Yolks

Just before Christmas, my colleague Andrew stuck his head in my cubicle and announced “Yolks!” What? “Yolks!” for your next review! Yes! But of course! Yolks, as Vancouver foodies know, is a breakfast-themed food truck parked in Gastown. They’ve recently hatched a bricks and mortar eating spot (all breakfast! all the time! can I get a Woot Woot?) out in East Hastings. We arrived at 9:30 and sure enough the joint was soon a hoppin’.

James’ Breakkie
 JamesA recent upstart was the scene of our first 2014 foray: Yolks Restaurant. Located in a former steakhouse at Clark Dr. and Hastings St. news about this breakfast eatery is spreading faster than butter on a steaming pancake. Pancakes are on the menu, but I decided to go with the Eggs Benedict. The flowchart-like menu addled my pre-breakfast brain, but our helpful waitress assisted, and the dish that arrived was familiar and flavourful: toasted English muffin, two poached eggs, sliced ham, fresh spinach, Dijon mustard and hollandaise sauce. I also opted for a side of truffle lemon hash browns. These perfectly cooked baby potatoes are a notch above your average B-fast ‘taters, and the order is big enough for two. The price for breakfast: $14.25 (including the side order) + $4 for a small glass of fresh orange juice. Yolk isn’t the cheapest diner in town, eggs only come one way – poached – and if you want toast an English muffin will have to do. Regardless, Yolk is a worthwhile addition to Vancouver’s breakfast offerings.

Theresa’s Brekkie
TheresaI can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to going to Yolks since my conversation with my colleague. I’d never visited the food truck, but I’d heard amazing things about it so my expectations were high, and no, Yolks did not disappoint. The maze like menu was a little to complicated that early in the morning, and I needed the waitress to help me through it. What I landed with was a bed of spinach, atop which was truffle-oiled potatoes (heavenly), atop which was slices of ham, atop which was two poached eggs (the only way they serve them), dots of goat cheese (couldn’t resist) atop which was a drizzle of a dijon based sauce. I also ordered an English muffin. This was an awesome breakfast, they learned their food cart lessons well. What didn’t translate so well was the complicated menu (my breakfast was over $20 with tip. Ouch!) and the diner still feels a 70s steakhouse. Minor stuff. Yolks definitely has something to crow about.

James’ Rating: 3.5 eggs out of 5
Theresa’s Rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Yolk's Restaurant and Commissary on Urbanspoon

Abode Restaurant

Abode is located on the street level of the Blue Horizon Hotel smack dab in the middle of Robson Street. The space was recently renovated and renamed (it used to be called Inlets). The decor is understated and elegant with a casual vibe if you get what I mean. Normally I don’t comment on bathrooms, but the loos at Abode are top notch. Private stalls, nice lighting, interesting sinks. A suggestion – get a window seat – it’s a great people watching spot too. V. impressive.

James’ Brekkie

Vancouver-20131019-00598Tired of the whole “BFF” concept? Let me suggest a more satisfying alternative: “BBSF” – “Best Breakfast Sandwich Forever.” A recent stop at Abode on Robson St. revealed a contenda’! Abode (previously Inlets Bistro) is the street-front anchor for the Blue Horizon Hotel. The joint has a fresh decor to go with its new name, and the menu appears to be a mix of old and new dishes for the tourists and locals who loyally (and with good reason) eat here. I went for the Good Start Sandwich (a priced-right $8 even with the optional $2 bacon). Two pieces of hearty seed-and-nut strewn toasted bread are the edible framework for delicately folded omelet-style egg, bacon, smoked cheddar, tomato, avocado and apple chive mayo. The menu said the sandwich included fresh basil but someone forgot to cue it for this ‘wich. That was okay, because everything else created a wallop of flavour. Service was prompt and pleasant.

Theresa’s Brekkie

Eggs BennyI can kick myself sometimes. Abode is located on a part of Robson that I pass by just about every day and never go into. My loss because the Abode is a wonderful spot and definitely worth going back to for many reasons. Our waitress was friendly and efficient (she’s a long time employee and worked there before the rename and reno). The tea was loose leaf, and served in a lovely pot. It was an English Breakfast, and I am curious as to where they source their tea. This blend tasted of honey and molasses with a bit of smokiness – heavenly first thing in the morning. For breakfast, I had the Kitchen Sink Benny. It included sauteed avocado, spinach, leeks, red pepper, parsley topped with the traditional poached egg – soft and perfectly done as ordered – eggsellent (sorry couldn’t resist!). It was topped with one of the best Hollandaise sauces I’ve ever had. Rounding out the meal were very crispy potato chunks. All in all, a champion brekkie.

