So there’s good news and there’s bad news.
First the bad news, my breakfast blogging partner Jennifer has moved to England for a couple of years. The good news is many friends have stepped forward to offer their blogging services. And the even better news is that for this visit to the Smile Restaurant, my cousin-in-law Kris joined me for breakfast.
For some fifty years, the Smile Restaurant has been serving up Canadian and Chinese food on Pender Street. The day’s specials are written on a sandwich board shaped like a comely 80’s siren right out of a Def Leppard video. The interior is pure 80s, which is probably the last time the Smile was renovated. I also doubt they’ve raised the prices since then as well.
I maintain a fairly healthy diet, some might say, a very healthy diet. So needless to say that when Theresa invited me along for breakfast at Smile, I jumped at the chance to break the routine.
I have walked past the Smile cafe countless times over the last ten years. I have gazed through the windows and marveled at how the diner looks as though it has not changed since the fifties. (OK, the art on the walls was freshened up in the eighties). As it turns out, according to our friendly server, it hasn’t. As I entered, I was struck with the nostalgia of the classic diner with over-sized booths, a long front counter lined with swivel chairs and the unmistakable feel of days gone by.
I ordered the Denver omelet and a side of bacon – hey I was going for it. It arrived with two pieces of toast and shoestring potatoes. The omelet was large and full of ham and onions. It was however, a little overcooked and a bit dry. The potatoes came nicely browned and crunchy but oozed grease when bitten into. I like a bit of grease in my greasy spoon but this was overkill. The portion was large and has kept me filled for the day but this could be due to the grease.
The Smile is what it is. A classic greasy spoon with a classic diner feel that serves a straight up greasy breakfast. So next time you’ve had a late night, head to the Smile and sit back into a huge booth and ease yourself into the day with a plate of greasy Vancouver history.
On this visit, I ordered the first thing on the menu. It didn’t have a name but listed the choices: a choice of bacon, ham or sausages, eggs any style, hash browns and toast. I chose scrambled eggs, bacon and brown toast. The eggs were cooked like a plain omelet. The hash browns were shredded, and fried so they were crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. The bacon was crisp. The toast, I am fairly certain, was Wonderbread.
Really though, there’s only one way to describe this breakfast: it was a total grease fest. Everything was swimming in a slick of grease. My breakfast cost all of $6.77 including tea, so really, my expectations weren’t that high. Then Kris reminded me that for a couple of dollars more, we could have had a superior breakfast at the Twisted Fork. That took the smile off my face.
424 West Pender St.
Breakfast cost us $19.00.
Theresa’s rating: 2 eggs out of 5
Kris’ rating: 2.5 eggs out of 5 (.5 for kitsch value)