Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Thirty: Fabulous, Fantastic, Fenomenal Fissel Family Father's Day at the Fray

The same day my sister hopped the Georgia Straight and moved onto Fraser also happened to be Father's day. This seemed to be the perfect time to do a brunch blog with my family.

We were lucky to get a table a the Fray as it appeared everyone wanted to be there for a Father's Day brunch. We have already reviewed their brunch, quite favourably. Would it be just as fantastic this time?

We settled in at our high top and began taking turns colouring in the futuristic robots on our adult activity page. I wish we could have continued to make Henry Rollins happy. My Dad, Kim, and I ordered coffee, while my Mom and Dave asked for orange juice.

We then turned our attention to the menu. Both Kim and my Mom decided on the Traditional Breakfast ($7.95). My Dad picked the Farmers' Omelette ($11.95) on Dave's recommendation. Dave chose the Hangover Cure ($11.95) though I'm not sure he knows what a hangover is or what would cure it, while I went for the Morning Glory ($10.95).

Last time Dave and I came to the Fray we had the Farmers' Omelette and the Traditional Breakfast. It would be interesting to see if the family judges enjoyed these dishes as much as we had. It was also interesting that, despite all my griping about the potential dangers of Hollandaise sauce in our Benny Bar blog entry (see Hyde), Dave and I both ordered Bennys again.

Silence fell over our table as the food arrived. We all dived into our food. I did the complex calculus to understand from the silence that we were all too busy enjoying our food to speak. My Mom did comment on the focaccia bread being cut latitudinally instead of longitudinally, which was a comment I had last time as it made my eggs difficult to eat.

Dave thoroughly enjoyed his Hangover Cure though, as I had predicted, he wasn't sure it would cure a hangover as he's never been hungover. Dave would also like to add that if he were to choose between these two plates again, he would go with the Farmers' Omelette as it is tastier.
I absolutely loved the Morning Glory. It was a fabulous Benny! A warning: if you do not like blue cheese, don't order this Benny. It tasted very strongly of blue cheese, which I happen to adore.
My family very much enjoyed their brunch too. I think the overall winner has to be the Farmers' Omelette for being the best put together dish.

Kudos must also go to our waitress for getting us a table (without a reservation, on Dad's Day) as well as being genuinely awesome!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Twenty-Nine: Locus Pocus, Abracadabra!

With Catie's friend Kara visiting from out of town, we headed off for a spot of brunch. Unfortunately, we were later than normal, and restaurants were getting crowded. With tales of a 45 minute wait at Crave, we decided to check out some other options. Locus to the rescue!

It was crowded, but we were seated quickly. The service was busier than normal, and was a bit on the slow side. Menus appeared, as did coffee, OJ, and fresh-baked bread, and we settled on making decisions. Kara and I each chose the omelette special ($13,) while Catie had the Classic with bacon, ($11.)

Now, an omelette with sausage inside may not seem too out-of-the-ordinary. But this was. The sausage was made with butter chicken! Tucked inside the egg of our omelettes was some cheese, tomato pieces, and a few slices of green onion to keep the sausage company. Pretty darn good, if I say so myself. The potatoes were done to a turn, and the fresh fruit pieces (watermelon, honeydew, canteloupe, and pineapple) were tasty.

Catie's bacon was crispy, in her preferred style, and the eggs over medium were not liquidy. This is good, because there's no toast to soak it up. She also enjoyed the potatoes.

The coffee was fresh, hot, and came with prompt refills. Catie says it is the best coffee of any of our brunching experiences. My OJ was as good as before. No surprises there.

Our third visit to Locus, and still consistently good. Perhaps we should have a moratorium on postings about Locus in the future. What do you think, dear readers? Do you want to hear about re-visits, or do you prefer all-new reviews, all the time? Comment with your preference!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Twenty-Eight: A Red Wagon Load of Taste

If you need to find a group of hipsters on a Sunday before 9am, look no further than the 2200 block of East Hastings.

We had heard of Red Wagon's epic lines and thought we were so clever to beat the rush and arrive early. However, this small diner's reputation of having large lines and upwards of hour waits has prompted the evolution of the hipster masses to become early risers. Sigh...

The smells emanating from the Hastings-Sunrise eatery made my mouth water. Then, the line shuffled forward, like the undead from a Romaro flick. As the doors opened, we proceeded inside. The overly trendy crowd filled up the place with me and Dave scooping up the last table. Note for next time: don't move the chairs by holding the top... Too bad for the people who had been behind us in the line. Better luck next time young people! Notable mention: if you are one of the unlucky who doesn't make the first sitting, they will serve you coffee while you wait in line.

My eager gaze fell upon the duck confit pancakes ($14.50), but the traditional two-eggs-any-style ($6.95) with bacon and multi-grain toast won me over, mostly due to cowardice. Dave weighed his options between the crisp pork belly plate ($11.25) and the pulled pork pancakes ($12.50). He, with his boy scout adventure badge showing, picked the pork belly plate with scrambled eggs and sour-dough toast. Of course we also had coffee for me and orange juice for Dave. Dave noted how fresh the orange juice was and suspects that it was freshly squeezed.

Food started flowing out of the kitchen 16 minutes after they opened their doors. Impressive. Now we would see if the food was worth the long lines and crazy wait times or if it was all just hype.

Our food arrived promptly, but not before I had received 3 coffee refills. The service was friendly, attentive, and fast. My two-eggs-any-style was very large for the price. I always start by eating my eggs on the toast first. By the time I had finished with the eggs on toast I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to eat my bacon and hash browns. Luckily, I found the space. The hash browns were exceptional. The bacon was a little too salty for me.

Dave throughly enjoyed his crisp pork belly. It was crisp but not too crisp and had a hint of cinnamon. He experienced a hint of worry, as we always do, when eating the hollandaise sauce (see Benny Bar at Hyde blog) but he recovered and really enjoyed it in combination with the salsa verde and his scrambled eggs.

Great service and innovative food is what you'll find at Red Wagon. The decore is what you would except from an East Hastings diner. Perhaps they could repair the hole in the floor at the entrance?

The real question: is it worth waiting in line for an hour? Probably not. I don't really enjoy lines, though the coffee would make me feel better about standing in line. We arrived about 10 minutes before they opened and waiting in line for 10 minutes while they opened was okay with me. But for an hour... I'm not sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Twenty-Seven: Relaxing at the Reef

Sunday is brunch day, at least for us, and this Sunday was no exception. Catie's sister Kim was in town, which made this a Sunday worth celebrating. We left our secret location and strolled to The Reef.

They have a patio, which we sat on. It was a bit of grey day, though not unpleasant, and the heat was on. Catie and Kim ordered coffee, which was hot and liquid-y, and I enjoyed my traditional orange juice, which was cold and filled with pulp. Kim also had a mimosa, which she pronounced to be delicious. After reading the menu, Catie chose the Huevos Rancheros ($11,) Kim Sam Lord's Breakfast (with bacon, for $9,) and I Kitty's Scrambler ($12.)

Our waitress brought out some johnny cakes (with raspberry jam inside) to start, and they were excellent. When our food arrived, we were struck with how similar it all looked. I suppose, to be fair, that we all did have variations on eggs! The huevos were on top of a crispy tortilla, and I particularly enjoyed the cheese and sausage in the scrambler. The salsa was made of large, fresh-cut pieces of tomato and onion. Sam Lord's eggs were somewhat runny, which was a disappointment.

So, what's the verdict? Pros - tasty taste, freshly made, eaten on a patio! Cons - nothing really stood out. It was all good, but... there was something missing. Perfect brunch? No, not really, but a reliable standby.