Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Thirty-Five: Traditions? At Acme Café

This Sunday brought sunshine, and so we decided to leave our secret location for a wee spot of brunch a little bit later than normal. At the end of our bus ride was the Acme Café, deep in the heart of West Hastings. Its cute design and retro style had caught our eye before, when we were on our way to Catch 122, and we had made a mental note to return.

The service was really fast. There were many staff members working, and we were seated quickly. The menu seems geared more to the lunch and dinner crowd, but there were three breakfast specials in addition to what was printed.

In a fit of juvenile enthusiasm, I decided to order a strawberry milkshake. It even came with a maraschino cherry and whipped cream on top! Catie said that she thought it was illegal to serve strawberry milkshakes to people over ten years old, which I am. She ordered a coffee. I liked my milkshake a lot, and she said her coffee was tasty too.

Nothing on the menu really caught my attention, so I ordered Special Number 1. Featuring andouille sausage with chimichurri sauce, this plate also came with two eggs, a mountain of hashbrowns, two pieces of toast, and a little fruit salad, all for $10.50. Catie chose the Baked Eggs Benny for $10.50, which was layered with eggs, ham, Hollandaise sauce, and English muffin. The server explained that it was prepared earlier in the day so the liquid eggs would soak through the English muffin, and then it would cook rather like French toast. The result was interesting, to say the least! It was quite dense, but it tasted good. A change from the expected Benny, for sure.

The fresh fruit salad was a pleasant complement to the rest of the meal, and the jam on the toast (you have to ask for it) was nice and fruity.

We ate. And we ate! These meals are good-sized. After he had cleared our plates, our server asked if we were finished. We said yes, but then he said the magic words. "Would you like some pie for dessert?"

And so it came to pass that a slice of lemon meringue pie appeared at our table. With two forks. The pie did not survive the encounter. It was very lemony, with mile-high meringue and a yummy flaky crust, but it wasn't overly sweet. Catie said that, on our next visit, she'll just order two slices of pie.

Overall, the pie was awesome, and there are definitely points earned for creativity of the Benny. Check it out at 51 West Hastings! And yes, they do take-out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Thirty-Four: Caught by Catch 122

After an indecisive morning and a quick bus ride from our secret location, we arrived at Catch 122. This crisp looking restaurant can be found at 122 West Hastings, just across from the Woodwards building. Built in an old building and refurbished in what appears to be found wood and decor, it's atmosphere is quite nice, though perhaps a little empty.

We were promptly seated and promised someone would be around for our drink order. While one fine server worked her behind off, two sat behind the counter chatting to a friend(?). Our server did reappear after giving us ample time to not only decide on drinks but also brunch.

Dave continued his indecisive streak and decided to order the Scrambled Eggs Chorizo Crepe ($12) containing scrambled eggs, chorizo, avocado, cheddar cheese and tomato sauce with sides of yukon nugget potato hash and a salad. Dave struck out from his ordinary tradition of orange juice and instead went all in on a Very Berry Fresh Fruit Smoothie ($4.95).

I continued a personal tradition, though modified this time, and had a French Press Coffee ($3). The small size will provide one person two cups of fresh coffee. It was totally worth it! For solids, I picked The Hastings ($12). It is what you might consider to be a basic breakfast with bacon and the same sides as Dave's brunch. They also have a basic breakfast with sausage called The Gastown.

Dave enjoyed his Scramble Eggs Chorizo Crepe very much and in fact licked his plate clean. I noshed my brunch with extra zest but wish there had been more melted goat cheese on my eggs.

I hope Catch 122 will attract more people through its doors. The food was great but the atmosphere would have been better with a bit more bustle.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weekend Thirty-Three: Garden of Taste at Wallflower

This weekend was shaping up to be one of indecision. We knew that we needed brunch, but where?  Wandering about near our favourite haunts, we came across the charming Wallflower.

The decor of the Wallflower is simple and fun. Tables made of plywood, a cove ceiling, and a hand-painted wall (of flowers, naturally!) contribute to the comfy atmosphere.

After our usual drinks, Catie chose the Crystal Benny ($12) and I an omelette with cheddar, bacon, avocado, and  goat cheese for $8. That Benny was delicious! Catie was sure that it contained an entire avocado.  I felt that an omelette would cure my indecision. It was fab.

