Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend Eighty: Union Pacific Coffee

Late for breakfast but right on time for brunch, we left our new Victorian secret location in search of food. After a quick wander and a gander at the lines of hungry people outside of other brunch locations, we were drawn into Union Pacific Coffee by the magnificent smell. The delicious scent of coffee and baked goods wafting out onto the street stopped us in our tracks. Even though neither of us had heard of Union Pacific Coffee, we decided to give it a try.

The menu is not very long, but it covers a lot. Dave decided on Smoked Salmon on a Mount Royal Bagel ($9.75) and I ordered the French Toast ($12) and a Flat White ($4). We were given a number and had a look around.

There is an adorable patio in the back that seats (maybe) 15 people. If the day had been a bit warmer, we would have stayed on the patio, however it was still a bit cool and so we went back inside. The decor inside is very industrial. Antique fans and typewriters are mounted on the walls, while plumbing pipe is used not very sparingly. There are a lot of people on laptops, which almost gives it that poser Starbucks feel. To Pacific Union Coffee's credit, they do have a big table near the front that functions as a community table, no laptops allowed! The laptop posers made the place quite busy but a table for two luckily opened up quickly.

Our food and coffee were ready in a reasonable time and we were pleased to see it. Dave was very happy with his Smoked Salmon on a Mount Royal Bagel. In rating it he compared it to Solly's Bagel and Lox. The Pacific Union Salmon bagel is on the smokey-sweet side with pickled onion and cucumber, while the Solly's Salmon bagel is on the salty-sour side with raw red onion and capers. Dave was very pleased and the Salmon bagel disappeared quickly.

I was also happy with the food. My french toast was hard enough on the outside and soft enough on the inside. It even had grill marks! The toast soaked up the Quebec maple syrup exceptionally well and the bacon was heavenly. The flat white was well made and didn't require any sugar at all.

Overall, it was a very pleasant experience at Pacific Union Coffee. A highly recommended coffee bar with good food that we knew nothing about. After our experience, we will definitely go back for more. It would just be nice if there were fewer people on laptops.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weekend Seventy-Nine: Blog from the past - Mum eats at Jane's

This was written by my Mum when she visited my sister Jane in 2013. So sorry it wasn't posted soon but it fell behind the electronic blogger fridge. I hope you enjoy the day's adventures! - Dave.

     On Sunday, February 3, 2013, Dave and Catie were in an advanced state of preparing to move from their present Secret Location to their new Secret Location. This involved much paint, many rollers, brushes, dropcloths and masking tape, piles of new flooring, old-carpet-to-the-dumpster runs, figurings-out of electrical supplies and procedures, many trips to Rona and concentrated co-ordination of family member-helpers.

    Four of us aforesaid family members decided to remove the burden of the weekly brunch (and resulting blog) from Catie’s and Dave’s shoulders, all of which were bowed down by the excitement of this re-nesting travail. So Jane, Beth, Win and Georgie headed off to a new pop-up brunch place on the east side, where the resident cat entertained us while we awaited our cooked-to-order meal and enjoyed the view over the neighbouring rooftops. 

The house specialty that day was scrambled eggs, Freybe’s special gourmet bacon, and endless slices of generously-buttered whole grain toast from a local bakery. There was even gluten-free bread prepared promptly for one of us. As this pop-up eatery is so small and had been busy the day before, there were no spuds left, but we missed them not.

    The eggs were beautifully cooked, with two requests for “hard-scrambled” and two for “soft-scrambled” coming exactly as ordered. Ketchup appeared without asking for it, and there was homemade strawberry jam and three (count ‘em!) kinds of homemade curd: lemon, lime, and an orange and vanilla combo. A bowl of apples and bananas graced the table, as did some fruity oatmeal muffins, and pizza was also available for those who wanted more adventure in their victuals. A choice of teas rounded out our delightful meal and filled up the cracks.

We would heartily recommend this eatery to anyone, but have been sworn to secrecy about its location that day. Do keep your eyes peeled as, who knows, it could turn up anytime in your neighbourhood! It has such good food, not fancy but totally tasty, that it’ll take you right back home.

Weekend Seventy-Eight: Nourish

Well, it has been almost five years of blog vacation, so it's time to get started with a good brunch again. Welcome back, breakfast enthusiasts!

We left our (new) secret location, heading out for Nourish Kitchen (225 Quebec St. in Victoria, 9-3 every day,, on a windy weekend morning. We arrived early, and spent a few minutes waiting with other hungry people. After being seated inside, we were plied with coffee and water while we perused the menu. It's in a converted heritage home, and we were close to a nicely sunny window.

The menu is small (5 breakfast items, 8 lunch items), but very appealing. I was initially tempted by the Sleeping Beauty Pancakes (with bee pollen sprinkles? what is this?) but I instead selected the Morning Scramble ($13) with a Fennel Pork Sausage ($4) on the side. Catie was tempted by the Benny In The Moment ($14), but she chose the Normal Breakfast ($14). After giving our orders, and adding a coffee for Catie, we settled in to wait for our tasties. And wait we did! Though we arrived before opening time at 9, we got our food about 9:45.

To report: I thoroughly enjoyed the Morning Scramble. The promised Harvest Veggies turned out to be broccoli, which, with hummus and eggs, makes a meal that sounds strange to the ears, but was good on the plate. The Buckwheat Seedy Toast is kind of like a sesame crisp, but less sweet. I don't know if I'd call it toast per se, but that might spark an existential discussion about the essence of "toast-ness," and this was delicious. I'd recommend the fennel pork sausage too, for those who eat meat. It was like the Thuringer from Bestie in Vancouver, which is a traditional German sausage.

Catie's breakfast was truly Normal. The Black Forest Bacon was excellent - not too fatty, with lots of flavour - and the eggs were done to her specification. "It was tasty, and it was filling, but it was almost trying to be too healthy." It looked too small on the plate, but it turned out to be just the right amount. I sampled some of the bacon, and I concur. It is very good bacon.

All in all, I was happy with my choice. Catie, however, said "The Normal Breakfast was normal. I wish I'd had a Benny." Perhaps we will return here to try out their coffee shop, or take a look around the gift shop.