Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekend Sixty-Seven: Café Medina - Skillets of Sauce!

This weekend, just like others, brought a powerful hunger to us. After the day started, our tummies began to rumble. We hopped on the Skytrain (Station : Secret Location) and rode it all the way in to town (Station: Stadium/Chinatown). We turned right on Beatty St. and joined the lineup at Café Medina (556 Beatty St., opens at 9 on Sundays). Protip: go early, be part of a small group, and make sure you all arrive at the same time. If they call your name and someone is missing, you get put back to the end of the list! While waiting outside, feast your eyes on the racks of delicious-looking waffles that are in the window.

When we were called inside, our server escorted us through an assortment of hallways to a beautiful room on the other side of the building. Exposed brick, big wooden beams, and bright sunlight greeted us as we sat down to peruse the menu.

OJ, yes, and fresh-squeezed. Yum! Catie chose a chai tea, which was served in a very large teacup. "Very good. Nice and creamy, but not too overly chai-ed."

Despite seeing and being tempted by many menu items, I chose Les Boulettes ($15,) which are beef and lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. I asked for the eggs to be scrambled, but they only come poached or -over. Poached was my choice. So, what is the verdict for this brunch? Totally fantastic. The sauce was packed with taste, the meatballs were well-done, and the toasted foccacia on the side was crispy and delicious. Though it was strange for me to have a breakfast without hashbrowns, I really didn't miss them!

Catie, on the other hand, went with her choice from before, the Fricassée, for $16. I must admit that I stole some of the lamb and cheese, and they were well worth the journey into criminality. "Smokey and flavourful," she says, "but too many greens."

Though we had wanted to get a waffle (with raspberry caramel, $4.15) for dessert, there was simply not enough stomach-space left when we had finished our meal. Looks like we have a good excuse to go back!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Sixty-Six: Amelia's All Day Long

It was a quiet Sunday, and we left our secret location in search of something delicious for our brunch. Turning up the hill, we wandered over hill and dale before we ended up at Amelia Restaurant, 640 12th St., New West. (Be forewarned that there is another, as yet unreviewed, "Amelia Café on 6th St.)
From the outside, it is unassuming. From the inside, there is a definite air of "school cafeteria." With pink and blue paint, wall-mounted aircon unit, many ceiling fans, and specials written on whiteboards, we were a bit nervous. Was the spoon too greasy?

Our server was cheerful, and the menus were laminated. After brief perusal, we chose our usual drinks - OJ from a carton and coffee from an all-day pot - and our meals. I chose an omelette with sausage and cheddar cheese and Catie asked for eggs Benedict (there must be a fomer Pope joke here) with bacon.

I liked my omelette, and not just because it was $8. The cheese on the top was quite nice. You can see how much there was! Most omelettes with cheese have just a few wee strands tucked inside, but this one was positively smothered. The sourdough toast was surprisingly crispy, and the hashbrowns were awesome.

Catie is smiling, not just because of her fantastic hashbrowns, but also because the Hollandaise was surprisingly delicious. Especially because they only cost $8!

We do like a greasy spoon done well, and Amelia's delivers in every respect. Be not afraid of the low prices, and don't forget to order the hashbrowns!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weekend Sixty-Five: Rockwater Secret Cove Brunch

We escaped! We traded in our secret location for the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort. Our weekend adventure took us across to the sunshine coast on a BC Ferry and then a 45 minute drive through Gibsons, Sechelt, and Halfmoon Bay to the very picturesque Secret Cove.

We stayed in a very comfortable cabin on the edge of a rocky cliff. We hiked and slept and curled the few days we had away. Oh, we also ate!

The restaurant attached to this cozy resort is fantastic, expensive but fantastic. We had two brunches here as well as two dinners and each meal was exceptional. We'll only blog about one brunch though because I couldn't resist ordering the same thing the second day...

What could have been so good that I gave up the opportunity for a two-for-one blog post? The Traditional Eggs Benedict. Priced at $16 it is very expensive but it was that good. A simple, toasted english muffin, crisp back bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce seasoned with paprika and made to order. Yum! The Benny came with fresh fruit and hashbrowns. Both Dave and I agreed that on the hashbrown-o-meter, if such a thing were to exist, these hashbrowns would get a 99%. They were really delicious.

