Downtown diner breakfast

The Templeton
1087 Granville
604.685.4612

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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La Quercia Italian surprises served family style

La Quercia
3689 West 4 Avenue, V6R 1P2
604.676.1007

Blink and you might miss this small nook on the corner of Alma and West 4th.  The modern appointed restaurant has you sitting elbow to elbow with strangers and yet you won’t even realize they are there.  The a la carte menu looks delicious but we ordered Alla Famiglia which was five generous and splendid courses.  To my delight they were flexible to food requirements and brought us dishes with pork.  A lovely rabbit pate, a salad with hazel nuts, and a selection of three delicious pastas were fabulous.  Beef carpacio was delicate to bite, and strong on flavour.  The gnocchi was tender and very fresh in a rabbit sauce, which lets be honest tasted like chicken.  By the time the main course came I couldn’t believe there was still more to eat.  After a lovely veal scallopi the meal finished with a selection of three lovely desserts.  The house wine, although I don’t remember the name (do I ever) was delicious.  I was treated for my birthday – what a wonderful treat thanks to my Kili tent mate (and Italian food expert)!  I’m giving it a very good, and I’m looking forward to going again.  The price point on the family style meal is great value for what you get at 45$ per person.  Make a reservation though, I’ve been trying for months to get here.  It has a dedicated following and only a few seatings a night so it books up.  If my first visit was any indication you won’t be disappointed.

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Breakfast just after the bend in the road on Dunbar

Jethro’s Fine Grub
3420 Dunbar Street, Vancouver
604.569.3441

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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This is ‘granola’ as it gets at Gorilla Foods

Gorilla Foods
101 – 436 Richards Street, Vancouver
604.684.3663

This little nook downstairs on Richards boasts “raw, organic, vegan, live foods”.  It has a cult following in the city and it was one of its apostles that suggested it to me.  Having just watched Avatar I’d say it reminds me of hanging out in Hometree.  Not a lot of space for sitting, but given the amount of space they have they’ve done well with it.  I had a slice of the “pizza”, and you’ve got to have an open mind about this interpretation. The version I had was an earthy mix of kale and greens with a sun-dried tomato herb sauce on a “sprouted sunflower and buckwheat, flax and carrot crust” and topped with walnut “cheez”.  I really liked it, but I imagine if you’re trying vegan food for the first time you’d probably want to start with something else…maybe the green taco or the veggie burger.  I grabbed a cookie to go…I think it was called the almond crunch. It was an explosion of flavors and textures.  The crunchy, nutty bottom contrasted with the bright fruity flavored soft top.  So yummy I’d go back just for the cookies.  I’m giving Gorilla a Very Good. Up side is that it is open every day…downside, only from 11am-5pm.

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Crouching Dragon…Flying Tiger…a high price for street food…a good price for great food

The Flying Tiger
2958 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver   V6K 1R4
604.737.7529

Asian street food, gourmet style.  You might miss this little place if you’re not looking, but it has a great quaint, warm atmosphere inside.  For street food the price point is a little high, but worth it.  Be prepared to share your food, as they are principled in their family style culture and will only bring one dish at a time.  I’m glad they are though, because I tried a few things I wouldn’t have tried were not forced.  The Har Gow (steamed dumplings) and the Vietnamese Sablefish were both delicious, but the highlight of the meal was the Pulled Duck Confit Crepes….these morsels of yumminess danced across my tastebuds, and the bundles of fragrant herbs that you can put on top cut the richness of the duck.  But this dish is rich, so make sure to save room to enjoy it.  I would have loved to try dessert…but there was no room!  What a great meal, I’m giving it a Very Good, and an I’ll be back.  The love hate with West 4th continues :)

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Delicious Polenta Fries and a Great Atmosphere on Vancouver’s Main Street

The Cascade Room
2616 Main Street, Vancouver V5T 3E6
604.709.8650

We’ve got Lisa to thank for this pick, and it is a great one!  Good spot for a date, great for hanging out with your friends.  The polenta fries are so delicious, but I wasn’t a big fan of the mayo dip.  The dip had a curry flavour, which was good, but something in me was craving a dip with a bit more acid to cut the richness of the creamy and crunchy fry.  Now maybe basic ketchup would have been a bit too normal for  this joint, but some kind of dip along that line would have worked better for me.  Now I’m not a calamari connoisseur that’s for sure…but I didn’t really like it all, it was really rubbery, which I’m told means it wasn’t fresh.  I’m giving Cascade a Very Good, and I’ll be going back again for sure.

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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
604.251.9994

 

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  
604.732.6810

 

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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“Like a Tea Tray in the Sky” – High Tea in Vancouver

Bacchus
845 Hornby Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1V1 
For Reservations: 604.608.5319

 

A great way to spend a hot summer afternoon or rainy one for that matter is high tea with your girlfriends, and there are several places in Vancouver that serve high tea. Annie and I were planning on going to the one at the Fish House, be we miscalculated the interference the Gay Pride Parade would play in that plan, and after an hour of trying to get there we abandoned our efforts and went to high tea at Bacchus.  Annie had already been, but it was my first time.  I’d say the tea sandwiches were just okay.  My favorites were the egg salad and the smoked salmon, but nothing too notable.  I grew up eating the most delightful tea sandwiches made by my great grandmother and her friends…colored bread, pinwheels, and interesting shapes, so perhaps the bar is too high.  The pastries were good, but the only remarkables were the Devonshire cream and the chocolate éclair.  The Pear Green Tea was dee-liocious!!  And the price point at $29.00 per person makes for a nice afternoon.  The seating at Bacchus is uber comfortable (Trivia: it appears uber isn’t a word, but I hope you understand what I mean).  I could have sat in one of those high back chairs all day!  I’ve had high tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs – it is excellent. 

 

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On Main Street just off West Georgia

Campagnolo Restaurant
1020 Main St, Vancouver 604.484.6018‎

Just a brief note on Campagnolo. Annie and I ventured here just after it had opened. I believe it is owned by the same folks that on Fuel (where I still haven’t been, and would love to go!). It is an understated Italian restaurant on Main Street. The food was good, but not exceptional. The atmosphere was a bit dark and bare bones. The food was fresh though, and the service was good. Prices moderate. So if you’ve been here and had a more outstanding experience please share!

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