Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekend Fifty-Six: Bruncho Pronto

This morning we waited and waited and waited. We waited until Pronto opens for brunch at 10 am, then we walked over from our secret location. The waiting was hard but we hoped the brunch would be worth it.

We've been to Pronto before and can say that this adorable little cafe bistro serves up a mean lunch and dinner. There isn't a tonne of selection but everything is good. Brunch is similar. Pronto offers a small menu featuring: two bennys, a meat and a veggie, a fritatta, a breakfast pizza and a breakfast sandwich. Even though the menu is small it doesn't make choosing one dish easy.
Eventually Dave picked the fritatta ($9.5) and I selected the meat benny ($9.5). They were out of orange juice so Dave had to have a blood orange San Pellegrino soda. Given the lateness of our brunch I had already had a coffee so I stuck with water. 

The atmosphere is fun, especially when filled with people. The servers tried hard and the majority were excellent, but one guy behind the bar was quite surly. The food was good and simple, though I would have been quite happy for the benny to come without a mountain of polenta. A big plus for the food at Pronto is that it is all very affordable, the most expensive item on the brunch menu is $11.

Would we go back for brunch? Maybe, but you'll definitely see me there with the charcuterie plate and a glass of wine.

Note to reader: The menu items on the website may differ in content and price from the menu items at the restaurant.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekend Fifty-Five: Back in Time at Lucy's Diner

We left our secret location, eager for a brunch that would make us excited. Soon we spotted Lucy's Eastside Diner (So retro, it doesn't have a website!) from the bus windows and leapt out, tummies rumbling. It's at 2708 Main, phone 604-568-1550. We chose seats in a booth and settled in to read the menu.

Coffee? Yes. Hot, with cream and sugar? Yes. OJ? Yes. Cold, and not from a can? Yes.

Catie chose the Three Little Pigs for $13. This, true to the name, is three bennies. One has chorizo, one bacon, and one pulled pork. Served with hashbrowns and Hollandaise, this looks to be filled with taste and goodness. Sadly, though, the pulled pork had been replaced with a slice of ham. Not terrible, but not the pulled pork we had been expecting. I stole some of the chorizo, and can report that it was delicious.

I chose an omelet with chorizo, feta, and peppers, also for $13. Diner-fresh white toast and crispy-fried hashbrowns made my brunch quite large, but I'm not complaining. The omelet was quite large indeed, and I felt quite full afterwards. I'd recommend it if you're looking mainly for food quantity.

I like the retro decor, but I do have to say that it was pretty cold inside. There was a heater on the floor in the back hallway, but I did regret my choice to wear short sleeves. Catie was bundled up in her sweater and stayed warm. The bathroom doors were white... emphasis on the were. Now, particularly near the handles, they are greyish. I'm not expecting spotless marble floors, but still.

So, after all of this, would we go back? Yes, I think so. Just go when it is warm out!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekend Fifty-Four: Milestones, not just for marking distance

Saturday found us tired and one of us slightly hungover from Catie's Work Christmas Party. In the state that we were in we didn't want to venture too far from home. Combining the desire to stay within walking distance of our secret location with a few Christmas errands and a desire to try something new equals Milestones on Cambie.

It has been years since either of us have been to Milestones and neither of us have been there for brunch. Walking into the lobby and up the stairs of the beautifully decorated restaurant, I couldn't figure out why we don't eat here more often. The hostess and waitress were similarly dressed and equally friendly. Dave got a large orange juice and I asked for a coffee. Coffee at Milestones can mean drip, americano, mocha, latte, and I'm sure a lot more... I chose a latte. Dave's orange juice was fresh-squeezed.

The menu is short but includes something for everyone. I ordered the Eggs Milestone with tomato on the side and bacon ($10.49 + 2) while Dave ordered Prime Rib Hash ($12.99). The avacado salsa on my benny was delicious and the hollandaise sauce was outstanding! The hash was sweeter than Dave expected and the prime rib was thin sliced instead of chunks which he enjoyed.

