Tag Archives: Breakfast

Red Wagon Cafe Fails to Meet Expectations 

After waiting for months and months and months to get into the Red Wagon Cafe on East Hastings Street, we finally found a moment when there wasn’t a line-up of hipsters out front of the place. And what a total and complete disappointment the entire Red Wagon Cafe experience turned out to be.

First off, the service was typical hipster-pathetic. The kind of attitude where the servers make it clear that they are doing you a huge favour by bringing you a cup of coffee. The servers make it seem like the customers are an interruption to their performance art. Yawn. Honestly, I am so far beyond that kind of attitude.

The other really annoying thing about the Red Wagon Café is that the tables are so close together that if you dare to lift your arm to get food into your mouth you end up bumping elbows with the person sitting beside you who may also be trying to lift their arm.

Trucker's Breakfast
Trucker’s Breakfast

And then the breakfast. When you see a truckers breakfast listed on the menu what do you imagine? I imagine a massive meal. So when you see the Super Trucker’s Breakfast? I imagine a mountain of food.

Instead at the Red Wagon Café the Super Trucker breakfast had two pancakes that would not cover the palm of my hand, one piece of toast that could’ve been used as a brick and two eggs.

We asked for the eggs overeasy and instead they came with the yolks cooked hard. When we told the server that the eggs were cooked way too hard she said she would get it fixed, took the plate back to the kitchen and returned within a couple minutes.

The server returned with the same plate and if I’m not mistaken the same eggs. If they weren’t the same eggs, they were another two eggs that were as equally butchered.

Yes, the small piece of pork belly was good. And the tablespoonful of pulled pork was also yummy. However it’s a Truckers Breakfast – actually a Super Truckers Breakfast! Honestly, you should not leave any restaurant hungry if you have had a Super Truckers Breakfast. Especially if you’ve paid $20 for breakfast.

Total disappointment on this one. We will not be returning anytime soon. Or rather anytime.

The Red Wagon Cafe is located at 2296 East Hastings Street, Vancouver.

The Ovaltine Cafe

There is good stuff happening in the Ovaltine Cafe down near Hastings and Main. Grace, formerly an employee of the original Save on Meats cafe from back when Al Deslauriers was the owner, has taken over the Ovaltine Cafe and is working hard at improving the menu and the quality of the food.


Visiting the Ovaltine Cafe is like taking a trip back in time. It looks like a museum and the server actually told me that he likes working in the Cafe partly because it is like a working museum. He added that he also loves working there because Grace, the owner is the best boss he has ever had.

I visited the cafe recently and had the Southwest Eggs Benedict which had two perfectly soft cooked eggs on ripe avocados all on top of two lightly toasted English muffins.


Yes, the English muffins could have been toasted to be a little more crisp and the hollandaise sauce was a little too thick but the perfection of the eggs and the exquisitely perfect ripeness of the avocado more than made up for that.

And the side of pan fried potatoes … Yummy! A flavour hit with me. Crispy on the outside and so soft inside … Lovely.


My brunch companion had the mac & cheese which was on sale for five dollars. Very nice and firm noodles with the perfect amount of cheddar and ementhal cheese. The mac & cheese was not as creamy as my lunch companion would’ve liked. However the addition of some ground up ketchup flavoured potato chips on top of the mac & cheese was a clever flavour-hit.


To finish up, I had a vanilla milkshake. It was handmade with one of those old-fashioned looking milkshake makers with ice cream and milk. Absolute perfection.


The bottom line, I have no hesitation in recommending you to try the Ovaltine Cafe and I will definitely be returning to try more of their menu including the lunch options.

 

Rod’s Kitchen and Grill

Rod’s Kitchen and Grill is one of those places that I frequently drive by and think about trying but is unfortunately always closed when I am travelling through the neighbourhood.

The reality is that Rod’s Kitchen and Grill is open during business hours to serve the nearby working people or Skytrain commuters.