The details:

James’ Rating: 4 eggs out 5
Theresa’s Rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Abode Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Score on Davie

I had some confusion about Score. There’s a spot across the street called the Speakeasy and for some reason, I thought that was the Score. I stood there, befuddled. But luckily, James was waiting patiently across the street and we were able to determine, for certain, that this was the place we’d agreed to review. So restaurant confirmed, bottoms comfortably seated outside and now for the big question….does the Score score?

James’ Brekkie

turkeyhashI think this was a first for Theresa and I – an alfresco breakfast, at Score in the West End. Cloud-filtered sunbeams and a table in the sidewalk-adjacent courtyard set the scene. The Score’s breakfast menu is varied and affordable. I selected the turkey hash, a nicely presented concoction of hashbrowns and roast turkey, both diced, mixed with cranberries and topped by two poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce. Tasty all-round, and accompanied by a “Good-moring-here’s-a-kick-in-the-pants” jalapeno cornbread muffin. Friendly, attentive servers. Minor note: the potatoes and turkey would benefit from a more rustic (i.e, less finely diced) presentation.

Theresa’s Brekkie

pierogiebrekkieI pass by the Score just about every day, but in the 8-odd years I’ve lived in the West End, I’ve never eaten there. I decided to order the most outrageous thing on the breakfast menu: scrambled eggs with bacon, sausage, pierogies (yes you read that correctly), hash browns, and sourdough toast. Yes, it was good. And yes, I ate every bit of it (except for the sausage, I am not really a big sausage fan, these were meh). The Score was packed within fifteen minutes of our seating and for may good reasons-good service, great food, awesome patio. I will definitely have to come back when I need a hangover breakfast, especially when I saw the waitress passing our table with a trayful of Bloody Marys garnished with onion rings. Does the Score score? Oh yeah, baby!

The details
James’s rating: 4 eggs out 5
Theresa’s rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Score on Davie on Urbanspoon

Caffe Barney

Today was a red letter breakfast experience! Vivi, James and I engaged in a little petite dejeuner a trois – we did a triple breakfast review! Caffe Barney (what’s with the spelling of Caffe?) on Main was the scene of the crime…

And I have to apologize, the picture of Vivi’s breakfast didn’t turn out, you’ll have to trust me that it looked yuuuuummmy.

James’ Brekkie

pancakesCaffe Barney is a straight-up, good-eats kind of place. I’ve enjoyed dinner entrees here but this was my first breakfast. This morning I had banana-raspberry pancakes ($7.50) and a side of bacon ($3.00). Give us a “Y,” give us a “U,” give us an “M!” The pancakes were full of flavour, without either fruit overpowering the other – and fresh raspberries in the batter provided that homemade touch. The generous side of bacon was crisply cooked. Ten bucks plus change for a tasty breakfast got my Sunday off to a very satisfying start. Service was good and the setting is clean and comfortable. A small restaurant that delivers big results – yay Team Barney!

Theresa’s Brekkie

HuevosrancherosFor this my first visit to Chez Barney’s I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. It included two poached eggs and melted cheddar cheese served in a cast iron pan filled with a piperade. It came with 2 corn tortillas and a side of cubed potatoes. I ordered a side of toast as well. This dish needed way more va-va-voom or Ole! as the case may be.  The piperade was bland and uninspired and the eggs were undercooked. I like runny yolks but I am not fond of runny whites. The breakfast was resoundingly mediocre. I do have to give Barney’s some serious props for the avocado. Most places skimp on the avo or mash it up to stretch it. I got half of a perfectly ripe avocado. And that folks, in my books, forgives a lot of sins. I will come back to try other things on the menu, I had a bit of both Vivi’s and James’ breakfast and they were good. Service was impeccable and the ambiance was pretty gosh darn good.

Vivi’s Brekkie

My receipt referred to my order as the “Jazzy Scrambler” which, I’ve gotta say, is cooler than how it was described on the specials board. It was a wonderful mix of eggs, sausage, avocado, beans and cheese over a toasted bagel, and came with cubed potatoes. It was tasty and hearty, and improved with a few drops of hot sauce. I’ve never had anything that was served on a bagel like that, almost like eggs benedict, and on reflection it was a good choice because regular bread just wouldn’t have held up. I think it would have been more than enough food without the bagel, and that’s saying a lot because I was STARVING. It was great value too, at $9. And I would be remiss without talking about Caffe Barney’s coffee – I order decaf, and in most establishments it’s borderline crap. The coffee I had with breakfast was super strong and very good. The service was fantastic – we never had to flag down anyone, she just magically materialized, checked in and cleared away our dishes at the right moments.