Dave had the Ham and Cheddar Cheese Omelette served with hashbrowns and toast ($14). It was folded perfectly and had what could be considered premium cheddar cheese in it. Dave went on and on about the quality of the cheese and how it melted, so it must have been from a really good cow.

The orange juice and the coffee were not special but the man who served them was. Levi, our server for all our meals and the room service we ordered, was fantastic beyond words. If you visit, say 'Hi" to Levi for us.

Ps. If you are travelling through Gibsons and are hungry, make sure you stop at Sita's for food. We shared a salad and a pizza and it was homemade goodness.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Sixty-Four: Burnaby Hospital 4B - 73-2

We awoke on Saturday morning not knowing what was to come. As I saran-wrapped Dave's cast in preparation for his shower I hoped we would get a call from the hospital, which never works. Minutes later, after Dave stepped into the shower, the phone rang! Brring, Brrinnng! The nice nurse told me today was the day and we should report to the Burnaby General OR. How exciting!

We left our secret location and drove down kingsway. We didn't expect food and indeed it was a long time before we were treated to any. We were seated in ward 4B, room 73, bed 2. It was a cosy and quite an adjustable area, very 80's inspired. The lady and her italian son who were seated next to us in bed 3, were watching Chopping Block. I've never seen this show before and in case you, dear reader haven't, I'll describe it to you: it's an Iron Chef rip off. Our mouths watered as it was now 11:00 am and we still hadn't been given menus.

At 11:30 Dave was treated to a special private viewing of the OR and came back a few hours later with his wrist surgically repaired... what service!
Soon after, lunch was offered, though I had to microwave it. Chicken casserole, green beans, rice, canned oranges, cream of mushroom (?) soup with crackers, and coffee. I didn't like it or find it appealing but Dave LOVED it!

Next at 5:00pm dinner came, this is a 2 for 1 write up. It was meat loaf with beef and mushroom gravy, cauliflower with a cheese sauce, mashed potatoes, garden salad with fat-free calorie-reduced thousand island dressing, a date square, orange juice, and tea. Dinner was quite edible.

Dave very much enjoyed both his meals, but that could've just been the hunger or narcotics. I only tolerated them, though I did appreciate the free food.

Even though the food was just okay, the service and care provided by all the health care workers at the hospital was fantastic! We only recommend eating at Burnaby General Hospital if totally necessary.

Ps. For all caring and inquiring minds Dave collected some bruises, lost some skin and broke his left wrist in a cycling accident at the velodrome. He's healing quickly and putting the perk into percocet! He plans to be back on his bike very soon.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Sixty-Three: Coming Home Café

Happily ensconced at our new secret location, we wondered what brunch we could find. Having consulted various information sources, we decided to head out to the Coming Home Café (753 6th St.). We were pleased to see that there were empty seats when we arrived (though they certainly did fill up quickly once we were seated!) and so we sat down. The menu is on a chalkboard on the wall. Everything is affordable (which is good because it is a Cash Only place), and there are so many choices.

The coffee is billed as "Kick Ass," and Catie concurs. You have to get your own, though. My orange juice received no such advertising, but it certainly was tasty. After some decision-making, I selected The Royal, which is 3 apple-cinnamon pancakes and meat ($8). I said to surprise me, and they brought sausage. Catie remained with the Kick Ass theme and requested the Kick Ass Benny with bacon for $9. We settled in to wait for our brunch.

Several other groups came in - a couple, some individuals with newspapers, and a pair of families - and all received a warm welcome. We could watch (and smell!) as our food was cooked, as the kitchen is set up like a house kitchen. The cooks and servers were bantering cheerfully, lending to the overall friendly feeling of the place.

Well, as keen readers of this blog will know, I rarely stray away from a breakfast involving eggs. It's a bit of theme, really. I am pleased that I did this time. These pancakes were awesome! Fluffy, with a good balance of apple and cinnamon flavours, dusted with icing sugar. And there were three of them! (I did have some difficulty finishing them, to be honest.)

Catie was pleased with her Kick Ass Benny. It kicked ass in several ways: the muffin was awesome, the Hollandaise was ridiculous, and the bacon was delicious. We agreed that the muffin must have been made in-house.

This was a very successful brunch near our new secret location. We're looking forward to returning to the Coming Home Café!