunch before or dinner after, just to round out a fun night. Don’t deny your cravings.

SHAUGHNESSY
VanDusen Botanical Gardens
5251 Oak Street, Vancouver BC, V6M 4H1
604-261-0011
shaughnessyrestaurant.com
Shaughnessy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honey Salt, brunch

This weekend we were spending a night in “JW Marriott” at “Parq”, in celebration of my girl friend’s birthday. And after a late night of drinking, we decided a light and healthy brunch at “Honey Salt” the morning after, would be the best for our bodies.

I have been to the restaurant that was stylized like a tea parlour on one side, and a pantry on the other, once before. So to read more about that visit and the setting we enjoyed in depth, visit the link below.

Honey Salt, at Parq

 

Today we were seated in one of the booths, the lime green leather popped against the white walls and the restaurant’s name spelled out across it in moss. The placement of our C-shaped seating was cleverly done. We were essentially seated back to back with those to the side and back of us, thus allowing us privacy of seating, while maximizing the space.

To start, we had some drinks. Whereas my girl friend kept her hair of the dog at bay with their take on a negroni, I had some green juice.

Honey-groni. Bontinst gin, sweet vermouth, amaro averna, amaro montenegro, and honey syrup. It was a lot easier to drink than a regular negroni with the sweetness of the honey.

The “Green goodness” was a pressed blend of apple, cucumber, spinach, fennel, celery and ginger. It was spicy with the ginger and went down easy with the apple and cucumber. It was a great pick me up and a nice way to start the day.

To eat I had the “BC smoked salmon board” a build your own bagel experience with cream cheese spread, a mixed salmon and green onion spread, smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes and cucumber, capers, fennel, and half a boiled egg.

From here you spread and top as you please, and as you can see I got pretty creative with it.

My guest got the “Dungeness crab goddess salad” made with gem lettuce, watercress, potatoes, cucumbers, radish, and tomatoes. It was well dressed and deliciously done. Another great healthy way to start the day.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Everything was light and breezy, a nice snack option and a great place to enjoy it at. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

HONEY SALT
39 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 0R3
778-370-8200
parqvancouver.com/restaurants/honey-salt

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