Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Weekend One Hundred and Ten: Agrius Restaurant at Fol Epi

Now, there are few things we like better than not running in a marathon. With nothing but admiration (and amusement) for those who do, we settled in to Agrius Restaurant at Fol Epi at 732 Yates St to watch the marathoners speed on by.

We've reviewed Agrius/Fol Epi before, and have since learned that the bakery is Fol Epi and the restaurant is Agrius. Regardless of the naming, we settled in to a sidewalk table and awaited our food.  In a stunning surprise, Catie and I both had the same brunch! The Fried Egg Sandwich ($14) caught all of our attention, so we ordered it.

In contrast to a future breakfast sandwich review (foreshadowing!), the fried egg included is quite runny. The melty cheese, bacon, and sauces combine with the egg into a blur of tasty taste, but the combination also makes the sandwich rather difficult to eat without making a mess. This is not a sandwich that should be ordered when you're brunching with someone that you don't know very well, especially if your are trying to impress them with your tidy eating skills. That being said, it's awesome. We have actually eaten there several times, and we've each ordered the fried egg sandwich every visit.

Catie had a coffee, which was quite strong, and I had a fresh-tasting orange juice. The server was very friendly to the Bearded Muppet Dog, which is always a point in the restaurant's favour. We ate our sandwiches, drank our drinks, and enjoyed the busy street scene: tourists walking about, marathoners marathoning, and city workers hanging Victoria's famous flower baskets on the lamp posts. We will go there again before too long - will you?

(Bonus Secret Review and Brunching Top Tip! You will need to wait while your food is prepared. If you find yourself hungry after ordering, go to the bakery counter and get something to stave off your hunger. I recommend the ginger cookie (pleasantly gingery and not too hard) and Catie suggests you have the lemon tart (not too sweet - aptly named) while you're waiting.)

Agrius Restaurant, 32 Yates Street, Victoria

Monday, July 22, 2019

Weekend One Hundred and Nine: BC Ferries Coastal Celebration Sea West Lounge

Dave and I left our secret location in Victoria for the mainland. Yes, this is another BC Ferries related brunch, but this one is good.

Something you should know about me is that I take the ferry a lot, so I know a thing or two. One thing that has made being a BC Ferries commuter tolerable is the Sea West Lounge, or SWL for short. The SWL is a quiet lounge (think library voices) where the ringing of cell phones is not tolerated. The SWL also serves snacks. These snacks though.... they're good. Breakfast snacks are different than afternoon/dinner snacks and they have the components to make a tidy meal. Yes, the SWL does cost money, $12. BC Ferries calls this amazing value. I don't know about amazing, but I do know what that is less money than any meal in the cafeteria and the SWL comes with comfortable seating and guaranteed peace.

For this brunch Dave and I hustled to the SWL and took up my favourite seats. We paid our money and picked up our food and drinks (did I mention they are "all you can eat"). I had yogurt and granola, a slice of watermelon, some mini honey donuts, and some white cheese slices. Dave had a bran muffin, mini honey donuts, yogurt and granola, and a slice of watermelon. The food was tasty and unlimited, which is above average for BC Ferries. The atmosphere is sublime. Dave and I ate our food, drank our orange juice and tea, and read our books in absolute peace.

The next time you are on a full-out-the-port-holes ferry, may I recommend the Sea West Lounge.

Sea West Lounge, any BC Ferries on a major route.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Weekend One Hundred and Eight: BC Ferries Coastal Celebration Buffet

It would be rude to start this post off with the words Just Don't, so I won't.
Dave and I were travelling back to our secret location in Victoria from our secret location in Vancouver one morning and thought since we have reviewed a BC Ferries Cafeteria Brunch that we should do a buffet too. So reader, we will eat there so you don't have to.

