Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekend Six - T'was a few days after Christmas, at Locus

Catie loves brunch + Dave loves brunch = We love brunch
T'was a few days after Christmas, and all through our house,
Not a home chef was stirring, not even my spouse;
Our families had brought food and presents with care,
We'd hoped that the 28th soon would be there;
We had nestled all snug in our beds,
While visions of bacon had danced through our heads.
When all of a sudden there rose such a clatter,
My stomach had rumbled and that was the matter!
Away to Locus we flew like a flash...

Well that's about all I can do of that.

Locus on Main Street

On the 28th, we ventured out after lots of family time for a brunch that we could blog about. We missed the past week because of our move to Main St, so we were really looking forward to this one. Excited, we ambled down our new street to Locus.

Locus is a restaurant I have walked passed many times but have never entered. From my experience on the 28th, I discovered I should have eaten here a long time ago. It was fantastic!

Tasty fresh baked bread
The atmosphere is reminiscent WaaZuBee, when it was around. The interior is pretty dark and the art is ... interesting. Due to the decor, I would hesitate to bring my Grandma here, but she would love the service and the food. The service is prompt and very friendly. Our waitress quickly brought out our drinks, orange juice for Dave's and exceptionally delicious coffee for me, and two types of fresh baked bread with spreads for us to sample while we looked over the menu.

The menu is large but not overhelmingly so. In addition to a daily special brunch menu there is the regular brunch menu. Everything looks delicious. They have a variety of traditional meals as well as original meals unique to Locus. Dave ordered Huevos Rancheros ($13) with a spicy lamb sausage ($3) and I had one of the daily specials that included 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit ($10). Both meals were incredibly satisfying. We rolled away from Locus feeling happy and full.

After a busy 3 days of Christmas this was pretty close the being the perfect brunch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weekend Five - Eggs at Café Deux Soleils

Last Sunday, Catie and I went to Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive) for a nostalgic brunch. Over our time in Vancouver, and indeed, before we moved here, Café Deux Soleils has been a staple. Cheap food, tasty flavours, and fast service add up to an ideal brunching experience.

Catie loves brunch + Dave loves brunch = We love brunch.

Of course, we started out with smoothies. Raspberry and soy for her, and raspberry, blueberry, and orange juice for me. You can see that actual fruit goes in to making these, not something fruit-like extruded from a can. They're thick and delicious.

For our main courses, I ordered The Special, and she The Basic. The Special comes with scrambled eggs, covered with feta cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and parsley, and there's two slices of toast, some might say (including us) the best hash browns in Vancouver, and an orange wedge on the side. It's always a bit of a guessing game - will they spread out the tomatoes, or just put them all in the middle of the egg? As you can see, on this visit the tomatoes were spread out over the eggs.

The Basic is just that - a basic breakfast. Eggs how-you-like-them, (over medium, in Catie's case,) toast, and hashbrowns. The eggs had a bit of liquid in the middle, which was quickly soaked up by the toast. The hashbrowns were crispy, just like mine were; in fact, as all hashbrowns should be.

All in all, it was a very pleasant start to the day. Fast service, too, and not a lot of people, either. It can get a bit raucous later in the day, which is something to keep in mind. But don't go too early, either. The website says they open at 8, but we've never seen them open before 9 (which on the Drive is more like 9:30).

This could be the perfect brunch, but then we'd not have a chance to investigate more. Where will we go next week? Watch this space to find our next Brunch Adventure!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weekend Four - Four Square at Slickity Jim's Chat 'n' Chew with MelRoy

It was a beautiful, quiet Saturday morning when we met with friends Melanie and Jeffrey, aka MelRoy for brunch at Slickity Jim's Chat 'n' Chew on Main St.  Slickity Jim's is a great place with a tragic history having completely burnt down, rebuilt, partially burnt down, and again rebuilt. It is a phoenix from the ashes and I wouldn't hesitate to say that it is better than ever. Before the decor was a little worn, service wasn't anything special, food was very literally greasy spoon fare. I could never understand why people would line up for hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings, now I can.

Catie loves brunch + Dave loves brunch = We love brunch.

The decor is great with an unusually assortment of decorations, including strange paintings from your grandma's house and those bus benches from the yellow school buses. The service is attentive and friendly.  The food is great, if you can get passed the menu as Jeffrey pointed out. If you had a hangover it would be incredibly difficult to order as all the names of dishes are clever but not exactly informative of what you are about to eat.

With no bus benches left, our group ended up in the back room that can only be described as sunny.
After long contemplation and discussion over the menu, Melanie ordered the Revolution Egg ($9.50), Jeffrey ordered the Huevos Rancheros ($9.75) (which is one item on the breakfast menu that is what it sounds like), Dave ordered The Has Been ($8.50), while I hadn't concentrated enough during the menu contemplation and ended up ordering the first thing I saw which is the first thing on the menu, The Breakfast (5.50). It was coffee all around, except for Dave who happily drank orange juice. The food was quite delicious but both Dave and Jeffrey did remark that the chili could use a lot more oomph.


