Ahhh, finally a place to sit amongst strangers and still feel like you’re at home.
Little Nest is a giant living room, full of understated, antique furniture, kids running rampant, and simply delicious breakfast concoctions. They have it all; chalkboards with chalk: check, play area for children: check, giant window to allow natural light: check, magazines and newspapers: double check! I don’t know why it took me so long to visit this place, maybe because it’s tucked away from busy Commercial Drive on the very tranquil Charles street. Their covert location is a bonus because it adds to the laid-back atmosphere, and makes the place sort of a secret. So keep it on the hush.
Little Nest serves breakfast until 3pm, so make sure you roll out of bed by at least 12:30 to get dressed and drive/bike/walk down in time. And when you get there order something unique, like a toasted baguette with ricotta and honey (my favourite since I was a little) or try it with one of their house-made jams like fig rosemary or pear-cranberry-ginger. If you’re feeling extra adventurous I recommend Marci’s Rice pudding with vanilla soaked pineapple and toasted almonds. Is your mouth watering yet?
I took the simple route this time and tried the poached organic eggs and toasted baguette “soldiers” with a side of prosciutto (fancy!) and ricotta drizzled with honey for dipping. I added the prosciutto to an otherwise very simple dish for an extra $4, and the ricotta and honey for .50 cents. I enjoyed breakfast with Orange Pekoe tea, and some casual chalk colouring on their personal sized blackboards.
Little Nest is worth getting out of bed for, because as soon as you get there you’ll feel so comfortable it will be like you’re right back at home. Or maybe you’ll feel like you’re in someone else’s home — someone who makes way better coffee and lets you colour while they make your food.
1716 Charles Street
Breakfast prices between $4.00 to $12.00
Reviewer’s Rating: 9 out of 10
This is where the Ikea breakfast post should have been, but I got to Ikea at about 10:56 on Saturday morning, and waited in line for what must have been 4 minutes, watching heaps of fluffy eggs, sausage, and potatoes served up to happy customers, and then — BAM! I heard the young mom in line behind me tell her 3 year old daughter that breakfast was over, and that she had to decide on something else to eat that morning.
I can’t speak for the little girl, but my heart was crushed. I felt like a small child, whose dream was snatched away as quick as they swtiched out the trays of eggs for chicken, bleh. But I had to be strong — I couldn’t let people see how disapointed I was. Especially the tiny, future breakfast blogger behind me. So I ordered the kids meatball plate with fries and gravy, and held my head high.
Because in the end, it’s not life or death that I didn’t get to have an Ikea $1 breakfast — instead I paid a $1.99, and held on to a piece of my dignity. Thanks Ingemar.
The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe (phew, that’s a mouthful!) is comparable to Slickety Jim’s in the way that the interior is completely covered in kitschy decorations and vintage memorabilia, but the Wooden Shoe is also covered in funny and embarrassing photo’s of their past clientele. It’s tacky and also kind of distracting when you’re trying to have a conversation, and your eye drifts to a funny photo of a family, posing mid-bite, during their breakfast.
The menu was limitless. They had so many options of omlettes, pancakes, benny’s, and breakfast combination’s to choose from. I could have almost any topping I wanted on my egg’s benny like ham, salmon, veggies, bacon or spek. Spek is dutch style bacon that is so crispy it almost crumbles in your mouth, I urge you to try it! The Spek Benny I ordered came on a crunchy toasted biscuit (which I believe is essential to a good benedict), creamy hollandaise and tiny cubed hash browns.
I don’t have any complaints about this restaurant, but take note: this isn’t the kind of place that charges less than $10 per meal, so bring at least a twenty if you’re looking to have orange juice $4 or coffee with your meal. Also, If you’re cheeky enough, I dare you to bring your own camera and take a picture of yourself to post on their wall.
This post is different from all the other breakfast posts because it has no egg in it! What I’m trying to say is that if you need a little break from the usual eggs + bacon scenario, then listen up — Hot Cereal is the new alternative.
What is ‘Hot Cereal’ you ask? Well it’s similar to porridge or oatmeal and contains a few more ingredients like wheat, rye, barley, flax, millet, oats, buckwheat, apple cider, and salt, to be exact. It’s very high in fiber and gives you a great kick of energy in the morning!
You can enjoy it many different ways, by adding your preferred type of milk (cow, soy, almond, rice), raisins, brown sugar and my little secret — a small pat of butter. Mmm. You can buy Hot Cereal at most health food stores or you can find it already prepared at Capers or Whole Foods before 11am. It’s great if you’re on a budget but still like to enjoy breakfast out and about. At 89 cents per/100g enjoy comfort for your tummy, and your wallet.
Bowl of Hot Cereal $3.52
This morning I had the pleasure of dining at Seb’s Market Cafe on Broadway. This is a popular place for the Broadway/Main st. crowd so as soon as we entered, we had to put our name on ‘the waiting list‘.
Seb’s serves only organic food, and fair trade coffee. But the fruit smoothies are really what you’re after. Made with juice, milk, or soy and a medley of different fruits these $3-$5 smoothies are homemade delicious. I can’t vouch for all the flavours but the blueberry and banana soy was full of flavor, and whipped to perfection.
The menu serves everything from eggs & bacon, benny’s, banana french toast. They have inventive omlettes like duck and cranberry, bacon and caramelized apple, asparagus and mango, spinach and chevre to several light lunch specialties (but we don’t discuss lunch here). I ordered Seb’s benny, which comes on a savory biscuit, with your choice of topping. I must say the variations were quite surprising: elk medallion, thick-cut black forest ham, grilled portobello mushroom, etc. As a classic eggs benedict lover — I ordered black forest ham.