The details

Caffe Barney
James’ rating: 3.5 eggs out of 5
Theresa’s rating 2.5 eggs out of 5
Vivi’s rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Caffé Barney on Urbanspoon

Kessel and March

Kessel & March is situated in a funny location at the end of Commercial Drive at Powell Street. It’s on the main floor of the ARC building. When we walked in, I had a funny feeling I’d been there before, and indeed, I had many years ago in a different incarnation. The space is oddly shaped, making it a challenge to make the space inviting and useable. Well, the husband and wife team did a really good job at making the space work. Their secret? The wife part of the team is trained interior designer and they’ve created a two level space that is surprisingly open and inviting. And the husband half of the team handles the food. So far, a match made in heaven…

Kris’s brekkie

krisBe the first to tell your friends about this new gem in Vancouver. I have been visiting Kessel and March and sampling many of their wonderful baked goods such as lemon semolina cake , mini quiche and one of the best coconut macaroons ever to cross my lips. Very nice.

This time I visited for brunch and I was very impressed . A very enjoyable meal with impeccable service and quality. This husband and wife team are very passionate about what they are doing and I could feel it. I had the Pork Belly and beans with poached eggs and whole wheat toast. The pork belly and beans came in a heavy bowl. I love a good hot bowl of food, I find it very grounding. An abundance of succulent pork belly was evenly distributed throughout. The eggs were nicely medium poached and the bread is baked daily in house. It is worth the trip just to experience the fresh baked bread, wonderful. I am excited to visit and experience this new spot as they grow and affirm themselves as one of Vancouver must visit restaurants. Nice job guys. Now to head there for dinner. I believe I saw a few terrines that sounded amazing.
Theresa’s brekkie
theresaI can’t remember the exact name of my breakfast but basically it was a cast-iron skillet filled with ham, potatoes, beans, tomatoes and two basted eggs. Everything was wonderfully prepared and very tasty. I have to say though the stars of this show were the bread and the tea. The bread was a wonderful home made whole wheat – dense, rich, flavourful. I have fallen in love. The tea was an okay Mighty Leaf, but the tea service was exceptional. The tea pot, creamer and sugar bowl were hand made. Having had way too many cups of tea served in those wretched leaky metal pots that dribble and inevitably burn my fingers, I can’t tell you how lovely it was to have my tea served in a champion pourer. Thank you. We also ordered dessert. Of course we did. You can’t have breakfast without dessert! We ordered the carrot cake. It was cold from the fridge but jam packed full of walnuts and a nice thick shmear of cream cheese icing. Yum and double yum.
teaservice
The details
Kris’s rating: 5 eggs out of 5
Theresa’s rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Kessel & March on Urbanspoon

To Dine For

Both James and I recently started new jobs so a breakfast was in order to get caught up on the news and views. Lucky for us, James spotted a new place to break the fast at near his new gig – To Dine For.

James’s Brekkie

benniesTo Dine For is a pleasant surprise in a nondescript office building on Terminal Ave. east of Main St. The exterior signs are large and busy (they have to catch your attention somehow while you wiz by in a car), but inside the place has a cool, stylish look with orange and purple walls and some mock-flock wallpaper. Hollywood crooners croon over the speakers while breakfast goers choose from a simple menu of Eggs Benedict (various types), two breakfast sandwiches and a standard eggs, bacon and toast plate. I enjoyed the Hollandaise-free tomato and two-cheese eggs Benedict ($12.95), served with your choice of fries or salad. It was well-done standard fare – English muffins, poached eggs, tomato and cheese, all fresh and flavourful. A nice touch was just a hint of garlic on the toasted muffins, and the fries were hand peeled before they hit the deep fryer.

Theresa’s Brekkie

scrambledeggsSo I’ve been having really exceptional breakfasts and really lousy breakfasts. This breakfast, I said to James with a mouthful of scrambled eggs, was a Toyota Camry. Not a Gremlin, not a Benz, just a good solid get you where you want to go kinda brekkie. I ordered the special with sourdough toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Good solid nosh but the prize goes to the fries. Hand cut and so crispy I suspect they were double fried. The rest of the menu, especially the burgers, looks amazing. They have a burger with Kimchi. Now had they offered eggs bennie with Kimchi, that would have graduated this reliable breakfast to at least an Audi.

The details

James’ rating: 2.5 eggs out of 5

Theresa’s rating 3 eggs out of 5

To Dine For Eatery on Urbanspoon