 Milestones is a great place for everyone... I think it was designed that way, which kind of bothers me. As an upscale White Spot it's pretty good, maybe better than Cactus Club, though I'm not an expert on them either. We might come back with Grandma, but we might look for something different in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weekend Fifty-Three: Tangent Café

Our adventure today took us far from our secret location and deep into the heart of Commercial Drive. After experiencing the excitement that is Translink, we wandered into the Tangent Café. We have been to this space several times before, as it does seem to change owners rather often. As Me & Julio's, it was a delicious Mexican restaurant. I fondly remember their three-salsa appetizer and lime chicken burrito. Those days passed, however, and it was next styled as a diner named Sorry Babushka. Sorry Customer might have been a better name - at least it was cheap.

Now, however, the goodness has returned. Gone is the roofed bar and tropical bric-a-brac, replaced with wood paneling and a consistent design ethic. Catie, Kim, and I enjoyed the oldies soundtrack, thinking it matched well with the laid-back atmosphere of the place.

I ordered my ubiquitous OJ and Catie her coffee, while Kim couldn't pick and ordered both OJ and coffee. As far as breakfasts go, the menu had a good variety. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but enough choice that we had to decide carefully.

My selection was the Meaty Boy's Breakie for $13. Three kinds of meat (sausage, bacon, Montreal-style smoked meat) with eggs, toast, and hashbrowns made for a full stomach. I did like the Montreal meat (which animal? I don't know, the smoke and spice flavours were overpowering!) and the peppers in the eggs were tasty too. Only order this if you are very hungry!

Catie decided that she'd like the Avocado and Bacon Benny for $13. Her avocado was delivered in guacamole form, which was a bit of a surprise. Guac tastes awesome, but really, it looks like green goop. Considering how appealing the rest of her plate looked, it was a bit of a disappointment. Adding real avocado would have helped in both the appearance and taste departments. The hollandaise was reported to be 'delicious,' which is always a relief. If it tastes good, the psychological risks are worth it.

Kim asked for the Classic Breakfast with added bacon for $8. With three scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and toast, it did what it said on the tin. Nothing too special, but a good solid start to the culinary day. Excellent price, too.

So, Tangent Café, how did you measure up? Quite well, in fact. Easily the best breakfast we've had at that address! I hope they can stick around for a long time to come. They're open early, too - 7am weekdays, 8am weekends.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekend Fifty-Two: Nothing But the Hits!

We've taken the time to sift through thousands of lines of data, count the uncountable, and measure the immeasurable. With no further ado, we present the Late For Breakfast, Early for Lunch Greatest Hits!

Our go to brunch spot, even though it's not reviewed every time: Solly's Bagels or Crave both on Main

Catie's Preferred Coffee: Two Chefs and a Table 

Best OJ Value: the Nice Café. $2.95 for a large glass! Citrus-o-licious.

Institutional Award: Shaughnessy Cafeteria

Best Benny: anything from the Benny Bar at Hyde

Masterfully Cooked Potato: the Buttery Potatoes at Crave

Best Toast: Sourdough!

Farthest Afield: the Silver Legacy Casino, in Reno, Nevada

Grooviest Background Music: Habit 

Strangest collision between worlds at brunch: Dancing and food, with the Benny Goodman Benny at Cup of Joe during the Victoria Lindy Exchange.

Meat that might not have been tasty but actually was: Pork Belly at Red Wagon

Just Too Much Food (but that's not really a problem): Big Lou's Breakfast at Two Chefs and a Table

Carnivore's Favourite: Steak and Eggs at Helen's Grill

Herbivore's Favourite: Bandidas, because everything is meat-free, most are vegan, and it's all delicious.

Watch For It Next Year Award: Main Street Sausage Cookout

Most Comical Guest Food Critic: Kyle "Back Bacon" Murray as seen in Cafe Barney and Return to Crave

Guest in the most Blog Entries: Kim "did you say Bacon" Fissel, as seen in, too many to mention

Most Popular Blog Entry: Spoon's with Kevin and Christabel

Least Popular Blog Entry: Relaxing at the Reef

Most Commented Article: 2 Chefs and a Table

Most Enthusiastic Commenter: Doug Heather

Farthest Away Commenters: Jen at Renaissance Ma'am and Julia G

Now it's brunch time!

