Saturday, June 9, 2018

Weekend Eighty-Three: Pagliacci's

We left our temporary secret peninsula location later than normal because this brunch entry is for our friends who believe the oh in oh-eight-hundred stands for oh-my-god-it's-early. We drove all the way to 1011 Broad St in Victoria. Hardcore fans will recognize this as Pagliacci's address.

Pagliacci's is a Victoria institution: the bread, the pasta with funny names, the ginormous desserts, and the jazz. On Sundays they opens at 10 to serve a brunch menu along side it's lunch menu and claim to have the longest running brunch scene in Victoria. Pag's recently reopened after a renovation (mostly of the kitchen and bar area) so today Dave and I went more lunchy than brunchy in our orders so we could establish they hadn't changed our favourites, but of course we will return.

Now, the thing you have to keep in mind when you go to Pagliacci's is that they are going to bring you warm, perfect focaccia bread until you burst. It will be a wafer thin mint situation (Monty Python fans) but with superb bread. Try to pace yourself for the main course and only take on dessert if you can really rein it in.

Here I make a fortress, with spikes, to keep the bread for myself.

I ordered the Hemingway Short Story ($13.5 half/$16 whole), as I always do. Pag's describes it as "tortellini stuffed with beef, ricotta, romano & parmesan cheeses, bacon cream sauce, green onions, parmesan". It is completely delicious and filling. Knowing I would not be able to control myself around the foccaccia that always appears on the table, I ordered a half size. The Hemingway Short Story is something I dream about when I am really hungry and after ensuring it hadn't been altered during the renovation, I will continue to drool in my sleep while dreaming about it, day and night.

Dave ordered the Alexi Burger ($15). I know what you are thinking and frankly I agree. A Burger at Pagliacci's, seriously!?! Dave says, yes. Dave loves this burger for lunch and reserves his choice pasta (the Bicycle Thief) for dinner. Pag's describes it as "Grilled chicken breast, “Whole Beast” pancetta bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, chipotle mayonnaise". Dave loves that the grilled chicken breast is a real piece of chicken, not a reconstituted MDF-like chicken patty. He also always comments on how delicious the pretzel bun is. It's a great non-pasta option.

There isn't much to say except, we will of course be back. You'll probably see us waiting in the line up.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Weekend Eighty-Two: Jam Cafe

We left our temporary secret location on the peninsula with a brunch location in mind, Jam Cafe (542 Herald St, Victoria). Jam Cafe is a very popular brunch location with epic lines, even on weekdays. During peak hours on the weekend, the line up can seem insurmountable. If you want to go to Jam Cafe and not wait in line forever, the following are a few tips. The first is to go early, and obviously the second is to be near the front of the line on the hour. Because of the seating, ordering, food cooking and delivering, eating, and paying time the vast majority of table turn over happens on the hour. The third is to ensure your entire party is in attendance when you are near the front of the line. They won't seat you until your whole party is there and nothing is worse than being passed over because your friend is late again.

Dave and I are early risers and so the Jam Cafe line is a breeze for us. Within a few minutes we were seated with menus and drinks. I, of course, ordered a coffee ($3). Dave ordered a strawberry lemonade ($5). We both enjoyed our drinks very much and Dave's drink was very photogenic. 

Jam Cafe has a nice amount of menu options and they all sound delicious. I chose the Blackstone Benny ($15) with a side of avocado ($4) while Dave went back to his brunch roots and chose a Huevos Rancheros ($16). 

As always the food was delicious! The sugar cured bacon on my benny was a stand out, however the english muffin was just okay. As it was eating my benny my mind kept going back to the bun from the benny at Breadstuffs in Brentwood Bay from last week. Even though the english muffin could step up its game, I would totally order the Blackstone Benny again. Dave also enjoyed his food. He raved about the corn bread and the smoked chorizo sausage. Dave did say the bean ratio was too high and caused it to be quite a messy Huevos, but he loved it anyway and it disappeared quickly.

Jam Cafe is truly a great brunch restaurant. The service, food, decor, and cool factor are all on point. Just remember: go early, eat fast, and get out so others can enjoy.