The other day we tried the brunch at Latitude, which is soon to be renamed as El Camino, on Main & 16th street. At first glance and from the outside Latitude kind of looks like a men’s clothing store rather than a latin american street food restaurant (hence the name change?). But when you enter you will find that it is a pretty classy joint. The restaurant decor is minimal; a few leather booths, a straight row of tables lined against a concrete wall covered with dramatic stenciled graffiti. I’m not totally up to snuff on my spanish but I believe the graffiti said something about recovering from a revolution, don’t quote me on that ’cause for all I know it probably says “Enjoy your meal and thanks for coming!”
The brunch menu consists of a number of south american style meals such as tacos and burritos, as well as some intriguing traditional dishes from Uruguay, Chili and Colombia.
I ordered the Huevos Divorciados which features two sunny up eggs on crisp corn tortillas, black beans, feta, separated by salsa verde and salsa roja, with hashbrowns. This is a light and healthy breakfast with plenty of flavour. My only complaint was that when I finished my meal I was still hungry for more! Although it was a fair portion, but not astounding like something you would be served at a chain breakfast restaurant. That being said, the food at Latitude (El Camino) is definitely above average in taste.
When I asked the waiter about the story of name change I didn’t really get a proper answer. He mentioned something about how they will be introducing some more dishes of the same genre, but other than that he wasn’t really informed on the process. Whatever changes the owners plan on implementing, I wish them luck and hope it works out for the best.
Latitude is currently only open for brunch on weekends and dinner and drinks seven days a week until late. Give it a try if you’re in the neighbourhood and in the mood for something a little different.
El Camino (formerly known as Latitude)
3250 Main St
Cauliflower for breakfast! You think I’m joking right?
Cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, goat cheese, a poached egg, drizzled with hollandaise sauce, tossed with toasted croissant chunks. That my friend, is the cauliflower goat cheese gratin at the Commune Cafe, and it is no joke. Just seriously satisfying, stick to your bones kind of breakfast. Seriously irresistible.
1002 Seymour Street
Brunch ’til 3 on weekends
The Railtown district in Vancouver is not a very frequented one, but is truly a hidden gem in Vancouver. There are eclectic buildings, doorways and cafes at almost every turn. 2 Chefs and a Table is one of those hidden gems, located within the hidden gem of Railtown.
“You’re like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a vest” – Lisa Simpson
It didn’t matter that there was a 30 minute wait, or that it was absolutely sweltering outside while we waited, or the fact that there were empty tables that were waiting to be sat in. 2 Chefs an a Table is one of the most charming restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at.
The menu was not extensive, but rather refined to a single page of gourmet temptations. The kind of place where you don’t dare make customizations to your meal because you know that this is the way the meal should be eaten and must be eaten. I settled on the Spring Omelette which featured roasted vegetables, basil pesto, and parmesan cheese. Served with seasoned potatoes and whole wheat toast. The Omelette satisfied my hunger, albeit I didn’t see or taste a speck of pesto or Parmesan anywhere on my plate. And we all know that Parmesan is not exactly a mild cheese. Still, I was happy because my eyes were being seduced by the romantic interior design and the rustic structure of the building.
The experience wasn’t perfect. Unfortunately, this restaurant does not have a resident DJ, or anyone with a hint of music knowledge that could suss out some appropriate tunes for such a lovely atmosphere. At one point I heard two Taylor Swift songs in a row, blasted so loud I couldn’t even keep up a conversation with my dining partner. Bad music (or inappropriate music) is so distracting. I think there was one Frank Sinatra song thrown into the mix but the rest of the music was an awful array of artificial Top 40 radio hits that just didn’t suit the venue or their target customer, in my opinion.
Would I go back to 2 Chefs and a Table again? Yes. Do I pray every night that they will find someone to curate some appropriate music that will compliment the experience? Hell yes.
2 Chefs and a Table
305 Alexander St
Brunch weekends from 9:30am-2pm
Overrated or not. Seeing that we were visiting from Vancouver it was fair to give the infamous Blue Fox Cafe a try.
What is it about overrated places? They’ve always got a line-up out the door, and you’re forced to stand there with all these miserable, freezing, hungry and hungover strangers who are just as foolish as you are to wait in line just because they want the ‘Best Breakfast in Town’. Pfft, I mean, come on.
Guilty as charged.
Once we sat down and ordered at Blue Fox we quickly realized why this place was so popular. Looking around at the patrons and the wait staff it was obvious that everyone felt cozy and at-home in the open and airy, brick-walled room. There were enough options on the menu to sate a variety of appetites, big, small, healthy, picky… whatever your issue might be.
Feeling adventurous, I ordered the Pacifico Benny: Wild Smoked Salmon, Avocado, Red Onion, Chipotle sauce, dredged in classic Hollandaise and cosied up next to an artistically assembled patch of fruit. The portions were very generous and the flavours surely satisfied my discerning palate.