This is a good place for those with dietary restrictions. Veggie, vegan, gluten-free - nobody will go hungry here! We will be back!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekend Thirty-Two: Jethro vs. Ramsay

We'd heard about Jethro's Fine Grub before and wanted to see it for ourselves. We left our secret location and headed off to the deep, dark wilds of Dunbar.

When we arrived, the first sitting was, well, sitting. We put our name on the list and settled in to wait. And wait we did. It only took about 15 or 20 minutes for us to be seated, though. 

The menu is quite massive, both in content and size. After ordering our customary coffee and OJ, we decided on our brunches. I chose the South of Denver omelet, and Catie chose the Two Eggs and Meat. 

The inside of the restaurant is sparsely decorated, with white walls and simple tables. There is a painted logo for the Food Network close to the door, a souvenir from their visit last year. A photo of the East Van cross is the only artwork on the walls, and Catie thought this was somewhat strange. Jethro's is in Dunbar, after all! 

My omelet was massive! The pulled pork inside was hot and delicious, the fried onions were tasty and I did enjoy the rye bread toast. However, I did lose interest in finishing my meal. And that, dear reader, is not common for me. Catie's two eggs and meat (with bacon) did what it said on the tin. There were two eggs, delivered over hard as hshe requested. But, she noticed the the hash browns were simply pieces of potato that had been fried. No spices, no seasoning... Would she channel Gordon Ramsay and send them back to the kitchen, bouyed along with comments on the cooks' skills, family backgrounds, and romantic proclivities?


No, of course not. That may make good television, but it's really not likely to be successful in person. Catie also didn't finish her meal - too much of not enough taste. Though she did finish her coffee and left without even hearing the word refill from our waitress.

Perhaps we should have gone for the pancakes, which cover a plate, or maybe French toast, but still. It was a disappointing letdown after what we had been expecting. Perhaps we should re-visit Jethro in the future. Why would the Food Network get excited about this?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weekend Thirty-One: A Little Nest of Taste

After a recommendation from our friend Lucy, we decided to go to Little Nest for this week's brunch adventure. We wandered over from our secret location, and were pleasantly surprised that it was not totally full.

The menu is written on the wall, and features an ample supply of tasties for little people as well as adults. It changes often, so what you read about today may be gone by tomorrow. We made up our minds, joined the line, and placed our order. Catie had a latte, served in a pint glass (!) and I, in a break from tradition, had water (!!) For our meals, I chose the Eggs of the Day, which were scrambled, with pulled pork, green salad, guacamole, and brioche toast on the side, for $13. Catie's eyes were drawn to the French Toast, which was drowned in fresh fruit, grated coconut, and whipped cream, also for $13.

We settled in to wait. The room has a lovely pressed-tin ceiling and wooden floor, but there's nothing to dampen the sounds of children at play. Given that were sitting beside the window,  that may have added to the sound level. Speaking of the window, the street outside is pleasantly green, with lots of passers-by suitable for people watching. (Note to child with the Superman cape and matching bike helmet - you're awesome. Too bad your parents didn't let you ride fast so the cape could stream out behind you in the wind!)

Catie's coffee showed up, and after a tasting, was judged to be hot, fresh, and smooth. My water was a particularly fine vintage, cooled to a refreshing temperature, and served (by me) in a stainless steel cup which transmitted the refreshing coolness of the drink to my hand. Ideal for summer.

Our food arrived, and we eagerly tucked in. I really liked the toast - multigrain, crispy, piping hot, and not too heavily buttered. I did find myself wishing I'd ordered some jam to go with it, but for $0.50 it seemed extravagant! The eggs were scrambled. The pulled pork, however, was excellent. I liked the guac and pickled onions, but would have enjoyed more of the guac. Pulled pork and guacamole - two well-liked food items on the same plate! My salad was tasty, but not perhaps as exciting as the rest of the meal. I did like the cabbage in the salad, though, as it's not a common addition.

Catie's French toast was piled high with fresh sliced mango, pineapple, and banana, and came with maple syrup on the side. The toast pieces were large, and thick-sliced too. She managed to finish almost all of it, which says something about how good it was. Don't order this unless you are hungry!

So, Little Nest, how do you measure up? The food was great, but perhaps next time we'd have to sit outside to avoid the high sound levels inside. If you have a little person, there is a play area and toys provided, as well as the aforementioned wide selection of child-friendly foods.