Thanks for reading. We'll see you next week for another year of brunch!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Fifty-One: Dancing to Slickity Jim's Chat n' Chew

Looking for a relaxing brunch in the midst of the Vancouver Jazz Dance Festival, we woke to find  our feet transporting us from our secret location to Slickity Jim's Chat n' Chew.

We have reviewed Slickity Jim's on Weekend Four with special guests Melanie and Jeffrey. Our trendy friends found the food and atmosphere to their liking but both Dave and Jeffrey thought the chili could have been more powerful.

This weekend I picked the veggie Benny, Another Typical Benny Involved In Another Typical Daydream ($10.5) and added bacon ($2.5). I also sampled their tea, Red Rose. Dave decided to revisit the chili, picking the Cheddar Chili and Chorizo Omelette (which I can't find on their menu, perhaps it was a special). In a moment of impulse, Dave went for lemonaid instead of orange juice.

My Benny was excellent, even though I forgot to order the eggs poached hard. I believe the bacon made all the difference. Dave seemed very happy with his Omelette, made even better by the chili inside. Though, he did say it could still use a little more kick.

Slickity Jim's still has fabulous food and a great atmosphere, especially when you get to sit in the front of the place. Get there early or wait in line!

**Alert! Alert!**

Next week will be Weekend Fifty-Two! Dave and I will be looking back at a year in brunch and making some top ten lists.
If you have suggestions, comments, or snide remarks for next weekends blog or for the next year of brunch please let us know!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekend Fifty: Cup of Joe Café

So, we had left our secret location some time ago and set out to find adventure at the Victoria Lindy Exchange. Hungry for brunch, but in unfamiliar surroundings, we looked about for a little hole-in-the-wall diner, finished in cheery colours, with eclectic music and whimsically-named brunch plates. Just a short walk from our temoprary secret location in Victoria, we found the Cup of Joe Café.

Tucked into the bottom floor of a mall in James Bay, we were initially apprehensive. It has been quite a while since we lived in Victoria, and you know how much can change in the restaurant world in even a few years! We headed inside and found a table.

Our server was quick with the menus, and we settled in to see what was on offer. Whimsical names? Check. Who wouldn't want to eat at a place that serves dishes named "A Fistful of Mushrooms," The Prince Charles," or "Mr. BLT?" (Mr. BLT's tagline says "Pity the fool who doesn't know a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich!") Blah blah orange juice and coffee as usual.

Seeing as how we were enjoying a weekend of jazz music and dancing, there was only one real selection for me: The Benny Goodman. It comes with bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, roasted garlic (in large pieces, eek!) and hollandaise sauce made with basil pesto for $11. I'd recommend both Mr. Goodman's music and his Benny without hesitation. His breakfast does come with toast and potatoes, providing a more complete nutritive experience, but the music lasts longer under normal usage conditions.

While a breakfast Benny is usually Catie's specialty, she was distracted by another taste sensation. Her eye was caught by The Epic Trilogy ($10.) Not unlike other trilogies we may know, it starts strong with 3 eggs, moves to 3 bacon, and ends with sausages. Of course, there was also toast and potatoes involved. She reports that the bacon was not as crispy as it could have been, but that the eggs were very fresh and the sausages tasty. As I had to help her get through the trilogy, I can agree - breakfast sausages are a wonderful thing. Thank heavens for no food equivalent of Jar Jar Binks, too.

In Cup of Joe, one's eye is drawn to the decorations. There are the usual mirrors, framed art, and local event posters, but there are also numerous signatures, cartoons, and secret messages. We wondered if just anyone was allowed to write on their walls, and while I was paying, Catie borrowed a Sharpie and left our own little picture by the front windows. Not a peep was heard from the staff, so we must have gotten away with it!

So, the next time you're in Victoria, pop by Cup of Joe and put your mark on a fine breakfast eatery!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Forty-Nine: Brunch with the Whipped

We left our secret location looking forward to a relaxing Sunday brunch. We were hoping that The Whip would provide us with some down time before the rest of our busy day.

