Dineout Reviews: A month of brunches

A friend of mine, Cari, and I started volunteering on Sunday mornings and it’s just perfect timing after our session to enjoy brunch together and catch each other up with the week’s events. Our tastes in food align and it’s been great fun trying different restaurants while also revisiting the old standbys (think, White Spot). This review covers our 2010 meals.

Jethro’s Fine Grub

I learned about Jethro’s Fine Grub only from going to Urbanspoon.com and asking it for the top Vancouver brunch spots. Jethro’s is a tiny restaurant deep in the west-side so I was so relieved and grateful that Cari was willing to go that much farther west than our houses and wait the 35-40 minutes it took to get a table. We really grew our appetite as we waited!

The menu is just astounding and we said we would return to try the other items we really wanted… but I don’t know if I could bear the wait–there really isn’t anything to do in that area except to go to the ancient Home Hardware store a block away. I hemmed and hawed and very nearly ordered one of the other items that caught my eye: Chicken Fried Steak, Crab Cake Benedict, and The Rooster (a shot of espresso and dark chocolate chips folded into their buttermilk recipe, topped with whipped cream; chocolate gravy optional). We both ordered omelets because they looked so fluffy and we were not disappointed. I ordered the Cobb omelet (because I can’t resist avocado) while Cari made her own.

Cafe Medina

NPY and I love Chambar and have been there three times. We haven’t tried Cafe Medina because they are only open during the day and we don’t work in the area or brunch that much, so I was happy to act on it when Cari mentioned her coworkers raved about it and she had yet to try it. I tried to make a reservation but they did not accept any and we waited outside, fortunately, for not too long on a Sunday morning.

The cafe is really cozy and our eyes got big at the sight of the breakfasts served in skillets and the waffles coming from the kitchen. Cari declared she wanted both and I was happy to try both in one go. We ordered one waffle each, hers with fig orange marmalade and mine with dark chocolate sauce. The latter turned out to be ganache that was this brilliant consistency between icing and sauce. We gobbled down the warm, fresh, mildly chewy waffles. Cari ordered the fricasse that also caught my eye but I’m really happy I ordered the paella, however un-breakfasty it is to me. Other than a trace of smoky cilantro here and there, I thought it was really tasty and satisfying and special brunch dish.

eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge

Thank you, Groupon. At a site that usually promotes luxuries like dining and services and thrives on impulse spending, I try not to buy the really $$ deals. I suppose it scales with the average cost of a plate when it comes to restaurants, working out to kind of a “two for one” promotion. Most of eight 1/2 brunch items were under $10 and with 4 eggs benedict style options, both Cari and I went with it.

We went the first day you could use a Groupon and the server was overwhelmed. Having worked in a larger restaurant with an extensive menu, I don’t understand the backlog when there are only a half dozen tables, the menu is really simple, and people brunching are quite relaxed in general. Cari had to pour her own coffee but at least the food came out quickly.

Three Lions Cafe

We tried to go to eight 1/2 but it was closed for Thanksgiving weekend (and thank goodness because there was a Groupon available later). I thought the English Breakfast sounded good and Cari ordered it–it was very hearty! I was afraid of how big the cheese sandwich would be when it was listed at $12 (but was only charged $10), but it turned out to be delightfully cheesy, could have done without the fries.

On this day..