Burgoo on Burrard

I’ve lived in the West End now for 12 years and really, it’s just not the same vibrant neighbourhood it used to be. But two things happened that gave me faith in the old gay village: a Home Hardware opened on Davie, and Burgoo opened on Burrard. There’s a lot of junk food in the West End so it’s nice to a good sit down place on the East End of the West End. I love Burgoo, they make the best grilled cheese (pair it up with soup or salad for An After School Special!). Every dish seems to come with a lot of cheese. A noble property to be sure.

Bruce’s Breakfast

IMG_20180311_1124191-1.jpg

Theresa and I were off to Burgoo for Brunch last Sunday. Highly anticipated for me as it was time for a good chinwag along with my first time to enjoy brunch at Burgoo.

One must do two things before heading out for brunch. Check the time the restaurant opens and if they serve Eggs Benny in any format. As I scanned the brunch menu my hopes for Eggs Benny were quickly dashed. I opted for the Eggs Ratatouille ($15.50) (Bruce didn’t actually remember what he ordered, this was my best guess) and upon its arrival, the Peggy Lee song “Is That All There Is?” came to mind. Burgoo, while boosting comfort food, lacks presentation. Loving the mix of veggies and goat cheese in a tomato sauce I tasted none of that as the flavor of garlic had taken over the dish!  While the chinwag with Theresa was a hit, Burgoo’s Brunch was a miss for me.

Rating: 🥚🥚 out of 🥚🥚🥚🥚🥚

Theresa’s Breakfast

IMG_20180311_1124296-1.jpgBruce is one of my favourite humans. And we’ve spent a few evenings at Burgoo enjoyed the comfort food menu and carrying on as we do but we’d never actually had brunch there. Honestly, there wasn’t anything on the brunch menu that was calling out to me so I ordered my standby of Gooey Cheese Griller (15.50) with a side of baby Kale caesar salad. It was good as usual, a  sliced baguette stuffed with a variety of cheeses and then grilled. So while I will continue to love and appreciate Burgoo’s presence in the hood, and enjoy future lunches and dinners there, brunch will be elsewhere.

Rating: 🥚🥚🥚 out of 🥚🥚🥚🥚🥚

 

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

 

Forage

Forage is fairly new to Robson Street, it’s located where O’Doul’s used to be. It prides itself on serving locally sourced food items. It’s a serene spot, decorated with a 1970s West Coast vibe. James joined me today, and we were commenting on how much we both liked the cutlery and the china that they used. Functional, sturdy, understated. Nice touches all around. And the food? Well, Forage is off to a yummy start.

James’s Brekkie

jameshash
Don’t worry – despite the name, this restaurant isn’t set up like some apocalyptic exercise, where you scramble to put together a plate of vittles before someone knocks you off, a la The Hunger Games. I didn’t lift a finger until they brought me my breakfast, the Two Rivers Turkey Sausage Hash ($13). Slices of pepperoni-size turkey sausage, diced onions, potatoes and yams suspended two poached eggs drizzled with Hollandaise sauce. Served in a small skillet atop a wooden board, with just enough room for four slices of perfectly toasted sourdough bread. A delicious meal, made only better by friendly, thoughtful service, and set in a smart, understated room with a cool west coast vibe.

Theresa’s Brekkie

theresabrekkiePork is the new black in Vancouver’s restaurants. If you’re a carnivore, this breakfast is a dream come true. I had the double-fried pork cutlet with shredded cabbage and a soft-poached egg. Yes I did. And I ate every  bit of too. And I ordered a side of sour dough toast. The pork cutlet was pounded, breaded, and fried. It was crispy on the outside, tender and juicy and flavourful and worth every minute I’ll have to spend at the gym to work this off. It came topped with shredded  cabbage and slivers of beet-pickled onions and a balsamic vinaigrette. Sublime.

The facts:

James’ rating: 4 eggs of 5

Theresa’s rating: 4 eggs out 5

Forage on Urbanspoon

Beyond Restaurant and Lounge

Pal and fellow blogger James suggested a couple of times that we review Beyond Restaurant. It’s literally a hop skip and a jump away from where I live (for which I was profoundly grateful after breakfast) and I am  a frequent patron of the Beyond Coffee Bar (where to be fair, I have never had a bad meal).

