Thursday, March 31, 2011

Calico Cupboard Café (Mount Vernon, WA)

What does a weekend getaway to Seattle mean? Yes! Breakfast in America! It seems to me that there are more restaurants in the States who dedicate themselves specifically to my favourite meal and the Calico Cupboard Café is one of them. With three locations in Skagit County (Anacortes, La Conner and Mount Vernon), we stopped in Mount Vernon as it was just off the highway on the way South. Those who are familiar with this drive will know the spot as it’s just beside the “tulip smokestack”.

The decor and menu reflect their country farmhouse theme. They are known for their baked goods, especially their giant cinnamon buns (apple, pecan, or raspberry). My partner’s Blueberry Cakes were made with whole wheat flour, which gave them a lovely nutty flavour. My Morning Glory Omelette was served with their delicious house-made bread and freezer jam. We left with big smiles and bellies.

On the road again.

121-B Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon, WA
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Daily
www.calicocupboardcafe.com
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Café Régalade (CLOSED)

UPDATE (02/07/14): When walking by I noticed a sign on the door that claimed they would be closed for one day due to “circumstances beyond their control”. The note was dated 01/15/14 and they haven’t yet reopened. Not sure if this is permanent or temporary. Upon further research it looks like there have been challenges since change of staff, and they have been open and closed several times over the past months. I’ll post if they reopen, but it doesn’t look likely.
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The pig decor was my first clue that I was going to love this place. I wish I could say I was letting you in on a little secret by telling you about this only one-week-old spot, however, given the lineups this morning the word is already out! Born as a sister to La Régalade in West Van (or some kind of relative, anyway), this family has the formula just right – French bistro flare with Kitsilano casual style. I especially want to acknowledge our hostess – she was fabulously charming.

Our meals reminded me that there is good reason why chefs often refer to themselves as “French-trained”. What is it that makes French food so special – passion? ingredients? technique? Whatever it is, it sent me to my “happy place”. My Paris Breakfast consisted of cast iron pan-roasted tomatoes with ham and garlic, coated in gooey Swiss cheese topped with perfectly cooked sunny up eggs, accompanied by amazing roasted potatoes, fresh baguette with butter, and a delicately dressed green salad. Shhh. Don’t talk. Just let me enjoy. My partner’s Lyon Breakfast was equally drool-worthy – as above but instead with bacon, mushrooms, spinach, pearl onions in a red wine sauce. We were cochon-ified.

I could wax poetic about Café Régalade, but I'll shorten it to a bold statement: this is my new favourite breakfast spot. J’adore!

2836 West 4th Avenue
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
www.caferegalade.ca
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beachside Forno

UPDATE (04/16/13): They are now closed.
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Sunshine – score! We had plans to meet friends in Ambleside for a round of pitch and putt golf and thankfully, the weather played along. But, of course, first we needed a warmup. Just a short drive from the golf course, the Beachside Forno was the perfect location. With plenty of free parking, there are no obstacles to dining here. Another striking feature of this location is their patio with a view to the beach and beyond to Stanley Park and English Bay, definitely one of the best patio brunch destinations in the city.

The menu has a few highlights, as well. I’m always up for a non-traditional take on a benny, and my Braised Short Rib on Apple-Potato Pancake Benny was just that. But I think they’ve really hit their sweet spot with their Breakfast Pizza concoctions. Today’s special was chorizo, provolone, topped with an herb egg scramble.

I score this experience as a par. As expected, and completely satisfying.

1362 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Brunch hours: Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
www.beachsideforno.com
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Marulilu Café

I am known to be a stickler for many things, but menu spelling is not one of them. I love seriously misspelled menu items. (Side note: no lie, I just had to look up how to spell “misspell”.) On this particular menu, my favourite was the “toasted cinammon raisen bagle”. Super cute.

I admire the folks who run Marulilu - they are sweet beyond belief and obviously run their café with their heart. And their combination Japanese/Canadian all-day breakfast menu is strangely unique. On the Canadian side, items such as simple bacon, eggs, and toast. On the Japanese side breakfast is salmon, rice, plain omelet, and tofu. For me, the highlight was definitely my waffle, served with whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream, and syrup.

451 West Broadway
Breakfast hours:
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Banners Friendly Restaurant

Because we were in our “Vancouver” sweats this morning (me in yoga gear and him in fleece pants), we wanted a low-key joint. Banners was it, serving up no-fuss, all-day breakfast.

Our server was great. We appreciated her efficient, friendly service, and she directed us to the best bang-for-our-buck options, such as the Mountain Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage, 2 pancakes and country potatoes for $6.25. Nothin’ fancy, just hearty breakfast.

No lineups, big portions, cheap, free refills, booth seating – pappy approved.

1690 East 12th Avenue
Breakfast hours: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Daily
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Caffé Barney (Main Street)

Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – breakfast prime time – I wasn’t surprised to find Caffé Barney busy. Even so, there was a table or two still available. And yes, they will direct you to your table by yelling at you. The reason for the yelling? It was LOUD! I share this not to deter you, instead to prepare you. Anyone interested in sound engineering would find the acoustics here fascinating.

Me, I found my Eggsotic Benny fascinating. Rich avocado, briny shrimp, and fresh tomato – a great combo. And the surprise for me was the hollandaise. It’s one of those foods where I cannot really determine its excellence by visual alone. Upon tasting, this one is yummy. I wonder if it’s made from scratch, does anyone know?

I know that if you go on a weekend, get ready to yell.

2526 Main Street
Breakfast hours:

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sylvia Hotel

I am continually amazed by the fact that there always seems to be the perfect place to go for breakfast which suits my mood and needs. Today it was the landmark Sylvia Hotel. A friend and I were meeting to catch up, so we needed somewhere where we would feel free to take our time. Also I was feeling a little under the weather and wanted to be somewhere that felt warm and comforting. And it is located 3 blocks from said friend’s home. Choice made.

I believe the best word I can think of to describe the setting, menu, and service here is “classic”. Overlooking English Bay, what view is more Vancouver than this? Our Stanley Park Benny and Denver Omelette, served with crispy fried potatoes, were executed in a way that I feel would appeal to a broad audience from children to elderly patrons, which is mostly who you will find here. Cute.

The next time you need a big hug for breakfast, go here.

1154 Gilford Street
Breakfast hours:
Monday to Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sunday: 7:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m.
Sunday brunch: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
www.sylviahotel.com/restaurant
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