Downtown diner breakfast

The Templeton
1087 Granville

A delicious assortment of breakfast and lunch fare. They have yummy house made chicken sausage, serve real maple syrup (for a small fee), and decent coffee and pancakes. The burgers are great and the milk shakes are traditional and good. It is always tough to get a table in this small retro diner, but worth taking a seat at the long bar if you’re in more of hurry or if you’ve got the time waiting for a booth.

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Breakfast just after the bend in the road on Dunbar

Jethro’s Fine Grub
3420 Dunbar Street, Vancouver

I’d give their regular breakfast fare a very okay, but their French toast gets a very good.  Thick sliced challah egged up and with real maple syrup…  I love real maple syrup, but I’m disappointed to say I think they water down their syrup.  However, when I mixed it up a bit, it got a bit better, and I think I’d prefer water downed syrup to fake syrup…but I might just turn to the Seinfeld technique of taking syrup with me.  The service staff is friendly, there was a wait, but it wasn’t long.  The pancakes look great, and there are several kinds, but didn’t try them so can’t comment.  I had the huevos rancheros which was very okay, and the accompanying corn cake was cold, although the tomotilla salsa they used was quite good.  I’ll give it a very okay, but I’m going to try it again because if those pancakes stand up it will move it into a solid very good.

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Kid friendly restaurant…well actually just all round friendly just off ‘the drive’

Little Nest
1716 Charles Street, Vancouver   V5L 2T5


Little Nest just off commercial is a quaint, bright, kid friendly place to grab a lovely sandwich.  I enjoyed a humous sandwich with walnut and veggies.  They have a new fresh sheet every day written on the blackboard.  It reminds me a bit of Finches Tea House gone family style.  They are supposed to have great cakes, but I haven’t tried them yet.  Kid friendly is something I’m not usually that attuned to…sorry folks a reality of my lifestyle (not by desire, but by design).  Not only is there a fun play area for kids, but lots of room for strollers to navigate and staff that seems happy to clean up the play area.  Big tables, lots of seating, and definitely a good place to meet a friend for breakfast, lunch, or a snack and a chat.  I’m giving it a Very Good.  Open Tue-Fri 9am-4pm; Weekends 9am-5pm.

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Pet Peeve – hard poached eggs…sophies not so cosmic cafe…hmmm…

Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
2095 4th Avenue West, Vancouver    V6J 1N3  


Beautiful day in Vancouver s I hoped on my bicyclette and headed up to my favorite dive shop IDC (these guys rock) to check on my gear for tomorrow’s dive trip!  On the way back I stopped by Sophie’s Cosmic for a bite to eat.  I pondered for a while over the menu, wondering if I should test out my favorite eggs huevos rancheros, or try out the pancakes.  Since I am in pursuit of good Vancouver best pancakes I gave that a go and ordered the Kits breakfast, poached eggs (soft), no meat.  This breakfast was such a disappointment that I didn’t finish it…(I can’t even believe it cost 14$)   My eggs came hard…very hard, and hard poached eggs is a serious pet peeve of mine.  The pancakes were a great shape and color, but left a lot to be desired in the flavor department.  They also weren’t that hot when they arrived, and weren’t accompanied by any butter…how can you have pancakes without butter?  The rest of the food looks good, but I just don’t know if I’d come back to find out.  I’m giving Sophie’s my second Just Ok of the weekend…

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lo·cus – noun {plural} pronounced /lo-kəs/ loh-kuhs /

Locus Café
4121 Main Street, Vancouver BC Canada V5V 3P6


So I had picked Grub because I really wanted to try it, but they were unexpectedly closed so Lisa saved the day by suggesting Locus on Main. It has a great atmosphere that I won’t do justice by describing, but it is a bit edgy with unique lighting, intriguing artwork, and interesting installations around the ceilings and walls. The brunch/lunch menu has lots of great options, but we both picked the blackened snapper sandwich. Before our sandwiches arrived they brought some lovely bread to the table with an assortment of spreads – the simplest and most delicious of which was butter with cinnamon and sugar in it – brilliant! The snapper sandwiches were solidly good and the service was equally good. Price point is good, and it offers variety from the breakfast usual suspects.  Thanks Lisa for saving the day with this find!