The Whip is a busy, trendy restaurant/pub during most of it open hours. Why would it be any different during brunch time? I don't know the answer, but it is different, very different, too different.

At brunch time the Whip becomes somewhat like a daycare. It fills with uncontrollable children and the parents who let them scream.

It's hard to enjoy your $9 waffles with berry compote and whipped cream with a $3 side of bacon, which is what I had, and $9 chorizo hash with yams and potatoes, what Dave ate, while children are screaming and bouncing up and down on the benches and chairs.

The staff and customers without little bundles of joy are saints at this restaurant/pub. How the wait staff put up with working in an environment similar to the ball room at McDonald's I will never know. They are better people than us, that's for sure.

I hope that the children next to us enjoyed there waffles, minus the berry compote and whipped cream, because they made it practically impossible for me to enjoy mine.

When will we return to the Whip? When the parents roll their strollers to MickyD's down the street. Which is a shame because in between screaming toddlers and the crying twins, during the eye of the storm, we were able to enjoy a few bits of food, and it was good.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weekend Forty-Eight: A Nice Cafe

It was a rainy morning when we left our secret location in search of the best  greasy spoon in Vancouver. Some say the Nice Cafe (no website, you can find them at 154 East 8th Ave, 604-874-4024) off of Main Street is this mystical unicorn. The perfect combination of excellent, non pretentious food, low low prices, and an exceptionally relaxed atmosphere.

The atmosphere is right. Servers are friendly but so relaxed that they seem sedated. Given the ativan-filled staff, service is pretty slow but if you’re going to wait anywhere for food, the Nice Cafe is a pretty nice place to wait.

The prices are also pretty close to dead on. Dave ordered a small orange juice for $2.50 but reconsidered and asked for a large, priced at $2.95. For the extra $0.45 you will recieve twice as much! Get the large.

I calculated my chances of getting bad hollandaise in a greasy spoon. Life is about taking risks. My Blackstone Benny ($9) with the tomatoes on the side was delicious. I suspect the hollandaise was powdered which is okay by me in a place like this.

Dave chose the Super Omelette ($9). It came with, what seemed like, 2 very large onions in it. These two onions were chopped into bite sized pieces for a giant. The hash browns were crispy bits of potato heaven!

We would return to Nice Cafe! It’s definitely a contender for the best greasy spoon in Vancouver, unless you want pancakes on the weekend, then you should go somewhere else.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Forty-Seven: Yellow Point Lodge

In a break from our usual brunching grounds, we have a special report from our holiday. Read on!

Today was not like other Sundays. Instead of brunching in Vancouver or Victoria, we found ourselves relaxing the weekend away at Yellow Point Lodge, just south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. In between our beach-walking, wood-stove-tending, cribbage games and reading, we managed to find time to enjoy a whole lot of tasty home-style cooking.

Catie chose the Eggs Mornay, which are eggs Benny with cheese sauce instead of the Hollandaise. She wasn't totally sure that the coffee was caffeinated, but she was certain that the English muffins were made in-house. Despite not knowing who Mornay was, Catie thought he was a genius and his eggs were exceptional.

I chose scrambled eggs with cheese, tomatoes, and toast. As usual, I also chose OJ, but unfortunately it wasn't fresh-squeezed. All sins forgiven, though - the eggs were fluffy, the cheese tangy, and the toast crispy. Even the tomato was fresh!

The thing is, though - you can ask for just about anything. The cooks will whip it up for you after you order! We saw huge strips of bacon, plate-size pancakes, and tons of fresh fruit!

We'll be back at YPL next October, so we're looking forward to more delicious food and relaxing surroundings.

We are coming up to Weekend Fifty-Two very quickly. After a year of blogging brunches we want to do a Best Of post and we need your help!
To our silent and not so silent readers, please email us the answers to these questions:
Which is your favourite post?
What is your favourite brunch location that we haven't blogged about?
Where would you like us to go next?
What should Dave order instead of orange juice?