First  we must tell you that it is EXPENSIVE! $21 each (plus tax) gets you in. We then found a table and sat ourselves. In the past lovely BC Ferries staff would seat you at a table, no longer. Now groups of two sit at tables for four and then larger groups are either forced to wait or take unreasonably small tables. Now perhaps this is a one off, but I won't be going back to find out.

Dave and I found a centrally located table and then hit the buffet. After paying $21 dollars to get in, it feels mandatory to take them up on their "all you can eat" offer. We loaded our plates a few times.

Something else you should know about the buffet is that they don't serve bacon. You can get bacon in the cafeteria but not in the buffet. In the buffet you can have breakfast sausages or chorizo patties (meat type: unknown). The eggs only come scrambled and I would put money on them being powdered. There are two redeeming items in the buffet: unlimited coffee and tea and the potato patties. Dave quite liked the waffle toppings: strawberry, peach, and blueberry sauces, with whipped cream.

The atmosphere of the buffet the day we visited was that of a child care center. Some were bouncing on the chairs, some were playing with the food, and some were walking around screaming because they were upset that the waffles had run out. It isn't an atmosphere that I enjoy, but perhaps you would.

I will finish this post with these words: Just Don't because there are better ways to spend $21 on BC Ferries.

The Pacific Buffet, many BC Ferries on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route (but not the Coastal Renaissance.)

Weekend One Hundred and Seven: Kelly's Kitchen Cafe

We left our secret location with a road trip in mind, so we took a little drive out of the city to have brunch in Nanaimo. As we pulled up to Kelly's Kitchen Cafe, we wondered about the odd location and hoped the food would be okay.

Kelly's Kitchen Cafe isn't anything to look at, outside or inside, but the service and the food were everything. It is absolutely everything you want in a classic brunch place: friendly waitresses, chatty clientele, and easy to understand food. The waitress are astoundingly friendly and seem to know everyone, even if it is your first time there. As we were eating, they were decorating a corner of the restaurant for a regular's 90th birthday; so sweet. As we were sitting down, the clientele were discussing where a new guy in town (who was also there) could get the best deal on a set of tools. The conversation was lively and involved everyone in the restaurant in that classic Cheers way. The food on the menu is all the things that you know and like. The dishes do have funny names but all are tried and true recipes that taste good.

I, true to form, ordered the benny with hashbrowns. The hollandaise tasted freshly made, not powdered, and the hashbrowns were delish with crispy bits. Dave ordered an omlette wrap, though he can't remember the name, he said it was great! Though the food prices will go undocumented, but we can swear to the fact that they are not very expensive and the food is worth the money.

So dear reader, if you ever find yourself headed through Nanaimo and hankering for some fine home cooking, take yourself right over to Kelly's Kitchen Cafe and fill yourself up.

Kelly's Kitchen Cafe (no website only facebook): 2517 Bowen Road, Nanaimo

Monday, July 1, 2019

Weekend One Hundred and Six: The Pacific Restaurant at the Grand Pacific Hotel

Through a kind gift, we found ourselves in possession of two gift certificates to the Grand Pacific Hotel, with but a week to spend them before they expired. To the Pacific Restaurant!

It's pretty fancy, certainly when compared with our usual brunching places.

Catie enjoyed the traditional eggs Benedict ($18), subbing strip bacon for back bacon, and I had a Mediterranean omelette with added bacon (also $18). Catie's drink was coffee, and I had orange juice, which came with free refills. Wow! Fancy brunching just got better!

Catie enjoyed her bennies, especially because of the delicious Hollandaise, and I was the lucky recipient of perhaps the most perfect omelette I have seen. Light and fluffy, with evenness and height - here, Catie took a picture just to show it. And it was very tasty to boot! Sadly, the potatoes were nothing special.

Would we come back? Well, it is pretty pricey. And the potatoes... But the omelette, Hollandaise, and refills of orange juice more than make up for that.

Shout out to Kevin from the Edelweiss Swing City days - glad to see you again.

The Pacific Restaurant, The Grand Pacific Hotel, 463 Belleville Street, Victoria