So this being my spring break, plus the fact that I was too early to get into Costco, I seized the opportunity to give them a try.

Rod's Kitchen and Grill
Traditional Breakfast

It was a good experience. A good, simple breakfast; a couple of eggs cooked to a perfect over easy, cubed potatoes, a couple strips of bacon (I would have preferred them to be cooked a little more crispy) and toast. For $5 you can’t ask for much more.

If it is open and I am looking for a decent breakfast, I would definitely stop in and eat at Rod’s Kitchen and Grill again.

A Super Quick and Healthy Breakfast 

My One Pot Pasta was easy but this quick and healthy breakfast one is even easier!

quick and healthy breakfast
Two Eggs

First, I cracked two eggs into a mug! As a side note, notice how the egg yolks are such different colours?

quick and healthy breakfast
Cheddar Cheese and Peppers

I chopped up a small piece of cheddar cheese and less than a quarter cup of the leftovers from yesterday’s one pot pasta and added that to the mug with the two eggs.

I stirred the mixture vigorously with a fork, added a shake of salt and a grind of black pepper before putting the mug of egg and stuff into the microwave for a minute and a half.

No kidding. A minute and a half later I had a creamy omelette in the mug.

I moved it out of the mug onto a plate to see what it looked like and I was very impressed.

The flavour was good, the egg had a pleasing creamy texture – in less than five minutes I made a tasty and moist omelette. It was awesome!

A quick and healthy breakfast in less than 5 minutes and virtually no dirty dishes!

The Big 6 Restaurant For Breakfast

In my continuing research efforts of finding trustworthy breakfast joints around the Metro Vancouver area, I stopped at a Burnaby institution, the Big 6 Restaurant. 

 
Years ago I would meet my grandfather at the Big 6 for the Trucker’s Breakfast special. Back then the special was $2.95. Now the Trucker’s Special of two eggs, bacon (or ham or sausage), hashbrown potatoes and a pair of toast is priced at $4.75. Still a pretty good value. 

  
I was Impressed with not only the speed at which they cooked my breakfast, but also the quality. Granted this is your typical “greasy spoon” joint so I know what to expect. It was good. I like the hashbrown potatoes and although the bacon could have been cooked a little longer it was still very flavourful. 

  

The eggs were cooked perfectly overeasy – no icky watery white stuff and yet soft yolks. The toast was unimpressive. Overall, a good breakfast that I enjoyed. 

I will return to the Big 6 Restaurant which is located at 7660 6th Street in Burnaby. 

The Northern Cafe and Grill Vancouver

I’ve wanted to try the Northern Cafe and Grill Vancouver for a long time but their hours of 7am to 3pm has made it virtually impossible for me to get a meal there. Well, with me being on summer holidays, I saw my opportunity.

Going for a breakfast at the Northern Cafe and Grill Vancouver is like walking onto the set of Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.


The Northern Cafe is located in a room above a lumber yard in South Vancouver. It is kind of amusing that the inside of the cafe doesn’t seem to have a square corner or straight line anywhere.


The owner/cook told me that the Northern Cafe and Grill Vancouver is the oldest still operating cafe in Vancouver. It looks like it.


I had a classic breakfast; two eggs over-easy, a big side of hashbrown potatoes (the cook told me they are excellent and truthfully, they were), two strips of bacon and toast. It was a good breakfast. Breakfast was $5.25 and with a coffee the bill was just over $7.


The best part of the breakfast was the setting. For reasons I cannot explain, I love the working part of the Fraser River. And the Northern Cafe and Grill is located right beside the working part of the Fraser River which makes me feel right at home.

The owner told me that I need to come back and try the burger and fries he makes. He buys Angus beef and grinds all the burger meat used in the cafe and chips his own fries. This is such a funky place; I will be returning to try the burger.

The Northern Cafe and Grill is located in the Northern Building Supply yard at 1640 East Kent Ave in Vancouver, almost under the Knight Street Bridge. I will return to the Northern Cafe and Grill.