James’ Brekkie

It’s tempting when writing about a place called “Beyond” to make a play on words about its food, service, etc. I’ll restrain myself – no side order of ham, I promise…. Located in the Century Plaza Hotel, Beyond is a pleasant, spacious dining spot that does serious trade in feeding tourists. T and I were seated quickly by the pleasant maitre d’, who provided menus featuring a standard range of breakfast dishes. Past E&S reviews prove I’m a sucker for smoked salmon in the a.m. I ordered the Smoked Wild BC Sockeye Salmon Bowl ($15.50) – and a serving as large as the dish’s name arrived. Very satisfying – a base of fried nugget potatoes topped with smoked salmon, cooked fresh spinach, two deliciously-runny poached eggs and hollandaise. Our server asked how I wanted the eggs cooked (nice touch – doesn’t always happen) and provided efficient service. Meanwhile across the table, things were not quite as sanguine….
Theresa’s Brekkie
Honestly, Beyond gets my vote for worst breakfast ever.  I made the grave error of ordering the Chilliwack Hash-a mix of shredded potatoes with bits of corned beef, cheese and two poached eggs. I took a bite of the potatoes and paused…the food was lukewarm and the flavour was off. It tasted like they made the breakfast an hour before I arrived, left it on the counter, and microwaved it for thirty seconds when I ordered it. Even the cantaloupe was a bit slimy. And when the waitress came by to ask how things were, she addressed James and promptly left when he told her his breakfast was fine and didn’t show up again until we asked another waitress for the bill. So I picked at my eggs and toast.  The eggs were okay, but the toast was cold and limp. I also ordered Earl Grey tea that tasted oddly like Lapsang Souchong. My misery was finally alleviated when I got home and my gimpy tummy tossed this most wretched breakfast. Needless to say, I won’t be going back.
The details:
Breakfast for two cost us $37.00
James’ Rating: 4 eggs out of 5
Theresa’s Rating: are you kidding me? No eggs for you!

La Brasserie

Brunch in and of itself is always an appealing prospect, but when a portion of the day’s sales are going to a worthy local cause (The Dr Peter AIDS Foundation) the appeal is that much greater. And this is what bought us (that is, James and I) at La Brasserie on Davie Street, and despite a minor snafu around what time the restaurant opens, there is much to recommend.

James’ Brekkie

Once the waiter ushered us in we were quickly seated, and our order was taken with similar promptness. I went for the Croque Madame and settled back in the stylishly understated surroundings, enjoying a pot of Earl Grey and some volume-just-right jazz music. When the Croque arrived, I wasn’t disappointed. Crisply grilled brioche was a base for a firm poached egg topped with Sauce Choron (Hollandaise-like). A salad with a light but spicy mustard dressing filled the rest of the plate. The only thing that could have been improved was the single slice of porchetta hiding between the two slices of brioche – it seems forlorn with a meek flavour that didn’t compliment the rest of the delicious offerings. Tried the “Breakfast Poutine” Theresa ordered – very tasty, too.

Theresa’s Brekkie

The ad for brunch said 10, the menu posted outside said 10, even the bill presented to us at the end of breakfast said 10. So when James and I showed up promptly at 10 ready to greet to the day, we were somewhat disappointed to discover that they weren’t actually going to open until 11. So we cooled our heels with a short walk and coffee.

La Brasserie advertises itself as a Franco-German restaurant. Ever since it opened in the West End, I’ve wanted to try it. But everytime I tried to try, it was jam packed with line-ups outside. We returned promptly at 11, and by 11:10 the restaurant was packed and there was line-up outside. And with good reason. Ignoring the clenching of my arteries, I ordered the Brasserie Breakfast Poutine, which consists of a poached egg, lardons (chunks of thick cut bacon), truffle oil, pork gravy, cheese curds atop French fries.

Now before you chide me for eating what looks reads like a heart attack in a bowl, I have to say it wasn’t greasy or heavy in any way. First of all, the portion isn’t huge. And while poutine can be messy, the chef used a gentle hand in this version. The potatoes were fresh cut and crispy, the lardons were crunchy and flavourful, and there was just the right amount of pork gravy. Even the cheese curds had just the right amount of melt happening. There wasn’t a pool of grease or gravy at the bottom of the bowl either. It was a well-proportioned dish. More importantly, it was an incredibly delicious dish. The bonus was individual pots of good quality loose leaf Earl Grey tea. La Brasserie was well worth the wait for me.

The facts:

La Brasserie
1091 Davie Street
604-568-6499
http://www.labrasserievancouver.com

Breakfast for two cost us $32.00

James’ rating: 4 eggs out of 5
Theresa’s rating: 4.5 eggs out of 5

La Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Joe’s Grill

So on this Saturday morning, we decided to head to Joe’s Grill after a visit to the West End Farmer’s Market. There are three locations in Vancouver, two in the West End, and one in Kits. On this particular Saturday, we visited the Davie Street location.

