Dineout Reviews: Brunch Round-Up II

Looking through my Flickr photos (so much fun, eh?) I realized I’ve had brunch enough times for another round-up but this time, instead of a month of brunches, these were consumed over a period of three months. Sadly, Cari Ann and my brunch “tradition” fell by the wayside of late while scheduling has gone haywire (for her) and I’ve been in a three- to six-month bad-funk-streak (blah!).

If you thought perhaps I was flagging in pursuing dine-out activities, there’s been little slowing down as interspersed between these brunches and not included were dim sum lunches, away (from Vancouver) brunches, and a specially highlighted lunch!

De Dutch (410 West 2nd Avenue, at Yukon)

I returned to De Dutch for a meal for the first time in almost six years because Living Social had a great great: $15 for $30 of food. You had to buy the coupon for a specific location and, fortunately, the Oak/16th location had sold out and I got the new West 2nd location instead. It was fortunate because my second time around would be in nice new surroundings and better food choice.

The first time, I went to De Dutch (South Granville location), I thought I would be light and healthy and ordered #11, banana, strawberries, and whipped cream as topping. Looking at the photo again (right), I would not have enjoyed the strawberries in syrup. And I certainly did not appreciate the bowls sitting on top of pannekoek I was going to eat.

This time around, after careful review of the options, I chose the DeBratwurst & “Born 3” Eggs. With that order, I got traditional eggs and sausage, some mushy tomatoes, balanced with a carb, pancake-like side to which I liberally applied maple syrup. My nature was to eat the savoury separately from the sweet part of my meal, treating the pannekoek like a pancake, not to be mixed. Trying pannekoek again, I realized that I do like them–they are not as fluffy as pancakes and more like a hearty crepe.

Dennys (1296 West Broadway)

I’m not overly thrilled with revisiting the chain brunch restaurants (White Spot is an old standby) but I hadn’t browsed a Dennys menu in a while and it’s so big that I still had to choose between a sweet pancake creation and what I did end up ordering, country-fried steak and eggs.

I tried country-fried steak for the first time almost ten years ago at the Clayton Park (Nova Scotia) Lone Star Texas Grill. I really liked it because the coating was nicely spiced and the steak was cooked really well, tender. A few years ago, Mum tried to make a fried steak–the batter was not right and it was a waste of a good cut of meat. I have kind of an ongoing challenge with a meatarian about ordering it but you have to be in the mood, you know? I think it would have been quite tasty at Claim Jumper (American chain), but I wasn’t in the mood that time.

The country gravy was really scary looking, not used to cream-looking gravy. I found it overpowering and scraped it off, eating only what was caught in the batter. The steak was not memorable, a carelessly prepared slice of meat. And the hash tasted like chemicals.

We also got sold on the blueberry and white chocolate pancake puppies–it’s great going to brunch with Cari Ann because we both enjoy our food. The “puppies” were not light fluffy pancake bites and more like Timbits and fried–they were really indulgent especially after dipping in the accompanying maple syrup.

La Brasserie

I remember the day we went for a really long walk and took the time to explore Davie Street and ended up at La Brasserie for brunch. It was the mention of “Breakfast Poutine” probably preceded by the word “Original” on the chalkboard outside that drew us in. As we wound down our brunch with our second large pot of French pressed coffee, it was the day an ex and his new wife walked by and I inadvertently did a double-take and so did she, it seems. Busted, and I was a bit on edge afterwards. It is totally unexpected and they must have been in town for the weekend or for a conference.

Cari Ann ordered the savoury crepes with mushroom and chicken in Mornay sauce. The sauce looked creamy and salty but turned out to be nice and light. We liked how there was a mix of white and tender dark meat. She was going for a light brunch… while I just needed to try the breakfast poutine! “Poached egg, bacon, truffle oil, pork gravy”: the fries were good and fresh and I loved the thick cubed bacon they used. It was tremendously filling and, not surprisingly, something that should have been ordered on the side for sharing!

Twisted Fork Bistro

Apparently I am making my way through the top brunch spots in Vancouver, as listed on UrbanSpoon.com. I arranged brunch with some friends at Twisted Fork after NPY’s exam, killing a few birds with one spoon. There was a little bit of a wait outside, about half an hour, but we had a lot to catch up on!

NPY ordered the eggs Benedict with smoked chicken, true to form. The “smoked chicken” turned out to be sliced processed meat that I am not impressed with, but the baked beans were really tasty, and the egg yolks were perfectly runny and brilliantly orange. Perhaps I’m not used to nice and healthy organic eggs or something.

I went “light” and ordered scrambled eggs where the eggs were cooked just divinely and perfectly creamy. I also really liked the potato hash that you flake with a fork. And, I was not expecting it, the jam was delicious–it tasted as if made from apples or grape and it’s no wonder you can buy a larger portion to take home.

Cafe Medina (reprised)

Blogging again about Cafe Medina seems a bit like a cop-out but on my second visit, I ordered something really different. We went with a big group and many people ended up with skillet meals with the heavy Mediterrean flavours I experienced last time.

This time, I ordered the Saumon fume: open-faced ciabatta sandwich with a chunky smoked salmon caper cream cheese spread, a poached egg, and salad. I was pleasantly surprised with the chunky pieces of salmon and it was a light cream cheese. The ciabatta bread was thin, savoury, and crispy. And the salad had my favourite vegetables–tomatoes, artichokes, arugula–tossed in a light vinagrette. I know what to order again if I return to this very popular brunch spot!