However, I probably won’t order it again from this particular restaurant. As much as I love the taste of oily, smoked salmon paired with a poached egg and H-sauce, I don’t believe it’s an easy combo to master. The salmon was a bit too thick-cut for my liking and there was so much Hollandaise poured over top that it was actually starting to ‘cook’ it. The smoked salmon on my Benny was no longer an opaque jewel-orange hue, but rather the color was turning a light pastel pink, which salmon normally turns when it is cooked through using heat (like in an oven).
This is simply my take on the dish. You might enjoy a larger helping of salmon on your Benny, or perhaps no salmon at all. Luckily, there are several different Benny options at Blue Fox to keep you happy. But remember, no smiling until your seated and your food’s arrived!
Blue Fox Cafe
919 Fort St
Medina Café. This brunch/lunch spot has a guaranteed line-up on weekends with at least a 40 minute wait. But that doesn’t stop you from waiting for over an hour when you’re already starving or going back every other weekend, if you can afford it 🙂
What is it about this place? Could it be their smooth and rich lattes, americanos and espresso? Or maybe it’s their cute Belgium waffles, dusted with icing sugar and served with your choice of assorted gourmet dips, like white chocolate-pistachio-rosewater, raspberry caramel, fig-orange marmalade, berry compote, dark chocolate and so on.
If that’s not enough goodness to sway you, go ahead and order one of their absolutely finger-licking main dishes like le Cassoulet, la Tagine (pictured), or my personal favorite La Santé — a soft boiled egg (I usually ask for over-easy instead), vine ripened tomatoes, olive tapenade, avocado, prosciutto, a pot of extra virgin olive oil, and grilled ciabatta for dipping! Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard. Santé, translated from the French meaning “good health” or “cheers to your good health”. I would cheers to that, oui!
556 Beatty Street
This is the delectable Papas Benny from my new brunch discovery – Jethro’s Fine Grub on Dunbar Street. You might not be able to tell but the poached eggs on this benny are on top of potato skins. The crispy, salty, baked potato skins add a nice texture to this gooey dish, and since some benny’s don’t come with hash browns it’s like killing two birds with one stone! There is a lot of natural light in these photos because we were sitting in the best spot in the house which is right next to their giant street facing window.
If you get to visit Jethro’s then you’ll most likely be faced with a bit of a dilemma on what to order. They have the largest brunch menu I’ve seen around. And their portions are very generous! I’ll definitely be going back to try a few different dishes like The Rooster: a shot of espresso (espresso in pancakes!?) and dark chocolate chips folded into their buttermilk recipe and topped with whipped cream. OR, the Nutella French Toast which they make with 3 pieces of Challah bread layered and topped with whipped cream like a snowy Vancouver mountain. If you’re really brave you’re going to love the Cowboys Breakfast: Three eggs any style, with smoked bacon, sausage, grilled chorizo and chili smothered hash browns, served with authentic corn cakes. Jethro’s even does biscuits and gravy for you old-school country breakfast lovers. What more could you ask for?! Friendly staff, you say? Well, they’ve got that too.
Jethro’s Fine Grub
3420 Dunbar Street
Deacon’s Corner is at the top of the list with all the other breakfast places that start with a first name; Joe’s Grill, Theresa’s Eatery, Cindy’s, Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe and so on. Deacon’s is relatively new to the Vancouver food scene and is owned by the same folks that run Cobre Restaurant just a block or two away in historic Gastown. If you’re looking for regular old fashioned diner food then you should give Deacon’s a try on the weekend or bright and early (open at 7am on weekdays) before work.
P.S. The hashbrowns are realllllly seasoned so make sure you drink lots of water during or after your meal, or you will have a sodium overload.
101 Main Street (cross Alexander St)
I present you the Traditional breakfast from the Three Lions cafe.
Three Lions is a pub/restaurant with laid back atmosphere, fine food, and a quaint outdoor patio. The only thing worth complaining about is that brunch service is a bit slow. The wait staff are friendly and attentive but the food takes at least 45 minutes to an hour to get to your table during brunch hours. It doesn’t stop me from going back though, I just take an apple with me and eat it on the way over. The Traditional breakfast is only one of the many delicious brunch options on their menu. Make sure you try the black pudding, eggs benny, cheese toasty or bacon butty (giggles).
UPDATE: Sorry folks, the Three Lions Cafe is now closed.
Three Lions Cafe
1 E Broadway Vancouver, BC
(Brunch Sat and Sun 9-3 pm)
We will have a breakfast review roundup featured in next month’s October issue of BeatRoute magazine. There will be new reviews and restaurants listed so be sure to pick up a BeatRoute and take a peek.
For those who don’t know, BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise.
UPDATE: Click here for the article