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7 days a week for breakfast and lunch – no reservations accepted

Avenue Diner
105 – 8th Avenue S.W., Calgary


During Stampede I took someone special here and it is a great place for that. I had the Nona’s Benny which was only so so (I found the balsamic too sweet). We also shared a side of pancake it was yummy with real maple syrup…mmmm. Just be careful those are cranberries floating in the water glasses, not grapes! I’ve seen a few people bite with surprise. My favourite dishes here are Dad’s Famous Mac and Cheese, the Ultimate Egg Sandwich, and the Zillion Dollar Benny (which should not be called a Benny because it is made with scrambled eggs, but it is still good). The hash browns are good and so is the sour dough bread. And if you are feeling really festive try out the mimosas. I’ve got a lot of great Calgary moments here. The only thing I might change here is allowing reservations, but I understand why they don’t, and they manage to pack the place so it makes sense. If you can’t wait take a seat a the bar, in the winter you’ll freeze, but they have blankets to keep you warm. But it is the fastest way to get a nibble of Avenue’s yummies. I’m giving Avenue Diner a Very Good.


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Beach Bums and Benedicts – Putin wears the pants

Café Zen
1631 Yew Street, Vancouver


A quaint little breakfast nook in the heart of Kits. The Café Zen signature is that they have half orders of eggs benny – or even better, mix it up and do half and half. Given my search for a great pancake in Vancouver I probably should have tried that, but instead we gave the bennys a whirl and split the baked eggs Mexican style. Hashbrowns pretty standard – deep fried chunks of potatoes. Benedicts were yummy (though to be a true critic I’ll say they hollandaise was not to my Montreal standards, a bit thick and not lemony enough). But by all appropriate west coast breakfast standards this place delivers and gets even higher marks for promptness of service and how quickly they seated us. And best of all on a sunny Sunday afternoon it is just seconds from some beach sports or lounging.


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Kitsch and Comfort

Diner Deluxe
804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary


Diner Deluxe brought to us by the owners and operators of Big Fish and Open Range is a lovely mix of comfort food with a bold splash of retro diner. From the music to the tables you’ll think you’ve stepped back in time. They serve an all day breakfast, which makes deciding at dinner very difficult, because on the other side of the menu you will be tempted by Macaroni and Cheese and Turkey with stuffing. The turkey was served on a sliced loaf of stuffing, which was a modern twist to this classic. The Mac and Cheese has a touch of pesto, which is one step too modern for me, but it is still quite good. I’d love to go back for breakfast, but the line up is so long I’ve got to go on a day when I’m not starving. I’m going to give Diner Deluxe a Very Okay (but it is very nearly a Very Good) and it probably has one of the best price points in cow town!


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Saddle up on the other side of the tracks

The Palomino
109 – 7th Avenue SW, Calgary


You may think you’ve walked into a smokehouse on the wrong side of the tracks when you cross the 7th avenue train tracks and enter The Palomino. From the street you’d never know you were about to have some of the most mouthwatering beef ribs you’ve ever had with a side of Jack Daniels apples and sweet potato mash. I’ve heard the pork ribs can be a bit dry, just another reason not to eat swine….but the beef ribs are divine ;) The lighting is dark, the furniture is mismatched, and the walls are covered in a tormented looking collage of stickers and objects. We found the service a bit slow and the atmosphere is definitely edgy…but I’d go back for the meat and I’d really like to try their Jack Daniels wings. They also have a breakfast menu, and live music some nights, but I don’t have a point of reference on either… I’m giving The Palomino as Very Good.


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These are a few of my favorite things…

1595 Washington St., Boston, USA


On my most recent trip to Boston I was treated to many wonderful things. The Science Museum, the Aquarium , a backstage pass to a hockey game, and several yummy food experiences. But one of my foodie stops, Flour, was so good, I had to go twice. In a thrown down with Bobby Flay Pastry Chef and Owner of Flour, Joanne Chang beat out Bobby in the sticky bun category…and now I know why! I only ate the sticky buns once, and I only had a half, but that was the most delicious half of a sticky bun I’ve ever had. But what is more the reason I actually went back again was for the sandwiches. I love sandwiches! The breakfast egg sandwich has a dash of horseradish in it, the basil pesto tomato sandwich comes with roasted tomatoes, and the fresh bread (whole wheat or white) will make you think you are in carbohydrate heaven. I stole a bit of the smoked salmon sandwich which is amazing, but don’t get too attached to it, because it is on the special menu, so I don’t know how often they make it. I’m glad I don’t have to walk by this place on my way to work, because I wouldn’t be able to resist! Joanne has a career path I have to admire, from consultant to Pastry Chef, and in following her passion she has been successful. I’m giving Flour a Great!


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