Jimoco Cafe – Cheap Breakfast

If you ask people where to go for a cheap breakfast usually the first place they say is Bon’s off Broadway.

Some people will also say IKEA’s one dollar breakfast is the real deal.


Well the real deal and the best, cheap breakfast in town is the Jimoco Café.

From opening until 9:30 AM they have a three dollar early bird special.

The early bird special includes two eggs cooked how you like, hashbrown potatoes, a pair of toast, and your choice of bacon, ham or chorizo sausage.

The best part about this breakfast is that it is all quality food. Real, cubed russet potatoes, quality bread with a smear of butter on it, and the chorizo sausage is absolutely killer good.

I will admit that I was unimpressed with the ham they serve, but like I said the sausage, and the bacon are both very, very good.

If you are looking for cheap eats and a good quality breakfast, you need to head up to 1046 Austin Avenue in Coquitlam and enjoy the early bird special at the Jimoco Café.

Biscuits and Gravy at Tony’s in Blaine

On the weekend I was in Blaine Washington a little too early to get into the post office so I did what I like to do best – I found a little hole in the wall joint and had a second breakfast.

Tony's Just a Bite
Tony’s Just a Bite

One of the things that never fails to intrigue me is the fact that in my home town and province of BC there are VERY, very few places that you can go and find biscuits and gravy on the menu. And yet you cross the border into the USA and nearly every breakfast joint will have biscuits and gravy as an option and I have to say, I LOVE biscuits and gravy!!

Twin Sisters
Twin Sisters

So I ordered the Twin Peaks – two eggs on top of two biscuits smothered in sausage gravy with a side of “American potatoes”.

I asked for my eggs to be cooked over-easy and they were flawlessly over-easy. So perfect that I actually shared a 10 second video of me breaking open one of the yolks on my Instagram feed.

And sausage gravy – so unbelievably rich and creamy and flavourful…oh my. Admittedly, my mother makes a superior biscuit than the ones I had at Tony’s but the overall breakfast experience was awesome.

Breakfast at the Jimoco Cafe

I was surprised to notice that I have not added the Jimoco Cafe, one of my favourite Tri-Cities breakfast joints to my list of trusted brekkie joints. I have been going to the Jimoco Cafe for quite a few years and I have always been impressed with the quality and presentation of their food.

This week my Sweetheart and I had a rare opportunity to have breakfast out together and we headed over to the Jimoco Cafe.

Eggs and Bacon at Jimoco
Eggs and Bacon at Jimoco

Top item on their breakfast menu is a Sunrise Special – two eggs, hashbrowns, toast and the choice of bacon, ham or chorizo sausage, all for $3 if you arrive before 9:30 am. I went for the special with sunny side up eggs and bacon.

The eggs were cooked perfectly with a runny yolk that I could dip my hashbrown cubes into. The extra crsip bacon (without even having to ask for it!! HEAVEN!!) was excellent.

Corned Beef Hash and Eggs
Corned Beef Hash and Eggs

Sweetheart, not being as fiscally prudent as me chose the corned beef breakfast hash ($9). It came with two eggs and two pieces of toast. Once again, the eggs were cooked perfectly.

One of the things I really like about the Jimoco Cafe are the hashbrown potatoes. These are the real thing. They either bake or boil Russet potatoes and then cube them before giving them the golden-fry treatment. The end result is that they are crispy cubes of warm potato lovin’ when they arrive at the table.

On other occasions I have been to the cafe I have enjoyed selections from their omelette list. Each time I have been impressed with the quality of the food, the ingredients and the presentation.

However, I have to say that this week when we were in for brekkie, both Sweetheart’s and my breakfast was barely warm when it arrived at our table and was very quickly cold. I could have told the server about the issue but I am hoping this is just a one off mistake from their kitchen staff.

Bottomline, I will continue to visit the Jimoco Cafe when I am looking for a quality breakfast  experience.