Theresa’s brekkie

softboiled

Joe’s is one of my favourite breakfast spots. The service has always been friendly and efficient, and the food is cheap, plentiful and for the most part, pretty good. So it’s kinda disappointing that one time I am disappointed with Joe’s is the day we decided to review it. I ordered the Basic, a choice of eggs, toast, potatoes or fruit, and bacon or sausage or ham. I risked it and ordered soft-boiled eggs and toast. Now there’s a real art to getting the perfect three-minute egg, and the person manning the grill on this visit didn’t get the memo. The eggs were way undercooked. I took another risk and was again disappointed; the fruit salad was old and slightly slimy. On the good side, the bacon was plentiful and crispy. I’ll go easy on Joe’s because I know this visit isn’t typical of their usual good and hearty brekkies. A week later, I did go back and had a decent Denver omlette. Good, but not great.

Jennifer’s Brekkie

sausageandeggsUnlike Theresa, I’m not a huge fan of Joe’s Grill; I once ordered the vegetarian hash for breakfast and it arrived looking suspiciously like a regular stir-fry using those packaged frozen mixed vegetables. Veggie hash? I don’t think so. But I was willing to give Joe’s another try. I played it safe with The Basic: my version comprised two scrambled eggs, hash browns, four sausages, and whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jam. To wash it down, I went with the classic OJ (from frozen concentrate) and a cuppa tea. Although not overwhelmed by my traditional breakfast, I was satisfied. And that’s what counts when my stomach’s a-growlin’ on a Saturday morning.

The facts

Joe’s Grill Kitsilano
2061 W. 4th
604-736-6588

Joe’s Grill Vancouver Downtown
1031 Davie
604-682-3683

Joe’s Grill West End
948 Denman
604-642-6588

Breakfast for two cost us $21.79

Theresa’s rating: 2 eggs out of 5
Jennifer’s rating: 3 eggs out of 5

Acacia Fillo Bar

Denman Street is lined with small, mostly independent restaurants that cater to tourists, beachcombers and neighbourhood denizens alike. Acacia Fillo Bar, by far, is one of the best ones in the hood. Our visit was a happy one: the sun was shining, my fellow blogger and pal Jennifer is back on her feet, and we had a great breakfast. How cool is that?

Theresa’s breakfast

Spinach and cheese banitza

Spinach and cheese banitza

I love this place. It’s my favourite spot to have breakfast, read the paper and linger over my morning tea. The breakfast menu contains the unexpected expected. For example, they have the usual varieties of egg bennies, but instead of a hollandaise sauce, they use a tangy yogurt sauce. For breakfast today though, I had a spinach and cheese banitza. For the uninitiated, banitzas are fillo pastry rolled into various shapes and with different fillings. The cheese is imported from Bulgaria and is a mild white cheese, with a similar texture to feta. I also asked for and received a side of roasted of perfectly herbed and roasted sweet potatoes, white potatoes and yams. No frozen crap here. This particular dish came with a small green salad and plain yogurt for dipping (I won’t go into my usual rant about salad with breakfast…). If that wasn’t enough food, I also tried some of Jenn’s breakfast, and had to restrain myself from eating all her leftovers…it was so gooooooooooooooood.

Jennifer’s Breakfast

Roasted vegetable banitza

Roasted veggie fillo

On my first visit to this Bulgarian gem, I opted for the Roasted Veggie Fillo which looked like one big honkin’ fillo burrito – and I mean this in the best possible way. The golden brown, crispy fillo pastry was literally stuffed with roasted vegetables, including eggplant, celery, carrots, zucchini, spinach, onion, and broccoli. Accompanying my veggie delight was a melt-in-your-mouth roasted potato medley (absolutely gorgeous) and a small handful of mixed greens with a dollop of thick balsamic dressing. I loved this breakfast so much, I went back a week later and had the very same thing. On the second visit, however, I had a cappuccino that could’ve cleaned rust off the pipes but I’m willing to sacrifice a superstar barista for Acacia’s exquisite fillo treats any day.

The facts

Acacia Fillo Bar
1103 Denman Street
http://www.acaciafillobar.com

Breakfast for two cost us $25.00

Theresa’s rating: 4 eggs out of 5
Jennifer’s rating: 4 eggs out of 5

Acacia Fillo Bar on Urbanspoon