It was a great brunch with friends in a fabulous atmosphere. I hope that we will get to do another blog worthy brunch with our trendy, brunch expert friends MelRoy again soon. 

You can see more of MelRoy on their fabulous weekly blog.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Three - Unexpectedly alone at the Shaughnessy Cafeteria

Weekend Three - Unexpectedly alone at the Shaughnessy Cafeteria.

Since I'm working this weekend and therefore can't have brunch with Dave, I've decided to do brunch alone at the Shaughnessy Cafeteria.

Catie normally loves brunch
The Shaughnessy Cafeteria was once known as the best cafeteria in the lower mainland. It held this title until the 2002 privatization of the food services. Speaking to my co-workers about the cafeteria prior to it's handover to a private corporation paints pictures of delicious, home made, reasonably priced food.

The food produced now is not even a shadow of it's former self. It's bland, overcooked, out of boxes or frozen, expensive, what can only be described as pseudo-food. The final blow to the food quality at the Shaughnessy Cafeteria occurred a year ago when the powers that run this institution removed the deep fryers and replaced them with timed baking ovens. Now all the "fries" and hash browns are "baked" instead of deep fried, which gives them the flavour and consistency of cardboard.

Not much to look at
Today for brunch I purchased a "sunrise breakfast" however I did substitute one of the hash browns for a sausage, which cost me an extra $0.69. The food did not surprise me. Sadly it is pseudo-food as described above. My "sunrise breakfast" sandwich was over cooked and the bacon was a grey colour. The sausage was extremely over cooked verging on burnt and the hash brown might as well have been card board. My meal, including the vitamin water, cost me $8.47 which is about the price of brunch at many better restaurants that serve delicious food.

The only flavour in my meal came from the mustard, which is free. This was not even close to the perfect brunch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekend Two - Bandidas on a Winter's Day

It was crisp with frost, and the grass made little crunching sounds. We wanted something warm and comforting for breakfast, and Bandidas didn't disappoint. They're on Commercial at 12th, and here is their website.

Catie loves brunch + I love brunch = We love brunch

Normally, early on a Sunday morning, Bandidas is filled with ironic mustaches (not just in November) and those with alternative views on bathing but today we were one of only two or three groups. The service was therefore excellent. Attentive, but not overly so. We chose a table near the kitchen, and settled in to read the menu.

I ordered the Breakfast Burrito ($11,) with guacamole, and roasted potatoes, and the whole thing was baked with cheese and enchilada sauce. Totally delish! Catie had The Breakfast ($8,) with eggs over hard, roasted potatoes, salsa, cabbage, pinto beans, and honey cornbread, of which I was quite jealous.

The burrito was piping hot, filled with eggs, salsa, cheese, beans, and sour cream. Not brunch to be taken lightly, it was giant-size! My orange juice was tasty (but with ice cubes?) and Catie's Salt Spring brand coffee started her day off right. I even managed to steal Catie's salsa, which was fresh-made, with a gentle spiciness. Her Breakfast hit the spot, and we went on our way. A definite success, it's easy to see why we come here often!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend One - Solly's Bagels

The definition of brunch from Merriam-Webster is "a meal usually taken late in the morning that combines a late breakfast and an early lunch." But the perfect brunch isn't just a meal. The perfect brunch brings people together, renews friendships, and ignites love. The Beatles got it wrong. All you need is brunch.
I love brunch + Dave loves brunch = we love brunch
We've taken on the challenge to find the perfect brunch. Weekly we will be taking to the streets to find, eat, and enjoy the perfect brunch then blog about it.

Weekend One - Solly's Bagels, Cambie location

This weekend we headed over to Solly's, a Jewish bakery and deli with a family atmosphere. They have three locations which are all accessible via public transit. For Solly's hours of operation and addresses check out their website:

We went to the Cambie location which is at Yukon and 7th. Solly's is always busy on the weekend mornings and today was no exception. However we did get a nice table by the window. The music while we were there was as it normally is, a mix of old and new, mostly jazz by Jewish artists.

We ordered our food at the ordering area then ordered our drinks and paid for our food at the till. They changed the way things are ordered and paid for a while ago. Now ordering food and paying are to separate lines and confusion runs high.

Despite the ordering issues the food was quick, simple, and delicious. Dave thoroughly enjoyed his untoasted bagel with cream cheese, lox, capers and onion. I ate my toasted mish mash bagel with cream cheese happily, and my coffee was divine.

On the right day, Solly's could be the perfect brunch.