Jimoco Cafe & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner in the Fraser Canyon

There is nothing particularly unique or special about another diner opening up these days. Even if it is east of Boston Bar, way up the Fraser Canyon. The thing that makes Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner unique is that it is run by Todd, a “celebrity-type” chef from Vancouver who used to run a critically acclaimed “underground” restaurant.

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Pretty significant change to go from being a chef in Vancouver to running a diner on the side of the Trans Canada highway somewhere between Boston Bar and Lytton though. So I asked Todd “why open a diner in the Fraser Canyon, out here, miles away from any form of celebrity, where Bud still reigns as the undisputed King of beers?”

He told me that after six years of serving six course meals to well-healed foodies and wine enthusiasts, he saw the opportunity to open a restaurant where he can grow much of his own fruit and veggies and locally source the meats and baked goods as an opportunity too good to pass up.

The funny thing is, if I had not had this conversation with Todd or seen someone bringing a massive handful of carrots – carrots pulled fresh from the garden behind the diner, I would not have known about their unique approach to food. Nowhere in the menu does it mention that they grow their own salad greens, veggies or that they have apple, cherry and apricot trees to provide produce for their diner. In essence, they are embracing the philosophy of the 100 Mile Diet and yet are not trumpeting it to the world. Of course I have never attempted to run my own restaurant but if I was, I would be sure that my patrons knew that I was embracing the philosophy of the 100 Mile Diet.

Regardless, for me as a frequent traveller of the Fraser Canyon it is great to have a family friendly dining alternative to the Home Restaurant located in Hope, BC, especially now that the restaurant formerly known as Elvis Rocks the Canyon has closed.

So we stopped in twice this weekend, once for a late breakfast on Saturday and then for lunch on our Sunday return trip.

I found the breakfast fare to be excellent. One of my kidlets chose the egg and bacon ($5) from the kid section of the menu. Funny how kids describe meals; she told me that she loved the bacon (but loved me more) and she really liked the “special plate” that her breakfast was served on.

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Our second daughter was not convinced to have breakfast. She had the spaghetti and meatballs ($5, like all the items on the kid section of the menu). My Sweetheart found the spaghetti sauce a little on the salty side. I was pleasantly surprised to read on the menu that they actually make their own pasta in house!

My breakfast choice was the salmon, capers and cream cheese omelette ($12). I am a big fan of omelettes that can attain and maintain bulk and height. Fat Jack’s did it. Light and fluffy eggs that were able to hold the thick bed of cream cheese that had plenty of sliced smoked salmon and copious capers. A breakfast pleaser for me.

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My Sweetheart opted for the Nacho Egg Pizza. A bed of scrambled egg with pieces of tortilla cooked into it. The massive dollops of guacamole, sour cream and salsa were delicious. The eggs have small pieces of corn tortillas cooked right into them.

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On our return trip we shared the turkey, cranberry, swiss and stuffing on a toasted baguette ($13). The use of the dark turkey meat is a sure fire winner for me; I far prefer tasty dark turkey meat over the surprisingly popular and totally blah white meat that so many places use.

We ended up eating the stuffing and cranberry and leaving the top half of the baguette just because we had enough bread for the day. The stuffing and the turkey were delicious.

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My lunch choice was the braised brisket, sauerkraut and mustard on toasted sourdough bread ($14).

Seeing as I am currently on a sauerkraut kick, this was the only logical choice for me. A nice combination of brisket that was not overpowered by the sauerkraut or mustard. The dill pickle was a nice addition although I wish there was more pickle.

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Of course the fries on both of our meals were superb. Real, homemade fries cut from potatoes in the back of the kitchen. When the plates arrive at the table, the side of fries do not overwhelm you like the meals at the Home Restaurant tend to do.

Overall impressions – Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner is a great addition to the food choices for the Fraser Canyon traveller.  However, knowing that the volume of traffic in the Fraser Canyon can get pretty low in the winter months it will be interesting to see if the local communities will also embrace Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner.

 
Fat Jack's Homestyle Diner on Urbanspoon