The thing that I wasn’t too thrilled about was the fact that Seb’s doesn’t serve regular hollandaise sauce with their benny’s. Instead you get a choice of coconut curry, chipotle, or havarti sauce. Don’t get me wrong I’m all about experimenting and trying new things — but please — if you want to be inventive with a classic dish at least offer the original sauce for those of us who just want to eat something they know is going to be good. Nonetheless, I went for the havarti sauce, which sounded the mildest out of all the sauces, and when our food arrived it was pretty underwhelming. Maybe I had it coming since I went for the safest sounding sauce which was just cheese sauce.
Aside from the food, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. The cafe was decorated in lots of rich fall colors, wood furniture, and eclectic paintings. The all female staff was friendly and helpful. And even though it was a full house, our food came within 10 minutes.
Egg Benny w/ Havarti sauce and homecut fried potatoes $9.5
I think I will have to give Seb’s another try, and be a little more adventurous next time. I definitely think there is something unique here, a new spin on some classics with a little bit of french flare.
Seb’s Market Café
592 East Broadway
Reviewer’s Rating: 6 out of 10
This post is for the regulars on Commercial Drive. I’m sorry I have been neglecting your neck of the woods, but to be honest, if you live in the Commercial Drive neighborhood you have probably already heard about Theresa’s Eatery — and if you haven’t then please, read on.
I first heard about Theresa’s from a friend, and then read about it shortly after in the Georgia Strait newspaper. It didn’t take long for word to spread about their amazingly delicious stuffed french toast, orange/ginger cornbread pancakes, and garlic roasted potatoes (watch out for whole garlic cloves camouflaged in your taters). It was truly a milestone moment in my life when I bit into that warm and gooey piece of strawberry and cream cheese stuffed toast. Made with incredibly sweet strawberries, swimming among warm fluffy mountains of cream cheese, and wrapped in two thick slices of bread, pressed into a panini. Let me say that I am certain they are using Philadelphia cream cheese because it was no doubt a little taste of heaven.
The menu is A la carte. So you can plan your breakfast any way your heart desires. I recommend trying their cornbread pancakes, (see photo above), which are made in the style of traditional southern ho-cakes, and are easily one of my all time favorite breakfast dishes. I sometimes wake up on weekend mornings, already thinking about them.
Among other delicious treats, are their sweet maple sausages and yummy fair trade coffee. Theresa’s is special because of it’s worker run, and owned approach. The employees each have a share in the company and they do everything from cook, cashier, and serve. This means that you must order at the counter, set your own cutlery, and pour your own coffee. So don’t be fooled — youalso play a big role at Theresa’s eatery.
UPDATE: Theresa’s is temporarily closed due to a fire. I’ll keep on top of their progress. Read on for other delicious breakfast places waiting to be tried. Until then…
UPDATE UPDATE: June 2011 – Theresa’s is finished doing renovations and is back in business! I’ve already been back several times in the last few weeks. You better hurry or I won’t leave you any pancakes.
FINAL UPDATE: Aug 30, 2012 – I’m sad to say that Theresa’s Eatery have closed their doors for good. They will be missed.
1260 Commercial Drive
Breakfast prices between $2.00 to $10.00
Reviewer’s Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Looking for something new, hidden, and colorful? Well let me introduce you to Roundel Cafe on East Hastings. This place might not be new to everyone but I have just discovered it recently.
A cross between the Templeton and your mom’s kitchen in 1980, Roundel shows its personality with bright colored walls and retro furnishings. Not to mention the auditory self-expression from the bubbly and eccentric staff.
What sets this cafe apart from its equally vibrant neighbors is its nutritionally flexible menu. Roundel offers a variety of different substitutions like wheat and gluten free corn pancakes (not nearly as delicious as the pancakes from Theresa’s), granola with soy, and veggie bacon. So if you are unfortunate lucky enough to know someone who is allergic to wheat or dairy, then do them and yourself a favor and take them to Roundel’s for breakfast, lunch, or even just a beer (they also serve beer). Mmm beer for breakfast.
2465 East Hastings Street
Breakfast prices between $6.00 to $11.00
Reviewer’s Rating: 6 out of 10
This morning we walked up to Joe’s Grill on West 4th, which is a very simple greasy spoon restaurant with Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner options. We arrive at Joe’s and the sun is shining. There is a decent lineup out the door, and we think about going somewhere else but in the end stick it out and surprisingly, we get a booth after only 5 minutes.
While ordering, I am torn between the Chorizo Eggs Benedict or the Waffle Combo. I decide to try something new, and order the Waffles. Our meal arrives pretty quickly and we dig in. My combo meal consists of 2 Belgian waffles, 2 poached eggs, 2 sausages, 2 strips of bacon, and a small bowl of fruit. Every thing tasted great. The sausages at Joe’s are excellent, not like the cheap shriveled up ones you’d get at Ikea (not that I’m knocking IKEA breakfast, best deal in town for $1. Stay tuned for that review).
But since I’m being a critic here I have to say that this combo was missing some whipped cream for the waffles. Even though they slid me a bowl of individually packaged whipped butter, it just wasn’t the same. The combo also lacked their prized pan-fried potatoes. Don’t even get me started on these potatoes — they are perfect. Crispy, thick, thin, seasoned, and oh so delicious with a bit of ketchup or hollandaise sauce.
Side Note: I’m eating an apple as I write, and it hurts me to remember all this.
Joe’s Grill 2061 W 4th Ave
Breakfast prices between $5.00 to $12.00
Reviewer’s Rating: 8.5 out of 10